Update for Parents on Plan to Return to School - No 1 (13th August 2020)
As parents and guardians, you are probably wondering about our plans for the return to school. We want to assure you that preparations are progressing at pace to have the school ready for a full return to school for the new academic year. Schools have been asked to plan and prepare for a full re-opening for all pupils. This means the current plan is that all pupils will return to school full time.
We are currently developing our “COVID-19 Response Plan for the Safe and sustainable Reopening of Post Primary Schools” as requested by the Department and will publish this once complete.
Starting out we have prioritised two areas: 1. health and safety of everyone in the school and 2. the key role of teaching and learning. We want to briefly out line some of the changes that have to be made in order to realise these priorities. We plan to have a detailed Zoom meeting with each year group including parents before the school reopens. This will provide parents and pupils with up to date information and directions just prior to reopening
This is a very dynamic situation with guidance changing all the time. At the moment the following changes will be implemented on the pupils’ return to school in a couple of weeks.
All students will be assigned base classrooms. This will be particularly relevant for junior years as they have many of their subjects in base classes. Base classes for a year group will be located beside each other to further minimise movement
Classrooms are able to accommodate differing numbers of students due to social distance guidelines. This means that all classes are subject to change in the next two weeks to allow us to fit the optimum number of students into classrooms. These changes will apply to all year groups.
The two malls will now become classrooms with whiteboards, computer, data projector etc. similar to all other classrooms. This will give us four extra classrooms that can each accommodate 30 pupils.
Pupils will have no access to lockers at any time of the day. They can leave their textbooks in their base rooms. All textbooks can be downloaded as ebooks and this should reduce the need to bring books home each day
The use of hardback copies will be reduced as much as possible to lighten the weight of the schoolbag.
While copies will be used in class, teachers cannot collect them to correct homework. All homework will have to be emailed to teachers by students using their school Microsoft 365 account only for correction as directed by the teachers.
There may be some occasions when a classroom is not able to accommodate all the class members due to the social distance guidelines and the size of the classroom. In this situation a revolving group will go to a supervised satellite room and engage with the class content through a live stream on the Microsoft Class Team. This we expect, will be a rare event but it is an important plan B to have in place. That pod will be given a ‘surface go’ device with which to follow the class along with the supervisor.
All movement in the school will be one way to avoid students meeting on the corridor. This will mean entering each corridor from the front of the school and exiting from the back and moving around the outside of the school to get back around to the front entrances. This movement will be fully explained in the zoom meeting before the school reopens and students will be guided by clear signage on the route
Students should wear school jackets but in the event that they do not have a school jacket, they may wear another appropriate jacket especially if they are moving outside the school building. Hoodies or any similar attire can never be worn anywhere on the school grounds
Students should bring a small personal supply of sanitiser and a small packet of tissues to school every day. A final decision on the wearing of face masks or visors has not yet been made. Parents will be informed about this decision as soon as it is made.
The school are placing hand sanitisers in every classroom, all toilets and at other high density areas. They will also be providing paper towels and bins at toilets.
Numbers in toilets at the same time are going to be greatly reduced. Students will be able to ask for permission to go to the toilet during class.
Changing rooms cannot be used at the moment so PE class will have to conducted in school uniform. This guidance may change in the future but that is the situation at the moment.
School uniforms should be washed on a very regular basis as advised by the HSE.
At this time there is no definite indication about the reopening of the school canteen due to social distance guidelines.
If a student falls ill during school, they will be immediately placed in an isolation area away from all other students and their parents/guardians will be informed immediately. We ask that parents/guardians make a big effort to collect ill pupils from school within 30 minutes of being informed or as soon as practical.
Parents should never enter the school building without an appointment time from the school office. If pupils are being collected during the day for routine appointments etc., parents should remain in their car and ring the office staff who will send the pupil out to the carpark. All collections must coincide with the change of class time to avoid students waiting in numbers at the school office. The office staff cannot leave the office to get a student from class or use the PA to call a student during class, so it is important that parents liaise with pupils around correct pick up times.
The school will reopen for first years only on Wednesday August 26th, 6th & 3rd years only on Thursday August 27th and 5th & 2nd years only on Friday August 28th.
All pupils will then return on Monday 31st August.
All of these details are correct as of this moment but they are also subject to change before we reopen. There are many issues still to be resolved and there is no doubt that many issues will emerge as we get back to school. The school will conduct a full review of all arrangements after two weeks and further changes may be implemented at this stage.
It is important that parents and pupils understand that the school environment will be greatly changed when we get back and it will take everyone some time to properly adjust to the new normal. As we said at the outset, the health and safety of everyone together with a strong focus on teaching and learning will be our two main priorities. This can only work if everyone adopts a positive attitude, prioritises safety, follows all the guidelines strictly and understands that this is a new challenge for everyone.
Taking personal responsibility will help to keep everyone in school, at home and in the community safe. Please play your part. We ask parents to ensure that children are well each day before coming to school. If there is any doubt, please take their temperature or keep them at home and seek medical advice. This is a very threatening virus that has unfortunately left many Irish families in deep distress and many recovering victims with lasting health issues. As a school community made up of staff, parents and pupils we have to do everything in our power to keep it out of this area and this community.
