Communication for parents/guardians/students in relation to COVID-19 measures – Reopening January 2022.
I hope you had a nice Christmas break and may I take this opportunity to wish you and your family a very happy new year in 2022. I hope that you have had a safe and enjoyable break.
As you may be aware, the Minister for Education Norma Foley TD, confirmed yesterday that schools will fully reopen tomorrow, Thursday 6 January 2022. In this regard, we look forward to welcoming all of our students back to school tomorrow.
In advance of the return of all staff and students tomorrow, below are a few updates, reminders and requests.
Public Health advice: Infection prevention and Control Measures.
School Principals have been asked to bring the following information to the attention of all parents, guardians and students.
1) Before attending school:
Symptoms – Please note that all students are advised not to attend school if they have any symptoms of Covid-19 infection. Symptom profiles are available here and we advise parents to take a precautionary approach, particularly for children less able to articulate their symptoms, that if a child appears unwell, observe them at home and contact their GP as appropriate.
Close contacts – All students are reminded that if they have been told by the HSE services that they are a close contact of a case of Covid-19, they need to adhere to the advice on the HSE website in relation to restricted movements and testing.
It is important that anyone who has been identified as a close contact, is very aware of COVID-19 symptoms, and isolate and undergo testing should they develop any symptoms.
2) Re-enforcing general public health messages
In addition to ensuring that staff and children do not attend school if they have any symptoms of Covid-19 infection, I would like to remind everyone of the continued importance of abiding by the national public health measures currently in place at all times e.g. vaccination (including boosters), social distancing, use of face masks, hand hygiene, ventilation and minimising social
Contacts. To date our students have been excellent in working with us through these measures. Once again I will be seeking your support as parents and also the continued cooperation of your sons and daughters to keep our school community safe.
Public health guidelines still need to be followed to protect the health of pupils and staff, these include:
- Wearing face coverings
- Cleaning hands regularly
- Maintaining physical distance from others
- Being mindful of the ventilation of classrooms by opening windows and doors as appropriate
Contacting/visiting the school
Access to the school by parents and guardians will be far more restricted while we live through the current phase of this pandemic. The advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) makes it clear that schools must restrict access to the campus outside of students and staff. Only in very exceptional circumstances should students be collected from school during the day. Appointments for students should be made outside of the school timetable if possible.
If you need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us at the school via this email address firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do all we can to address your query as soon as possible.
Examination Students – Students in Sixth Year and Third Year
We are especially mindful of the disruption to students in Sixth Year and Third Year regarding the Leaving Certificate and Junior Certificate examinations.
Our school is represented at national level at the Stakeholder Group meetings with the Department of Education by Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board, and we will ensure that challenges that arise will be addressed by the group.
The State Examinations Commission has been requested to look at all of the timelines and elements of the practical examinations, submission of project work and the oral examinations. You will get more information about this in time via its website and we will communicate any updates to students and yourself as we are appraised of same: www.examinations.ie.
Students facing examinations are asked to keep focused and to keep working in preparation for the exams. More details will be forthcoming in the near future regarding the Leaving Certificate and Junior Certificate examinations and we will bring this information to your attention without delay.
We are all aware that there has been a significant recent deterioration in all of the key disease indicators (case numbers, hospital admissions, etc.) arising from the impact of Omicron – the latest variant of the virus which is far more infectious than the previous variants.
We know from the experience of other sectors over the last two weeks (Health, An Garda Síochána, retail and commercial) that there is pressure to maintain normal service due to higher numbers of staff testing Covid positive, deemed as Close Contacts or requiring to self-isolate. Education and schools are not immune to this either.
As a contingency measure, if we are presented with the scenario of exceptionally high levels of staff absenteeism, there may be periods when the school will only be able to open for certain year-groups if there is not enough staff on-site to comply with Health and Safety requirements.
We will only know if the school has adequate staffing from day to day, and we would appreciate your understanding in this regard.
You will receive a text message from the school prior to 9.00 pm if your child’s year-group is required to stay at home.
- We look forward to welcoming all students back tomorrow.
- Please note that students are advised not to attend school if they have any symptoms.
- All students are reminded that if they have been told by the HSE services that they are a close contact of a case of Covid-19, they need to adhere to the advice on the HSE website in relation to restricted movements and testing.
- In the event of high staff absences some year groups or classes may be asked to remain at home. In the event of this happening, further communications will issue.
As always, please be assured that we are working as hard as we can to ensure continuity of education and systems of support for our students. As a parent, you can assist in the current situation by establishing a routine, supporting student learning and reinforcing the importance of adhering to all public health advice. If you have suggestions or feel there is more that can be done, please email me.
Thanking you for your continued support.