Welcome Back!

We’ve really missed you. This page is designed to help you as we reopen our school building during the COVID19 pandemic. I hope you find everything you need here but please ask us any questions and we will add them.

Keep

The Same School With Some Small Differences

We’ve worked really hard to make sure the return to school is as stress-free as possible for all of our pupils. Your children are likely to see a few changes in the way the school works but, in general, their days should feel very familiar. We’ve created this page to show you some of the things that will look a little different and we’d advise for you to show these videos to your children so that they get a fair idea of what to expect.

Classrooms

Classrooms aren’t going to look as different as you’d think. Each class will operate in pods of 6 or fewer children.  Each class grouping will be considered a bubble & each bubble will have its own designated play area for yard times. We’ve made this video to show you what one of our classrooms will look like. This is Senior Infants.

Dropping Off in the Morning and Finding your Classroom

In the morning, it is not going to be possble to park your car, (except in exceptional cases.)

If your child has additional needs & cannot safely exit your car unaided, please make contact with the school.

Children arriving by bus will be met by staff members who will ensure they get safely to their classrooms.  Buses will be arriving 15 mins earlier than usual.  Your bus driver will be in contact with you about their pick-up times.

When the bus drops or you drop your child off at the Set Down Area at the front of the school, they will need to follow the correct coloured line into their classroom. We will have staff to help them. These are the lines the children will follow:

  • Red: Infants
  • Blue: 1st and 2nd Class
  • Green: 3rd and 4th Class
  • Yellow: 4th/5th Mixed Class, 5th and 6th Class
  • Black: Integrated Classes

Play Together follow the yellow line. 

This video goes through the entire route.

Parents can not leave their car seat, so please make sure that your child is ready to go and can independently get out of the car.  

In order to minimise risk we are advising that children only need to bring a coat and a drink to school for the moment.  If your child is not eating the school lunch, he or she can bring a lunchbox.  

A Peep Inside

Once children find their colour-coded door (red, blue, green, yellow or black) this is what they’ll see inside. We have also colour-coded our corridors to show them how to move around safely. This is what the 3rd/4th class will see when they enter their door. Other classes will see something similar.

Junior Infants and their First Day

We are very excited about meeting our new Junior Infants next week. In normal circumstances we would have been able to meet you and show you around the place but this virus has made everything we do a little more complicated than we would like. However, I am very conscious, as someone who only last year had a child starting Junior Infants in this school, what a big deal the first day of primary school is and I want to make sure that, despite the restrictions, we can make it a special day for your child but also for your family. This is the plan so far.

We can’t envisage that any parent or guardian is going to simply pull their car up at the front of the school on the first day and allow their child walk into the school without any form of occasion. This is a special day so we want you to be able to experience it too. Some of the children will be nervous or excited or both so we also want to make the first day as comfortable as possible before they walk through the doors. Given that we can’t allow adults into the building, we’re going to do something outside the school so you can maybe get a “first day of school” photo or even have some time to give your little one a big hug before they take the big step.

The school is going to be extremely busy with traffic at the usual opening time so it would be unsafe to do this at 8:50am. We need some time for traffic to follow new routes (I’ll be telling you about this soon) so we are proposing that for the first day, we start a little later to give you somewhere to park your car and bring your child to the door of the school for a photo and a hug before going into the building where they will be looked after by Cliona and Gillian in their new classroom.

We are asking you to come to school for a 9:30am start on the first day – August 26th. When you enter the school, please drive into the basketball courts and park safely. We’ll have someone there to help. The next step is to walk over to the front of the school building where we will have set up a “photo booth” We’re also trying to source a bubble machine just for a bit of fun. Once you’ve said your goodbyes, a staff member will bring your child into school.

School will end at 12pm for the first 3 days (Wednesday to Friday) and then will revert to normal time (1:30pm) from Monday, 31st August. Unfortunately, we’re not going to be in a position to allow parking on the basketball courts at 12pm as it is needed for yard so you will need to pick up your child at the front of the school and a staff member will help your child into the car. It’s likely to take a little bit of time but after a little while, it’ll be no bother!

After day 1, we are going to allow parents of Junior Infant children to park on the basketball courts in the morning (before 8:50am) and walk their child to the front of the school and we will have staff available to bring them inside. We anticipate that we would then encourage families to start using the regular drop off routine by the end of September. Obviously, we will work with you to help with this and we fully understand that this could take time.

