14th August 2020
We’re delighted to be able to write to you today about returning to school! We hope you are all safe and well. The last few months have been a challenging time for all of us. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those who have suffered a loss or bereavement during the ongoing pandemic, especially those in our school community.
Today however there is an opportunity for positivity as the process of reopening the school for our students is well underway. Naturally, in the circumstances, school will be quite a different experience for students, staff and parents.
We are really disappointed that we have to tell you that due to the Covid 19 crisis the delivery of our new building has been delayed once again. A significant amount of time was lost at the beginning of the global pandemic and changes to work practices since our builders’ return to work have slowed the pace of progress. We do not now expect to be in a position to occupy the new building until early 2021. We also expect to be able to open our new main entrance in early 2021. We appreciate the efforts and commitment in really challenging circumstances by all the stakeholders in this project. We will keep you updated on the progress of both these projects in the months ahead.
Aside from a number of works ongoing in relation to Covid-19 preparations including a thorough deep clean of the entire building, our staff have done extraordinary work on our school building over the summer:
- The vast majority of the school has been painted white to add much needed light to our space
- The downstairs ceiling and lighting has also been replaced with a new brighter white ceiling
- Minor structural repairs have been completed to the General Purpose Area
- A new state of the art fire safety and alarm system has been installed
- Our entire wired and wireless network/internet infrastructure has been replaced and upgraded
- Infrastructure has been installed for a new 64 camera CCTV system.
Book Rental Scheme
We have taken delivery over the summer of approximately 10,000 new textbooks and our staff have been working extremely hard to process these new books so they are ready to be assigned to students on their return over the coming weeks.
Covid-19 – Returning to School
We trust you will have monitored the various documents released by the Department of Education and Skills (DES) over the last number of weeks in relation to reopening schools. In that time, our staff have been working extremely hard to get the school ready for the very different school environment that the present public health emergency dictates.
The most important consideration for the school – for all students, staff and parents – on our return to school is the health, safety and wellbeing of our students, our staff and our families so that the highest quality learning and teaching can take place in the safest possible learning environment.
With this in mind, a number of important things must be borne in mind:
- Students and staff must be physically distant by as much as possible at all times.
- Students, in general, will be moving around the campus as little as possible.
- Standards of cleanliness and hygiene must be high and strictly adhered to at all times.
In order to achieve these crucial objectives, we must all work together in a spirit of positivity and common cause to adapt to these new working and learning challenges.
Over the last number of weeks and in the remaining period before students return, our staff have been and will continue to be hard at work preparing the school building for the changes these principles will bring to our daily routine.
During students’ first days back in school, we will work intensively with them to educate and train them in the realities of this new normal and we trust we will have your full support in this.
In particular, it may be helpful for you to begin talking to and helping to prepare your son/daughter for some of the changes they should expect when they return to school, including:
- Students will be room-based, and students should expect to spend much of their time in school at the same desk in the same room.
- Students will be expected to maintain physical distance from each other at all times, including when outside at break and lunch times.
- Students will not have access to lockers, but instead will be provided with a storage box to be located underneath their desk.
- Students will be required to wear a Face Mask at all times when in the school building, except when eating or drinking. Students will be expected to bring their own Face Mask to school, one that is plain in design/colour and that does not contain logos/images/patterns.
These past months have brought unique challenges and hardships to the lives of our students, and we look forward to working alongside you in the months ahead to support and nurture their emotional as well as their physical wellbeing.
What do I need to do to get ready for back to school?
Alongside your normal back to school preparations there are some extra items that your child should have with them:
- A Face Mask that fastens by the ears or at the back of the head (scarves/snoods are not acceptable). Face masks should fit securely to the sides of the face, have at least 2 layers of fabric and allow for unrestricted breathing.
- A small personal bottle of hand sanitiser (hand sanitising stations will also be available in each room).
- Pocket size disposable tissues and hand wipes.
Students/Parents at higher risk from Covid-19
If your son/daughter is at higher risk from Covid-19 (see HSE advice here) please let us know as soon as possible by filling in the form using the button below:
Return to School Dates
The full return to school will be staggered over a longer time than usual to allow time and space for students and staff to get used to a different way of working in school, particularly our new 1st year students. On their first day back, each Caomnhóir group will arrive at separate assigned times.
We will be in contact with parents by text next week to inform you of the assigned time slot for your son/daughter’s first day back.
The schedule is as follows:
|Wednesday 26th August||Cinnirí Only|
|Thursday 27th August||6th Year only - Study Skills Workshops|
|Friday 28th August||6th Year only|
|Monday 31st August||1st Year and 6th Year only|
|Tuesday 1st September||2nd Year and 6th Year only|
|Wednesday 2nd September||3rd Year and 6th Year only|
|Thursday 3rd September||5th Year/TY and 6th Year only|
|Friday 4th September||All Students|
Click/tap the button below for the school calendar for 2020-21. Please note, events on the calendar are subject to change.
Student Direct Contributions
If you have yet to pay the final installment of your student direct contribution for the coming year, we would ask that you do so as a matter of urgency using Way2Pay.
Families experiencing financial hardship should make contact with the Principal directly.
We know and understand that you will have many questions and concerns about the return to school. We hope you can appreciate that this is about as busy a time in school as there has ever been and we are doing our very best to respond to specific queries as best we can but that the lion’s share of our time and effort at the moment is being poured into the myriad tasks needed to prepare for our students’ return in a couple of weeks’ time.
We ask you to trust that the school will be as safe and welcoming a space as it is humanly possible to make it for our students. We have missed them enormously and we just can’t wait to have them back with us once again.
We will be in contact with you again next week with the assigned time slot for your son/daughter’s return to school and a comprehensive guide to returning to school during Covid-19 that is currently being prepared. We should also point out that all our planning for returning to school comes with the proviso that it is subject to public health guidance.
With all our very best wishes,
Mr Meehan, Mr Connolly, Ms Kelly & Mr McCarthy