Updated Covid Guidelines

Most advice remains the same:

  • Children* who have symptoms of Covid-19 should immediately isolate and should not attend school or childcare until 48 hours have elapsed since the last symptom was evident.
  • Children who test positive will be required to isolate and follow HSE guidelines.
  • Unvaccinated children who are identified as a close contact of a positive case in the household (e.g. sleeping in the same house overnight) will need to restrict their movements and get a test.
  • Close observation of children for symptoms is recommended at all times.
  • All current infection control measures in schools remain in place.

From Monday, 27th September a child who was previously identified as a close contact (other than a household close contact) and who does not have symptoms will not routinely be required to restrict their movments and be tested. (This affects some of our pupils and their parents will be contacted separately.)

Thank you all again and please continue to follow public health advice.

*Children are defined as aged over 3 months and less than 13 years.

Newsletter 21st September

Homework will be resuming next week (starting Monday, 27th September) for all pupils.

Remote Learning
Please note that remote learning provision was in place previously when schools were closed. Now that schools are open, we are not in a position to provide remote learning for children who are absent. To assist pupils and parents, we have been providing an outline of work for children who have been identified as close contacts of a confirmed case. This does not however extend to other forms of absence. Naturally if a child is absent for an extended period we will do our best to keep them in touch with their schoolwork, but this is limited to absences of more than a few days.

For those who have been forced to stay out of school as an identified close contact, we record the absence as ‘other’ and we note ‘Covid related absence’. Such recorded absences will not mean that you are more likely to hear from Tusla in relation to your child’s attendance. Please remember that you can record the reason for your pupil’s absence through the Aladdin app. If you have a particular reason to ring please do so, but in most cases a brief note on the app will do. Thank you.

Communion & Confirmation
This year’s ceremonies will take place in St. Anne’s Church on Saturday, 2nd and 9th of October. Details of the ceremonies will be communicated to parents by Arles Parish.

Please remember when parking to the rear of the school at the Athy end to reverse into your space. This ensures you don’t have to reverse out where there could be children walking. Please continue to take care, thank you.

Library Talk for Parents
Laois & Offaly Library Services have put together a series of online Parenting talks. More details.

Uniform etc.
It’s great to see our pupils in school and looking well in their uniforms:

Green jumper/cardigan, white shirt, grey trousers/skirt/pinafore.

School tracksuit is available through the school and is to be worn with a white polo shirt on P.E. days only.  Replacement navy legs (plain only) may be purchased in any shop.  In warm weather, plain navy shorts of an appropriate length may be worn.

We recommend practical footwear, preferably in a dark colour.

The use of hair dye is not permitted during term time and we encourage pupils to tie up their hair. Earrings should be neat (no large loops etc.) and fake nails or nail extensions are not permitted.

Please note that as the classrooms need to be well ventilated and the weather gets colder another layer of clothing might be necessary – we are required to keep windows open more than normal.

Sports Activities
While we are still very restricted in what we can do in school, we are glad that rugby and football coaching have resumed and we plan that all classes will get some sessions during the year. Much to everybody’s disappointment, this year’s Cumann na mBunscol competitions are not taking place, another casualty of the pandemic. We are planning to resume swimming at some stage during the year if circumstances allow.

Covid Update
It may be hard to believe as life moves towards normality, but the life of the school is more disrupted than it has been at any stage in the past eighteen months (apart from when it was closed, of course). To date there have been 12 confirmed cases of Covid amongst our pupils. It is very likely that 9 or 10 of these occurred in the community with 2 or 3 spreading to pupils in close contact in school. The measures in place (adult mask wearing, physical distancing where possible, good ventilation, CO2 monitors, classroom organisation, separation of classes, sanitising, exclusion of children with symptoms etc.) mean that the risk of spread can be reduced but not eliminated.

Please note that unless you hear directly from the school or the HSE, the public health advice is that it is best for your child to be in school. Some of our older pupils are now vaccinated and we encourage the continued uptake of vaccines in the community where possible.

We are very conscious of how disruptive all of this is for our pupils, their parents and their teachers. Since we reopened, we have had more than 50 instances of a pupil being excluded from school for an extended period due to being a close contact. This is the price  to be paid for keeping the school open when case numbers are at current levels. We are doing everything that we can do, in line with public health advice.

Parents of those who have tested positive have been quick to notify us and this has been really helpful in mitigating the effects. We all look forward to a time when these measures can be eased and school life can return to normal. In the meantime we thank you again for your care, your attention, your caution and your support.

Primary Language Curriculum Inservice
Teachers are required to undertake inservice on the revised primary language curriculum. This will take place on Wednesday, 6th October. School will finish for all pupils at 12:30 (12:15 for infants) on that day.

Covid Update

While life is gradually returning to normal, in schools we remain in full pandemic mode. Unfortunately we are still very restricted in our day-to-day activities. Previously when schools were open there were around 100-400 cases per day. In the past few weeks cases have been around five times that level and schools are being affected as a result, as you may have seen in the national media.

In the seven days since our return we are aware of five of our pupils who have tested positive. These cases were almost certainly caught in the community. If you have not heard from the school or the HSE, your child was not identified as being at undue risk. However, to keep the risk of spread in schools to a minimum, close contacts of a positive case are required to stay at home. At the time of writing we have 22 pupils who cannot attend school due to being close contacts. Naturally we hope that things settle down in the coming weeks.

The risk to children themselves is low, but the risk of disruption to school life is very real. Please keep your social contacts to a reasonable minimum and try to have children play together outdoors where possible.

Yet again, I want to thank parents for your wonderful cooperation. You have been quick to inform us of positive cases and that means that we can move quickly to reduce the risk of spread. Sometimes – unfortunately – that means considerable inconvenience at short notice.

We all hope that the real progress that has been made in dealing with the pandemic continues and that this can make its way eventually into the life of the school.

In the meantime please continue to carefully follow public health guidance. We are delighted to be open for our pupils and want it to continue! Thank you all again for your support.

John Threadgold