On Tuesday next (16th March), pupils may wear something green if they wish. Schools will be closed on Wednesday for St. Patrick’s Day.
We are pleased that the rest of our classes will be returning to school next week. Unfortunately, the main variant of the virus is more transmissable, including among children. Currently there are four classrooms closed due to Covid in the diocese of Kildare & Leighlin (and this is before older children have returned). To ensure that schools can stay open, we need to do everything we can to lower the risks of transmission. If community transmission is high, schools will be affected and will have to return to remote learning again. This is why it’s so important to follow public health guidelines in the community generally.
Please tick the ‘Return to School’ declaration on the Aladdin app when it becomes available from 3 p.m. on Sunday. We are all working together to create a positive and safe environment for teaching and learning in the particular context of Covid-19. The control measures in place are consistent with current advice from the HSE, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, the Health & Safety Authority and the Department of Education and this includes the signing of the Return to School declaration.
Start and finish times will be as normal; school starts at 9:15 (children may enter the building from 9 o’clock) and finishes for infants at 2 p.m. with remaining classes finishing at 3 p.m. We will use the same entrances and exits as before Christmas.
If your child is able to get out of the car with their belongings unaided, please use the drop off area. Please do not delay or get out of your car for any reason. Drop and go! It is preferable that the children make their way without you; it will reduce the risk of adults coming into contact. Public health advice is that adults use face masks if they can’t maintain physical distancing.
It is essential that you remind your child re. washing their hands and cough/sneeze etiquette.
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.
3rd – 6th Class children will need to bring their bags on Monday because they will be returning books. Please sanitise these today and put them away for the weekend so they can be brought safely to school on Monday morning.
Please sanitise your child’s lunchbox when they get home in the evenings and take off their uniform. It would be great if you could air it outside if at all possible. Because there will be a couple of dozen bodies in the one room for an extended period during the school day, anything at all that we can do to reduce the risk of transmission will be helpful. Thank you so much.
We won’t have any homework for 3rd – 6th Classes next week. There has been plenty of ‘home’ work recently and maybe people need a break from that!
You must not send your child to school if they are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19, if they are close contacts of a person with Covid-19 or are awaiting a test. 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.
If the school has reason to believe that a pupil is displaying Covid symptoms, your child will need to be moved to an isolation area in the building 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.
Please note that a legal requirement to quarantine has been introduced for all travellers (except if your journey originates in Northern Ireland) – with very limited exceptions. If you have arrived in Ireland recently please check government advice .
We are in this together. In school, our safe behaviour helps to reduce the risk of spreading the virus through the children to the adults that they have close contact with. Your safe behaviour means the school can reopen and stay open. It is essential that we all follow public health advice in relation to physical distancing, hygiene and mask-wearing.
I would like to thank all parents and the whole school community for being careful and cautious in relation to the virus. We have received regular phone calls from parents with relevant information (suspected cases in their family, close contacts, waiting on test results etc.). Parents are being very responsible and this is a great help. We need this to continue. Please get in touch with us if you have any concerns at all. By being open and honest with each other we can limit the number of cases in the school and help to keep us all protected.
We are all thoroughly fed up with these restrictions but if we can stick with it our schools can stay open and better times can come more quickly. There is light ahead. Thank you all for your support.