Welcome to St. Fintan's B.N.S.
St. Fintan's BNS is an all boys, Catholic, DEIS Band 1 primary school located in the town of Mountrath, Co. Laois. The school was built in 1976. We take pupils from Junior Infants to 6th class. We currently have 5 mainstream class teachers, 3 SET teachers, 2 ASD class teachers, 1 HSCL, 5 SNA's and 3 ancillary staff.
We have two ASD special classes called Le Chéile where the boys join their mainstream classes for integration daily. We are an inclusive school.
We strive for success in Education but also put a big emphasis on:
Sports: All boys receive hurling and football traiining throughout the school year. We work in partnership with the local club Mountrath GAA. soccer, rounders and rugby)
Music: The boys usually have an annual school concert at Christmas. Lots of our children play musical instruments.
Computers: We have lots of technology devices that are used to promote learning. We have computer lessons every year.
Extra - Curricular: The boys in the senior classes go swimming every year. We enter Speling Bee competitions. The boys also enter seasonal art competitions. We are a Green School. We are currently working on the theme of Transport.
- The school authorities ,Staff and Parents/ Guardians, have a responsibility to make efforts to ensure the safety, health and well-being of all members of our school community – children, parents and staff. This plan has been formulated to better ensure that the school can exercise that duty of care.
- Assuming it is in keeping with public health advice and guidelines issued by the Department of Education and Skills, it is preferable for all children to return to school for all five days of the school week and for a full school day. This plan has been formulated to achieve that aim.
- It is not possible to eliminate the risk of infection; there will always be an element of risk when humans congregate in a Pandemic situation. However, with the co-operation of all members of our school community, it is possible to minimise the risk of the virus being introduced to school and the consequent risk of its spread.
- As well as full co-operation, flexibility and goodwill of all in the school community will be required to ensure the plan can be implemented.
- All children will return to school and all classes will operate within a bubble system. Each individual class and their teacher and SNA (if applicable) will constitute a class bubble for the purpose of the full school day.
- With respect to classes from Third to Sixth classes, within each individual class bubble the pupils will be further subdivided into Pods (table groups ) and each Pod will be separated from other Pods in the room with 1 metre social distancing. ( Further details below re Infants to Second classes)
- The boys should be dropped off in the mornings no earlier than 9.10 if possible. We will continue to use the ‘Drop and Go’ system. Pupils from Juniors to 2nd will enter the yard via the round gate. 3rd to 6th Classes will enter via the main gate.
- We ask for co-operation at these times in particular as it will mean that the numbers congregating on school grounds at any one time will be minimised.
- No adults, other than staff members, should enter the school building during the school day except by prior appointment with the school secretary.
- Bring your child to the designated drop point / collection point at the front of the school , do not exit your vehicle and depart immediately your child/children have alighted from your vehicle.
- For those walking to school with their child, please maintain a distance from other parents at the gate and once the child has entered the school yard, you should not congregate at the gate.
- Messages for teachers can be sent by email, or by phoning the school office.
- A teacher on duty on the yard from 9.10am will direct the boys into their classrooms where they will be supervised until school starts. This is to prevent class bubbles mixing. On entry to the classrooms the boys will be reminded about sanitizing.
- Parents/ Guardians etc will not be allowed to enter the school building except by prior appointment with the school secretary.
- We would ask all parents to take their child’s temperature each morning.
- Should any child be found to have a raised temperature at any time during the school day , or should the child complain of being unwell at any time during the school day he will be brought by a member of Staff to our isolation room located in the middle of the school . Parents/ Guardians/ Assigned contacts will be contacted immediately and the child / children are to be taken from the school building within a 30 minute period of the initial contact being made. It is vitally important that all contacts supplied to the school are active at all times in respect of each pupil attending the school.
- Break times will carry on as normal. However all class bubbles will have an area or zone on the yard where they will play. A teacher or SNA will supervise in each zone. The children will wear different coloured bibs for each zone.
- A plastic storage box will be given to each boy for their books, copies, pencil case etc. These will be kept beside/under their desk during the day and placed on their chairs each evening. All desks will be left clear each evening so that they can be cleaned and disinfected for the next day.
- Hand sanitiser will be available at all entry points on corridors and at the entry to all classrooms and support rooms. If you wish your child can bring his own washbag with a face cloth and hand sanitizer.
