Letter to parents from Dr. Ronan Glynn.
We know that many of you are pleased that some of our classes are returning to school next week. So are we! Unfortunately, the main variant of the virus now seems to be more transmissable, including among children. To ensure that schools can stay open, we need to do everything we can to lower the risks of transmission.
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. 1st and 2nd Classes finish 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.
The 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 next week. There has been plenty of ‘home’ work recently and maybe people need a break from that!
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.
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. While these scenarios are not desirable or likely, they are possible and we need to be ready.
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 received regular phone calls from parents with relevant information (suspected cases in their family, close contacts, waiting on test results etc.). Parents were being very responsible and this was 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 on our lives. If we can stick with it, our schools can stay open and better times can come more quickly. Thank you all.
Unfortunately there are not any prospects of school reopening in the short term. We have yet to meet one parent or teacher who does not want ‘normal’ school to resume. It looks like it may be some time in March, but there is no more definite available information available to us. Until then, we will all have to try to make the best of it.
Thanks to our pupils (and their long-suffering parents) for doing their best to stay in touch with their school work. We know it’s far from easy and that motivation can wane at times. It can be a lesson in itself – to stick at something even when you feel at times like giving up. Things change and it will be worth it in the long run!
Please note our policy for all in the school community who are communicating online. Almost all of our pupils are engaging with their work through Aladdin Connect. Some pupils also took part in video calls with their teachers last week. Over the next week or so, class teachers will organise similar calls for all pupils. These will take the form of ‘check-ins’ and will be an opportunity for pupils and teachers to see each other. We are aware that specific times do not suit everyone, so people may opt in if they wish. Remember again that our Acceptable Use policy applies at all times.
It is still hoped to hold Communion and Confirmation before the school year ends. It does look likely that if the cermonies can take place, they will be in smaller gatherings. As with everything else these days though, it is impossible to be in any way sure about what will be possible.
Some Words on Resilience
“She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails.” Elizabeth Edwards
Applications for enrolment for the coming year are now being accepted online. The closing date is this Friday, 5th February. Please click here to apply.
The Department of Education has announced the roll out of the ‘In-person Supplementary Programme to Support the Education and/or Care Needs of Pupils with Complex Needs’ scheme. Participation in the programme is voluntary for families, teachers and SNAs and must be delivered in accordance with public health advice.
What is the Supplementary Programme?
Parents can engage SNAs/teachers/tutors to work in a student’s home, at evenings and weekends, outside of school hours.
An allocation of 5 hours per week of home-based teaching or care supports will be made available to eligible pupils commencing the 11th February and running until the end of April. (20 hours in total) To give parents every chance to participate in the scheme, the Department will allow parents to arrange for the delivery of any of the unused balance of the 20 hours of support, over the Easter break.
This allocation is intended to supplement, and not replace, the remote teaching provided by the pupil’s school and can be provided by a teacher or SNA
Who is Eligible?
All pupils enrolled in special schools and special classes in primary schools
Pupils in mainstream classes in primary schools, who are accessing the highest level of the continuum of support in school (i.e. School Support Plus/Support for a Few stage of the Continuum of Support) This will include pupils with Autism, Down syndrome, sensory impairments, and other disabilities who were eligible for the summer programme of 2020.
I am unsure if my child is eligible.
Check with your child’s teacher, SET teacher or the principal if you want to find out if your child is eligible for this program.
I am interested in participating in the programme. How can I find a teacher/SNA to work with my child?
Similar to the department’s home based summer programme, parents will engage teachers/SNAs directly in a private arrangement.
If a parent is having difficulty finding someone to provide the programme – please contact the school. We will endeavour to put you in contact with any teachers or SNAs who are interested in participating in the programme.