We look forward to welcoming your children back after the Christmas break tomorrow. As you know, cases of Covid-19 are very high within the community setting nationally and this is a big challenge for our school to overcome.
The following is information forwarded by the Department of Education and is relevant as we return to the school setting.
1) Before attending school:
Symptoms – Please do not to attend school if you have any symptoms of Covid-19 infection.
See link for symptoms
It is advised that parents 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 - If you 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. Children under 13 years who are household close contacts must restrict their movements for 14 days and they are offered PCR testing at day 0 and day 10. On receipt of a day 10 not-detected PCR test result, they may exit restricted movements.
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) What to do when a confirmed case of Covid-19 arises that is connected with the school:
It is inevitable that cases of Covid-19 will arise in schools when they reopen, just as they are currently arising in the community. It is recommended that schools implement the infection prevention and control measures above. Please inform the school if your child tests positive for Covid-19 so others can be informed.
When multiple cases of Covid-19 arise in a class or school, those cases should be excluded and the children in the same pod as the case are offered antigen tests. If there is a second case outside the pod of the first case, all children and staff in the class are offered antigen tests. Those children and staff do not need to be excluded from school unless they develop symptoms or have a positive antigen test.
If the case was not in the school setting whilst infectious, then the school will not need to take any action because there is no significant risk that the case has spread the infection in the school setting.
It is important to follow all public health guidelines with regard to mask wearing and social distancing and we would ask that parents would both drop and collect as efficiently as possible.
We will continue to wash hands and sanitise as normal. Daily cleansing of surfaces will also continue. Windows will remain open to allow for good ventilation and children are allowed to wear coats or body warmers as well as extra layers if they wish.
HEPA air cleaners have been ordered for each classroom and are due to arrive in the coming week.
It must be noted, given that staffing is currently an issue in all areas, and that in the event that manpower is not available, some classes may have to be sent home. We would hope this does not happen and all options for sub-cover would be explored prior to this. If the school is then in a position to, remote teaching and learning would be provided. Children in younger classes and those with special needs would be given priority for in-person teaching as they are considered less able to adapt to remote teaching and learning.
This is a very challenging time and we hope that we can stay safe and work together for the safest and best possible experience for the children.