Dear Parent / Guardian, Staff Member,
RE: General updates, Physical Distancing and Safe School Attendance
The purpose of the ongoing communication is to ensure that the School Community is brought on the journey over the next few weeks of the protocols and plans which will be implemented as we open the doors of our school safely and securely.
Each week there is a series of meetings, the Board of Management, the COVID-19 Committee, School Management and Staff meetings.
There are representatives of all the partners at the meetings and to reassure you the voice of the parent is being well represented.
We can only endeavour to do our very best and along with the School Consultant Eddie Phelan who will oversee the COVID-19 Response Plan, we will make sure that all aspects of the new school “normal” will be thoroughly scrutinised.
We are currently working on upgrading our procedures and routines within the school to ensure that there is as much Physical Distancing as is possible in our building. We will apply physical distancing in a practical and sensible way, recognising that the learning environment cannot be dominated by a potentially counterproductive focus on this issue.
Physical Distancing will be achieved in two ways: –
Increasing Separation. This will be achieved by re-configuring the classrooms to maximise physical distancing. Each class will be referred to as a bubble and we will ensure that there is as little contact as possible between children in different bubbles. Within the bubbles, children will be organised into pods. A pod is a group of children (normally 6) who will sit together and who will stay in their pod while in the bubble, or classroom.
Decreasing Interaction. This will be achieved by decreasing the potential for children from different bubbles to interact. There will be marked routes for various bubbles to enter and exit the school and to access their classrooms. Bubbles will have different mid-morning and lunch-time access to the playground. We will make these routines enjoyable activities for the children, emphasising safety at all times.
As we are a Senior Primary school, there will be an opportunity for Staff to specifically teach all the life skills around the implementation of COVID-19 protocols. It is important that the Pupils will take ownership of the new “normal” routines and they become effectively embedded in the culture and the environment in which the Pupils and Staff will be interacting and engaging on a daily basis.
Transition to School. The transition to school for all Pupils will be a gentle ease in to a class bubble where the Teachers will focus on the welfare and the Well-being of each Pupil. One of the priorities will be to provide a rich and progressive teaching and learning experiences for all Pupils. This will facilitate Pupils to reconnect with and progress their learning.
Identifying starting points. The emphasis and focus on the SPHE program to include the Weaving Wellbeing program. Teachers will be alert to establishing where the Pupils are at, they will take time to assess Pupils’ needs and to re teach, revise and consolidate previous learning. There will be opportunities for mindfulness, re-learning social skills and expressing their emotions in a safe and positive environment. Opportunities for learning in the COVID-19 situation can be used as a gateway for wider learning, developing an understanding about protection from infectious disease can be explored in SPHE, and the characteristics of viruses and actions to reduce transmission could be addressed in Science.
It will be important to encourage to reconnect with their reading and to build up a bank of language around their emotional well-being and the language of COVID-19.Key messages for the teaching of Hand Sanitising, Social Distancing and coughing etiquette will become an integral part of embedding the protocols in the SPHE program. Language is key to enabling Pupils to interact and engage with others, to express their thoughts and feelings, and to share their experiences.
Revisiting the Stay Safe Programme and the RSE program has also been planned for in Term 1.
Pupils’ physical education is a central part of their wellbeing also. The Teachers will promote physical activity and movement (based on the principles underpinning MOVE WELL MOVE OFTEN) of a non-contact nature. During PE and Movement Breaks, lessons will be based on aerobic activities as well as skills development with an emphasis on fundamental movement skills for all Pupils.
All revision and new learning in Mathematics will be linked to both real life in the home and in the Pupil’s immediate environment.
The Arts will offer great opportunities for exploring areas of wellbeing.
We will also make provision for those Pupils who cannot attend school due to health reasons related to COVID-19 or a situation where we dace closure for a period due to COVID-19. Contingency plans will be prepared in advance should a closure be required due to an outbreak to ensure compliance with public health guidelines.
ICT. We have upgraded the IT in the school with the purchase of additional Chromebooks to ensure all Staff will have full access to the necessary resources to transition online again should this be required periodically throughout the year. A full audit of all the PCs in the school is presently been carried out this week. Pupils will have access to iPads for home learning where the resources are unavailable to them.
In addition we have installed a Digital phone system in all classrooms. Staff will now be in a position to communicate directly with the office, with their colleagues minimising contact with other Staff and classes.
Each class will be known as a Bubble with small groups therein called Pods. Each class will have a Teacher and an SET Teacher assigned to that Bubble. The Bubble will remain intact for the duration of the day, they will remain in their Bubble on the yard under the supervision of their Teacher to include lunchtime also.
