HSE advice for parents.
Please note that we will be reverting to our usual starting time of 9.15 a.m. from next Monday 28th September. Pupils may arrive at any time between 9 and 9:15 and they will go straight to their classrooms through the entrances they have been using in the past few weeks. The only change is that they need to be in school by 9:15. Naturally it will be busier as we approach that time so we again ask for your patience while the new routine becomes established. We would encourage you to do a ‘practice run’ this week in preparation for next week. Thank you.
Cycling / Road Safety
4th Class will begin their cycling safety course this week. We will try to reschedule lessons for 5th Class who missed out earlier in the year. While on that theme, we are concerned about road safety and physical distancing. There are a lot of children making their way on foot and by bicycle towards the church from the school in the afternoons. They are near to traffic on that road and there have been a couple of very narrow escapes in the past week or so. If you are collecting your child then please bring them in the car with you from the school – it will reduce pedestrian traffic on that road for a short but very busy time. Naturally the school is not responsible for what happens on a public road but we are concerned and really don’t want our pupils to come to any harm. Thank you.
This week we will open the attendance function on the Aladdin Connect App. Each day your child is absent, you will receive a notification via the app after the teacher has called the roll. You will then be invited to submit the reason for your child’s absence, (illness, urgent family reason, holiday or other). You will also have the opportunity to write a short note to the teacher if you wish. Until such time as you submit this information, your child’s absence will be recorded as unexplained.
If you record an absence promptly it is not necessary to contact the school. You should however phone the school if you have concerns about Covid 19 symptoms, or you wish to discuss the reason for absence directly with the teacher.
If you have not yet downloaded the Aladdin App, please do so. Please ring the school if you have any queries. Thank you.
Confirmation & Communion
Confirmation for last year’s 6th class (finally) took place recently. While it wasn’t normal, it was well organised by Arles parish and we hope all concerned had a good day. Communion for 2020 will (finally) take place on Saturday, 3rd October with strict limits on numbers attending. We hope that our pupils and their families have an enjoyable day despite the restrictions.
Allergies / Epipens
If your child has an allergy and we have an epipen here in the school please contact us to check that it is in date.
Our system is up and running and we’re working out the niggles and errors. If you have any queries please contact the school.
Jaydn’s Buddy Bench
In memory of our beloved pupil Jaydn Kelly who died a year ago, a lovely ‘buddy bench’ has been installed in the playground. It’s a nice way to remember him and we are grateful to all those who made it happen and would prefer their names not to be mentioned. Thank you.
Is now available at the link at the top of the page.
INFORMATION FOR PARENTS
‘Calm, Cautious & Common Sense’ is the motto for our return to school in Ballylinan.
Our Health and Safety
We want to reassure you that we are doing everything possible to ensure pupil health and safety. While children are generally at low risk, this will also help to protect the adults at home and in school with whom they have contact.
In line with Department of Education guidelines, each classroom will be its own ‘bubble’ and will be separate from other classrooms; not mixing with other bubbles during the day. Play outside will be as normal, but in specific areas and limited to class bubbles.
Our Covid Response Plan has allowed for the maximum possible physical distancing between pupils (it is recognised that younger children are unlikely to maintain physical distancing indoors). We are confident that because of this flexibility and the space available in our modern building, there are very few schools that will have better distancing arrangements in place.
Face coverings will be worn by school staff in situations where physical distancing cannot be maintained. Department guidelines state that face coverings for children are not required. If you wish your child to wear one and s/he can manage successfully, that is quite acceptable.
If you have walked or cycled more than usual recently, why not continue this when travelling to school? The fewer cars that enter the school grounds, the better.
It is preferable that the children can make their way without you; it will reduce the risk of adults coming into contact. While such contact would be casual and outdoors, we strongly recommend that adults use face masks if they have to leave their car. If your child is able to get out of the car with their belongings unaided, please use the drop off area. This means drop and go. Please do not delay or get out of your car for any reason. Drop and go!
Your child may arrive at any time between 9:00 and 9:30 (except for Junior Infants). They must enter the school without delay. There are three entry points, all to the rear of the building:
Athy Door (rear RIGHT hand side as you look from the main gate)
Middle Door (middle rear of the building)
Ballylinan Door (rear LEFT hand side as you look from the main gate).
Please note carefully which entrance your child is to use:
Athy Door: Junior & Senior Infants, 6th Classes
Middle Door: 4th & 5th Classes
Ballylinan Door: 1st, 2nd & 3rd Classes
Collection (afternoons, 2 p.m.)
Junior (after 9th September) & Senior Infants will be collected at 2 p.m. All pupils will exit and be handed over through the door they entered in the morning – the Athy Door.
Collection (afternoons, 3 p.m.)
All children will exit through the rear doors.
If your child is in 4th – 6th Class, please wait at your car. Your child will exit by the same door they entered and make their way to your car. There will be extra space for cars to the rear at the Athy end.
Your child will exit as follows:
4th & 5th Classes: Middle Door
6th classes: Athy Door
Those making their way home independently will walk to the front via the Athy end.
If your child is in 1st – 3rd Class, you may wait in a physically distanced manner on the courts to the rear of the school. Your child will exit and be handed over as follows:
1st & 2nd Classes: Hall Door (Ballylinan side, just to left of the boiler house door)
3rd Class: Ballylinan Door
It is strongly recommended that you wear a mask. There will be markings on the ground to encourage distancing. Although we have a large area at the rear of the school, make sure not to congregate in close proximity to others. Please do not approach the doors, the teachers will send your child to you. We ask for your patience, particularly for the first few days while we get used to these arrangements.
