September 3rd 2020
You are all welcome back to a new school year and we extend a particular warm greeting to our new Junior Infants and their families. We also extend a “céad míle fáilte”to Ms. Clare Kelleher, Ms. Rebecca Sexton, Ms. Niamh Ni Chocláin, Ms Siofra Carty and Olivia Stewart (SNA) who have joined our staff.
I am delighted to report an excellent start to the school year, despite the unprecedented situation that we find ourselves in. The children have settled in wonderfully well and have clearly benefited from the time they have spent in the intimacy of their own homes over the past number of months. Many teachers have commented on how very attentive the children are being in class so ‘hats off’ to you the parents and guardians for your support in preparing the children for the school’s reopening.
Below are some reminders to help maintain our smooth transition back to school…
Arrangements for arrival and dispersal times:
Overall we are very happy in relation to the arrangements that are currently in place. Thank you to the many parents who are endeavouring to maintain appropriate social distancing outside the school, and especially those who are choosing to use the yard and green spaces as a waiting area until the classroom shutters and doors are open in the mornings-as this avoids larger gatherings developing on the patio areas. I also wish to commend First and Second class children some of whom are now making their own way through the yard and to and from the classroom door by themselves- if you also wish to permit your child to leave the classroom door unaccompanied at home time please don’t forget to e mail your class teacher..
Emergency Contact details
As you are aware we are now using Aladdin Connect to communicate with you as parents/guardians. Please review the information that you have already provided on Aladdin Connect and ensure that it is accurate and up to date and has the approval of the named emergency contacts. The Board of Management requires that every parent provide details of two emergency contacts who are local to the school in the event of us not being able to contact you if your child becomes ill at school. Ideally the named contacts should be able to reach the school within 15 minutes of being called on to collect the child. Please be aware that there must be mutual consent by both parents in relation to the emergency contact details that you provide. In the absence of mutual consent the contact details provided by the parent with whom the child normally resides will be accepted as the default contact.
Class Whats App Groups
A number of parents have enquired about setting up class Whats App Groups. While this a is a very nice thought especially in relation to including new parents, please note that the Board of Management precludes the school from facilitating the setting up of Whats App groups for GDPR purposes, and as to do so would mean the school could be deemed responsible in the event of inappropriate postings being made. Similarly in compliance with GDPR the school is not in a position to share the names or other contact details of the children in your child’s class.
To this end, I would also like to stress that if you have any concerns in relation to your child or any other school related issue, it is always preferable to communicate these directly to the school rather than using a social media platforms (like Whats App or Facebook) as the school is not in a position to address matters of an unsubstantiated nature.
Contacting Class Teachers:
By now your class teacher will have shared her school g mail address with you to allow you to directly contact her during the year ahead. You are advised to contact the teacher during the school week only, and to please note that teachers will not access e mails during the school day- teachers will normally endeavour to respond to your messages after school has ended, or at their earliest convenience. However urgent messages during the school day should be channelled through the school office (e.g. changes in collection arrangements etc).
Absences and Illnesses
As you are aware it is imperative that you follow Public Health advice in relation to illness that your child may present with during the year ahead. I am attaching today, an open letter to parents from the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for your information. It is our firm conviction that an unwell child should not be in school particularly in the current circumstances. You are therefore advised not to administer medicines (e.g. Calpol/Paracetamol) to reduce temperature readings in order to send them to school. Children presenting with any other symptoms associated with Covid 19 (as listed on the HSE information sheet attachment) should be kept at home.
For illnesses other than Covid 19, it is also important that the children remain home from school for at least 48 hours following their last bout of illness.
If your child has a persistent condition, please inform your class teacher about this in order to avoid the condition being misconstrued as being Covid 19 related (a note from your GP might be helpful in this regard).
When your child is returning to school following absences please inform the school through Aladdin as to the reason for the absence. Otherwise, it will be recorded as ‘unexplained’ in school records. There is no need to contact the school if your child is absent for a single day or two. However for longer absences, please contact the school by telephone.
Absences of more than 20 days in a school year are reported to the National Education Welfare Board, who will investigate the matter further.
In the event of your child contracting a contagious illness (other than Covid 19) it is imperative that you contact the school in order to allow us to inform other parents.
Administration of Medicine:
If prescription medicines need to be administered to your child during school time, you will need to comply with the Board of Management’s Administration of Medicine policy- If you haven’t filled in an Administration of Medicine form previously, or if your child’s prescription has changed since last year, please ask your class teacher for a form as soon as possible or download if from the school’s website www.stattractasjns.ie – as medicines cannot be administered until this form is completed.
Healthy Eating Habits:
Thank you for complying with our Healthy Eating Policy which is attached to this Newsletter.
We would like to remind you again not to include nuts or products derived from nuts in school lunches owing to the number of children we have in the school who have severe nut allergies.
Enrolments for September 2021
We will publish our Annual Admissions Notice later in the month once it has been ratified by the school patron and the Board of Management. This will confirm dates from which applications will be accepted as well as the closing date for completed applications.
Junior Infant Chairs/Desks:
Since the arrival of our new junior infant furniture we have a large number of infant chairs and desks for disposal. Some of the staff who have small children tell me that the chairs are particularly handy when hosting childrens parties! If you would like to take some chairs or desks drop us an e mail and we will make arrangements for you to collect them.
Health and Safety Matters-Car Parks:
For Health and Safety reasons, we are asking parents/child minders who are dropping off/collecting children, not to use the Staff car park on the Broadford Road side of the school. This car park has been designated for Staff use only by the Board of Management. Over the years there have been a number of incidents in which some ‘near misses’ involving small children walking too close to cars that are reversing in and out of spaces. If your child comes to school unaccompanied, please remind them that they must not walk through this particular car park.
It has also been brought to our attention that motorists are driving at speed across the ramps at the zebra crossing between the Meadowbrook Complex and the Senior School. Please exercise extreme caution at this point. This matter was brought to the attention of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Co Council last year, who are in the process of addressing the matter.
We would also request that children refrain from cycling and using scooters in the school grounds, as well as climbing on perimeter walls and walking on the flower beds in the patio areas.
Furthermore parents are asked to ensure that the children leave the school grounds promptly after school finishes. It is particularly important that children are not allowed play in the long grass behind the perimeter wall that surrounds the yard. This area does not belong to the school and it can contain sharp objects e.g. broken bottles and stones as well as animal waste.
Parents are asked to bring this information to the attention of Child Minders/Au Pairs who regularly use the area as a meeting point in the afternoons.
Collecting Children from School
It is the responsibility of parents to inform class teachers of any changes in relation to who collects children from school. If teachers are not informed of changes to collecting arrangements they will not release children from their care, and will instead contact parents for clarification. If you have any reason to collect your child early, please inform the teacher to expect you at an approximate time. Please collect from the front foyer as opposed to the outside classroom doors. Children cannot be collected from the yard.
Since St Attracta’s JNS is a ‘Green School’ we hope to reduce the amount of paper that we are using in the coming year. Therefore communications will be sent through Aladdin Connect.
Thank you as always for your continued co-operation, and please do not hesitate to contact your class teacher or myself should you have any concerns in the year ahead.