21st August 2020:

Dear Parent/Guardian,

We are looking forward to the annual return to school in September. In the last two weeks you will have received communication from the school regarding the phased return of staff and pupils which is essential for the safeguarding of the entire school community. Yesterday each year group received enhanced details of the schedule for their specific class and year group. I wish to thank all of you who returned the google doc’s form re travel abroad and requirements of self isolation as requested. Your daughter can only return to school when this form is complied with.

All relevant details of correct procedures to follow to prevent the spread of Covid 19 in the school community are fully available on “gov.ie” and we ask, in this regard, that you keep yourself fully up to date with the gov.ie website as updates are added daily which give you official best practice guidelines to follow as distinct from personal opinions we hear expressed on various other media outlets.

In Scoil Mhuire Cork the following procedures will be followed.  We respectfully request that you read the operating procedures we have put in place in our school and that you take the time to discuss them fully with your daughter(s). 

Parent Guidelines:

 

  • Do not bring your daughter to school if she has symptoms of a viral respiratory infection or if there is someone in the household suspected or known to have COVID -19.
  • Please ensure contact numbers are up to date so that a parent can be contacted if your child exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 (or any other illness) while at school. Details can be updated by emailing info@scoilmhuirecork.ie
  • If exceptional circumstances arise that require you to enter the school building, a mask must be worn. Please sign in at the school office, confirm you have no symptoms of COVID -19, confirm you have not had contact with any person exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 and use the hand sanitiser provided.
  • All visitors to the school are asked to present at the window outside the main office and not to enter the office itself. A designated area has been assigned if items need to be left for student collection. Visitors to the school will be required to fill out a contact tracing log.
  • In line with government health guidelines, Management reserves the right to decline entry to students who have symptoms, or appear to have symptoms, of fever or respiratory tract infection. Management also reserves the right to isolate students who have symptoms, or appear to have symptoms, of COVID-19 while present in the school.
  • Parents visiting for a meeting with teachers should be by appointment only. It may be necessary for a parent to remain in their car until the teacher is ready to see them and in this case, please ensure you have your mobile phone with you. Where possible, it is preferable that these meetings take place online.
  • Physical distancing of 2 metres should be maintained while on the school premises.

Student protocols:

  • For the year, the school will move from teacher – based classrooms to student-based classrooms to reduce movement during the school day. All students will be assigned base classrooms. Year groups will be assigned to a specific floor of the school as much as possible. A seating plan will be developed for each class. Students will be required to comply with this plan at all times.
  • Each year group will be required to enter the school via a specified access point in the morning as follows:
  • First Year and Second Year- Side Door of Building No 1
  • Third Year and Fourth Year – Main entrance of Building No 2
  • Fifth Year – Main Entrance of Building No 2
  • Sixth Year – Through Verde House 
  • If a student develops signs or symptoms of COVID-19 while in school she must inform her teacher and/or the Office/Deputy/Principal as soon as possible. Throughout the school day, students will be required to maintain social distancing of 1 metre at all times and, if possible, 2 metres. Masks will be required at all times.
  • Social physical contact such as hand to hand greetings and hugs should not occur.
  • Appropriate and non-offensive Face coverings must be worn in class and in group settings. 5 reusable face coverings with at least two layers should be provided to allow them to be changed daily.
  • Students will be responsible for face coverings and for maintaining the cleanliness of their own desk/work area during the day and their return to school pack must contain a packet of anti-bacterial wipes.
  • Full school uniforms are to be worn as normal.
  • Students should exercise good hand hygiene and should wash and sanitise:
  • On arriving at school
  • Before eating or drinking
  • After using the toilet
  • After being outdoors
  • When hands are physically dirty
  • After coughing or sneezing by following the HSE Hand Hygiene posters as displayed throughout the school
  • Just one bag should be brought to school
  • Students will be responsible for adhering to the rules in relation to use of phones and other devices and are solely responsible for their safety.
  • Maximum occupancy of 2 people in areas such as toilets must be observed
  • Hand sanitiser stations must be used before entering the building and again before entering each classroom.
  • Lockers will not be provided this year. Students will keep some books at home for study and homework purposes and teachers will make every effort to minimise the number of books required in school each day.
  • As there will not be any sharing of equipment, please ensure students have all their school equipment with them daily.
  • The communal water fountains will not be accessible therefore students are asked to bring their own water in reusable bottles or buy a bottle at the school shop.
  • A one way system is in place for the school community. We will walk up the main staircase and down the back stairwell. Clearly labelled signs indicate the flow of foot traffic. Students will need to play their part in minimising movements during the day and maintaining a clean and orderly school environment. This includes ensuring that desks remain evenly spaced in classrooms throughout the school day.
  • Bags and personal possessions are not permitted on windowsills or other areas in order to facilitate regular cleaning.
  • Full arrangements for the provision of PE, Supervised Study and extra-curricular activities, including sports, will be provided at the start of term.