It’s important to remind you not to congregate in the school grounds due reduce the risk of the virus spreading so please ensure that once your child is safely through the doors, that you leave the premises as quickly as possible. Please also do not come to the windows of the classroom as we need to keep children, insofar as possible, in their designated pod.

Here are Gillian and Cliona to say hello!

Home Time!

BUS: Bus children will all depart at 2:15pm. Support teachers will be on hand to make sure your child gets safely onto the correct bus.

1:30pm & 2:30pm:

Please note that there are bound to be longer delays at pick-up times. We would encourage you to use the school bus, or walk or cycle if at all possible.

Each class will have a designated pick-up point clearly numbered 1-10 to the front of the school.

You will need to follow the one way system to the pick-up points. Again you must remain in your car, please ensure that your child is able to open the car door and get in safely & put their own belt on. The pick-up points are listed below. If you have more than one child, your pick-up point will be that of your eldest child’s class.

PICK UP POINTS

1:30pm pick-up points

Pick-up point 1, 2 & 3 – Gillian’s Junior Infants
Pick-up point 4, 5 – Cliona’s Junior Infants
Pick-up point 6 – John’s class
Pick-up point 7 & 8 – Sinéad’s Senior Infants
Pick-up point 9 & 10 – Sive’s Senior Infants
2:30pm pick-up points

Pick-up point 1 – Emily’s First Class
Pick-up point 2 – Megan’s First Class
Pick-up point 3 – Ciara’s Second Class
Pick-up point 4 – Eimear & Caroline’s SecondClass
Pick-up point 5 – Laura’s Third Class
Pick-up point 6 – Margaret’s Third Class & Gary’s class
Pick-up point 7 – Sharon’s Fourth Class
Pick-up point 8 – Tricia’s Fourth & Fifth Class
Pick-up point 9 – Caitriona’s Fifth Class
Pick-up point 10 – Susie’s Class
After-school – Play Together will be in touch with you about pick up points.

COVID-19 Suspected Case Procedure

We must follow a 10-step plan if there is a suspected case of COVID-19 in the classroom. We must bring a child with a suspected case of COVID19 to an isolation room to wait for you to pick him/her up. There’s no getting away from the fact that an isolation room is not a nice name and possibly not the nicest experience for a child so we thought it would be a good idea to show you exactly what our 2 rooms look like and make a short video too.

10 Step Plan

If someone displays symptoms of COVID-19, the school shall: 

  1. Teacher to contact Principal / Deputy Principal immediately.
  2. The Principal / Deputy Principal will attend the classroom wearing a face covering and accompany the individual to the designated isolation area –this will be the G21 – Breakfast Room or G16 – Storage Room, keeping at least 2 metres away from the symptomatic person.
  3. The Principal / Deputy Principal will make sure that others maintain a distance of at least 2 metres from the symptomatic person at all times.
  4. Where it is a  member of staff, assess whether the unwell individual can immediately be directed to go home and call their doctor and continue self-isolation at home.
  5. Where it is a  student, assess whether the unwell individual can immediately be collected by a parent/guardian (who is responsible for calling their doctor) and continue self-isolation at home. Public transport of any kind should not be used.
  6. Facilitate the person presenting with symptoms remaining in isolation if they cannot immediately go home. Staff / students shall avoid touching people, surfaces and objects.
  7. Advice shall be given to the person presenting with symptoms to cover their mouth and nose with the disposable tissue provided when they cough or sneeze and put the tissue in the waste bag provided.
  8. Carry out an assessment of the incident which will form part of determining follow-up actions and recovery.
  9. Arrange for appropriate cleaning of the isolation area and work areas involved.
  10. Provide advice and assistance if contacted by the HSE.
Isolation Room 1
Isolation Room 2

COVID-19 Confirmed Case FAQ

We had our first COVID19-related case on 14th October 2020. We believe that open communication is very important to keep people’s minds at ease so this section has been created to answer the questions we have been asked.

The school is generally informed by the HSE if we have a positive case of COVID19. From our experience, this is what happens next. The HSE contact tracer spends time to ascertain who are the "close contacts" of the COVID19 case. Close contacts tend to be people that have spent more than 15 minutes within 2m of another person. This is usually the children in a classroom pod but it can be other areas such as the school bus, in after school, in a learning support setting, etc. The school has a record of where everyone sits in a classroom so pods are identified quickly. We also have records of who is on what bus. We also work with Play Together to identify their logs of their pods.

