St Mary's Holy Faith Killester

Letter to Parents regarding the reopening of St. Mary's

17-August-20
Letter to Parents regarding the reopening of St. Mary's

August 17th 2020

RE: Re-opening of St. Mary’s Holy Faith Secondary School

Dear Parent/Guardian

We hope you and your families are keeping well at this time. After several months of remote teaching and learning as well as a summer break, we are writing today to share some information with you about the plans that we are making for the safe return to school of our students and staff. We would ask you to read this letter carefully as it outlines new and important protocols that will impact your daughter and you as a parent/ guardian in the coming year. We aim to make the return to school as positive and smooth as possible and we are very excited to welcome our students back to the school. The health and safety of students and teachers will remain our primary focus in these extraordinary times and we know that our students and teachers will work hard to reengage with coursework and make up for any ground lost during ‘lockdown.’

The plans outlined in this letter are guided by a large number of documents/guidelines which are continually being published/revised by the DES (Department of Education & Skills) such as The Covid-19 Response Plan and Reopening Our Schools – The Road map for the Full Return to School.The guidance developed by the Department of Education, is based on two main principles:

  • Minimising risk of introduction of infection into the school (through exclusion of pupils, staff members and visitors who are ill)
  • Managing risk of spread in the following ways: regular hand hygiene; maintaining physical distancing; application of respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette; and environmental hygiene.

The public health advice makes clear that: “the most critical part of managing the risks of COVID-19 related to schools is doing everything practical to avoid introduction of COVID-19 into the school. If the infection is not introduced it cannot spread”. In terms of maintaining physical distancing, measures fall into two broad categories:

  1. Increasing separation; 2 metre if possible, otherwise 1 metre with face coverings.
  2. Decreasing interaction between students themselves, between students and staff and between staff when they are together.

Other changes that we will implement are included in the guidance below:

Symptoms of Coronavirus

  • Students and staff must stay at home if they feel unwell or have any of the symptoms of Covid-19 or if they have been abroad in the last 14 days
  • The school has established an isolation room in the main building and a link teacher who will oversee this in case students/staff present with any symptoms/illness throughout the school day

School Infrastructure and reconfiguration

  • We have a spacious building and extensive outdoor grounds and we will therefore be able to implement a minimum of 1M separation in all rooms.
  • Reconfiguration of class spaces and indeed all available space in the school to maximise physical distancing has taken place
  • Base classes will,to a large extent,be located in classrooms and teachers will move between classes
  • Zoning of the school building according to year group where possible e.g. year classrooms housed on the same corridor and will use the same stairs
  • Seating arrangements will be decided by Year Heads and subject teachers to minimize interaction (within base classes and between classes in options)
  • A one-way system will operate to and from the prefabs and in the main building
  • Outdoor areas will be zoned and students will exit and enter the building on a phased basis.

Cleaning

  • The school has been deep cleaned by a professional cleaning company. All cleaning guidelines provided by the DES have been followed
  • Additional cleaning hours have been secured for the new term to provide enhanced cleaning regimes, especially for surfaces that are frequently touched
  • The school will be cleaned thoroughly each day and surface cleaner will be applied before each lesson
  • Practical lessons will take place safely and equipment will be sanitised before use by the next group of students.

Personal Protective Equipment

  • An order has been placed for signage, PPE, hand sanitiser, sanitising stations…etc. in accordance with the governments framework which was published on Monday (10/08/20). All schools have to use the nominated suppliers
  • All students will wear face coverings (masks) each day as it will not be possible to ensure a 2-meter distance at all times
  • Students should bring their own plain face mask (unless exempt), wipes and a small bottle of hand sanitiser. The school will have a backup of supplies but it will not be possible to provide masks for every single student each day
  • Students will sanitise their work areas (desks and chairs) upon arrival from a different classroom
  • Hand sanitisation will take place routinely at the start and end of each lesson. Hand sanitising stations will be placed in each room and along corridors

