Dear Parent / Guardian, Staff Member,
We hope you are all keeping well., and enjoying the last few weeks of the summer holidays.
Please read this Plan for Reopening of St. Joseph’s NS, Milltownpass. Here you will find all of the information needed for you and your child/children on their return to school on Monday 31st August. The BoM and the School Leadership Team have been working to ensure a safe return to school for all pupils and staff in two weeks’ time. We have now finalised our plan and it is outlined below.
RE-OPENING PLAN FOR ST. JOSEPH'S NS MILLTOWNPASS
RE: Physical Distancing and Safe School Attendance
We have been 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: -
This has been achieved by re-configuring the classrooms to maximise physical distancing. Each classroom 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 small group of children who will sit together and who will stay in their pod while in the bubble, or classroom.
This will be achieved by decreasing the potential for children from different bubbles to interact. There will be specific doors for each bubble to enter and exit the school and to access their classrooms.
Entrance and exit doors for each classroom
Junior/Senior Infants/ 1st class will use the Infant door
2nd/3rd/4th will use their usual door
5th/6th will use main door/office door
Reach Class have their own door
Entrances & Exit Points to the school grounds:
Entrance and Exit Points
2nd 3rd 4th class use entrance at left of main gate
5th 6th class use entrance at right of main gate
J/S/1st and Reach Class use small entrance at far right of school wall
Arrival at school
We will continue to have 2 x 20 minute breaks as before ( times to be arranged yet ) . However, these breaktimes will be staggered. The school yard will be divided in 2 to allow 2 Bubbles to play in the yard at each break. Bubbles will not interact in the yard at breaktime.
End of School Day
Collection of Children during the School Day
If an adult has to collect a child during the course of the school day, the following arrangements will apply
Dealing with a suspected case of Covid-19
Pupils should not attend school if displaying any symptoms of Covid-19. If a pupil displays symptoms of Covid-19 while in the building, the following are the procedures will be implemented:
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.
Children who should not attend school
If your child is in one of the following categories, they should not attend school –
Supporting the Learning of Children who cannot attend school
If a child is not able to attend school for an extended period of time, the class teacher (and/or the learning support teacher, where relevant) suggested activities to support the child’s learning at home will be shared with parents. This guidance is only in relation to students who are themselves deemed to be at very high risk if they contract Covid-19 .
Impact of a Suspected or Confirmed Case of Covid-19 in a Class
If the school is notified that a person in your child’s class has a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19
By necessity, some classroom equipment needs to be shared including tablets, laptops and the equipment used for structured activities and play in Infant classrooms. Cleaning of such shared equipment with wipes or other cleaning products will take place at regular intervals to minimise the risk of the spread of infection.
There is no guidance or advice to say that school uniforms or tracksuits should be washed every day. We will follow our usual practice in relation to uniforms and tracksuits. Uniforms should be worn every day, except on P.E. days ( day to be confirmed ), or when otherwise requested by teachers.
All money should be sent to the school with your child in a clearly labelled sealed envelope, with the exact amount please.
Changes to Classroom and School Layout and to School Routines
The DES guidelines recognise that a common-sense approach is needed in our Primary schools. To that end, every effort will be made to limit interaction within classrooms, to limit contact between class groups and to limit the sharing of common facilities.
The children and their teachers will work in Class Bubbles. A Class Bubble is a grouping which stays apart from other classes as much as possible. The aim of the system within the school is that class groupings mix only with their own class from arrival at school in the morning until the children go home at the end of the school day.
Junior Infants to First Class
It is recognised that younger children are unlikely to maintain physical distancing indoors so there is no requirement for children from Junior Infants to First Class to maintain a physical distance within their Class Bubble.
Second Class to Sixth Class
Children from Second Class to Sixth Class will be arranged in Pods within their Class Bubbles, with a maximum of 6 pupils per Pod. As far as possible, each Pod will be at least 1 metre distance from the next Pod. All unnecessary furniture has been removed from these classrooms to create as much space as possible.
Teaching and Learning
As a staff, we are very aware that the children have been away from school since March 12th. We appreciate the time and effort that went into Distance Learning, and we recognise the challenges that this presented for all families.
Each child will be a different place in relation to his/her learning, and we wish to assure you that staff will take that into consideration when planning for Teaching and Learning during the 2020/2021 school year.
The Department of Education and Skills has published Curriculum guidelines for us, and we ask you to trust our experience and professional expertise as we work with all the children during the return to school.
In keeping with our Special Education policy, learning support will be provided by a blended approach of in-class support and withdrawal. The provision of support will be organised to ensure our support teachers will work within the confines of a bubble.
Masks/ Face coverings
Department of Education Guidelines were issued on Friday 7th August and state:
“primary school teachers and staff wear face coverings where a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained. Primary school children will not be required to wear masks under any circumstances”
There is no need for the children to wear disposable gloves. They are considered inappropriate under the guidelines.
Staff members do not need to wear disposable gloves unless they are looking after a pupil’s intimate care needs or administering First Aid.
There will be an emphasis on hand hygiene rather than on the wearing of disposable gloves.
Hygiene and Cleaning
Hand Sanitiser dispensers are being installed throughout the school e.g. at each entrance, in each classroom.
Hand hygiene will be promoted and encouraged, and parents/guardians are asked to support the school in reinforcing this message.
In accordance with the DES guidelines, the school will be thoroughly cleaned at least once per day. Particular attention will be focused on frequently touched surfaces – door handles, handrails, chairs/arm rests, communal eating areas, sink and toilet facilities.
All staff will have access to cleaning products and will be required to maintain cleanliness of their own work area.
Teacher Absence and Substitution
In the event that teacher is unable to attend school, every effort will be made to secure a substitute teacher for the class. If a substitute teacher is not available, it is not appropriate for the class to be divided into groups and accommodated in other classes. In such circumstances, it may not be possible for the class to attend on that day. If that is the case, as much notice as possible will be given to parents.
Where possible, PE should take place outdoors and use of equipment should be confined to the sets that have been distributed to class groupings. Children should not bring a football or any sports equipment to school.
Our aim remains to re-open the school in an orderly safe manner on Monday 31st August., while reassuring the children and making them feel comfortable, safe and relaxed with their friends in the new school environment. This will be achieved by all of us working towards this common goal.
We will update you with a final letter prior to the school reopening.
Chairperson Board of Management