It has undoubtedly been a challenge for all of us (students, parents, teachers) to transition back into school life. I think we were all a little (or a lot) apprehensive at the thoughts of welcoming the whole school back last Thursday week, but it all went so smoothly. Our teachers have all taken on extra supervision this year to ensure that our boys are supervised at all times and for that we are very grateful. This ensures that the boys receive regular reminders in relation to our new safety measures e.g. walking on the left on all corridors, sanitizing etc. We all forget sometimes, so having several teachers on the corridors, at all times, and in the yard for all breaks is a huge advantage.
Our new arrivals, the first years are settling in so well to life in the College. They are a fantastic group of students and we will continue to work with them to ensure that they all feel welcome and at ease in their new surroundings. They are doing so well given the fact that many of them are still in Primary School mode, which is understandable as they never got to experience the closure of finishing Primary School.
For our 1st year parents, just to let you know, we typically e mail every Friday with updates in relation to what is happening in the school. If an activity is specific to a particular year group, the year group’s heading will appear as a heading on the paragraph.
While returning to school has been a challenge, there are so many positives to take since our boys returned :
1) All students have had their induction. In this meeting we went through specific Covid information, signs, symptoms etc and we also went through with the students in detail, the changes that we have made to school procedures to create a safer environment for everyone. A summarised copy of student guidelines has been attached to this e mail.
2) You will be so proud to hear that the students (your son’s) have been an absolute credit since they returned. Anything that they have been asked to do they have done, with no fuss or drama. We cannot praise the boys enough for their compliance with all of the new rules and procedures. They are happy that the school is taking the safety measures so seriously which they view as a very positive and reassuring aspect of their return to school
2) The constant sanitizing of desks and hands every 40 minutes, is understandably, time consuming, and maybe a little frustrating (for students and teachers), however, it is protecting all of us
3) All students/teachers are wearing masks inside the school building. Mask wearing protects us all from expelling and receiving droplets and constant sanitizing helps to keep hands clean and sanitized. Once we continue with both, we will be doing well.
4) The students are in the yard at big lunch and are permitted to remove their masks while in the yard. They need a break from the masks and we remind the students that when they are mask free they must socially distance.
5)Mask Breaks– Junior classes receive mask breaks (in the yard) during SPHE and Well Being. Senior classes receive mask breaks during RE class and at both lunch times in the yard. To be fair to the students they don’t complain about wearing the masks and understand why we all have to get used to wearing them.
We have been asked to clarify the issue of students wearing masks v’s visors:
Masks V’s Visors
All new safety protocols in the school are carried to protect everyone in the building and one of those is the wearing of Face Mask as opposed to the wearing of a Face Visor- Please see below:
It is 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. 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. 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 do allow the wearing of visors in certain situations:
-when teaching their students from the top of the class to allow of instruction and when they can’t maintain the 2m rule.
- when they present a letter from their GP (medical)
- when they present a letter from our SEN Co-ordinator (Special Needs)
- when they present a letter from our Guidance Counsellor (Anxiety)
Staggered Break Times
So that parents are aware of our staggered break times a summary of both breaks is provided below:
Small Break Reminders:
1st & 2nd years are on toilet break from 10:45am to 10:54am. They return to their class (following the toilet break) and eat their small break while supervised by the teacher. At 11;05am they move on to the next class.
3rd, TY, 5th and 6th years start small break at 10:55am. They will go to their lockers, toilets, canteen, assembly hall, or yard. They start to return to class at 11;05am. Class begins at 11:10am.
Big Break Reminders
1st, 2nd & 3rd years are on big break at 12:25pm. They can go to the yard, canteen or assembly. If they are in the yard, then each group returns into the building through the following entry points:
1st years: Main students entrance from yard
2nd Years: Entrance behind A3 class room
3rd Years: Entrance beside Tech room, across from Sports Hall
TY, 5th & 6th years are on big break at 1:05pm. They can go to the yard, canteen or assembly. If they are in the yard, then each group returns into the building through the following entry points:
5th Years: Main student’s entrance from yard
6th Years: Entrance behind A3 classroom
TY’s: Entrance beside Tech room, across from Sports Hall
Sign Out Procedures
a)Sign out for an appointment
Should you need to collect your son from school during the school day for an appointment, the student should come down to the admin office and sign out as normal. Office personnel will mark them as SO (signed out) on VS ware. Parents must collect students and let office personnel know that you are taking your child and office personnel will sign the sign out book-as opposed to the parent signing. If at any point the admin office is closed , then students come to either the Principal or Deputy Principal’s office and we will sign them out. Under no circumstances should a student leave the school without alerting the above personnel that they are leaving.
b)If a student falls ill during the school day
In the event that any student begins to feel unwell during the school day, the student should make his way directly to Ms. Shiels or Mr. Quilter only-not the admin office. We will meet the student and assess his symptoms. If they are Covid related-chest/runny nose/ loss of taste etc. then we will contact parents with this information. The parent will be requested to contact their GP by phone to seek expert medical advice. The GP may state that the symptoms reported are not consistent with Covid symptoms and suggest that once the symptoms pass, the student can return to school. The parent can communicate this information to us by phone or e mail-we do not request any written confirmation from the GP that the student can return to school. If the GP suggests a Covid test, then the student must remain at home until such time as the test results have been revealed. If the result is positive the HSE will advise. If the result is negative then the student is free to return to school.
