FIRST HOLY COMMUNION

As of today, 6/10/20, both First Holy Communion services scheduled for  the 10th and 17th October are still expected to take place. Naturally this is assessed on a daily basis as the health and well being of every pupil and member of staff is our paramount concern. We have no control over community transmission of Covid 19 but we are doing everything within our power to keep our school a safe place of learning.

To date one pupil and one staff member have tested positive for Coronavirus. A very small number of other staff and pupils are isolating at home under PHA regulations following “close contact” or negative results.

Fortunately, the one positive pupil was not at school for several days prior to showing symptoms and being tested. Accordingly, the PHA said their considerable absence from school ruled out the possibility of transmission. However staff took the precautionary measure of deep cleaning their classroom as well as toilets, cloakrooms and the Main Hall.

One member of staff, who had limited direct contact with a small number of pupils also tested positive at the weekend, again this followed an absence from school for a number of days. Under PHA guidance  the parents of those pupils involved were directly contacted yesterday and informed of the situation and are subsequently following the regulatory advice to self isolate.

Pupils and Staff have been and continue to work in “class bubbles”. They avoid entering other classrooms and are undertaking daily additional cleaning of their work areas. We have taken direction from the EA cleaning services and have had an onsite visit from their consultant cleaning officer who further advised on every aspect of contact management.

Some parents have informed us of the decision to keep their own children at home due to concerns over rising cases in the community, or indeed due to someone in the family testing positive and we thank them for keeping us fully aware of all developments.

Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected and we wish our pupils and colleagues a safe return to school when the full isolation period has been exceeded.

As yet, Primary 5 remains unaffected, and 44 children are pinning their hopes on two momentous occasions being able to take place very soon. We ask our patrons to keep assumptions and speculation at an all time low to spare these families undue stress on the lead up to these dates. Please keep checking our school website where information will be posted as soon as anything changes and /or contact  the school directly to speak to Miss Mulkerns or Mrs Murphy if you have further questions.

We will continue to keep the situation under daily review and update you if there are any changes in circumstances.

Stay safe, and help keep each other safe. We really are in this together.

Presentation to Fr Aidan

Presentation to Fr Aidan

Fr Aidan had some surprise visitors yesterday morning, when P6 and P6/7 walked up to the Parochial House to make a presentation on behalf of all the boys and girls at St Mary’s. They were particularly proud to present a beautiful collage of St Mary created using pictures from pupils across the school. Fr Aidan was absolutely delighted to receive it and we know he will spend many hours pouring over the pictures and the many messages included within.

A special mention to the group of P6 pupils who helped Master Mc Donnell put it all together, great work! Well done everyone.

Goodbye Fr Aidan

The children were saddened at Assembly on Friday when Master Mc Donnell told them Fr. Aidan was leaving the Parish. They have been remembering all the events he has shared with them over his time in the Parish, recalling stories of the times they have meet for Mass, the Sacraments and his visits to school.

They remember him for putting them at ease, telling jokes and making Services meaningful for  them. To show our appreciation for everything he has done we would like to make a small presentation from the children, if you would like to contribute to this please send your donation in an envelope clearly marked “Donation”.

Thank you

 

Confirmation

Best wishes to Mr Mc Coy and all our P7’s from last year on Confirmation tomorrow. The Ceremonies take place in St. Mary’s Church Mullaghbawn @ 11 am for Group 1 and again @3 pm for Group 2.

Unfortunately under the current circumstances we cannot be there with you to share your ceremony and celebrations. We wish you a joyful and happy day and we ask for God’s blessing on you all as you settle into your new schools.

P Mc Donnell

(Principal)

 

Return to School

Dear Parents/Guardians

Following on from the letter issued to you in July outlining our planned return to school, I can now confirm that the proposals at that time will remain in place with some minor adjustments.

The arrangements planned for other schools and the multiple press releases from Ministers may have created some confusion. Each school is different in size, space, resources and staffing. We all have our unique features and specific concerns as to how our schools can best manage the current or any future situation.

We will have a phased return to school which will facilitate the management of establishing workable routines, to ultimately accommodate all of our children safely returning to school.

Your child/children, has/have been assigned to a group and your children will all attend on the same days. We plan to have all pupils back for the full 5 days, by Monday 14th September.

The timetable for return is as follows:

Week beginning: 17th of August

During this week staff are in school preparing Class Rooms/Resources etc.

Our P7 of last year, (2019/2020), have Practices for their upcoming Confirmation Services.

Some incoming P1 Pupils will have their Transition Meetings with their teacher. Induction is an opportunity for P1 Parents and Children to meet their Teacher and Classroom Assistant(s). If you haven’t been contacted about your allocated time for either Nursery or P1 Induction please contact the school.

Week beginning:  24th August

Pupils begin returning to school on a reduced timetable to help them settle into learning after the prolonged break.

Induction Week for Nursery and those Primary 1 pupils who have not already had their Induction Meeting.

Mon 24th + Tues 25th of August

Group 1 pupils from P2 to P7

Wed. 26th August     

Staff preparation day

Thurs 27th + Fri 28th of August

Group 2 pupils from P2 to P7

 

Week beginning: 31st August

School will be closed on Monday 31st August due to the Bank Holiday.

