Roadmap for Return to School

Our Lady’s Grove

Dear Parents/Guardians,

We are looking forward to welcoming your child/ward to Our Lady’s Grove Secondary School, either for the first time, or on a returning basis on the week beginning the 24th of August. This has been an incredibly long period for you all, and our focus now is to reengage with purposeful teaching and learning in a safe and caring environment. The purpose of this communication is to bring you up to date with the latest government guidance and the actions of the school, anticipating these publications, over the last number of months.

On the 27th of July, the Government issued the “RoadMap for the Full Return to School”. Unfortunately, there is no zero-risk solution to returning to school considering the current global pandemic. The government’s framework acknowledges this, and guides schools on the principles of being balanced, common-sensical and practical. We all want to do what we can to minimise infection and to identify in advance potentially risky activities, practices or behaviours which could raise the risk level of the introduction of the virus into our school community.

The preventative health advice measures on personal and institutional behaviours has remained constant throughout this pandemic:

· Wash hands regularly

· Maintain physical distancing

· Follow respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette guidelines

· Maintain environmental hygiene

* Do not attend school if you feel unwell, have travelled abroad and not completed a 14 day quarantine, or have come into contact with a known or suspected case of Covid 19.

** Non-essential visits to the school by non-school personnel will not be permitted. Any visitors will be documented to aid potential contact tracing.

Summer Works in the school

Preparation for the return to school has been underway since April. A large process of cleaning and redecorating has been undertaken. New floors have been installed in most classrooms. This will help with ongoing cleaning and maintenance. Additional cleaning personnel have been sourced for the new academic year.

The school has already sourced automatic hand sanitizers, disinfectant foot baths, ionized door handles for main entrances, medical Fogger Machine, Perspex screens for public areas and large quantities of disinfectant and hand sanitizer gel. The school has also procured emergency first aid materials for dealing with suspected cases.

A new central procurement service will allow the school to increase its stock of these products and to procure further materials in line with the perceived needs of the school community.

Wellbeing of the Community

As a school community we are acutely aware of the impact of the closure of the school since the 12th of March. Safety of everyone in the community is paramount. We need to ensure this in a structured, calm, and informative manner so that all members of our community can avoid unnecessary and harmful levels of stress, anxiety, and worry. This practical and empathetic approach will be employed for all, with some additional supports for the few who may require it.

Work for August

A range of policies are in draft format and will need to be discussed with the school community. Further discussions around potential changes to timetabling, break times and movements around the school will take place amongst senior and middle leadership in advance of the opening of the school. Risk assessments will take place in each department to limit activities which might lead to an increased risk of the spread of infection. Ongoing works to provide outdoor space for students will continue with a completion date expected in mid-September.

Advice for Parents/Guardians

All students will experience an induction this year, which will include specific instruction and training around required behaviours during this pandemic. We would advise that students should carry a small bottle of personal hand sanitizer and a packet of anti-bacterial wet wipes when coming to school. All students should have a packet of tissues also.

At the end of each lesson work surfaces will be cleaned down by students on a rotational basis. All necessary cleaning and safety equipment will be provided for this. All public areas including corridors, stairwells and toilets will be cleaned continuously throughout the school day by our cleaning staff.

The Department will issue further guidance materials to both parents and students in advance of the return to school. These will emphasise public health and wellbeing information. It is our understanding that these will be sent to the school and we will communicate them to you.

Should you have individual health and safety concerns please do not hesitate to contact us at your convenience.

Warmest regards

Colm Dooley and Sonya Lyons

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