We can’t change these arrangements if it is very wet, do have a coat to hand!
During the School Day
Because homework is paused for September, schoolbags will be necessary only for Thursday and Friday (27th & 28th August). Until the end of September, all that your child will need to bring between home and school will be their lunch. Please note that sharing of lunch is not permitted.
While there will be many sanitising locations in the building, it will still be very helpful if your child has a small one of their own when needed. It will save movement around classrooms.
Other Items to Note
Try to avoid having to drop off something during the day. Please ring in advance if you must do so. There will be a place in the front porch where items may be left for collection.
PE will be held out doors. The hall cannot be used for pupil concerts, assemblies etc. for the foreseeable future. It will be used as an area for staff where they can be present together in a physically distanced manner.
Please note that the ‘help’ email addresses used before the summer when learning remotely are not in service while the school is open. They will be used again if the school is forced to return to remote learning.
If you wish to meet a teacher, this must be by appointment only. Please ring and we can arrange a chat over the phone or in person in a physically distanced manner. Parents and visitors may only enter the building having sought and been granted permission by a member of school staff.
If in any doubt re. any of the above, please ring in advance.
Dealing With Suspect Cases
You must not send your child to school if they are sick. You need to be prepared for the eventuality of your child needing to leave the school at short notice. You also need to be prepared for the closing of the school or your child’s class at short notice. While these scenarios are not desirable or likely, they are possible and we need to be ready.
When a question of possible Covid symptoms arises, your child may need to be moved to an isolation area in the school and you will be contacted. It is crucial that we have a working phone number for you. Your child will need to be brought home and you will need to call your doctor who will advise on what to do next.
The HSE will inform any staff/parents who have come into close contact with a diagnosed case via the contact tracing process. The HSE will contact all relevant persons where a diagnosis of Covid-19 is made. The instructions of the HSE should be followed and staff and pupil confidentiality is essential at all times.
The school will not be in a position to comment on suspect cases. Speculation regarding these matters is unhelpful.
Please follow public health advice; we must all play our part in helping to keep our school open and in minimising the spread of the virus.
We thank you all for your patience and understanding, particularly as we all get used to new ways of doing things.
We are looking forward to – finally – meeting you and your children on Thursday, 27th August. It will be a memorable start for us all and our aim is to make it as calm and enjoyable as possible for the children. Once in the door and settled down, they will be immersed in their world and you will be able to draw breath (at least for a little while).
To ensure that you can come to school with a minimum of hassle on what will be an extremely busy morning, we will have two separate starting times. This will be for the first two days only. We have not previously done this, but it is necessary this year because of Covid restrictions.
You have been informed by text which group your child is in:
Group 1 9:45 – 11:45 (inc. short break)
Group 2 12:15 – 2:15 (inc. short break)
Unfortunately, the restrictions mean that we cannot allow parents to enter the classroom with the children on their first day. However, we have made the following arrangements to make things as easy as possible:
After you (two adults maximum) arrive at the school, please bring your child to the rear door at the Athy end (as you face the building, walk around the back to the right hand side). There will be a staff member to guide you.
Mr. Threadgold will be at the outside door to welcome you.
You may bring your child into the school and to the door of the classroom where the teacher will welcome your child into the room.
You must leave immediately or the next group won’t be able to enter. If your child is very reluctant, you will be guided to a place where you can have another try! The children usually settle really well and while it’s completely normal for there to be one or two tears, these pass very quickly. They can be collected at the appropriate time from the same outside door.
From the following Monday 31st August until Wednesday 9th September inclusive, all Junior Infants will start at 9:30 and finish at 12:15.
We look forward to meeting you at either 9:45 or 11:45 next Thursday. It is important that you arrive and collect on time. Make sure you remember the start and collection times for your group:
Group 1 9:45 – 11:45
Group 2 12:15 – 2:15
Until then, do take care and follow public health advice.
Arrival & Departure*
School will reopen for all pupils on Thursday, 27th August.
Morning arrival times are being extended.
Your child may arrive at any time between 9:00 and 9:30.
Collection times will be as normal.
We strongly recommend that parents use face coverings. We must all play our part.
More details will follow.
The children will not assemble on the yard. On arrival they will enter the building through their designated entrance, sanitise hands on entering and go straight to their classrooms.
They will be supervised at each stage.
Once in their classroom, they will be in their ‘bubble’.
They will stay safe in this bubble (inside and outside) until they go home.
Do not send your child to school if you think they are sick.
If you or your child have any common symptoms of COVID-19, you should self-isolate and phone your GP straight away to get a test.
Uniforms are to be worn as normal.
There is no advice to schools to the contrary. It may be helpful to take them off when your child gets home and to wash and air them as often as possible.
Homework has been paused for the month of September.
This to reduce transfer of materials between home and school. We intend to introduce homework as time goes on.
P.E. will take place outside.
Risk is lower outdoors and lessons can take place as weather allows.
*Different arrangements will apply for Junior Infants for the first two days. These parents will receive separate communication on Friday 21st with more details.
We are in this together. Our safe behaviour helps children from spreading the virus and your safe behaviour helps the school to open and stay open. There will be more updates next week. Thank you for your cooperation.
You must follow public health advice.
WE MUST ALL PLAY OUR PART