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Fortnightly Bulletin 4th September 2020

Dear Parents / Guardians,

We hope all is well with you this fortnight. Our news is as follows:

Welcome: Welcome back to all our existing parents. We look forward to meeting with you and working closely with you again during the year ahead. We would like to extend a very warm welcome to our new parents who are joining the Bunscoil Bhríde school community for the first time. We look forward to getting to know you and your child.

Re-opening of our school: I want to again thank you all most sincerely in helping and supporting us in getting our school safely re-opened. Your cooperation, patience and flexibility are greatly appreciated. I want to sincerely thank the amazing staff of our school, without whom the reopening of our school would not have been possible. A tremendous amount of work has gone on behind the scenes to ensure that our doors could be safely reopened on September 1st. Our goal now is to keep our whole school community safe and to ensure that we can keep our school open. We ask you to continue to support us and to familiarise yourselves fully with our Covid Plan (available to read at https://www.bunscoilbhride.ie/plan-for-the-safe-re-opening-of-bunscoil-bhride/). All new updates from the HSE / Department of Education and Skills will be sent to you via the Aladdin app as soon as I receive them.

Sick children: Again, we are asking you not to send sick children to school. Please take your child’s temperature every morning before school and do not send her to school if it is raised. As per HSE guidelines, we have to take any child presenting with symptoms to the Covid Isolation Room and place a mask on her face, while we wait for an adult to collect her. We are asking that all parents ensure they have the contact details of AT LEAST THREE EMERGENCY CONTACTS (not including parents) recorded on the Aladdin app. This can be done by clicking on to the app. Please phone the office if you are unable to do this. I have attached a handy guidance document from the HSE detailing what measures need to be taken / length of self-isolation periods that apply in the different scenarios involving confirmed or suspected Covid-19 cases and foreign travel. Please keep this reference list in a safe place for future reference.

Home-School Partnership: We strongly value the support of parents in helping us to realise the potential of each and every child in our care. In order for us to achieve this goal, it is vital that parents work alongside the teachers and help to support the work being done at school. Checking and signing your child’s homework, regularly listening to reading, checking sounds/tables etc. and most importantly, speaking positively to your child about school and its importance will be of enormous benefit to your child. We recommend that you take a look at the “Help My Kid Learn” website www.helpmykidlearn.ie, developed by the National Adult Literacy Agency for parents of children aged 0 – 12 years. The purpose of the website is to provide fun activities that parents can do with their children, to develop their literacy and numeracy skills. In an effort to get to know your child, all teachers will be distributing a short questionnaire about your child in an effort to gain a head-start in getting to know her. Should you have any queries about your child’s progress or any concern or query during the year, please do not hesitate to contact the school to arrange an appointment with your child’s teacher. We look forward to developing a strong partnership in your child’s education.

Seesaw and Google Classroom: As you will know from having read our Bunscoil Bhríde Covid Plan, we are sending homework virtually this year. All classes from Junior Infants to 3rd class will be using the Seesaw app and the senior classes will be using Google Classroom. In the unfortunate event that schools close again and that remote learning becomes our only option, all teachers will communicate with the children and administer their tasks/assignments etc. through this app. The teachers have also kindly agreed to share the learning objectives at the start of each fortnight this year via these virtual platforms. This will enable pupils who have to self-isolate for periods throughout the year (as advised by GP / HSE) to continue their learning from home and will ensure that they are not disadvantaged. For those of you new to our school (and those new to Google Classroom), we will require permission for use of the Seesaw app and Google Classroom. This permission will be sought by your child’s teacher via the Aladdin app in the coming week.

Late Arrivals/Early Departures: For health and safety reasons we require parents/guardians to sign out / in their child should the child need to leave the school building during the day for any reason, e.g. dentist, medical appointments, etc., or should the child arrive late to school. While in normal times, we would have asked parents to do this via the sign in / sign out book, Catríona will now be recording this information on Aladdin. The reason for the late arrival / early departure must be recorded. We would ask that children are only taken out of school early if absolutely necessary. We appreciate your cooperation in this matter.

Absences: Under the Education Welfare Act 2000, where a child is absent from school on a school day, the parents must notify the school of the reasons for such absence. We require parents to record the reason for the absence on the Aladdin app. You will receive a push notification when your child is marked absent at school. You will then be prompted to input the reason for the absence. We are required under the Act to notify Túsla of any child being absent for 20 days or more. Our student administration system (Aladdin) automatically sends texts to parents reminding them of this when a child reaches both 10 and 15 days of cumulative absences. If a child is sick, or has symptoms of Covid-19, or if someone in their home is waiting on a test etc., we ask that you follow the HSE directives and keep your child at home. This year is an exceptional year and the priority is keeping everyone in our school community safe and not putting our school at risk by breaching the HSE directives in any way.

