Dear Parents/Guardians/ staff members.
Reopening of St. Oliver Plunkett B.N.S., Moate.
I hope you and your families are all keeping safe and well.
As you are aware, our school has now been closed since 12th March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are now preparing to reopen our school to our pupils on Tuesday 1st September 2020.
We are currently working on reconfiguration of our classrooms to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Reopening our school safely requires the cooperation of all of our school community, BOM, Principal, staff parents and pupils. We will all be responsible in ensuring that the reopening of our school is done in a safe manner which prevents the spread of the virus and allows the vital work of teaching and learning to proceed with as little disruption as possible.
We are working very hard on our plan to safely reopen our school and will be publishing the DES COVID-19 Response Plan for the safe and sustainable reopening of Primary Schools on our school website. The Response Plan gives details of:
- Physical preparation, signage, hand sanitizer stations.
- Advice, procedures and training for the safe return to working in the school for all school staff and pupils.
- General and specific advice on how all pupils, parents, staff and visitors will prevent the spread of the virus.
We will publish our Covid 19 Policy Statement and Plan on our school website shortly.
RE: Physical Distancing and Safe School Attendance:
We are currently working on upgrading our procedures and routines within the school to ensure that there is as much physical distancing as is possible in the school building. We will apply physical distancing in a practical and sensible way, recognising that the learning environment cannot be dominated by a potentially counterproductive focus on this issue.
Physical Distancing will be achieved in two ways:
Increasing Separation: This will be achieved by reconfiguring the classrooms to maximize physical distancing. Each class will be referred to as a Bubble and we will ensure that there is as little contact as possible between children in different bubbles. Within the bubbles, children will be organised into individual Pods. A Pod is a group of children (normally 6) who will sit together and who will stay in their pod while in the Bubble, or Classroom.
Decreasing Interaction: This will be achieved by decreasing the potential for children from different bubbles to interact. There will be marked routed for each Bubble to enter and exit the school and to access their classrooms. There is a separate entry and exit point for each Bubble in our school. Bubbles will have different, specific mid-morning and lunchtime access to the yard. We will ensure that these routines are enjoyable for the children, ensuring safety at all times.
While all children will be welcome back to school, we would remind all parents/guardians that, where a child is displaying signs and symptoms of Covid 19- coughing, sneezing, sore throat, high temperature, flu like symptoms, they should not be sent to school under any circumstances. Children who present with any of these symptoms who attend school will be placed in an isolated area and parents will be asked to collect them without delay. This is a very important procedure that will help to prevent the spread of COVID 19.
Children who have travelled from Countries that are not on the Green List compiled by the Government should not attend school during the 14 day isolation period. It is the parents/guardians responsibility to inform the school od such travel information.
Further information on COVID-19 symptoms in children is available at:
Teachers will make children aware of the proper hygiene procedures regarding hand washing and coughing and sneezing etiquette. We would be grateful if you as parents/guardians could emphasise safe behaviour in this regard at home as part of the preparation for returning to school.
Our school is under a great deal of pressure to ensure social distancing measures can be implemented in all class settings. Currently, The Principal and BOM are in consultation with the Department of Education and the Ministers office, requesting further support to allow our school to fully reopen on time, with the appropriate safety measures in place. The Principal has clearly outlined the challenges facing this school and has pleaded with the Minister to fully support the requests made. Currently, we are awaiting a response from the Minister in relation to this and we hope to get a positive outcome shortly. Further information regarding this submission will follow.
We are really looking forward to welcoming our pupils back to school. As stated, our aim remains to reopen the school in an orderly safe manner, while reassuring the children and making them feel comfortable, safe and relaxed with their friends in the new school environment. This will only be achieved by all of us working towards a common goal.
The Principal and Board of Management will keep you informed as to the progress of our reopening plans and provide you with the information required by you to play your part in safely reopening and maintaining our school.
Sinead White, Principal.
James Hatton, Chairperson, Board of Management.
The following websites provide further information on COVID-19 and on government advice and recommendations regarding the re-opeing of schools: