Welcome back, everyone. I trust that you all had a good summer, enjoying the break and recharging the batteries after such a challenging school year. We look forward to starting a new term on Wednesday 1st September.
Covid 19 Guidance, in relation to the reopening of schools, was issued by the Department of Education (DE). I am providing you with a summary of the main points that impact on the return to school for you and your children.
1) If a pupil displays symptoms of Covid-19, they and any members of their household within the school should remain at home until they have received a negative PCR test.
2) Pupils who are deemed to be a close contact of someone who has tested positive for Covid 19 are required to self-isolate until they have received a negative PCR test. Pupils should then have a further PCR test eight days following the last known contact with someone who has tested positive.
3) DE has said that there is no longer a need for bubbles. However, they have asked schools to continue to support effective contact tracing by maximising the time where pupils are within a consistent group of pupils. Like many other schools we have decided to maintain class bubbles and minimise contact between classes. Staff will do their best to stick to their class group, with minimum contact with other classes.
These practices became second nature to all of us last year and we think it safest to continue them as precautionary measures for the foreseeable future.
4) Pupils will continue to enter the school by the same doors as last year. Years 1 and 2 via play area at the back of the junior site; Years 3 to 7 via front door of senior site.
Pupils should arrive and leave at the following times:
Year 1: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Year 2: 8.50 a.m. – 2.05 p.m.
Year 3: 8.40 a.m. – 2.40 p.m.
Year 4: 8.45 a.m. – 2.50 p.m.
Year 5: 8.50 a.m. – 2.55 p.m.
Year 6: 8.55 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Year 7: 9 a.m. – 3.05 p.m.
Parents are asked not to gather outside the school and maintain distancing of 2m, as far as practicable.
5) Pupils will continue to wash their hands on entering the class and handwashing will be maintained throughout the day and before home-time. Hand sanitiser will not be used as a substitute for hand washing, but as a helpful additional layer of protection. Pupils will be reminded to practise good hygiene in relation to coughing, sneezing etc and a ready supply of tissues will always be available in class.
6) Staff will be on hand to greet pupils and dispense sanitiser in school at the start of school each day. At the end of the school day, staff will continue to escort pupils to the back door of each site for collection by parents.
I assure you we will continue to provide as safe a school environment for everyone as we possibly can and look forward to what will be a more ‘normal’ school year for all of us. The new school year information will be sent out at the start of the school term.
A reminder of symptoms:
· a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature); OR
· a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual); OR
· a loss of or change in sense of smell or taste.
You must follow the advice on the PHA website.