Reminder: No medicines are allowed at school. If your child has a medical condition for which medicine/inhaler etc. must be administered, please contact the school, as Board of Management approval must be granted for this. Please see our administration of medication policy at www.bunscoilbhride.ie for more information.

Cuts: We will routinely apply plasters to cuts. It is the responsibility of parents to notify the school in writing (for the attention of the principal) if they do not wish for plasters to be applied to their child (e.g. if the child is allergic to plasters).

NUT ALLERGIES: We have a number of children in the school with severe nut allergies. Children are therefore not allowed to bring nuts or any products containing nuts into the school. This includes peanut butter, chocolate spreads etc. We ask parents to be vigilant in this regard, as any contact with nuts for these children can be potentially lethal.

Infant Induction Meeting: Ms. Ryan, Ms. Feeney and Ms. Rowley, our Junior Infant teachers will hold a short meeting with parents of the new Junior Infants next Monday 14th September at 1pm via Zoom. The link for the Zoom meeting will be sent to all parents on the morning of the meeting (Mon 14th). The purpose of the meeting is to inform parents of the teaching approaches that will be used and the content that will be taught in Junior Infants. This will give parents the opportunity to meet with their child’s teacher (albeit virtually), voice any questions they may have and get some ideas as to how they can support their child’s learning at home. We understand parents may not be able to access the Zoom meeting at that time, so we will record the meeting and make it available to you all following the meeting. We would expect all parents / guardians to either attend the meeting or, if that’s not possible, to watch it at a later time. Home-time for Junior Infant pupils will move to the permanent time of 1.40pm from the following day; Tuesday 15th September.

Parents of Infant children: As you can imagine, teachers have to be extremely cautious at the gate when releasing children into the care of adults. If your child is being collected at 12pm / 1.40pm by another adult that is not you, or by the crèche, please write a note to the class teacher informing her of this.

New staff: I would like to take this opportunity to welcome our new teacher; Ms. Mary O’Meara to our staff. Ms. O’Meara is a Special Education Teacher, job-sharing with Ms. Beary. I would also like to welcome our new SNA, Laura Cummins.

Book Rental: There are a small number of families who have not yet paid the September Collection, which includes inclusion in our book rental scheme. The payment link has been sent out again today. Please phone the office if you have not received it or are having difficulty accessing the link. I am asking all parents who are having any financial difficulties to phone me in confidence either today or tomorrow so that arrangements can be made for your daughter.

Headlice: Please check your child(ren)’s hair on a regular basis for headlice, treat where necessary and please inform the school if you have found headlice in your child’s hair so that we can inform the parents of the other children in the class. Long hair must be tied up in school. With all parents following the regular checking routine, we will hopefully minimise the chance of children in the school getting headlice.
Tin Whistle classes: It is usually during this term that our classes from 2nd to 6th take part in tin whistle lessons with Annette Randles. Unfortunately the HSE advise against the playing of wind instruments, which are deemed to lead to an increased risk of the spread of Covid-19. While we won’t be able to play the tin whistle at school, we would ask you to continue encouraging the children to practise regularly at home.

Oral Language: The theme for the month of September is ‘Sentence Structure and Tenses’. All classes will be focusing on this theme for the month and we would ask that you support us at home, by encouraging and modelling use of full sentences and correct tenses.

Contact Details: Please click into your child’s details on the Aladdin app and make sure all contact details are correct. Again, all children should have a minimum of three emergency contacts recorded here, excluding parents. Please phone the office if you have any difficulty adding / changing contacts / contact information.

Parking: I am aware that there are lots of new parents using the church carpark to drop-off / collect children. I will send a separate message on the rules for the safe use of the carpark today and I would ask that you share the message, along with the map highlighting the rules with anyone who drops off / collects your child.

School website: Please check out our school website www.bunscoilbhride.ie. It contains lots of information about what’s going on at Bunscoil Bhríde and lots of photos of the events that take place. Photos of the new classes will be added shortly.

Maths Workshop for Parents: Kildare Education Centre are hosting a Maths Workshop for Parents (Ref: 20KEC509 – Maths for Parents – Helping your child with Maths Homework). The direct link for Parents wishing to book in for this workshop is: https://www.eckildare.ie/coursebooking/parent-courses/1695-20kec509-maths-for-parents-helping-your-child-with-homework.html

Kind regards,
Maria Rogerson