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September Newsletter

Information Note for Parents August 31st 2020

After nearly six months, we are absolutely thrilled to be welcoming back children to Muff N.S. It has been a tumultuous time for all of us and we are looking forward to trying to adjust to the “new normal” that is presented to us. School will be very different in some ways than what we have been used to, with class bubbles, pods in classes, restrictions on movements and all the other aspects that we have sent you information about over the last month. Staff, pupils and parents will have to adhere to these guidelines so as to mitigate the risk posed by the virus as much as possible. Again we appreciate your co-operation and concern in these matters. But school will be the same in that we will be teaching your children to the best of our ability in a safe and happy environment.

For the month of September, there will be no homework. This is to allow everybody time to settle back into a routine and re-establish peer and class relationships. It is also to allow staff time to run through the procedures of hand washing, hand sanitising, social distancing and so on. We would again remind all pupils from 1st – 6th to bring in their own sanitiser. This will take a little time to get used to but many children are well used to a lot of these at this stage. It will also provide an opportunity for us to reassure pupils through the SPHE curriculum. In this note we have tried to lay out what we feel are the most relevant aspects that you need to know as your child returns to school. All of these are already in policies and notes on the website or are available on the government website, https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/a128d-back-to-school/.

Sick Child:   It is absolutely imperative that if your child has a cough, has a high temperature, has difficulty breathing or has a loss of smell or taste that they do not come to school under any circumstances. It is the same for members of staff. In the past we would have rewarded pupils for excellent attendance. This is very much not the case this year. The day of giving your child Calpol in the morning and seeing how they get on is well and truly gone. This is a hugely important part of keeping everyone safe and well and the school functioning properly.

If you have been abroad in the last two weeks, we would remind you that your child should not come to school until they have completed 14 days of quarantine at home.

If your child does develop symptoms while at school, there is a strict protocol in place. Your child will be brought to an isolation room by a member of staff and you will be called to pick up your child immediately. Please ensure that we have all your up to date contact details. After that, the HSE takes over and manages the situation. This again is laid out clearly to all schools. All decisions made after that are made by the HSE with the school cooperating fully. It should be noted that the majority of these cases will prove to be negative. The HSE is also very clear that confidentiality of the patient is extremely important and we would ask for parents’ understanding in this.

Arrival to and Departure from School:   You will already have received guidelines on this. The key points are that when arriving, children should be accompanied by a parent/guardian. We would ask all adults to wear face coverings, maintain social distance and not congregate in groups. The children will be directed by staff to their class bubbles and subsequently to their classrooms.

When leaving at 2:00, Junior Infant children will be brought down first to the school gate. Once they have been collected, the Senior Infants will then come down for collection. Again, parents should not wait at the gate but rather come over when they see their class coming down.

For the rest of the classes going home, it will be a staggered departure from 2:50 onwards. It will begin with 1st class at 2:50. When a parent picks up a child, they must walk them to their car. They cannot wait at the gate for siblings. Instead they must walk over and back for each individual child that they are picking up and only when the class arrives down the school gate. This will obviously take a few minutes with the last class out at about 3:05.

Children who travel on the bus will go straight to the bus. We again ask for your understanding in this matter.

Uniforms:   Children should wear the full school uniform as usual. Common sense should be used in washing the uniform regularly. PE days are on Wednesday and we would ask children to wear a school tracksuit top and plain navy tracksuit bottoms. The top can be ordered by contacting the office. Please ensure that all items of clothing are clearly labelled.

With regard to shoes and runners, we would ask that pupils wear Velcro versions unless they know how to tie laces. Also ensure that children are able to manage their coats/jackets independently. In the past, the tying up of coats and laces would be a common request of staff. This is not something we will be able to do in line with current health guidelines.

Books/School Rental:   Children are to bring their school books as per usual. They will not be swapping books around daily and we will have procedures in place before they take home new books etc. If you have not paid the school book rental yet for the year, we would ask you to do this in the coming weeks.