Update for Parents on Plan to Return to School - No 2 (19th August 2020)
‘Working together, keeps us all safe’ ‘Coinníonn oibriú le chéile gach éinne slán’
This is a further up date for parents regarding the changes being implemented for a safe return to school
Face coverings When a distance of 2m cannot be maintained, face masks will have to be worn. This means that when students are inside the school building, face masks must be worn. When students are outside on the school grounds and maintaining a 2m distance from other students, they do not have to wear a mask. Face masks should be washable and reusable and students should use a fresh clean face mask every day. Pupils should have a small plastic zip lock bag for storing their own mask when not in use. Face masks should have an elasticated string for going around the ears or the head. Scarves or bandannas are not allowed. If a student is unable to wear a face mask for medical reasons, they must have a letter from their GP and wear another agreed form of face covering. For further information visit our website page on facemasks at http://moynecs.ie/facemasks--coverings.html
Footwear Having listened to students concerns prior to lockdown and bearing in mind the changed circumstances for everyone, it has been decided to allow students wear ALL BLACK runners for this coming year. This year is going to demand an enormous team effort from everyone in Moyne to keep each other and all our families safe. This change is designed to encourage a positive team attitude to health and safety as well as teaching and learning.
Jackets Good ventilation is an important defence against this virus and while there was always a good draft inmost rooms, there will be a necessity to regularly open windows and doors to achieve maximum ventilation. While school jackets are preferable, any appropriate jacket can now be worn in school. However, hoodies, hats or scarves cannot be worn anywhere on the school grounds.
Signage There will be a lot of additional signage placed in classrooms and around the school grounds. This signage is designed for the health and safety of everyone in the school and any interference with it will be considered as a serious breach of the Code of Behaviour.
Arriving to school in the morning by bus When pupils arrive on buses in the morning, there is a protocol that must be followed. Only one bus can unload at a time. This must happen in the designated drop off zone. Pupils must go directly to their base class and place their bag etc. in their designated seat. They may go for a walk using the one-way system but they can only re-enter the school through their designated corridor.
Going home from school in the evening by bus Students will be released from class in a staggered fashion. First years will be released at 3.50 followed by each other year at two minute intervals. Students should again go directly to their bus and take up their designated seat.
Pupils travelling by car When a pupil gets out of a car they must follow the same instructions as pupils getting off a bus and the same applies in the evening. In order to manage movement in and around the school, pupils arriving by car should do so between 8.45am and 8.55am.
Mobile phones The rule regarding mobile phones has not changed. Pupils may bring them to school but they cannot use them in school. There may be more occasions when teachers will allow a class group to use their phone to photograph a short test and email it to the teacher or to engage in a teaching and learning exercise. That is completely at the discretion of the teacher.
If a student feels ill in school If a student reports feeling ill to a teacher, the Principal or Deputy will be contacted by the class teacher. They will bring the student to the nearest exit and then directly to the isolation area. Parents will be contacted immediately and we ask that they collect the pupil from the school within 30 minutes. The isolation area will have steriliser, tissues and drinking water. The pupil’s seat will be cleaned and the isolation area will also be deep cleaned. If the pupil has not observed proper cough/sneeze etiquette prior to reporting to the teacher, the class will be asked to leave the room and go to the Gym. The room will then be deep cleaned before the class will be allowed return. This is a very serious occurrence which would cause a great deal of disruption throughout the school.
Timetable The timetable for 2020/21 has been prepared and can soon be accessed through VSWare in the usual way. You will shortly receive a text message letting you know when it is viewable and reminding you of your VSWare username. Details of how to set or reset your password can be found http://moynecs.ie/vsware.html Please note that the school does not know or have access to your password.
Contact details If your contact details have recently changed, it is important to contact the school office and update them. This is important for communication from the school and for contact tracing should the need arise.
Lunch time Lunch time will be staggered with three forty minute periods. Some students will have lunch from 12.40 until 1.20 while others will have lunch from 1.20 until 2pm and the remainder from 2:00pm to 2:40pm. This is to minimise the number of pupils out of class at any time. The catering company have not yet made any final decision about food but it is likely that if there is food it will be sandwiches or wraps that may have to be booked in advance. When we know more we will inform you. The canteen is not a social area and is limited to sixty students at any one time. Students cannot go into the canteen if they are not buying food and must leave it immediately they have finished eating.
Toilets No more than two students can be in any toilet area at the same time while two more can wait in a queue outside the door. This will not be enough to meet the needs of the student body so students can ask for permission during class to use the toilet. Toilets will be cleaned on a very regular basis by the cleaning staff.
The school will conduct a full review of all arrangements after two weeks and further changes may be implemented at this stage. The school environment will be greatly changed but we hope that everyone will embrace these changes and rise to the challenge of working together to keep everyone safe. Taking personal responsibility will help to keep everyone in school, at home and in the community safe. We ask parents to ensure that children are well each day before coming to school. If there is any doubt, please take their temperature or keep them at home and seek medical advice. This is a very threatening virus that has unfortunately left many Irish families in deep distress and many recovering victims with lasting health issues. As a school community made up of staff, parents and pupils we have to do everything in our power to keep it out of this school and this community.
‘Look out for each other, look after each other and support each other!’ ‘Working together keeps us all safe’ ‘Coinníonn oibriú le chéile gach éinne slán’