A Message from our Principal

Return to School Newsletter 2020

     

Dear parents/guardians, 

I appreciate that there is a lot of worry and apprehension around the return to school. This document will set out our return to school plans and will hopefully reassure parents and students that we are putting all possible safety measures in place to avoid Covid-19 entering our communities. I would ask for your cooperation with what is set out below. 

Please note we have had to amend our school reopening plan following advice from the Department of Education. All students will now be in school for full days starting from Thursday the 3rd of September. This plan is now the new plan for reopening and the previous plan is no longer valid.

 

Student Contribution:

Many parents experienced difficulty in paying the contribution due to the school office being closed. The office is now open but we would still encourage parents to pay the school contribution for 2020/21 online, through the school website. On-line payment can be used to help spread the burden of payment and significant discounts are given for siblings. Please contact the school if you have difficulty logging on to the payment site.

The contribution is used to cover the cost of student journals, lockers, swipe cards, photocopying, subject resources and IT investment as well as subsidising the cost of school outings and travel to extra-curricular events. The contribution also covers the cost of mock examinations and corrections. This financial cost can not be carried by the school. I feel that the contribution is reasonable and I can assure you that it is spent very carefully on your students. This small investment in your son’s/daughter’s second level education is money well spent. 

 

Lockers:

We all appreciate the value of student lockers and how they can be used to reduce the weight of schoolbags. Unfortunately in Adamstown Community College all lockers are on the school corridors and by necessity are packed very closely together. We have made the decision not to allow the use of student lockers as we start back to school due to the risks involved with the grouping of students around lockers. Not using the lockers will also allow more space in the corridors and therefore help the flow of students through the building. This is a temporary measure and we will review the decision around lockers after the first number of weeks. Our aim is to reintroduce the use of lockers as soon as we deem it safe to do so.

Uniform:

Students will be expected to wear the school uniform as normal. Please note that the uniform and footwear requirements are clearly set out in the uniform section of this website. No exceptions are made regarding these expectations so please make yourself aware of them. In particular please note that a proper school jacket is part of the school uniform. We have also uploaded images of the correct footwear on the website in order to avoid any confusion. 

Our uniform supplier have an online shop https://grantsclothing.ie/ 

Similarly our tracksuit supplier also has an online shop https://bernardowens.ie/

Book Rental:

For parents who have joined the book rental scheme I can assure you that we have books ordered and everything will be in place before the new term begins. You will be contacted towards the end of August to organise the collection of your son’s/daughter’s school books.

Starter Pack:

All new 1st year students are requested to buy a Starter Pack. This pack contains a graphics kit, Spanish or French dictionary, calculator, SPHE workbook as well as other items. It represents very good value for money and will be available from the school on the days we are distributing the book rental books. Parents will be notified of these dates via text message.


Return to school:

There are a lot of new protocols and procedures to follow due to Covid-19 and the obvious risk of catching and/or spreading the virus. Schools by their very nature are close packed communities and therefore we need to manage the return to school very carefully. As much as possible we are going to keep student contact within their own year group and also reduce the amount of student movement around the building. Each year a group will be assigned a portion of the building, with a limited number of classrooms, and where possible all their lessons will be kept within this zone. Students will not be moving to the “teachers” classroom. The teacher will be moving to the “students” classroom. Movement to specialist rooms for Science and option subjects will be carefully managed.

There has been a change to our original back to school plan. We will now have  students back to full class contact from Thursday 3rd September.

Friday August 28th: 1st Year students only. 8:35 to 11:29

Monday August 31st: 6th Year students only. 8:35 to 11:29

Tuesday September 1st:  5th and Transition Year students only. 8:35 to 11:29

Wednesday September 2nd:  3rd and 2nd Year students only. 8:35 to 11:29

Thursday September 3rd onwards: All students in school following the school timetable


Student drop off and parking:

As you know, we have three schools very close together in Adamstown and the three Principals have frequently raised concerns about student safety and traffic congestion at start times and finish times. We are asking that if you are driving your son/daughter to the school that you drop them off on Adamstown Avenue or at the Adamstown Community Centre car park. Try to avoid driving up Castlegate Terrace past the front of the school. Also please try to avoid driving down Station Road, past the two Primary Schools. Your cooperation with this is very important for both the secondary school pupils’ safety and the safety of the primary school students. 

Entry and Exit Points:

We now need to manage our entry and exit points carefully to avoid congestion. We can no longer use our canteen as a general gathering area in the mornings. Students must move straight to their base zone immediately after entering the building. As a result of the increase in the need for supervision the school will not be open to students as early as it was in the past. Students may not enter the school before 8.15am

Each year group has been assigned an entry point to help maintain social distancing

Entry A - Main school entrance - 1st year and 2nd year students only

Entry B - Station Road by the Art corridor - 5th and 6th years students only

Entry C- Via car park by the PE building - 3rd /TY and LCA students only.

Students should swipe in at these entry points and should only enter and exit through the points they have been assigned.

Masks and hand sanitisers:

Students will need to wear face masks during the school day in situations where social distancing can not be maintained. Examples would include when walking into the building in the morning and when leaving at the end of the school day, when walking through the corridors and in classrooms. It is recommended that each student have several reusable face masks and that the mask is washed at the end of the day. When not in use during the day the face mask must be placed in a zip-lock plastic bag.

It is the parents’ and students' responsibility to provide masks for their own safety and the safety of the school community. If a student has a medical reason not to wear a mask, this must be communicated to the school with a medical note from their doctor or consultant. Reusable face masks will be on sale in the school.

The school will have hand sanitising stations in every classroom and in other strategic positions around the school. We are also encouraging every student to bring their own hand sanitiser into school and to keep it in their school bags for easy accessibility. There will be a sanitising routine incorporated into every class. Cloths and sanitizing liquid will be provided in each classroom. 

Attendance:

One of the key messages to manage the risks of COVID-19 is to do everything practical to avoid the introduction of COVID-19 into the school. If infection is not introduced it cannot be spread. The risk of spreading the infection once introduced exists in all interpersonal interactions; student - student, teacher - teacher and teacher- student, and must be managed in all settings.

A range of essential control measures have been implemented to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID -19 virus and to protect the safety, health and welfare of staff, students, parents and visitors as far as possible within the school. The control measures shall continue to be reviewed and updated as required on an ongoing basis.

Students that have symptoms of Covid-19 must not attend school, must phone their doctor and must follow HSE guidance on self-isolation.

Students must not attend school if they have been identified by the HSE as having contact with a person with COVID-19 and must follow the HSE advice on restriction of movement;

A student that develops symptoms of Covid-19 whilst at school must immediately bring this to the attention of the principal (or deputy principal if the principal is unavailable). The school has guidelines in place to manage such a situation if it arises.


David Anderson 

Principal, Adamstown Community College