Covid return to school letter

Covid return to school letter

August 2020.

Dear Parents/Guardians and pupils,

As we prepare to return to school at the end of August, we would like to let you know about our plans for a safe return to school.  The Department of Education has issued guidelines and will constantly review the advice.  We will always follow the advice of the medical experts in order to ensure the safety of our pupils.

In the meantime, we have made certain decisions about the return to school which will, we hope provide some assurance to you all that our pupils will be safe in St. Raphael’s.

We will have a staggered return to school for different classes.  Please see attached amended return to school schedule.

We have in place a new cleaning schedule with regular cleaning of all classrooms and common areas, door handles sink and toilet facilities.  Student desks will be sanitized at the start of every class.

We will have extra classroom space available to facilitate effective social distancing. We will increase the levels of separation in classrooms and we will have less interaction between pupils throughout the school.

We will have extra sanitizer stations placed around the school for use by everyone.  There will be sanitizer available at all entrances and in all classrooms.  We ask that pupils also have their own personal bottle of sanitizer.

We will encourage everyone in school to wash hands thoroughly and regularly throughout the day.  Please see signage showing correct washing and sanitizing techniques.

We will operate a “one-way” system around the school. (Please see enclosed map of school). We ask that everyone on the school will follow this one way system at all times.

We will not have a canteen facility for the first part of the year.  Pupils will bring their own packed lunches to school.  Morning breaks and lunch breaks will be staggered to reduce numbers in the canteen and on corridors.

We will install extra canteen seating in the assembly hall to allow for social distancing at break times.

We will stagger access times to pupil lockers as necessary

We will ask all teachers to wear face visors in all classes.  Physical distancing between teachers and pupils will be observed.

We have allocated “base classrooms” to 1st year pupils.

For the start of the year we have decided to allow the rest of the year groups to operate as normal.  The reason for this is that they would be moving to different class groups every 40 minutes anyway and we felt that placing them in base classrooms may actually be a worse option in terms of social distancing.   We will constantly monitor this arrangement and review this decision if necessary.

The principal, deputy principal and office staff will wear face coverings/masks at all times throughout the school day.- When dealing with individual pupils or small groups, the principal/deputy principal will wear face visors.

We will ask all students to wear face coverings/masks at all times throughout the day. – We will ask students to bring two plain clean cloth masks (No designs on mask) to school with them every day.  We will ask pupils to provide their own masks.  Spare masks will be available in school if required.

We will ask students to bring their own small container of hand sanitizer with them every day. No sharing of equipment please.

We will have a dedicated isolation room where students who are showing any symptoms of the virus can wait for collection. There will be a dedicated exit route in use.

We encourage any students who can walk or cycle to school to do so in order to reduce congestion at the school gates.  We strongly encourage students to go directly to their first class on arrival and avoid congregating in groups before class.

We will ask parents/guardians to keep any students showing any symptoms at home.  We also ask that parents keep any students at home if they have been identified by the HSE as a contact for a person with Covid 19.

We will ask parents/guardians of pupils with underlying conditions to keep their sons/daughters home from school while there remains a risk of infection.

We ask that parents entering the school should be kept to essential visits only and to make prior arrangements with the school secretary.  We ask that all visitors sign and complete the contact tracing log.

We will not have any full year assemblies, parent teacher meetings or other large group gatherings for the foreseeable future.

School uniform will be worn as normal.

We will respond to any advice from the HSE/Department of Education on keeping our pupils safe.

We thank you in advance for your cooperation.  Please contact the school if you have any questions about the return to school protocols.  We hope that by working together, we can have a safe and successful return to school for all our pupils.

Yours sincerely,

___________________                ____________________           ______________________

Mattie Quinn                                     Paul Cafferky                                     John Hardiman

Chairperson                                       Principal                                               Deputy Principal

Board of Management.