Tuesday 18th August,2020
I sincerely hope this letter finds you all well despite the strange and uncertain times we continue to witness. I want to assure you all that the staff and I, under the direction of the Board of Management, have been working tirelessly on a covid-19 response plan aimed at reopening our school safely. To achieve this, we are putting in place necessary controls to minimise the virus entering our school, thereby keeping our school operational and running smoothly to the greatest extent possible. The decisions taken are based on the Department of Education’s roadmap for reopening of schools and the Department are at all times being led by the HSE and NPHET with regard to the ever changing and evolving situation. As the advice is being updated regularly, plans may need to be reviewed at times or other measures put in place which will be done when necessary.
In order for our response plan to be effective and to minimise the risk which covid-19 presents, it is imperative that all pupils and their families support the plans we have had to put in place. There is an individual responsibility on each and every one of us to help manage this crisis and if we want our school to remain covid free and operational, we will all need to play our part.
Below I have listed some of the measures which will be in place in Camolin NS once we reopen on Thursday August 27th next and there will be more detail about these measures in our schools covid-19 response plan which will be published on our school website in the coming days.
· Each classroom will be known as a class bubble
Bubble 1-Junior and Senior Infants (Ms.Leacy and Leona)
Bubble 2- 1st and 2nd Class (Ms.Creane)
Bubble 3- 3rd and 4th Class (Ms.Ryan)
Bubble 4- 5th and 6th Class (Mr.O’Shea)
· The pupils will all be seated in pods within their class bubbles with the pupils from 3rd-6th classes being seated 1m apart from each other to the greatest degree possible.
· The school will open to receive pupils from 8.50 am onwards, pupils will go directly to their classrooms, along their dedicated route from outside the school building to their designated entry point. (more detail in school response plan)
· Sanitisation stations have been set up just inside each entry/exit point and pupils and staff will sanitise their hands with gel on arrival and departure every day as well as at various times during the school day.
· Correct washing of hands at various times throughout the school day, before eating and after toilet use especially, will be carried out by all pupils and staff.
· All pupils will have their own individual plastic box with lid for all their school requisites e.g. pencils, books, copies, paintbrush etc. .to minimise sharing of equipment.
· Any shared equipment (which will be kept to a minimum) will be sanitised between uses while library books and the like will be quarantined for the recommended 72 hours before being reused.
· Each bubble will have their own zoned area of the school grounds for outdoor breaktimes and activities. Therefore, pupils from the different class bubbles will not mix at all during the school day.
· The school uniform and school tracksuit will be worn on alternate days to facilitate washing between wears which is recommended.
· Lunchboxes and drink bottles (which is all that pupils need to bring to school ) can be brought in a bag which should be carried on the pupils backs when entering/exiting school so as to allow hands to be free for sanitising on arrival/departure.
· It is highly recommended that lunchboxes and water bottles are washed thoroughly at home after school each day and preferably in a dishwasher where possible.
· All staff will wear face coverings where a distance of 2m cannot be maintained-please prepare your child(ren) that their teachers will be wearing face coverings during the school day.
· At present there is no requirement for pupils to wear face coverings.
· Pupils will be preparing to leave the school premises from 1.30pm (junior and senior infants) and from 2.30pm (1st to 6th) and may be collected at their designated gate from those times as some families will have to collect pupils at different exit points.
· Each pupil will be issued with a unique code to join the remote learning platform ‘seesaw’ once the school reopens.
Seesaw will be used for homework communication and/or should a school closure have to occur.
· There will be a strict policy of nobody on the school premises (grounds or inside school building) other than staff and pupils. Communication with parents etc will be by telephone, e-mail and on the school website. In exceptional circumstances access to the school will be by strict prior appointment with the principal only.
· We are in the process of setting up an online payment system for parents/guardians to make payments to the school-further information will issue once this is up and running and we would strongly encourage everyone to use this payment facility where possible.
· Parents/caregivers are asked to fully co-operate with our drop and go and collect and go policies before and after school. There should be no congregating outside the school grounds under any circumstances and all are asked to maintain a 2m distance from others at these times. If you can remain in your car at these times we would ask that you please do so especially if your children are in the older classes.
· The department will provide informational videos for students, parents and teachers online to provide important updates on covid-19 arrangements. Please visit gov.ie/backtoschool for further information on all aspects regarding the return to school.
· If your child is unwell they must not attend school.
· An isolation area has been designated in the school building for staff or pupils who become unwell and show any symptoms of covid-19 while at school.
· If your child develops any symptoms while in school /complains of feeling unwell, they will be escorted to the isolation area and you will be contacted to arrange immediate collection and the school will follow HSE advice in all instances.
· Daily cleaning of the school and classrooms will be increased as per recommendations.
· Cleaning products will be provided in each classroom.
· Pedal bins are in each classroom to facilitate safe waste disposal by all.
· Signage will be in place to highlight measures that will help prevent the spread of covid -19 throughout the school building
· Any staff or pupils who have been abroad in the 14 days prior to the school reopening date must follow procedures in place and self isolate for the required period of time and not attend school during this time.
I hope these measures will assure you all of our dedication and commitment to making our return to school as safe as we possibly can. However, they will only be successful if all of the school and wider community engage in responsible behaviour now and when the school reopens. None of us wish to see a return to extended school closures so I appeal to all to play your part fully and act responsibly.
I wish to thank the staff most sincerely for their engagement and support in putting all these measures in place when they should have been enjoying their summer break.
We are all looking forward to welcoming the pupils back on August 27th next and meeting our new junior infants on Wednesday 26th.
Kind regards always,