Dear Parents and Guardians,
I hope you and your families are all well and that you had a well-deserved rest and some time to recuperate over the summer months. As we prepare to begin the new 2021-22 school year we are faced with many of the same pandemic issues as last year and currently the directive from the Department of Education is that all procedures and protocols from last year should remain in place as we begin the new school year. I have revised below the main day to day procedures for your information as well as some staffing updates.
I can now confirm the following appointments and staffing arrangements –
Mrs Therese Sammon has accepted a position in Scoil Éanna for the second year and she will continue her work with junior infants. Mrs Róisín Duffy will also continue with her appointment and she will take sixth class. Ms Olga McHugh takes up a permanent post in the school and while on maternity leave Ms Vicky Fitzpatrick will teach fifth Class. It was decided by the Board that due to the continuing Covid-19 pandemic fifth class should remain as two classes with reduced numbers to facilitate social distancing. Mr Atkinson’s fourth class will move into Mr Duffy and Mrs Duffy’s fourth class will move into Ms Fitzpatrick. Ms Milne (third class) will be on leave until Halloween and Mr Finbarr Brennan will teach third class until Halloween. Ms Kerry Harkin, Mrs Martina Duffy and Mr Bryan McCabe have accepted positions on the Supply Panel as it enters a second year.
Return to School
Parental Declaration – All parents are required to complete a declaration for EACH CHILD before the return to school. A link for the completion of this will be sent via text early next week.
Foreign Travel – If you have travelled outside of Ireland in recent days we ask you to consult and follow the latest Government advice in relation to foreign travel – see latest Govt. advice – click here
Tuesday 31st August – The Board have decided that only the Junior school (Junior Infants – 2nd Class) will start back on 31st August to facilitate parents leaving their child to the classroom door. No parents will be allowed enter the school at any time. Teachers will be available to take your child/ren into their classroom/s.
Junior Infants will go home at 12 o’clock and this will continue until September 10th. Senior Infants will go home at 1:40pm and 1st/2nd class at 2:40pm. Teachers will bring children to the car park for collection. We would ask that no parent who is driving a car would leave the carpark until all children are safely through the carpark.
Wednesday 1st September – Third-Sixth class will return to school.
As with last year the school will continue to operate staggered arrival times for all classes as follows:
Families whose surnames begin with A-M/Mc 9:00-9:10am N-Z 9:10-9:20am.
As a staff we have worked very hard to establish safe class bubbles for your children to minimise their contacts while at school. To support our efforts, I ask that no child be on the school premises before 9am as this only facilitates the congregation of children at the front of the school building and we cannot maintain the all-important classroom bubbles. The classrooms will be open @ 9am and children should arrive from that time and go directly to their classroom via the established one-way system, supervision will be provided for this 20min slot each morning.
The 2:40 afternoon pick up in the carpark will also remain staggered in the following way:
Children who are walking leave class @ 2:33pm
Families who travel by car leave @ 2:35pm
Children travelling by bus go to buses @ 2:40pm
Crèche children will be collected @ 2:40pm
Pick up and drop off are busy times at school so I ask you to continue your excellent practice of dropping off and collect your child/ren quickly without lingering. I must also stress the importance of not congregating at or near the school when dropping off or collecting your child/ren and maintaining a distance of 2m from others. As we move forward, it will remain critical that parents fulfil their responsibilities in this respect and adhere to all restrictions in place for the safety of their children and the school community.
The increased emphasis on hygiene and on respiratory etiquette will continue for the new school year 2021-22. Children will continue with the washing of their hands for 20 seconds several times a day – on arrival to school, after using the toilet and before eating. Parents should spend time practising/revising hand washing correctly with their children.
Children will also continue to use sanitiser several times a day – if their hands are otherwise clean and they’ve been outside for a brief time, if they are leaving their classroom to move somewhere else in the school, before using equipment in school etc. The school has several sanitiser dispenser stations within the school building. Again using sanitiser should be practised at home to ensure children are familiar with the process.
