Glenealy School Newsletter

14th May 2020

Message from Chris

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

I hope this message finds you all well and that you have had a good week.

You will hopefully have seen the message from ESF yesterday regarding our return to school site.

I am very pleased to be able to provide additional details about the school’s plans to get children back in school.

Meeting the EDB Guidelines and Return to School

As a school, we are working to ensure we can meet the EDB guidelines on physical distancing in class, whilst ensuring children have as positive a learning experience as possible.

We have submitted plans to the EDB for approval, but I wanted to write to you so you can begin to prepare for the return to school. The EDB have put in place a wide range of expectations for schools to follow if they are to reopen their doors to students. In particular there is a requirement that schools adhere to the 1.0 metre distance between children in the classroom. As such, much as we would like to bring the whole school back together, at the same time, for the remainder of the year - this will not be possible under these guidelines. However, in order to meet the very strict criteria and gain approval from the EDB to be opened, we will be able to offer a 50% ‘in school learning’ and 50% ‘at home learning’ delivery model for all our children.

We have decided the best way to manage this EDB requirement is the following:

  • Offer children full days at school.

  • Provide every year group with a chance to be in school regularly to learn

  • Allow all children to see their friends in their whole class

  • Enable children to enjoy school, while being physically distanced according to the guidelines.

Taking into account these benefits, children will learn on a ‘day in school’ followed by a ‘day of home learning’ pattern. Children will be taught for the full day when in school. For each individual class, the children will be spread across two class rooms, in order to gain the physical distance required. Each day, we will, in effect, be spreading 6 classes across 12 class rooms. Our classes are joined in the middle with a large gap, and this will allow the teacher and EA to creatively teach across the one much larger space and meet the needs of children flexibly.

When children are learning from home we will maintain the distance learning approach.

Please note - the day plan tables below are subject to EDB approval.

You can find the days your child will be learning on the school site in the tables below. You will notice the first week of school times is different to the ‘day in school/day out of school’ pattern. This is because the EDB require a ‘phased’ return on the first couple of days in school.

Day Plan for Year Groups - What day will my child be on the school site learning?

On the days where children are not at school, your child will continue to be learning through our distance learning model which is currently taking place. Please note - the below is subject to approval from the EDB.

Children will learn on the school site on the following days:

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Health and Preventative Measures

During the in school day, classes will be distanced, and lunches will be held observing social distancing in the hall.

Our children’s health is our first priority. We recognise that many parents will feel a sense of anxiety about sending their children back to school. We will be putting in place a range of necessary measures to meet the EDB requirements and keep our children safe. I will write to you at the start of next week to provide more detail around our arrangements, but I want to begin by giving you an idea about some of the restrictions that will be in place:

  • All children and staff will wear masks in school. This will be mandatory.

  • There will be home temperature checks in addition to temperature checks on arrival.

  • A designated area for children to be dropped off in school

  • A separate temporary eating area (in The Centre).

We will provide full, and more specific details of the return to school on Monday next week. This will include information about drop off times and protocols for picking children up.

We are keen to ensure the children have as positive an experience as possible, within the guidelines provided and we will also seek ways to prepare children for these protocols over the coming week.

I want to thank you all for your continued support across this period of distance learning and am very much looking forward to seeing our children return to the school site.

Best Regards,