Dear Parents and Guardians,
We are now just a couple of days away from the children returning to school and we can’t wait to see them again.
At the moment, the staff are very busy implementing all of the procedures outlined in the Response Plan you were emailed last week. As you can imagine, this has been a massive undertaking in a very short period of time since we received Department advice and regained access to the school following summer construction work, however, I am delighted to say that everything is going to plan!
Since the last email you received, we have made further considerations about our procedures and have added to them to try and give additional clarity to parents and children. A copy of the most up to date plan is available at https://tetns.ie/covid-19/
As this situation is new to us all and as we haven’t had an opportunity to see the plan in motion the anticipation of returning to school with these new measures are daunting. Over the next couple of days we will send you pictures of how the school will look, how classrooms are set up, what area of the school your child will be in, in order to give you an idea of what you can expect.
In addition, I know some of you are apprehensive about the children’s entry into the school in the morning (considering it differs from their exit in the afternoon) and the reasons for that are as follows:
- Department guidelines are not to gather / line up children in groups at the beginning of the day. They should go directly to their classrooms.
- The choice to go by alphabetical order of surname is to ensure older siblings and younger siblings enter at the same time and there are no younger children left outside.
- All corridors and stairwells will be used simultaneously resulting in less congestion in individual corridors.
- More staff can be spread around the building to direct children to their rooms instead of supervising in the yard.
- This plan will be consistent for both dry days and wet days and will not need to change. Having different plans for both weather scenarios would be more confusing for the children.
- There will be staff managing the entry points, corridors and classrooms.
- Children will be asked to enter in single file / with another child from their family.
- The staff will encourage the children to keep their distance from the person in front of them whilst entering.
- The first few days will be the most difficult as we get used to a new routine but we will not rush things to keep to the timetable set out. We will take our time and make sure everything remains as calm as possible. After a few days the children will be used to the new procedure and entry will take less and less time.
The situation is not ideal and with big changes like this there is likely to be challenges however, with parents and teachers encouraging the children and promoting calm and sensible walking the children should get used to the change over the first few days.
We also appreciate that there may be some parents from our school who carpool and drop children from another household to school in the mornings. We know that this could cause a problem with surname entry and therefore, in that case these children can choose to enter together, if they cannot be supervised by an adult. More details on this are in the updated attachment.
We hope this makes sense and everyone will support us in trying to adopt these new procedures to ensure this run as smoothly as possible.
See you all on Wednesday morning and we will update you with some pictures of the school layout when we have it finished tomorrow.