MESSAGE FROM MS DEENEY
20th August 2021
Dear Parents/ Guardians,
We hope you and your families are well and have enjoyed a restful summer.
Preparations are under way for the safe return of all of our students for the new academic year using the recently updated Department of Education “Covid -19 Response Plan for the safe and sustainable operation of Post Primary Schools”
Every effort will be made to minimise the risk to our school community, to support pupil and staff wellbeing and to continue with excellent teaching and learning when our school reopens later this month.
As has been the case throughout the pandemic, the reopening will be carried out in close consultation with Public Health and the education partners. Schools have been advised that they should continue to operate with the current infection prevention and control measures in place to support their safe operation during COVID-19.
Public Health has stated that the new variants of the disease do not change the infection prevention and control measures required in schools. The evidence available from the operation of schools during Covid-19 to date shows that schools are low risk environments due to the infection prevention and control measures in place.
Additional resources have been provided by the Department of Education to assist with the safe reopening of schools. The provision of CO2 monitors for every school will be an important tool in keeping our schools safe in addition to the mitigation measures already in place.
The Department is conducting a communications campaign with parents and students/pupils in advance of school reopening to remind us of the arrangements in place in schools operating during Covid-19 https://www.portmarnockcommunityschool.ie/?page_id=11727
This information is particularly useful for pupils entering post-primary schools to ensure they are familiar with the new arrangements.
We look forward to welcoming our first year students at this exciting time of transition and change for them. They will settle in over time, as they get used to secondary school life and our school safety routines.
In order to support student wellbeing, where possible, students are encouraged to walk or cycle to school. We would also value the support of families in ensuring that where practicable and safe, students living locally go home, to their own homes, for lunch. All students are asked to bring a packed lunch and break time snack as the normal canteen service will not be available until further notice. We hope to resume a limited canteen service during the month of September. We will keep you informed of developments as they occur.
In line with Public Health Advice, the implementation of regular and enhanced cleaning routines in school to manage risk, has already commenced and will continue, once term starts, throughout the school day. Sanitiser dispensers are installed in every classroom and at other key, high traffic points such as entrances and exits for each year group. Cleaning of high-touch points and surfaces will also be performed professionally during the school day.
To support you in this we will permit students to come to school in clean, plain PE gear on their timetabled PE day. Uniform jackets remain the ONLY jacket that students are permitted to wear to and from school. This continues to apply to days on which PE gear is being worn. Non-uniform jackets will be confiscated in line with our Code of Behaviour.
We would ask that families use the remaining time before the start of term, to ensure that your son/ daughter has their full uniform, including school jacket and plain black leather look shoes as per regulations. The full Appearance Policy is available on our website and we would be grateful if you would review this with your son/ daughter in preparation for the return to school.
The HSE COVID-19 Interim Guidance on the use of face-coverings in childcare and educational settings now recommends that teachers, staff and students attending secondary schools wear a face-covering when a physical distance of 2 meters from other staff or students cannot be maintained. We are therefore recommending that all pupils, staff and visitors to our school wear a face covering similar to those that are currently mandatory in other indoor settings. Provision will be made for pupils and members of staff for whom this safety measure presents a difficulty. Each student must bring their own clean mask with them to school every day.
We will all need to continue to work together as a school community to minimise the impact of Covid 19. With this in mind we remind you that if any student is currently affected by Government Advice following return from international travel, please inform the relevant Year Head.
NO STUDENT SHOULD ATTEND SCHOOL IF THEY OR ANY MEMBER OF THEIR FAMILY HAVE SYMPTOMS OF COVID 19.
As communication will be key in the coming months:
- Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to inform us if any of your contact details have changed.
- Please email the relevant member of staff (see below) if your child is in a high-risk group and has been certified by a doctor as being unable to return to school:
1st & 2st years: Ms Molamphy Deputy Principal
3nd & TY years: Mr Clarke Deputy Principal
5th year (Year Head) Ms Norris email@example.com
6th year (Year Head) Mr Redmond firstname.lastname@example.org
(Please also check the school website, Twitter and Facebook pages regularly)
Further information specific to your son/daughter’s year group will be sent to you next week.
I hope that you and your families enjoy these final weeks of the summer holidays.