August 21st, 2020
I hope that you are all staying safe and well.
Over the last number of weeks, the staff of Callystown N.S. has been busy preparing for the school’s return. We know that students, and indeed their families and school staff will be looking forward to going back, reconnecting with the school and settling back into school life.
This will be a time of change, with new rules and routines to learn. The re-opening of the school will require the co-operation of all members of the school community – pupils, parents, staff and school management. It will be vital that we all work together to prevent the spread of the virus and to allow teaching and learning to take place with as little disruption as possible. It will be important that school will be a safe, relaxed and enjoyable environment for both students and staff. We will be guided by the Department of Education’s Roadmap for the Full Return to School .With that in mind, I would be grateful if each family would familiarise itself with a number of arrangements listed below. It is important to understand that we will be constantly reviewing all our procedures and routines and communicating changes to you when necessary.
We are really looking forward to welcoming our pupils back to school and working together we will ensure that it will be a safe and enjoyable experience for all.
Ambrose Mc Ginnity
Return to School:
In order to give us an opportunity to settle each class into new routines and to ensure the smooth return of all pupils we have decided to stagger the return dates for different classes.
- Monday, August 31st 5th and 6th Class pupils
- Tuesday, September 1st 1st -6th Class pupils
- Wednesday, September 2nd All pupils ( including Junior and Senior Infants)
School Starting Times
With the exception of parents of children in infants’ classes, parents are asked not to enter school grounds and are advised to drop their children off at the school gates.
Pupils are encouraged to walk/cycle or scoot to school as much as possible.
- Pupils from 1st to 6th classes when entering the school grounds will go directly to their classrooms.
- Pupils will enter their classes
- Classroom Fire doors
- Ms O Kane’s (Junior Infants) and Ms Dawe’s (Senior Infants) who will use the school’s main entrance
- Ms. Boylan’s (5th Class) will enter through the new extension door.
- Classrooms will be open from 8.50am to 9.00am.
- Pupils should not be on school grounds before 8.50am and there should be no congregating in groups outside the school gates.
- Parents of Infants will drop their child off at the school/classroom door between the times of 9.10 am and 9.30am for the first week and between 8.50am and 9.00am from then on. A flow system will be explained to parents on the first day and will be in operation thereafter.
In order to adhere to social distancing protocols and to alleviate large numbers of pupils leaving the school at the same time, we will be staggering dismissal from school. From day one, pupils with surnames beginning with the letters ;
- A to L dismissed at 2.40pm
- M to Z dismissed at 2.45pm
- Pupils will be asked to leave the school grounds without delay and to go straight home.
- Older pupils will be permitted to collect their younger siblings and then to leave the school grounds.
New Junior Infants:
New Junior Infants and their parents will be visiting the school on Monday August 24th. During this visit the new infants will get the opportunity to meet their class teacher and see their new classroom. Parents will also be informed of arrangements that apply to them.
Children will play in designated play zones in the school yard. They will play only with the children of their own classroom. In order to facilitate this arrangement the following will apply;
- Both morning break and lunch break will be of 20 mins duration.
- Children will be given 10 mins to eat their lunch before going outside to play.
- There will be two morning breaks
- 10.40 to 11.00 Junior & Senior Infants, 3rd & 4th Classes
- 11.05 to 11.25 1st & 2nd Classes and 5th & 6th Classes
- There will also be two lunch breaks
- 12.30 to 12.50 Junior & Senior Infants, 3rd & 4th Classes
- 12.55 to 1.15 1st & 2nd Classes and 5th & 6th Classes
Each classroom will be considered as a “Bubble” and within each “Bubble” pupils will be assigned to a “Pod”. “Pods” will be made up of between 4 and 6 children. In as far as possible there will be no mixing of “Bubbles” and there will be limited interaction between in-class “Pods”
Junior Infants – 2nd Class
- The Department of Education has imposed no physical distance restrictions on these classes.
- Classroom layouts will be very similar to those that existed before the school closure.
- However, teachers will ensure that there is an appropriate level of physical distancing and that classrooms are organised to reduce the risk of contracting the virus.
