Letter for Parents/Guardians- Return to school after half-term

2 November 2020

Return to School

Dear Parent/Guardian

Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you good health and I hope that you managed to enjoy a relaxing and stress free extended half-term with your child(ren). As we begin the second half of term I want to make you aware of some additional measures we are required to introduce in school and remind you of existing safety measures that we will continue to implement throughout the school term. The details have yet to be fully made available to schools; however, we will endeavor to do our best as usual.

Additional Measures

  • From today all pupils travelling on public transport and dedicated school buses and taxis MUST wear face coverings. Children who are exempt from wearing face coverings for medical or other reasons will not have to comply with this new regulation.
  • Parents/guardians are asked not to congregate at the school gates and if you need to visit school you must wear a face covering. I should point out that this guidance appears more relevant to primary schools; however, as it has been announced as an additional safety measure I want to bring it to your attention.
  • Pupils will no longer be permitted to participate in PE indoors. New information received from the Department of Education this morning states that PE can only take place outdoors and that groups should be no larger than 15 pupils. Pupils are not permitted to engage in any contact sports or activities.

Unfortunately this presents a huge challenge for us in regards to staffing smaller groups and it may mean that we are forced to abandon PE. This directive does seem bizarre as the alternative to PE lessons taking place is for pupils to sit in classrooms for even longer periods of time in groups of 25 to 30 pupils. However, we must follow the instruction given and trust that the decision has been taken to promote even greater safety in schools. Pupils can continue to wear PE kit to school until our decision is finalised.

Existing Safety Measures

  • Pupils will be required to wear face coverings in corridors and communal areas
  • Pupils in Years 8-10 will remain in their ‘bubbles’ and teachers will move to the pupils
  • Pupils must wash hands and use hand sanitiser regularly
  • Pupils must remain in their allocated spaces at lunch and break. Pupils who disregard this rule will face disciplinary measures introduced to support our Covid-19 response
  • If pupils show any symptoms associated with Covid-19 they should NOT attend school. Parents/guardians should arrange for a test and inform the school of the outcome prior to returning to school.

This week we are allowing  junior year groups to eat in the canteen one day each week on a rota basis. We will monitor the arrangements and extend this trial period if it works successfully.

It is important to note that although there has been a decrease in positive cases in the Londonderry area, Covid 19 is still present in our community. Therefore, it is likely that we will face further challenges in regard to pupils and staff having to self-isolate. We will monitor the situation in school daily and will keep in regular contact with you to provide updates on any action we may have to take as a result of reduced staff numbers. Hopefully we will get through the remainder of term without further disruption; however, we do have to be realistic and prepare for a possible rise in positive cases right across our community.

Once again I would like to thank you for you continued support.

Yours sincerely,

M Allen