Important Info for parents of pupils (3rd - 6th) returning March 15th
Scoil Charthaigh Naofa,
RE: Statement for Parents on returning to school 15th March
Dear Parents / Guardians,
As you will appreciate, schools are in an unprecedented situation for which there is no blueprint or recent experience on which to draw for guidance. However, we want to pay tribute to everyone in our school community for the enormous efforts made to ensure the safety of all within the school and wider society.
Over the past 11 months, we have learnt of the additional risks to physical health and welfare caused by Covid-19. The fear that schools will become a vector for infection and endangering pupils and staff is a constant strain and worry for us all. In considering the reopening of school buildings and grounds, it must be remembered that a ‘one size fits all’ approach to how schools can deal with or manage this current experience is inappropriate, given the various factors and circumstances in which each school finds itself.
We must remember at all times that the situation in relation to this pandemic is constantly evolving and that we will continue to review and update plans, particularly in relation to the safety, welfare and wellbeing of pupils and staff, in line with public health and Department of Education (DE) guidance during this crisis. Indeed, much significant work has been done to date to ensure that any identified risks within the school have been managed in a practical and real way. Supports and resources have been put in place to help alleviate the concerns of staff, pupils and parents.
We wish to reassure you that we will listen to, and seek to resolve any safety issues that may arise or cause anxiety. Parents who have safety concerns should discuss the matter with the Principal.
We would like to acknowledge and express our appreciation for the considerable extra work and personal sacrifices made by all of our parents and staff in order to maintain a degree of teaching and learning during this time. This dedication has also been in evidence in adhering to the extra safety measures while the school was open prior to Christmas. We have no doubt, that this compliance will enable us to re-open the school when it is safe to do so again.
Public health informs us that ‘schools are safe’ and the evidence does show that transmission in schools, both to children and adults, has been very low compared to other settings. However, there can be no absolute guarantee that schools can be totally Covid safe in relation to the spread of the virus within schools. The BoM will continue to work to make our school as safe as possible through the stringent implementation of infection control measures and by putting key safety measures in place to deal with the identified concerns and eliminate transmission risks where possible. Such measures include:
- All relevant policies and practices are in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in line with the Government’s “Work Safely Protocol”. Our Covid-19 Response Plan and risk assessment are our commitment to providing a safe and healthy workplace for all our staff, pupils and others who visit our school. A revised Covid 19 Response Plan, including any new or enhanced safety measures to be implemented has been shared with staff
- A pre-return-to-work form will be completed by all staff in advance of returning to work
- Staff and pupils who are feeling unwell have a moral imperative to stay at home
- The concerns and needs of vulnerable and at-risk staff will be managed in line with approved policy and procedures
- Staff are being provided with all necessary PPE and protective clothing in accordance with identified Covid-19 exposure risks and in line with public health advice
- Where possible, teachers and SNA staff stay with the same bubble of pupils
- There is adequate Covid-19 signage and floor stickers on display throughout the school. Visible signage is in place that identifies general cleaning protocols, processes, and practices
- Appropriate social distancing is maintained and necessary controls are in place to reduce transmission risks (face masks, screens in office areas to facilitate safe interaction with the public, visitors restricted, staggered breaks, etc.). Appropriate dispersion measures are used at all entrances and exits
- Assigned and clearly identified drop-off and collection points have been allocated for parents/guardians and for dedicated school transport providers. Parents or carers taking their children to school by car are encouraged to plan their journey in advance to ensure that their chosen drop off area is safe and contact with others is minimal
- Where dedicated school transport (buses, taxis, etc.) is required for pupils to attend school, the management expects that all transport providers will comply with all relevant advice and guidance issued by the government and public health along with any other arrangements put in place as part of the school’s own Covid-19 Response Plan, based on the school’s own health and safety review
- Additional supervision is being provided when pupils are arriving/leaving school grounds while using school transport and/or taxis to comply with social distancing requirements
- The school maintains a log of contacts to facilitate contact tracing
- Specific procedures are in place for the reception of goods and deliveries
- Digital tools and communication systems are used as an alternative to face-to-face meetings
- There is a system in place to keep staff, pupils and parents up-to-date with the latest public health advice and we have taken swift action to implement all recommended public health measures as they are updated. Regular and transparent briefings/communications are provided to staff and parents
- Appropriate cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures are in place. There is also a cleaning schedule of any surfaces or equipment that is shared or used regularly by staff and pupils
- There is a plan in place as to what needs to be done if a staff member or pupil develops Covid symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) while at school. All staff are aware of the relevant steps and procedures
- Staff and pupil safety is a priority at all times and anyone who expresses a safety concern is listened to with empathy and understanding. Health and wellbeing are at the centre of our decision making.