3rd – 6th Classes
- As far as possible pupils will be spaced at least 1 metre apart.
- Classroom furniture has been arranged to meet this regulation.
- Pupils will sit on opposite ends of a double desk.
- There will be a number of single desks in each class.
Teachers will make children aware of the proper hygiene procedures regarding hand washing and etiquette related to sneezing, coughing or spitting. We would be grateful if parents could also emphasise safe behaviour in this regard to your children at home as part of the preparation for returning to school.
The correct method to use when washing hands will be re-taught to all pupils and this will be reinforced constantly. There will be sanitising stations positioned in each classroom and throughout the school. Parents are asked to ensure their children come to school with clean hands. The pupils will wash and sanitise their hands regularly throughout the day.
- Frequency of Hand Hygiene –
- On arrival at school
- Before eating or drinking
- Before and after using the toilet
- Before and after using shared resources
- After playing outdoors
- When hands are physically dirty
- When a child coughs or sneezes.
We look forward to welcoming all our children back to school. However, it is important that the safety and health of all our school community is respected and that this is the responsibility of us all. Consequently, it is very important that the following protocols are observed;
Children who have travelled from countries not on the Green List should not attend school during the 14 day isolation period.
- If your child has a health condition that puts them in a high risk category, please contact the school so that we can discuss what arrangements are needed to be put in place.
Pupils presenting with symptoms of Covid 19 at school
A clear procedure has been agreed by the Department of Education and schools and we will follow these guidelines when dealing with a suspected case during school time:
The steps we will take if a pupil presents with COVID-19 symptoms:
- The parents/guardians of the child will be contacted immediately.
- The pupil will be taken to the designated isolation area, via the isolation route, with an accompanying member of staff keeping at least 2 metres distance away from the symptomatic person at all times.
- A mask will be provided for the pupil presenting with symptoms.
- He/she will wear the mask if in a common area with other people or while exiting the school.
- If the child is well enough to go home, they should be collected as soon as possible by a family member who will be advised to inform their general practitioner by phone of the child’s symptoms.
- The child will remain supervised in the isolation area if they cannot immediately go home.
- The child should avoid touching people, surfaces and objects.
- Advice will be given to the child presenting with symptoms to cover their mouth and nose with the disposable tissue provided when they cough or sneeze and put the tissue in the waste bag provided.
- If the child is too unwell to go home or if parents or other members of their family cannot be contacted, the school will contact 999 or 112 and inform them that the sick child is a Covid-19 suspect.
- An assessment of the incident by the school will form part of determining follow-up actions and recovery.
- Appropriate cleaning of the isolation area and work areas involved will be arranged without delay.
- The HSE will inform any staff/parents of students 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 / student confidentiality is essential at all times.
Collection of children during the school day:
If a parent/guardian has to collect a child during the course of the school day please comply with the following arrangements
- Please phone the school office at 041 9822873 to notify the time of collection
- The child will be brought to the foyer of the main entrance.
- The secretary/principal will open the main door to let the child out.
- No adults should enter the school building unless invited to do so.
- The school has been given a deep clean in recent days.
- A daily cleaning regime will be agreed with our cleaners to ensure a thorough cleaning of the school.
- Training will be provided to all school personnel to ensure the highest standards are met.
- Cleaning will be focused on frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, tables & chairs, eating areas, sinks and toilet facilities.
Masks and Visors
- Pupils do not need to wear masks or visors in school. However, if a child wishes to wear one, they are free to do so.
- Staff will wear mask/visor if there unable to maintain the required levels of social distancing.
Helping all pupils to make the transition back to school, reconnecting with their teachers and friends and establishing new school routines that support their health and safety will be a priority at the start of the new school year.
The Department of Education & Skills has published curriculum guidelines for schools and we are advised to pay particular attention to supporting the wellbeing and reducing potential anxiety in our pupils. We will plan their learning experiences to take account of the effect the school closure has had on their progress and their engagement in learning. We plan to provide rich and progressive teaching and learning experiences for all pupils, and in so doing, promote pupil confidence in and motivation for learning.
By identifying appropriate starting points for teaching and learning this September, we will build up a clear picture of pupils’ knowledge, understanding, skills development, attitudes and values in the different subject areas.