A staggered finish time for all 1st, 2nd and 4th years at 3.25pm to limit the numbers of students exiting the building at the same time:

  • 1st and 4nd years will finish at 3.25pm and exit through the main entrance of No 2
  • 2nd years will finish at 3.25pm and exit through the side door of No 1

3rd years, 5th years and 6th years will finish at 3.30pm:

  • 3rd years will exit through the main entrance of No 2
  • 5th years will exit through the main entrance of No 2 
  • 6th years will exit through Verde House

Health Protection Arrangements:

To adhere to Health and Safety Guidelines, Scoil Mhuire has:

  • Installed hand sanitizing stations at each entrance, outside each classroom and each communal meeting area such as offices, meetings rooms etc
  • Installed electronic hand towel dispensers in each bathroom
  • Created a contact Tracing Log in the school office
  • Displayed HSE posters on hand hygiene, Face Mask coverings, Covid 19 awareness and Symptom Awareness in each classroom, corridor and bathroom
  • Placed a one way system of foot traffic in the school with clearly labelled signposts
  • Reconfigured all classrooms to maximise social distance
  • Installed lecture style seating in classrooms where 1m Social Distancing cannot be achieved
  • Ensured all SMC students have a working SMC email address
  • Ensured all staff members have visors
  • Designated a self-isolation room on the ground floor for anyone who displays symptoms of Covid 19 during the school day which will be sanitized daily.
  • Compiled an induction programme for all year groups on their first day back
  • Created a Covid Response Plan which will be reviewed by all staff members on the 27th August and ratified by the Board of Directors
  • Sent a Return to School Questionnaire to all students
  • Send a Return to Work Questionnaire to all staff members
  • Created a comprehensive cleaning schedule which will be in operation during the school day in addition to after school.
  • Purchased an Antibacterial Misting Machine which will sanitize each classroom daily.
  • Created a staggered entrance system before school:
  • Created a staggered finish time and exit system at 3.25pm:
  •  
  • In this regard we will communicate via phone, email and school app. We cannot emphasise enough how important it is for us all to reduce the numbers of people, other than students and staff, in the school buildings.  Any, essential only, meetings with parents must be with prior agreement by management and scheduled accordingly. These will be at a minimum. We ask in this regard that you complete a brief checklist each evening re the following items which are needed daily by your daughter:-
  •  
  • Uniform (all required items to be brought by student)
  • Hygiene Bag
  • Lunch box in bag.
  • Minimum required books & Homework
  • Sports gear – day specific

If this is made a routine and is done properly each evening there will be no need to “hand in” any item for student collection. This will greatly help to reduce the numbers of additional people in the school building and will reduce the consequent risk of infection spreading to staff and students.

In conclusion

We cannot express strongly enough that each individual, taking personal responsibility and applying the highest standards of self care and proper hand hygiene etiquette is key to ensuring the elimination of the spreading of this virus. 

 

We ask you to ensure that the protocols and procedures we have in place in school are upheld in the wider social context in which your daughter and your family operate. Working together, with one united approach for the health and wellbeing of all will allow us all to return to normacy in time. In the interim we need to be vigilant and care for ourselves and one another.

Yours sincerely

_______________

Regina Butler

Principal