I hope you are all keeping safe and well in these challenging times. Thank you for your patience as we have worked over the past few weeks to ensure a safe return to school for all our students and staff – I’m sure everyone is looking forward to the day when we are all fully back at school.
In order to be certain that everything is operating safely, a full return to school for all students is going to take a little longer than normal, but I’m sure you can all understand the reasons for this. The schedule is outlined below, and we will be in touch with more detail over the coming days.
We acknowledge that there is a lot of information to take in here, and we hope to do an online webinar before the return to school so that we can go through all this again with you. Please feel free to email any queries to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you.
There are also a number of factors that you will need to be aware of, some of which are Covid-19 related but others are part of our original planning for the 2020/21 school year and were already mentioned to you in previous correspondence.
Please read the document below carefully.
GENERAL SCHOOL UPDATES
- School lunches will be provided free of charge to all students for the coming year, with the facility for each student to order their choice of lunch and a snack each day. Further details will be available shortly.
- Break times: students may no longer leave the school premises at morning break (10.45am). 1st Year students must also stay on the premises at lunch break (1pm) and may each lunch in their year group area.
- New school day structure: As previously notified to you, school will now start at 8.37am with timetabled 8-minute assemblies in class groups with the class teacher. Attendance at assembly is compulsory for all students. School will finish as normal, apart from Friday, when classes will now end at 3.05pm.
- Cashless school: As already communicated to you, the school needs to operate on a cashless basis as much as possible, and all payments, large and small, will be through the Way2Pay system. We will deal with any queries on this during the last week in August.
- School books: We have collected most books from student lockers during the summer, and books will be distributed on the return to school. Students should have some of their books at home too, and these will be checked on the return to school.
SAFETY & COVID-19
- PPE (personal protective equipment): as per the Department of Education and Science guidance, face coverings MUST be worn where social distancing of 2 metres is not possible. In our school, this will mean students and staff wearing masks/visors during most of the school day, and any time they are inside the building.
- The school is providing a once-off starter pack for all students, containing a visor, two disposable facemasks, disinfectant wipes and a mini sanitising spray. We are also providing one reusable facemask to everyone.
- Replacement face coverings will be the responsibility of each family.
- We would suggest that, before the return to school, students take some time to get accustomed to wearing masks for extended periods of time.
- 1st Year students will be based in the same classroom for most of their subjects, apart from those which require specialist rooms, eg Science. The four 1st Year classes will be based in the same area of the school and will have a designated entrance and courtyard area. We do not expect 1st Year students to have much contact with other year groups.
- All entrances to the school will be in use before 8.37am each morning (assembly time) and each year group will be given a designated entrance to use. Hand sanitiser will be available at all entrances and in all classrooms, and hands must be sanitised on entry to the school.
- Students arriving late (after 8.37am) will enter by the main door and will have to sign in late at the office – this is vital for possible contact-tracing purposes.
- We will ask all students to keep to the left-hand side of the corridor when moving around the school, and a high standard of behaviour will be expected. Extra supervision will be in place in corridors during and between classes. Students will need to avoid all physical contact with others during the school day – there can be no hugging, jostling, pushing etc.
- Hot water and new soap dispensers have been installed in all student toilets. Entry to toilets will be strictly monitored to ensure social distancing.
- Lockers will only be available for 1st, 2nd and 3rd Year students. Senior students, who have fewer subjects and books, will be expected to carry what they need with them throughout the day.
- While extra cleaning will be in place throughout the school, students will be asked to wipe down their desks and chairs before and after use, and also to wipe down shared tools in woodwork rooms etc using disinfectant wipes which will be provided in all classrooms
- School uniform will be worn as normal, but we would ask you to wash the uniform as often as possible. On the day when a student has PE, they may wear a navy tracksuit end, blue polo shirt and a navy top to school – changing facilities will not be available.
LEARNING AND TEACHING
- We expect learning and teaching to continue as normally as possible, but taking into account the various restrictions which our current health situation requires.
- Students in 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th Year have already been provided with Cork ETB email addresses, which will allow them free access to the Microsoft Office online learning system, which we will be using for homework etc, and which will be vital in the event that the school has to close again. These addresses will be provided to all incoming 1st Year students and any other students who did not receive them last year.
- In the event of a school closure, we will endeavour to continue with remote teaching and learning using the Microsoft Online platform, which students will be able to access through their own home devices.
- Our special educational needs team will continue to support students, and while we will be in touch with parents of incoming 1st Year students again ahead of the return to school, any parent with a concern should email us at email@example.com.
ILLNESS & CONTACTING SCHOOL
- If your child is feeling unwell, please keep him/her at home and seek medical advice.
- Access to school building for parents: Please phone ahead where possible if you need to visit the school. Appointments will be necessary. Our new waiting area is small, and we need to keep access to a minimum.
- Contact with Year Heads: As phones can no longer be shared, each Year Head has been issued with a school mobile phone and the contact number for the relevant Year Head will be provided to all parents ahead of the return to school.
- Emergency contact: If your child gets sick at school, he or she will need to be collected immediately. We will need all parents to provide emergency contact numbers in the event that we cannot get you due to work or other commitments.
- Parents who are feel that their children are at increased risk from Covid-19 should contact their GP to discuss these concerns. If you have specific medical advice to keep your child at home, please contact us without delay.
All students have a personal responsibility both as individuals and collectively to have due regard for their own health and safety and that of others and to assist with the implementation of the school’s Covid-19 Response Plan and associated control measures to prevent spread of the virus.
All students should be familiar with the health and safety risks posed by the Covid-19 virus both generally and to them as individuals, and be up to date with and adhere to public health advice and the school’s response plan. Updated advice from the HSE is available on its website.
RETURN-TO-SCHOOL SCHEDULE 2020 (subject to change depending on Government/HSE advice)
NB: We’ll send a reminder ahead of each induction day letting students know what they need to bring
Thursday, August 27th
Friday, August 28th
Years: 5th and 6th Year (excluding LCA) – Induction
Time: 9.30am – 11.30am
Monday, August 31st
Year: 3rd Year – Induction
Time: 9.30am – 11.30am
Tuesday, September 1st
Year: 2nd Year – Induction
Time: 9.30am – 11.30am
Wednesday, September 2nd
Years: 5th and 6th Year (excluding LCA) – Normal classes
Thursday, September 3rd
Year: 1st Year – Induction
Time: 9.00am – 12.20pm
Friday, September 4th
Years: 1st, 2nd and 3rd Year – Normal classes
Time: 8.37am – 1pm
Monday, September 7th
Years: Transition Year, LCA 1 and 2 – Induction
Time: 9.30am – 11.30am
Tuesday, September 8th
Years: Whole school – Normal classes
Time: 8.37am – 1pm
Wednesday 9th onward: Normal timetable and hours for all years
Thank you all so much for your co-operation and support,
Tracey Kennedy, Principal
Kathryn FitzGerald, Deputy Principal