Tue 1st + Wed 2nd of September

Group 1+ Group 3 pupils from Nursery to P7

Thurs 3rd + Fri 4th of September

 Group 2 + Group 4 pupils from Nursery to P7

 

Week beginning: 7th September

 Mon 7th + Tues 8th September

Group 1, Group 3 + Group 5 pupils from Nursery to P7

Wed 9th September   – Staff preparation

Thurs 10th + Fri 11th September

Group 2, Group 4 pupils + Group 6 pupils from Nursery to P7

 

Week beginning 14th September-

All pupils in attendance for 5 days.

 

School Day

In an attempt to reduce congestion/gatherings in the morning and afternoons we will have four drop-off and pick-up points as follows:

  1. Nursery car park for a Nursery child and their older siblings
  2. Front of the school for P1 & P 2 children and their older siblings
  3. Main school car park for P3 & P4 children and their older siblings
  4. Ti Chulainn car park from where children can enter the school grounds via gate at the green house for P5, 6 and 7 children and older siblings.

As a consequence of Pupils walking through School Yards, cars are not permitted to enter, drop off must take place along the pavement.

A flexible starting time is in place for all pupils to ease congestion/gatherings this will be between 8.45 am and 9.30 am. This should allow children to filter into school without congregating in groups around hand washing facilities.

Classes will operate in Social/Class bubbles as far as possible. Dinner times will remain as normal. Only those taking school dinners will eat in the Dining Hall. Pupils will be seated in their “Social/class bubbles”. Normal procedures for Nursery dinners will remain in place, where Nursery pupils will be served in their own Classroom.

Break times and lunchtimes will be arranged to ensure that classes remain together in their Social/class Bubbles in the playground. Each class will be assigned a separate play area.

We will continue to insist that children wash their hands at key times in the school day: when they come in each morning, before/after break and lunchtimes, before leaving school at home-time, as well as on any other occasion deemed necessary by staff.

We will be working within the current 1 Metre Social Distancing or “Best Spacing” advice between pupils and 2 Metre between children and adults, though with children being children this will be very hard to maintain.

If necessary we will use other areas of the school, including the Assembly Hall for teaching. We may also need to use part of the Ti Chulainn complex which has been kindly offered to us. All classrooms will be well ventilated.

Again to ease congestion/social gatherings, home times will be staggered as follows:

(Pick up Yard will be based on Youngest Family member)

   Nursery:

From 1- 1.30 pm Nursery car park for a Nursery child and their older siblings.

    P1 + P2

From 1.30 to 1.45 for P 1 & P 2 children and any older siblings

From 1.45 to 2.00 any P1 or P2 child with no older siblings

    P3 +P4

From 1.30 to 1.45 pm, for P3 & P4 children and any older siblings

From 1.45 to 2.00 pm any P3 or P4 child with no older siblings

     P5, P6 + P7

From 1.30 to 1.45 pm- P5, P6 children and P7 pupils and any older siblings

From 1.45- 2.00 pm and P5, P6 or P7 pupil with no siblings.

We will maintain the above routine for pick-ups until we can safely move to a more normal school day.

  1. Uniform

Pupils may attend in either full uniform or PE kit to facilitate a daily change.

  1. School Bags-

Pupils should not bring school bags. Books, materials etc cannot be carried to and from school on a daily basis.

We are asking everyone on their first day back to bring a pencil case which will then remain in school. We suggest the following items are included for personal use only; pencil(s), rubber, sharpener, colourings, Pritt Stick, white board marker, KS2 pupils should also have a red pen. Pupils cannot share their equipment with others.

  1. Break/Lunch

Pupils should bring in breaks/packed lunches in a small bag. All waste will be disposed of in school. Water fountains will not be in use but pupils can bring their own filled water bottle. Kitchen and dinner supervisory staff will be wearing visors.

  1. Homework

At this time our emphasis is on establishing safe routines and we will be focusing on the well- being of pupils returning after such a long break to a school with vastly different rules and procedures in place. Therefore there will be no homework issued during the month of September.

  1. Cash handling in school

We were planning a move towards a cashless school over the next months, further details will follow. In the meantime, any payments should be placed in a sealed envelope and submitted to their class teacher by your child. Parents/Guardians cannot enter the Office to make payments.

  1. Visitors/parents to the school

There will be no visitors/Parents permitted into the school until further notice.

  1. School dinner

School dinner must be taken for the whole week for those who decide to avail of this provision. We need to be able to manage consistent numbers in the Dining Hall at this time. All payments should be made on the first day of the week to assist Office Staff.

  1. Afterschool Clubs and Activities

There will be no afterschool activities or games until further notice.

  1. Supervision

We may be in a position to offer supervision to a limited number of pupils/families after school to help working parents, this will run from 2-4 pm daily. Please contact the Office if you need this provision.

  1. School buses

Buses will be running from the beginning of September with a number of conditions which will impact on pupils, as stated by Peter Weir, Minister for Education.  Please see the attached document from the Minister for further details.

Pupils arriving to school via bus must enter the school through the Assembly Hall side door where they will be able to access a hand sanitizer, before moving on to their classes.

Thank you in advance for your co-operation, a safe and happy transition for everyone back to school remains our ultimate aim.

With best wishes for the year ahead,

Yours sincerely

Peter McDonnell

Principal

 

Link below to Information re School Buses- See Section 3- Pgs 37-43

https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/education/NorthernIrelandReOpeningSchoolsGuidnaceNewSchoolDayVersion213August2020.pdf