Thank you to all of the parents and students who have purchased the new school jacket and who have complied with our uniform and school shoes policy. Of course our main focus this year is student well -being, but we must have behavioural expectations in the school and the most basic rules/life skills are compliance with uniform and punctuality. Only students whose current school jacket does not fit any longer, are compelled to buy a new jacket. If your son has a school jacket, from an older sibling who may have left the College, that is perfectly acceptable. The demand for the new school jacket (launched last year) has been unprecedented. We will be placing a final School Jacket/Gear order on Monday (September 14th) to meet the demand. Parents/Students that require any items of school gear/jackets are asked to please e mail firstname.lastname@example.org immediately. Payment can be arranged with Mr. Nelligan at a later date. It is essential that the order is placed now to ensure swift delivery. As the temperatures begin to drop and we continue to leave windows and doors open to improve ventilation, the boys will be permitted to wear their School Jacket in class. Therefore it is important that all students have a school jacket.
In order to deal with new behaviours that may be exhibited by students following their prolonged absence from school, we have amended our Code of Behaviour to deal with such incidents. The majority of our boys are so well behaved and we rarely have to discipline them. However, there are some students who find abiding by rules difficult and in response, exhibit negative/challenging behaviours or behaviours that compromise the health and safety of all members of our school community. Please find attached a copy of the additional amendments that we have made to our Code of Behaviour.
Mobile Phone Usage
As we all know, mobile phones are an excellent communication device but they can also be one of the most dangerous devices from the point of view of bullying. Therefore, we as teachers and you as parents must take our new mobile phone seriously. None of us would want our child or indeed ourselves to be photographed without our knowledge and that photograph subsequently uploaded to what’s app, snap chat or face book.
We have amended our mobile phone policy to align it to our increased use of ICT in education. During lockdown, our students had access to their work through Microsoft Teams. Many students accessed this work on their phones, as opposed to using lap tops, PC’s or ipad’s. Teachers assigned work through Teams and students submitted their work through the same forum. We now want to ensure, particularly in the event of future lockdowns or closures, that all year groups, are and have become proficient at using their phones to access their work on Teams. Therefore, students will have full permission to use their phones in class, only when the teacher is present and instructs them to do so. Students must follow their teacher’s instructions carefully, in relation to the use of the phone. Student’s phones can only be used to access educational material. Should any student be found to be using their phone for any other purpose (texting, social media, inappropriate use of the camera facility) then confiscation of the phone will occur and a serious sanction imposed.
Our policy of Not seen, Not Heard, Not Confiscated remains as normal, in all areas outside of the classroom including the school yard.
After School/ Night Study
After School Study resumed on Monday of this week, September 7th. First preference has been given to 6th and 3rd year students. Should any parents of other year groups be interested in applying for a place in afterschool study, please ask your son to take a study form from outside the Deputy Principal’s office and once the form is filled they can hand it into either the Principal or Deputy Principal. Night Study will commence on Monday next, September 14th.
The cost of study is €200 paid in September and €200 paid in January.
After School Study takes place:
Monday, Tuesday & Thursday from 4pm to 6pm
Friday 3:15pm to 5:15pm
Night Study takes place Monday to Thursday
7pm to 9:30pm
Back Gate Entrance
We wish to remind all parents that access to and from the school is solely through the main front gates. The back gate access, is not the property of the school and therefore should not be used by parents coming to or going from the school by car. In addition, the car park located to the back of the school building is provided for employees of Limerick Diocesan Centre only. Unfortunately we have no right of access to the back of the building and we thank you in advance for you compliance with this matter.
Parental Usernames and Passwords on VS Ware
All first year parents will be issued with usernames (by post) early next week.
In relation to access to VS ware, we want to bring some important points to your attention. As a result of the introduction of new GDPR regulations, we as a school no longer have the authority to issue parents with passwords. To navigate around this issue, VS ware, have now changed their settings, so that only parents can generate and change passwords as required. You only need to read the following paragraphs if you have mislaid your password.
In summary, parents can log into VS ware in the same way as they have always done. All parents have been issued with a username. To access VS ware from now on you can use your password and username as usual. However, if you have mislaid your password then you will have to follow the following steps.
Log into VS ware as normal. On the welcome screen, as shown below, you will see the “Reset Password” option, available to you (orange arrow).
This action will take you to a log in page where you are prompted to enter your username and the last 4 digits of your mobile number )this mobile number must correspond to the number that we have saved on VS ware in your son’s profile). Once the above data has been entered correctly, you will then be prompted to create your own password.
If you wish to change your password in the future or indeed lose your password, you simply change it yourself using the above steps. The school will no longer be in a position to issue passwords to parents as that would be considered a breach of data protection regulations.
We hope that you all have a lovely weekend,
David Quilter Lorraine Shiels