School Uniform. We are proposing that all Pupils continue to wear their school uniform. However in compliance with the guidelines for Personal Hygiene etiquette, we are proposing that the uniform is changed daily, laundered and maintained to the highest level of care. In order to facilitate this, there will be a requirement tom purchase additional navy tops and navy bottoms. It is only necessary to have 1 crested uniform top. You may be able to purchase navy tops and bottoms in Aldi, Lidl, Pennys.
Learning Support. In keeping with our Special Education policy, learning support will be provided with in class support initially in Term 1. The provision of support will be organised to ensure our LSR Teachers will work within the confines of a Bubble. The SET Team are hosting a Virtual meeting today to plan for this re-engagement of Pupils with special needs. As the school year commences we envisage Pupils will receive morning greets and meets, daily check-ins and communication with home. Further details as we progress through the month of August.
Special Needs Assistant Support. A plan will be put in place to ensure Pupils with access will receive support within the safe confines of the classes/Bubbles. We will at all times be in full compliance with HSE guidelines and NEPH. The SNA Team will be assigned to specific Bubbles where the Pupils with access are. We are a senior primary school and we will be promoting independence and Pupils will be empowered to take responsibility for their self with the support of the SET Teacher and /or the Special Needs Assistant.
ASD class settings. We have two Autism classes.Ms Winters and her SNA Team along with Ms Vaughey and her SNA Team are considered standalone class Bubbles. The Staff are working collaboratively at present to establish protocols which will fully support the transition to school and to ensure the Pupils’ welfare and well-being is a priority.
All of this will be included in the COVID-19 Response Plan in due course.
Communication channels. All Staff meetings will be virtual for Term 1. All other meetings with Parents and external agencies will be scheduled well in advance and will be face to face only if deemed absolutely necessary.
Class Dojo will continue to be a means of communication with the Teacher and Parent. We now have the majority of Parents set up on our Administration system via email. I would appeal to those Parents who have not forwarded an email address to do so ASAP. In addition we will continue to use the School Story and the School website as a means of communication also.
Arrival at School. School Management are currently putting together a schedule of staggered breaks for Pupils. (Further details to follow following ratification by the Board of Management). These new protocols will require strict adherence and we ask for your full cooperation. There will be no congregating outside the school walls, it will be a case of DROP, SET & GO. Each class will line up at their designated point with social distancing observed at an appointed time. They will enter the building via their designated entrance point at the appropriate time. Any late comers will remain outside the school walls until the classes have been safely walked to their classrooms. They will then be facilitated to enter the school building safely avoiding any cross over or engagement with pupils from any other Bubbles.
End of School Day. Likewise there will be a staggered discharging of all classes/Bubbles safely from 2:50 onwards. Details of those protocols will be discussed at Board level tonight.
At present the School Management are working collaboratively with the Staff on various other protocols.
Yard supervision for classes/Bubbles in designated areas, yard markings, PPE equipment, Collection of Pupils during the School day, dealing with a suspected case of COVID-19, Protocol for the school office, Teacher Absence and Substitution are just some of those being addressed by Staff and the COVID-19 Committee.
All of this information will be communicated to you the Parent Community and to the wider School Community in the School COVID-19 Response Plan when deemed in full compliance with all the relevant documentation by the Department and the HSE. This plan will then be ratified by the Board of Management and published on the school website.
We will promote the wellbeing of the entire School Community to ensure the transition will be a positive, nurturing return to our school.
While all children will be welcome back to school, we would remind parents that, where Pupils are displaying colds, coughs or flu like symptoms, they should not be sent to school. Pupils who display such symptoms in school will be isolated and parents asked to collect them from the school.
Pupils who have travelled from countries not on the Green List should not attend school during the 14-day self-isolation period
Further information on COVID-19 symptoms in children is available at: –
Teachers will make Pupils aware of the proper hygiene procedures regarding hand washing and etiquette related to sneezing, coughing or spitting. We would be grateful if you could also emphasise safe behaviour in this regard to your children at home as part of the preparation for returning to school.
Our aim remains to re-open the school in an orderly safe manner, while reassuring the Pupils and making them feel comfortable, safe and relaxed with their peers in the new school environment. This will be achieved by all of us working towards this common goal.
Staff Recruitment. One of the biggest challenges for a Board of Management is the recruitment of Teachers to ensure a full cohort of Staff. We will hopefully recruit sufficient Staff for our school.
We have scheduled interviews for next Monday the 17th of August 2020.
Scoil an Spioraid Naoimh
Roll Number: 20017F
041 – 9828091