Our primary focus will be on assessment of pupils’ needs, revision and consolidation of previous learning before any new learning is undertaken.
During the initial weeks of the new school year, opportunities for talk and discussion will be especially important for children so that they can articulate their experiences of the pandemic – both positive and negative – as they attempt to normalise the experience.
Our curriculum priorities for the first term of 2020/21 will be the subject areas of Social, Personal & Health Education (SPHE),languages (English & Irish), Mathematics & Physical Education.
Homework: For the initial two weeks of September, children will not receive any formal homework. This is to help children settle back to classroom routines as well as limiting the movement of school books and materials between home and school and vice versa. This decision will be reviewed after two weeks.
Extra Curricular Activities:
For the month of September there will be no after school activities such as football, music, art classes, Lego club, Coding etc. This decision will be reviewed at the end of the month.
Things you can do to help with your child’s return to school:
- Each child should have a lunch bag/box that is “wipeable” and can contain your child’s drinking bottle.
- Pupils will be asked to keep their lunch in their bag/box while eating.
- Pupils will not need to have a tea-towel.
- Pupils will not need a school bag for the initial weeks of school as all books, copies and stationery will be kept at school. This policy will be reviewed during the month of September.
Pencil Cases/ Stationery List:
Each child’s pencil case will remain at school, so it will be advisable to have similar stationery at home for when homework begins.
- Infants will not need a pencil case as all of their school materials will be provided by the school.
- 1st & 2nd Classes: Each child should have a plastic pencil case that is easily wiped and contains the following:
- · 2 x Pencils
- · Set of Twistables or Colouring Pencils
- · Rubber and Pencil Sharpener
- · Small Scissors
- · Large Pritt Stick
- 3rd & 4th Classes: Each child should have a plastic pencil case that is easily wiped and contains the following:
- · 2 x Blue Pens
- · 2 x Red Pens
- · 2 x Pencils
- · Set of Twistables or Colouring Pencils
- · Rubber and Pencil Sharpener
- · 30cm ruler (shatterproof)
- · Small Scissors
- · Large Pritt Sticks
- Whiteboard Marker
- 5th & 6th Classes: Each child should have a plastic pencil case that is easily wiped and contains the following:
- 2 x Blue or Black Pens
- 2 x Red Pens
- 2 x Pencils
- Set of Twistables or Colouring Pencils
- Rubber and Pencil Sharpener
- 30cm ruler (shatterproof)
- Small Scissors
- 2 x Large Pritt Sticks
- Whiteboard Marker
Also please ensure that your child has ·
- Large Refill Pad
- Mathematical Set (Or just a compass and protractor)
- 2 x 40 Page A4 Plastic Display Books
– Preferably no ring binders and polypockets as pages fall out over time
- Pupils should wear their school uniforms as normal.
- Tracksuits to be worn on PE days. (These days will be communicated to you by your child’s class teacher.) Tracksuits can be ordered online at www.schoolwearhouse.ie
- It is advisable that children will change out of their school uniform/tracksuit when they arrive home from school.
- There is no Department of Education instruction that requires uniforms to be washed each day.
- Please ensure that your contact details are up to date.( A form for updating these details will be sent to each family in the first week and it will be important that all contact details are accurate and kept up to date.)
- Please ensure that you have downloaded the Aladdin App and that you are receiving emails and texts.
- Please make sure that you have an additional person listed on your contact form who can be contacted quickly in the case of an emergenc.
- Initially, a light foldable coat that can be stored in your child’s book box is advisable.
- Later, when the weather gets colder, children will use assigned cloakroom hangers or will be asked to put their coats on the back of their chairs where possible.
- Please make sure your child can put on and take off his/her coats and shoes and can manage his/her lunchbox and lunch without assistance.
- It is important that parents communicate a positive message about their child’s return to school. Children should be encouraged to follow all hygiene and social distancing guidelines but this should not be done in a fearful manner.
- All members of the staff are looking forward to seeing our pupils again and we will endeavour to do our very best to ensure that school will be a safe and happy place to come to each day.