Dear Parents & Students,
It is with great hope and optimism that we reach out to you today about returning safely to BCC. We the leadership and management team along with the teaching staff in Balbriggan Community College hope you are all well and are very much looking forward to welcoming all of our students back next week. We especially look forward to welcoming our incoming first year students and those of you who will be joining us in various year groups for the first time, Céad Míle Fáilte.
It has been almost six months since the abrupt school closure due to the covid 19 pandemic and as you would expect the school will return to will look considerably different than the one we left. A tremendous amount of work has been taking place over the summer months to prepare for the safe return of all our students and staff and numerous measures, procedures and protocols have been developed and introduced to respond to the challenging situation we are confronted with. We want to assure you that your safety and wellbeing was to the forefront consistently when making decisions around these measures, some of which are outlined here and will be explained fully to each tutor class as part of your induction as we reconnect next week. The rationale for all of the new measures and procedures we appreciate you will understand, and we ask that you cooperate fully with same as we all try to navigate this challenge together.
We wish to acknowledge all of the staff in the school who have worked so hard in a voluntary capacity to make this happen, reconfiguring classrooms to adhere to social distancing guidelines and made themselves available for meetings. A special word of thanks also to our caretaker Michael, the cleaning staff and our secretary Cáit for all that they have done to make the reopening of BCC as safe as possible, we appreciate all of your efforts.
********Notification of Revised Return to School dates*********
Monday 31st Aug. 1st years only 10.00-12.00
Tuesday 1st Sept. 1st years only 10.00-12.00. 6th years (incl. LCA2) only 2.00-3.30
Wednesday 2nd Sept. 2nd years 10.00-12.00. 5th years (incl. LCA1) only 2.00-3.30
Thursday 3rd Sept. 3rd years only 10.00-12.00 . Transition Year 2.00-3.30
Friday 4th Sept. All students return 8.50-1.10
Important info for Parents/students
- Lockers will also not be in use for the foreseeable future.
- Please note that we have moved to a 58 minute class period to facilitate the new DESguidelines to reduce movement and transition within the school building.
- Junior Cycle students will begin school at 9.05. They will report directly to their designated class. Senior Students (including TY) will begin school at 8.55. Please try and arrive at school at your designated times.
- Lunchtime will be 30 minutes in duration for the first term and students will remain in their designated zones. The school day will finish at 15.35.
- Junior Cycle students will begin school at 9.05. They will report directly to their designated class. Senior Students ( including TY) will begin school at 8.55. Please try and arrive at school at your designated times.
- Students will have designated scheduled breaks throughout the day. Weather permitting these will be taken outside. School jackets will be required.
- Junior Students will be in classrooms for their lunch break. Sandwiches will be available to be ordered online by parents and delivered to classroom as part of our school meals programme. The canteen will not operate as previously on return to school.
- Hand sanitation units are located in all classrooms and corridors. Frequent use will be encouraged.Health and SafetyOur priority is to have all staff and students returned and sustained in school in a safe and comfortable manner. To this end we have implemented a number of measures referred to above and ask for full cooperation with the following:• All classrooms have been reconfigured in line with the DES Roadmap and guidance on physical distancing in the classroom .
• Students as far as possible will remain in their base classrooms and only move out of these pods for optional classes and breaks.• All students will wear face coverings/face masks. Student must bring their own face covering/ masks to school every day and wash at home nightly. STUDENTS MUST HAVE A PLAIN FACE MASK WITH THEM IN SCHOOL AT ALL TIMES. It is advised to have a spare clean one in a zip-lock bag in their school bag. The school will provide 1 mask per student.
• Teachers will wear face covering / face mask where 2 metres social distance cannot be maintained.
• An Isolation room have been identified and should a student or member of staff become unwell with symptoms of Covid 19 they will be directed here until such time as they can go home and all surfaces then cleaned thoroughly.
• Increased Cleaning has been organised, rooms and surfaces will be cleaned more frequently. •Designated Entrances and Exits for each of the year groups (students to receive information on return).
• Hand sanitizer in all classrooms, at entry/ exit points and in key areas.
