September Newsletter

A thuismitheoirí,

Welcome back to all the children of Glounaguillagh National School. We extend a very special welcome to our twenty Junior Infants. Our total enrolment at present is 147 students.

We welcome back Mrs. Emma Phelan who continues to job-share with Mrs. Doyle. We also welcome Ms. Deirdre Quirke who will be with us until Mid-Term when our new class teacher post will be fully sanctioned, all going well.

In truth, it is a new school year like no other. We worked diligently throughout the summer to prepare the school for the return of students and staff. As part of that process we made a number of changes to both our procedures and our classroom configurations in order to ensure that we are safeguarding all members of the school community to the best of our ability. We have made every effort to communicate all changes to parents as promptly as possible and will continue to do so as we review the effectiveness of our procedures on a daily basis. I want to thank the staff for their commitment to ensuring an excellent standard of teaching and learning in a much-changed environment for all. We are very fortunate to be in a position to have our school open once again and we must approach the year ahead with a positive attitude secure in the knowledge that by working together we can stay safe.

We would ask you to check the school website www.glounaguillaghns.ie regularly for up-to-date information. Each month the school newsletter will be available on the website and we would really encourage you to read it, so that you can get a flavour of all of the activities and events that are available for our students.

Dates for your diary:

Please find attached a school calendar for the year 2020/2021.

2020-2021 School Times:

  • The school opens each morning at 8.40am

  • Morning break takes place at 10:30am

  • Lunch break takes place at 12 noon

  • School finishes at 1.30pm each day for Infants

  • School finishes at 2.30pm each day for the rest of the school

Other dates to note:

Club Colours Day - Friday 25th September (Optional; Wear your GAA Club colours to school in support of Mid Kerry’s County Final on Saturday 26th September)

Contact the School:

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of and renewed our focus on public health and hygiene, and as a consequence we are more mindful of everything we touch on a daily basis and how easily viruses can spread. If you have a query the office may only be contacted via telephone 0669769402 or email glounaguillaghns@gmail.com. Please telephone or email the school with your query and it will be responded to as soon as possible. As part of our Covid-19 protocols we are making every effort to keep the number of visitors to an absolute minimum. We thank you for your co-operation and support.

The school will continue to use Aladdin to send whole-school text messages to inform parents of any important information/events. If you have changed your mobile number recently, please contact the office to update your number. We may, on occasion, need to contact you via phone-call during the day. Therefore it is vital that we have up-to-date mobile numbers and emergency contact numbers.

We will continue to send a monthly update email via Aladdin. If you need to change your email address for any reason please email the school office.

Covid-19 Protocols:

  • If a student is sick or has Covid-19-like symptoms he/she must not attend school. Parents /guardians are asked to inform the school as soon as possible. If any child is sick during the school day, we will simply contact parents/guardians and request that students be collected as soon as possible. There is a strict protocol in place if a student presents with Covid-19 symptoms.

  • Particular procedures will apply if a pupil in our school tests positive for Covid-19. If that were to occur, the Public Health Department of the HSE will carry out a Public Health Risk Assessment and will decide on the appropriate actions to be taken. The school does not have a direct role in this decision-making process.

  • The Public Health Risk Assessment may indicate that contract tracing is necessary. To facilitate this, the school may be asked to furnish the names and contact details of pupils (and their parents/guardians) who are close contacts of a confirmed case. If this information is requested by the Public Health Department of the HSE, the school will process the information in compliance with data protection laws. The information will be given in a secure manner, only to named individuals and only the information necessary for the contact tracing will be given. It is the HSE and not the school, who will carry out any necessary contact tracing.

  • Advice is to restrict the admission of visitors to the school. In this respect we will be introducing a policy of “no visitors without appointment” and we ask all parents/guardians to please respect this and not to come to the school. If you have a query please contact the school via telephone 0669769402 or email glounaguillaghns@gmail.com and your query will be responded to as soon as possible. We must also request that parents/guardians do not call to the school to leave items. A drop off box will be left outside the school during the school day for any forgotten items, lunches, etc. Please email/ring the school to inform us that an item is in the drop off box.

  • Return to School Protocol – When a child who has been sent home from school as a result of displaying symptoms of Covid-19 is ready to return to school we ask that parents confirm, prior to return to school, that they have sought the advice of their GP and followed any recommendations for testing and self-isolation that resulted from this consultation.

The beginning of the school year is timely to reiterate a number of points with which we would appreciate your co-operation:-

Uniforms:

Neat dress for school is very important. Please ensure that children wear the agreed uniform i.e. navy and white. Please ensure that jumpers are clearly labelled otherwise it is impossible to determine ownership. PE day will be on Fridays as always – On PE day, pupils wear their plain navy tracksuit and runners. Leggings are not appropriate for school. As the weather is unpredictable, make sure your child brings a coat/jacket with a hood to school each day.

Absence Notes:

While certain absences are unavoidable, such as when a child is sick, it is important to remember that the school must tell the statutory Educational Welfare Services of the Child and Family Agency if your child has missed 20 days or more in the school year. The school cannot allow any child who is displaying symptoms of Covid-19 or is generally unwell to attend school. Following an absence, it is essential that your child submits an absence explanation note. All families have been provided with a booklet of these. If you need a replacement booklet please let us know.

Lunches and Allergies:

We remind parents that fizzy drinks, chocolate, chocolate spread, biscuits, sweets, crisps and chewing gum are not permitted. Also due to allergies, kiwis and nuts or products containing nuts are not permitted in lunchboxes.

Book Bills:

Bills for your children’s books will be distributed shortly. We endeavour to keep these as low as possible by reusing as many books as possible from year to year, while still ensuring that your children have access to new and up-to-date material. the cost of your child's pupil personal accident insurance cover as well as a contribution to cover art/craft and photocopying costs for the coming year will be included in your book bill. This year, in light of Covid-19, we hope to make the move to cashless payments. The convenience of this system has huge benefits for parents as it eliminates the risk of students bringing cash/cheques with them to school and a receipt is issued immediately. We will keep you updated on developments.

Distribution of Notices:

The usual distribution of literature in classrooms regarding irish dancing classes, music lessons, etc. will not happen going forward. We will attach any such items to our monthly newsletter for your attention.

Parking:

We would ask parents to be please be mindful on approach to the school and to park responsibly when dropping your children to, and collecting from, school.

Regards,

Sinéad Pigott

Principal

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