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.