• Disinfectant wipes in classrooms for all students and teachers to wipe down their own workstations before and after use.
• Please ensure your child has all the items they need for the following day, packed the night before as sharing resources is not allowed
• Students may use a clear plastic box for storage of books and this should remain clean at all times
• Access by parents to the school office is by appointment ONLY. Please e-mail email@example.com to make an appointment. It will not be possible to drop off lunches and forgotten items.
• We ask that school uniforms are kept clean, removed once student returns home and laundered frequently.
• It is essential students have their school uniform jackets and label them clearly.
• As outlined in earlier communication to you if your child falls into a high-risk category as per HSE guidelines please email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment to discuss individual plan
PUBLIC HEALTH ADVICE
Any student who has travelled abroad recently are requested to follow the Department of Foreign Affairs / HSE Guidelines around self-isolation on return.
• Should your child present unwell during the day the school will contact you as soon as possible for immediate collection. Please see section on suspected case of Covid 19 further on in this communication. Students will be inducted on the importance of:
• Regular and good hand hygiene
• Good respiratory Hygiene and cough etiquette
• Cleaning their own work areas
• Maintaining social distance by increasing separation and decreasing opportunities for interaction
Please keep school informed of relevant details related to Covid 19.
Wellbeing will also be our Top Priority with our students. Establishing routine, assessing need and using the Continuum of Support to meet the needs of all our student will be central to our response. None of us have had the same experience of this pandemic, and so our strong culture of empathy, compassion and understanding will be essential in supporting our students. Students have lost their ‘normal’ e.g late nights, unending lie-ins in the morning, excessive screen time etc. As teachers and parents we need to reinforce The Basics i.e. the importance of getting enough sleep, eating healthily, taking physical exercise, being outdoors and taking opportunities to re-connect with friends and learning to be social again albeit at a social distance.
Parent / Visitor Protocol
We must work together to help reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19 in our school. If any family member has symptoms of Covid-19 or are self-isolating, you should not visit the school during this time. Parents/Guardians should only visit school in exceptional circumstances. Where you must visit the school, we ask that you follow these procedures:
• Parents/Guardians do not visit the school without a prior appointment. Should you wish to speak/ meet with a member of staff please make an appointment by e-mailing the school office email@example.com
• When invited to school, please report to the school office on arrival and adhere to social distancing of 2m.
• Use the sanitiser station in the reception area.
• Always wear a face mask/covering.
• The school contact tracing logbook must be filled out
• A no hand shaking policy is currently in place.
• Please conduct your business in the school in a timely manner.
- All welfare forms can be posted to the office and we will return them to you ASAP.
- Requests for letters can be made by contacting the school office on 01 8412388 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A minimum of 48 hours’ notice must be given for all requests for letters.Extra/Co-Curricular ActivitiesAll extra/co-curricular activities are suspended. This situation will be reviewed regularly. We anticipate off site activities are cancelled until further notice.Suspected Case of Covid-19A designated isolation area has been created in school.
If a student displays symptoms of Covid-19 the following procedures will be implemented:
- The Principal/Deputy Principal will be notified ASAP.
• Parents/Guardians will be contacted to discuss arrangements for collecting the student.
• The student will be brought to the isolation area.
- • Reminder that the virus is spread through droplets and is not airborne. Therefore, maintaining physical distance if in the same room is enough to reduce the risk of spread to others.
- Staff members caring for someone in the isolation room will wear PPE (mask/visor/apron/ gloves)
- Staff will facilitate the care of the student while waiting for them to be collected.
- Advice to be given to the student not to touch any surfaces and observe good cough/ respiratory etiquette.
• Advise the parent/guardian to contact their GP to seek guidance.
- Public transport must not be used to travel home.
- If there are any concerns about the health of the student, the emergency services will be contacted.
- • Management will ensure the cleaning staff are informed when the student leaves the premises so cleaning of the isolation areas can be quickly managed.
• The HSE will conduct contact tracing where there is a confirmed case and notify any parents/ students. The instructions of the HSE must be followed and student confidentially is essential.