Dear Parents and Guardians,
I hope you and your families are keeping well and have enjoyed a restful summer.
As we now prepare to re-open our school for the new school year on 31st August 2021, we will do so in line with current guidance and recommendations.
Re-opening the school safely requires the co-operation of all members of our School Community – Board of Management, School Leadership, Staff, Parents and Pupils. We will all be called on to play our part in ensuring that re-opening of the school is done in a safe manner which prevents the spread of the virus and allows the vital work of Teaching and Learning to proceed with as little disruption as possible.
We have been working on our plan for the safe reopening of the school for some weeks now and have published on our school website:
- DES COVID-19 Response Plan for the Safe and Sustainable Reopening of Primary and Special Schools;
- All Saints’ National School COVID-19 Policy Statement 2021-22;
- All Saints’ National School Logistics Plan 2021-22 – this explains how all of the guidance will practically applied specifically in our school.
- HSE Return to Education Form – Every child must have this form completed on their return to school on Tuesday 31st If you can’t print this form at home don’t worry, we will have some ready for you to complete on the morning of Tuesday 31st August.
Our aim is to re-open the school in an orderly and safe manner, whilst 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 and does require flexibility. School still cannot operate exactly as it did before Covid-19 and unfortunately with Covid-19 still prevalent in our community, there are changes which we must all continue to accommodate. We must all remember that the overriding motivation for these changes is the ongoing safety and well being of our children.
To this end, the procedures and routines put in place last year will continue this academic year. Within the school we will 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.
In senior classes, children will be organised further into pods within their bubbles. A pod is a group of children 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.
While all children will be welcome back to school, we would remind parents that, where children are displaying colds, coughs or flu like symptoms, they should not be sent to school. Children who display such symptoms in school will be isolated and parents asked to collect them from the school.
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).
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
For the complete list of Covid 19 symptoms, please refer to the HSE Website.
Arrangement of Classes:
All the staff at All Saints’ National School are very much looking forward to the return of our pupils to school and we know that many of them will be excited to return also.
To best support them, the class configurations have been designed to reduce the number of pupils in each room, as far as is practically possible.
Special Education Teaching will continue in line with the Government guidance to reduce risks of transmission.
Class Structures 2020 -21
To facilitate Mrs Murphy’s decision to extend her period of maternity leave, the class teachers allocated to Junior Infants; Senior Infants and First Class have had to be altered.
Bláthú Preschool Mrs Shannon
Junior Infants/ Senior Infants Mrs Duffy
Senior Infants/ First Class Mrs McQuade
Second/ Third Class Ms Duffy
Third/ Fourth Class Mrs McKenna
Fifth Class/ Sixth Class Mr Hanratty
Special Education Teacher Ms Kane/ Mrs Murphy
Special Education Teacher Mrs Gallagher
Note: Class splits are based upon the children’s dates of birth.
Staff members and the Principal will be available outside and inside the building to greet the children and to help them to their classrooms on the morning of Tuesday 31st August.
Teachers will make children aware of the proper hygiene procedures regarding hand washing and etiquette related to sneezing, coughing or spitting. Hand sanitiser will be available in every classroom. 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.
We would ask all parents to familiarise themselves with the school Logistics Plan and follow the drop-off and collection routines for the safe delivery and collection of pupils from school every day. Please be patient as we endeavour to embed these necessary precautionary and protective practices at the beginning of the school year.
There is no guidance or advice to say that school uniforms or PE uniform should be washed every day and this is probably not practical for most families.
We will follow our usual practice in relation to uniforms and PE uniform. Uniforms should be worn every day, except on PE days, or when otherwise requested by teachers.
As a school we strongly advise that children should wear their school uniforms or PE uniforms only for school related activities. Uniforms or PE uniforms should be taken off straight after the child arrives home from school for the day.
Please ensure that your child has the correct uniform for returning to school on Tuesday 31st August. All students should be in full uniform from the first day back, including black shoes and ties.
All Saints’ NS is sensitive to children who find wearing of uniform difficult and in the past we have worked with families confidentially to find ways to modify uniform to ensure pupils are comfortable in school. All Saints’ NS is now pleased to announce that Spectra Sensory Clothing Limited has agreed to provide us with sensory school uniform options for any child with sensory issues or skin complaints. Please contact the school office for more information and to view uniform samples.
For your own safety, parents are reminded:
- Do not congregate at or near school during drop off and collection times
- Communication with the school must take place by phone or online
- 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
- if they have travelled outside of Ireland (see latest Govt. Advice)
Back to School Resources and Information for Parents/ Pupils:
- Video for parents of children in Junior Infants – https://youtu.be/UomH_vakjDI
- Video for parents of children Senior Infants – RII – https://youtu.be/4smnni5jpGI
- Video for parents of children RIII – RVI – https://youtu.be/97nErW1-0YU
- A Parent’s Guide to Close Contacts https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/guidance/educationguidance/A%20Parents%20Guide%20to%20Close%20Contacts%20in%20School.pdf
Your safety; that of your children and the safety of our school staff is our primary concern. We hope that the plans put in place will keep everyone well and our school open in the months ahead. Being COVID-19 ready takes a whole community effort and I sincerely thank you for working alongside us to keep All Saints’ National School a safe and happy place for our children to learn in.
Mrs Fiona Gallagher
Please read the following documents:
1 Response Plan for the Safe and Sustainable Operation of Primary and Special Schools. (Dept.of Education)
2 Covid 19 Policy statement 2021-2022
3. Logistics Plan for All Saints N.S.
Return to Educational Facility-Pupil Declaration