Changes for students

  • Students should not arrive at school before 08:30 am each day and only by the entry assigned to them.
  • Upon arrival, students must proceed to their allocated timetabled class room
  • Doors of classrooms will be left open. Supervision will be provided in each zone from 08:30am.
  • All lockers have been cleared and cleaned, however, we regret that we cannot provide a locker facility at this time due to the risk of congregation.Alternative solutions will be considered e.g. a box storage, use of mobile phones for 'screen-shotting' text books.
  • Until further notice, there will not be a canteen service.A meeting has taken place with the canteen provider regarding the possibility of introducing a limited service (further information will be provided once known). In the meantime, students are encouraged to bring their own lunch and drink each day.
  • Toilets are zoned according to room location
  • Students should not shake hands or hug their friends to prevent the spread of the virus
  • Students should read about hand washing etiquette on the school website
  • Students must remain in their allocated base room at lunch time and break time. Students will be encouraged to go outside at break times (weather permitting)
  • Students will be permitted to wear tracksuits on PE days only as changing facilities will not be available at this time
  • All students will receive training in preventing Covid-19 and also in the use of Office 365 (email, MS Teams, One Note etc.) in case of school closures
  • The school will engage with the Student Council and Student Voice Committee to get their feedback on the back to School Response Plan and it will be amended where appropriate.
  • Walking and cycling to school is encouraged and new bicycle racks will be provided.
  • Resources have been collated for SPHE lessons to facilitate the transition of students back into school
  • Students should bring their own bottled water to school as the water fountain cannot be used at this time.

Information for Parents

  • As per the calendar on the school website www.holyfaith.ie and in line with Department of Education guidance, students will return to school on a phased basis.
  • Students should not arrive at school before 08:30 am each day and only by the entry assigned to them. We would be grateful of your co-operation in observing traffic calming measures at the entrance at Brookwood Meadow. This to allow sufficient space for students to stay 2M apart.
  • In line with guidelines from the DES, access to the school (except for students & staff) must be pre-approved by the Principal. A Request for Access form has been developed for any visitor/parent/contractor looking to access the school building for any reason. This is necessary to restrict and monitor access for contact tracing. Where possible, phone calls and online meetings should take place
  • We regret that parents/guardians will not be able to drop forgotten items books, lunches, water bottles…etc.) into the school under any circumstances. Please reassure students that it is not the end of the world if they forget something!
  • The answering of phones in the school office may not always be possible if a number of students/staffwho present with Covid-19 symptoms or illness. The school admin staff will prioritise students/staff who present with symptoms and therefore it may not be possible to answer phones at all times. Parental understanding and co-operation is greatly appreciated at this time
  • All students must have an Emergency Contact on their file in case a parent/guardian is not contactable. Please advise us as a matter of priority if any of your contact details have changed
  • If your daughter has travelled abroad to any country that is not included on the government's green list, you must inform the school and fill in a self declaration form to confirm that you have fulfilled the mandatory self isolation time before returning to school. You can download the self declaration form HERE.
  • All student appointments (dental, medical, wellbeing…etc.) should be arranged for after school, where possible. Parents/guardians should not present at the school to sign a student out/in for appointments. If an appointment is really important and cannot be scheduled for outside of school time, then the student should stay at home on that day.
  • Only parents/guardians who have been contacted by the office to collect a student who is not feeling well are allowed to call to the school to minimise the risk to all.
  • Unfortunately, it is highly likely that there is likely to be a reduction in extra-curricular activities and off-site visits
  • The HSE has responsibility for informing close contacts of those who test positive for Covid-19
  • Updates and information will be updated on the school website as we receive it.

Policies

A Covid-19 policy statement and risk assessment has been completed and will be available on our designated Covid-19 section on the school website (under About Us).

Transition Year

The TY Coordinator is currently reviewing plans and looking at alternative options for TY 2020-2021. Further information will be provided to students after commencement. Don’t be concerned, it will be great!

Re-opening the school safely will require the co-operation of all members of our whole school community; students, staff, parents/guardians, community groups. We want to assure all parents/guardians and students that plans and preparations are advancing well for reopening St. Mary’s Holy Faith Secondary School, Killester. We are really looking forward to welcoming our students and staff back to school and will be doing all that we can to ensure that the return to school is a safe and enjoyable experience.

Thanking you in advance

__________________________ ___________________________

Evelyn McLoughlin (Principal) Clare Gilligan (Deputy Principal)

Sep 28
2020
School Closure
Oct 05
2020
SMILE Week
Oct 08
2020
Parents Association AGM - POSTPONED
Oct 12
2020
Literacy Week
Brookwood Meadow, Killester, Dublin 5
01 831 0963
Le Chéile Schools Trust
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