The management will continue to communicate regularly with staff and parents and we request that you keep yourself updated with all communications, giving the ever- changing nature of this pandemic. Each of us needs to take personal responsibility for our actions in relation to Covid-19 and we must all work together to ensure the safety of every child and adult in our school community. We would remind all members of the school community of the dangers of spreading this virus through congregation of groups of people. Please be mindful of this in relation to dropping off and collecting children at the school entrance.
Reminder of Staggered Drop Off and Collection Times from 15th March.
To help with reducing the amount of traffic around the school gates, children are asked to walk/cycle to school if it is at all possible.
Final Phase of Re-opening:
A final phase of re-opening of Scoil Charthaigh Naofa will take place to help ensure the safe arrival and exit of all children in line with the guidelines.
Parents are encouraged to walk with and/or cycle with their child to school where possible, as this will limit congestion in the morning and afternoon.
The details for the phased re-opening are as follows:
- · In order to comply with the guidelines, we are unable to provide morning supervision before 9.05 a.m. We must ensure that large crowds do not gather outside the school building and that pupils enter the school in a safe manner. Therefore, pupils cannot be dropped to school prior to 9.05 a.m.
- Instead, there will be three drop-off time slots with designated class levels arriving during a specific time slot.
- · Children are to be dropped off at their designated times as per class level outlined below.
- · Parents with children in different drop-off categories can use the earlier time slot to drop off all of their children at the same time.
- · This measure will aid in the prevention of large queues of pupils gathering outside the school building.
The drop-off time slots are as follows:
9.05: Junior and Senior Infants
9.10: 1st class, 3rd class, 5th class pupils (and older siblings) stop, drop and go
9.15: 2nd class, 4th class & 6th class stop, drop and go
9.30: Mochuda pupils, stop, drop and go
We thank you in advance for your patience and understanding in relation to this phased return to school for our pupils, which will assist our efforts to minimise the risk related to Covid-19.
Please note that the plan for re-opening Scoil Charthaigh Naofa may be subject to change due to updated Government guidelines and/or the prolonging of current county restrictions due to Covid-19.
Entrance and Exit Points:
There are three access points to and from the school for the safe arrival and exit of pupils each day.
These access points will be clearly labelled with coloured arrows, and the use of these will be supported with verbal directions from staff members.
Junior Infants, Senior Infants, 2nd (Green route) – enter the school via the door at the end of corridor at back of school. Pick up at home time will be at front entrance to school.
1st class(Orange route) - enter and exit the school via front door.
Finish times: School finish times have also been staggered to allow the safe exit of all pupils from the school.
Junior and Senior Infants only: 2 p.m.
Mochuda Pupils: 2.10 p.m.
1st Class and 2nd class: 2.40 p.m. (and older siblings) Pick and go
3rd class and 4th class: 2.50 p.m. (and older siblings ) Pick and go
5th Class and 6th class: 3 p.m. Pick and go
Bus Éireann mainstream bus will leave school @ 2.45 pm approx
- All adults collecting students are required to maintain their 2 metre distance as per Government guidelines.
- · To limit class interruptions, parents may only collect pupils at the times listed above .
- Mainstream Pupils who use bus transport to and from school will enter school at 9.15 a.m. approx and depart school at 2.45 p.m. approx
- ·Supervision will be provided until 3 p.m.
- ·This system will apply rain, hail or shine so please make sure your child comes to school prepared for the weather
Unfortunately, it will not be possible for parents/guardians to come onto the school grounds before/after school. To minimise the risks, and to help us to maintain social distancing, the children may not come onto the school grounds before the school doors open at 9.05 a.m.
All class teachers will be in their classrooms by 9 a.m.
Parents are asked to ‘drop and go’ anytime between 9.05a.m. and 9.20a.m. This can be done through using the set down area.
Children will go directly to their classrooms on arrival. Other staff members (including Special Education Teachers, SNAs and the Principal) will be available outside and inside the building to receive the children and to help them to their classrooms.
While there is undoubtedly a long road ahead, there is hope that better times are imaginable with the availability of vaccines and the roll out of an inoculation programme. In the meantime, should you have any questions, suggestions or queries in relation to the reopening of the school, please feel free to contact me directly.