Mountrath Community School

Letter to parents,Guardians and students 21st August 2020


21st August 2020
Dear Parents, Guardians and students,
This is an update on the work being done in the school to ensure the safe return of students and staff. Everybody has been working very hard to ensure that we have a very safe and clean environment. We are trying our best to ensure the safety of everyone in the school community. We know that there is a lot of anxiety around and it does not help that the situation is changing daily. We know that we are looking at a model of blended learning this year. However, we proved when lockdown first happened what we were all capable of and we can do this again. In the meantime we would like to hear from you what you are worried about/looking forward to and if there is anything you need please let us know. We will then work on a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ documents to give the answers to everyone at the same time.
This is just a sample of some of the work that has been done.

  • We have emptied the classrooms of shelves and presses to ensure more space for social distancing.
  • We have ordered a 40ft by 17ft Shed to store the now surplus furniture.
  • Teachers have come in and taken material home.
  • We had a shredding lorry on school premises to get rid of paper as handouts will not be allowed. This took 4 hours of nonstop shredding.
  • We have ordered PPE gear for every room.
  • We have adapted a room for an overflow staffroom.
  • We have completely revamped the timetable.
  • We have put up Perspex where needed.
  • Every inch of the school has been sanitiser.
  • 160 hand sanitisers have been installed.
  • Signage will be put up next week.

We would like to pay tribute to Seamus and his team, Will Kerr, the office staff and all the teachers who have gone above and beyond over the last few weeks.

At this point in the year we would usually congratulate our students on their Leaving Certificate results. These will be available to the Leaving certs on 7th Sept. They will be delivered digitally to the students. We wish them all well for the future.
And so a new start begins….

  • Start Back schedule, Calendar, Tutor list
  • One hour classes
  • Staggered Break and Lunchtimes
  • Post Primary Induction training
  • Face covering protocol
  • Schedule of Further Guidance to Issue from the Department of Education.

Start back Schedule: The start-up schedule for the beginning of the new school year is still being finalised.
We have attached the calendar for the coming year. Students will begin to return on Mon 31st, starting with 1st yrs.
Monday the 31st
1st years
Induction and Covid Training
Meeting with Yearhead and tutor

Tuesday the 1st Sept
6th Years
Induction and Covid Training
Meeting with Yearhead and tutor

6th Years will continue to be taught online using Google Classroom as per TT for the rest of the week

Wednesday the 2nd Sept
5th Years
Induction and Covid Training
Meeting with Yearhead and tutor

Thursday the 3rd Sept
3rd years
Induction and Covid Training
Meeting with Yearhead and tutor

Friday the 4th Sept
2nd years and TY
Induction and Covid Training
Meeting with Yearhead and tutor

Monday the 7th September -
LCA 5 and 6
Induction and Covid Training
Meeting with Yearhead and tutor

One hour classes: We have changed to a one hour class timetable. This is to minimise the movement on the corridors during the day. Provisional timetables will be available on Compass as soon as possible and we will send a text message to let you know it’s up.
There will be no canteen facilities for the foreseeable future. Students must bring their own lunches and drinks and water fountain and taps cannot be used.
Masks/Face Coverings: Cloth face coverings act as a barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from travelling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the face covering coughs, sneezes, talks or raises their voice. Cloth face coverings are therefore intended to prevent transmission of the virus from the wearer (who may not know that they are infected) to those with whom they come into close contact. It is therefore a requirement that teachers, staff and students attending post primary schools wear a face covering when a physical distance of 2m from other staff or students cannot be maintained. In certain situations the use of clear visors should be considered, for example staff interacting with students with hearing difficulties or learning difficulties. All students on the post primary transport scheme should be asked to wear face coverings unless there is a good reason not to do so.
Cloth face coverings should not be worn by any of the following groups:

  • Any person with difficulty breathing
  • Any person who is unconscious or incapacitated
  • Any person who is unable to remove the face-covering without assistance
  • Any person who has special needs and who may feel upset or very uncomfortable wearing the face covering, for example persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities, mental health conditions, sensory concerns or tactile sensitivity.

We will be providing clear visors for every staff member and every student.
Students also need to bring their own face covering/mask on a day-to-day basis.

Schedule of Further Guidance to Issue from DES
The Department has committed that further guidance will issue prior to the reopening of schools:
1. Assessment Arrangements for the Certificate Examinations 2021.
2. Guidance for certain practical subject areas.
3. Guidance on supports for students in the Very High Risk Category who cannot return to school.
4. Steps required to be taken by schools in addressing a case or suspected case of Covid–19 in school.
5. Centralised Communication Materials for Parents and Students (schools should continue to communicate with parents and students on the reopening of schools – this is additional material to support the work of schools.)
We wait in anticipation of these guidelines.

We look forward to seeing our students and to working in school with them again. Together we have risen to the challenge of the past few months, we have supported each other and have made huge professional developments which have impacted positively on the teaching and learning of all of our school community. It has not been easy, and the immediate future will throw a lot more challenges our way but the resilience and creativity you have shown inspires the confidence that we will manage whatever comes our way. We will not always get it right, it will not be perfect but with continued parental and collegial support we will make the best of it.
Kind Regards,
Siobhán McCarthy Monica White Denis Boland

Dysartbeigh, Mountrath, Co Laois, Ireland.
057 8741 080
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