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6th January 2021

Dear Parents / Guardians,

Happy new year! I hope you are all safe and well and that you had an enjoyable Christmas break.

By now you will be aware of the Minister for Education’s announcement that schools will remain closed until February 1st. This is a moment we had hoped we would not have to revisit again during this school year, but is a necessary evil given the current deterioration in case numbers of Covid-19 nationwide.

We have yet to receive any information on this closure from the Department of Education, and are working off the same information available to you all via the media.

We held a whole-staff meeting this morning (remotely) and had put into place a detailed plan for the continuation of your children’s learning in the event of such a closure, so I can assure you that the teachers and I are committed to doing all that we can to ensure that your children experience the least possible impact on their education over the next few weeks.

A priority for us now is to get all of the children’s books home, to allow for remote learning during the period of this closure. To that end, we will organise a book collection at the school on this Friday, 8th January. We will do this in as safe a way as possible. I have made available five minute timeslots for parents to book into, via the Aladdin app, in order to collect your children’s books. This collection will take place over two 2.5 hour periods, with half of the classes involved in each collection period. There will be five-minute time gaps between collections for each class. This will allow for sufficient social distancing. Books will be distributed in the school yard (details of the positions of each of the class teachers in the yard for the book collection will be shared with you on Friday morning). We will operate a one-way system and ask that you enter the yard through the ROUTE B gate and exit via the ROUTE A gate. We would ask that all parents collecting books wear a mask and adhere to social distancing.

Remote learning will begin from Monday. I will write to you all on Friday to provide you with the precise details of how we will operate remote learning for our pupils. I know this is a nervous and anxious time for you all and I do not wish to add to those anxieties. We want to do everything in our power to support you during this time. We are very aware that many of you will be working from home / working outside the home and that home learning will be particularly challenging for you – we will do all that we can to help you and make the process as easy as possible for you.

We are also aware that the children will be upset at the news that they will not be returning to school as planned. We know they will be full of news after Christmas and would have been looking forward to sharing this news with their teachers and friends. To facilitate this, each class teacher will host a whole-class Zoom meeting with his / her class next week, to allow the children to see each other and to check in. More details of this will be provided on Friday.

We have a limited number of devices available to loan to children in the senior end of the school, who will be using the Google Classroom platform for remote learning. If you envisage that your daughter will be unable to engage, due to the unavailability of a device in your home, please email me at bunscoilbhride9@hotmail.com before Friday, so that we can attempt to provide your daughter with a device, where possible.

In the meantime, we are asking you to please book your timeslots (for each of your children) for collection of your child(ren)’s books on Friday, via the Aladdin app. Booking has just been released to parents of two or more children and will be released to all other parents from 9pm.

I will be in touch with you all on Friday and if I receive any information from the Department of Education in the meantime I will share this information with you promptly.

Please take care and stay safe.

Le gach dea-ghuí,

Maria Rogerson