Children should be taught to sneeze into a tissue and to dispose of the tissue promptly. We propose that each child brings a packet of tissues with them to speed up this process. Classroom surfaces and toilets will be wiped down/sprayed/cleaned daily. On occasion, children may be asked to wipe down their own table.
There will be no social distancing for children up to 2nd class. From 3rd class up a 1m distance is recommended between children. Where possible, teachers must maintain a 2m distance.
Whilst there is no requirement for social distancing in junior classes, each class will remain apart from others as a social “bubble”. In all classes groups of 6 or 8 children may be assigned to work together indoors as a “pod”. While the pods will remain apart indoors they may play together outdoors in their class bubbles.
The current health guidelines recommend that all adults in the school wear appropriate face coverings while in school and where they are in contact with others for more than 15 minutes. We respectfully ask any visitors to the school grounds/premises to wear face coverings. It is not recommended that children attending primary school wear face-coverings.
The guidance sets out an overall approach for schools that windows should be open as fully as possible when classrooms are not in use (e.g. during breaks) and also at the end of each school day and partially open when classrooms are in use. CO2 monitors will be used to help determine if further ventilation is required to improve air quality during the day.
In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 it is important to know and recognise the symptoms of coronavirus (which includes the DELTA variant). They are:
Common symptoms of coronavirus include:
- a fever (high temperature – 38 degrees Celsius or above).
- a new cough – this can be any kind of cough, not just dry.
- shortness of breath or breathing difficulties.
- loss or change in your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
- Aches and Pains
Other uncommon symptoms of coronavirus include:
- sore throat
- runny or stuffy noses
- feeling sick or vomiting
School policy in relation to children with symptoms of COVID-19
Do not to send children to school if they are:
- close contacts of a person with COVID-19
- are awaiting a test
- are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19
- if they live with someone who has symptoms of the virus
We will be continuing with staggered break-times for junior and senior classes to facilitate outdoor spacing of bubbles. The airing of classrooms will take place during breaks. We hope that all children will be outside every day regardless of the weather (unless extreme), so it will be imperative that they all bring coats and appropriate outer wear.
Children will be required to wear full uniform of grey trousers/skirt/pinafore and Scoil Éanna sweatshirt and white collared polo shirt. Children will be allowed wear school tracksuit bottoms and sweatshirt on P.E. day. It’s important that families source plain navy tracksuit bottoms and plain black shoes/runners.
Parental and Staff Co-operation
With the pandemic prevalent in our society the Board, as managers of Scoil Éanna, cannot possibly foresee all that may arise going forward into the new school year but if we continue with the excellent procedures and protocols in place last year through our Covid-19 Response Plan we can best prevent the introduction and spread of Covid-19.
We will continue to have in place an isolation area and guidelines for contacting parents if a suspected case arises. We ask for the continued support of parents to make sure they don’t send children to school who are off colour or showing any of the recognised signs of Covid-19. With this in mind, we ask parents to take a precautionary approach and if you have any concerns please keep your child/ren at home and monitor any symptoms for 48hrs and seek medical advice if necessary.
We will continue to use the Parental Declaration Form on our website and we ask that all parents complete the declaration when their child/ren return to school after any absence during the school term.
All communication with the school will continue via email/telephone. Arrangements for necessary visitors will be restricted to essential purposes and limited to those who have obtained prior approval from the principal. A detailed school contact tracing log of those entering the school facility will be maintained.
Leaving School Early/Late arrival/Forgotten Items
To arrange for essential early pick-ups please telephone Gráinne in the office to make arrangements for collection. Any child arriving after 9:20am should enter the school via the main reception area. If your child forgets a book/lunch box please contact Gráinne and item can be left on the designated outdoor table.
We look forward to a productive year with minimum disruption and the hope that school life can soon return to normal for all.
Finally, there will be several staff, including myself, on duty on Tuesday morning to assist new parents with drop off and collection procedures as we welcome our NEW Junior Infants who take their very first step to big school filled with excitement and anticipation!
Whilst the above information seems a lot to take in we wanted to give a clear and detailed picture of the return to school procedures and protocols to help with the smooth transition for you and your child/ren.