Stationary:   Children should have all their own stationary with them as again they will not be permitted to lend or borrow from others. All items should be clearly labelled. Children have been provided with their own basket in class to store their books.

Lunches:   Children can bring lunches in lunchboxes. It is very important that the boxes are washed daily. We would also ask that children are given a lunch that they can manage independently – items such as frubes and yogurts should be avoided. Children should have their own drink. We would remind you that we have a healthy eating policy in the school and that children should not have bars, sweets, fizzy drinks etc.

For the first number of weeks, we are going to allow children time to eat all their lunch inside in class so as not to bring food onto the yard.

P.E.:  P.E. will take place each Wednesday for all classes. It will take place outside as much as possible.

Yard:   Each class bubble will be given their own section on yard to play on. They will be required to stay in this section with their own bubble. The split 5th class will come together at this time. The 6th class bubble will be the big pitch. There are times when this pitch can be quite wet. Therefore all 6th class students will be allowed to bring in a spare pair of socks to change into if the conditions are wet.

Teaching and Learning:   The phrase that the Department of Education are adopting for the coming months is “Slow down to catch up.” It will take a number of weeks to assess where children are at and where we need to go but the emphasis for the first while will be on Language, Maths, SPHE and PE. We will of course cover all topics but via a more integrated approach.

Even though there is no homework for the first while, you can still support your child’s learning via conversations with them at home and listening to them read independently or reading to them.

Staffing:   Ms Quinn will be leaving us very shortly to take up a new position. She has been a valued member of staff and we wish her every success in her new challenge. Here is a list of the teachers for each of the classes for the year:

Junior Infants: Ms. Quinn

Senior Infants/1st: Ms McNally will be returning in November. Ms. Galligan will continue to teach the class until then.

2nd: Ms. Campbell

3rd: Ms. Swinburne

4th/5th: Ms. McDonnell who we welcome to the staff.

5th/6th: Mr. Byrne

Support Teachers: Ms M Carolan, Ms N McEneaney & Ms Y Carolan.

Visiting the School:   The new rule for all schools is that nobody can come to the school without having made an appointment with the office.  That is then approved by the Principal. Gillian will now be in the office five days a week if you need to make a call. If you are coming to the school to pick up a child for an appointment for example, you will have to wait outside while your child is collected.

Religion:   Well done to Ms. Campbell and all the Communicants who had a wonderful day last weekend in Kingscourt Church. The Confirmation for last year’s 6th class takes place on Saturday the 17th of October at 2:00 p.m. in Kingscourt Church. There will be information for the current 6th and 2nd class about Communion and Confirmation shortly.

Insurance:  We are providing an opportunity for parents to avail of Pupil Personal Accident Insurance. We would highly recommend that you take this up as a number of families have found it beneficial over the years. The note attached explains what is involved. Price for the insurance is either €4.80 or €7.20 depending on what type of cover you want. It is optional. If you want this insurance, please complete, sign and date application form (a hard copy of which will be sent home with your child tomorrow) and pay via Aladdin or cash. (Preferably Aladdin Online Payments)

School Calendar:   Please find a calendar of the school year below. Please note that some of these dates may be subject to change.

School re-opening: Tuesday September 1st.  (Junior Infants will finish at 12.25 for the first week).

Halloween Break: October 26th-30th

Christmas Holidays: School closing Tuesday December 22nd reopening Wednesday January 6th

February Midterm: Thursday 18th and Friday 19th

St Patricks Day: Wednesday March 17th

Easter Break: School closing Friday March 26th, reopening Monday April 12th.

May Bank Holiday: School closed Friday April 30th and Monday May 3rd

June Bank Holiday: School closed Monday June 7th

Summer Holidays: School closing Friday June 25th

 

Above else we are delighted to be back and look forward to getting the children back in a normal routine. We are looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow morning.

 

 

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