Once these close contacts are identified, the school contacts them by phone and then follows it up with a letter from the HSE. In general, close contacts of a positive case, must isolate for 14 days from the last point of contact with the case.

We also inform all families and staff of the case in the school and let them know if there is any further action required.

Yes. We ensure that anyone travelling on the bus of a COVID19 case is taken into account in terms of contact tracing.

Yes. We ensure that anyone using Play Together's service is taken into account in terms of contact tracing.

It appears once contact tracing is completed, close contacts are tested within a couple of days. Unless otherwise advised, it appears that even if they receive a negative result, they have to remain isolated for the full 14 days.

If you hear nothing else from the school, it means that there have been no further positive cases. We will inform you if there are other cases and inform you of anything you need to do.

All of our classrooms are cleaned and sanitised every day. Extra funded was granted to schools to try to cover the extra costs associated with cleaning.

All children have been given access to SeeSaw or Google Classroom where work is sent home to families. Children are welcome to take part in these tasks. Unfortunately, no extra staffing was given to schools to help with remote learning. With the exception of children that are deemed very high risk, the school has no capacity to offer one-to-one learning remotely.

Other Information

The School Food Company will continue to provide lunch & a snack for all children.  Covid-19 precautions have been put in place by them & each child’s food will be individually wrapped. You will receive a link to an app in the coming days, which you can use to order your child’s lunch.  We can no longer operate the water dispensers, so please make sure your child has a bottle of water.  

TEACHING AND LEARNING

As ever your class teacher is responsible for your child’s teaching and learning.  Initially support teachers will be providing in-class support.  Standardised testing will be done on the whole school early in September & further testing  after that on those who need it.   We are doing this to find out where your child is at in terms of learning after the extended school closure.    From the beginning of term we wil  teach the children how to  use SeeSaw  (Infants) & Google classroom (1st class upwards).  Homework will be delivered online as should we have to lockdown again, we want the children to be very comfortable with online learning tools. 

Unfortunately due to Covid-19 we can no longer allow parents to enter the school building unless by appointment. There is a process for organising meetings and you must give at least 3 days of notice for a meeting.

The best way to describe pods and bubbles is the folowing. A pod is the new name for a group and a Bubble is the new name for a classroom. 

If you are worried about your child sitting in a particular pod, please contact their teacher directly. Teachers’ emails are generally their first name @carloweducatetogether.ie. If it doesn’t work, please email Siobhán and she’ll get you in touch.

There are two reasons that the Department of Education are recognising for not sending your child back to school. 

  • Child is in the Very High Risk Category
  • Any Other Reason

For the former, you will need to get a letter to the school from your treating medic to send to us to state your child is in the very high risk category and won’t be returning to school for this reason. We will then allocate a teacher to work with your child.

For all other reasons, we are unable to support your child’s learning at this time. This is not because we don’t want to but because we have received absolutely no extra supports from the government in order to be able to work with children who are remaining at home. While we may not be happy with this, unfortunately, our SET support is already being stretched to beyond its capacity and we really have no way around it.

We won’t be able to send materials home but your child will be able to interact online, where possible, on Google Classroom or SeeSaw. 

If you would like your child’s book sent home to you, this can be arranged upon receipt of payment of school fees.

There is no need for you child to bring a school bag to school as we will have everything ready for them. However, sometimes children will need to bring in items, for example, an inhaler, an alternative lunch, a phone, sanitary items, etc. Children can also bring in a bottle of water. Please make sure to advise them not to share this bottle with anyone.

If your child has asthma, it is likely that the winter months, in particular, may be difficult as some of the symptoms of asthma can be similar to COVID19. 

The best way to work here is to let your teacher know about your child’s asthma and ensure that he/she has an inhaler in school and ensure that you fill in our administration of medicine form. (ask Siobhán to send you this)

The Asthma Society have a good checklist to help you out and it’s well worth sharing this with your child’s teacher. 

MORE OF YOUR QUESTIONS

This is the webinar Simon gave to all families around the Reopening of Schools. There are lots of questions and answers to be found!