- There will be hot water in all the classrooms for hand washing and all children will wash their hands before and after each break, after using the toilet, before eating etc. Sneeze and cough etiquette will be taught constantly to remind the boys of the HSE rules.
- The school has been deep cleaned and sanitized for the re-opening. Each evening the school will be thoroughly cleaned and floors and surfaces disinfected
- Junior Infant bubbles will finish school each day at 12pm for the first two weeks and then at 2pm as normal.
- Children in our ASD classes will work in the ASD class. The recommendation is that integration into mainstream classes happens slowly and mainly with outside activities eg PE
- Within each class from 3rd to 6th, the children will be further divided into pods, with a minimum distance of 1 metre being maintained between pods.
- Please note that once a child is placed in a specific Pod within their class bubble, the membership of this Pod can only be changed on a monthly basis.
- At the junior end of the school; Juniors to 2nd class, the Department of Education and Skills (DES) has recognized that children will not be able to socially distance and while children will sit in the same groups throughout the week they will not form pods.
- The boys can alternate uniforms during the week. We would ask that the formal uniform is worn on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and the PE uniform is worn on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If your son cannot tie his shoelaces, we would recommend that he wears shoes/runners with Velcro straps.
End of School Day Procedures :
- At 2pm infant classes will be lead out into the designated collection points to the front of the school. We ask that parents arrive no sooner than 1.55pm and please do not congregate in groups. After collecting your child we ask that you leave the school grounds as quickly as possible.
- Class groups First to Sixth classes will walk out to the front of the school with their teacher and will wait in their bubbles until they are collected.
- We ask that after you have collected your children to please leave the front of the school immediately and to practice social distancing while waiting for your children,.
Collection of Children during the School Day
If an adult has to collect a child during the course of the school day, the following arrangements will apply
- When the adult arrives at the school, they should either phone the office or use the intercom at the front door of the school to alert the office that they have arrived
- The child will be brought from their class to the adult by a member of staff
- The adult who is collecting will be asked to sign the child out
- No adult should enter the school building, unless invited to do so
Dealing with a suspected case of Covid-19
Pupils should not attend school if displaying any symptoms of Covid-19. If a pupil displays symptoms of Covid-19 while in the building, the following are the procedures will be implemented:
- Parents/guardians will be contacted immediately
- The child will be accompanied to the designated isolation area via the isolation route by a member of staff. The staff member will remain at least 2 metres away from the symptomatic child and will also make sure that others maintain a distance of at least 2 metres from the symptomatic child at all times
- A mask will be provided for the child presenting with symptoms. He should wear the mask if in a common area with other people or while exiting the premises
- An assessment will be made as to whether the child who is displaying symptoms can immediately be brought home by parents and call their doctor and continue self-isolation at home
- The school will facilitate the child presenting with symptoms to remain in isolation, if they cannot immediately go home ( i.e. WITHIN 30 MINUTES OF PARENTS/GUARDIANS BEING CONTACTED) the school will proceed by calling the listed GP and seeking advice as to any further action deemed necessary by the G.P.
- The child presenting with symptoms will be advised to cover their mouth and nose with the disposable tissue provided when they cough or sneeze and to put the tissue in the waste bag provided
- If the child is well enough to go home, the school will arrange for them to be transported home by a family member, as soon as possible, and advise them to inform their GP by phone of their symptoms.
- If they are too unwell to go home or advice is required, the school will contact 999 or 112 and inform them that the sick child is a Covid-19 suspect.
- Arrangements will be made for appropriate cleaning of the isolation area and work areas involved.
The HSE will inform any staff/parents who have come into close contact with a diagnosed case via the contact tracing process. The HSE will contact all relevant persons where a diagnosis of COVID-19 is made. The instructions of the HSE should be followed.
Children who should not attend school
If your child is in one of the following categories, they should not attend school –
- Children who have been diagnosed with Covid-19
- Children who have been in close contact with a person who has been diagnosed with Covid-19
- Children who have a suspected case of Covid-19 and the outcome of the test is pending
- Children who have been in contact with a person who has a suspected case of Covid-19 and the outcome of the test is pending
- Children with underlying health conditions who have been directed by a medical professional not to attend school
- Children who have returned home after travelling abroad and must self-isolate for a period of 14 days
- Children who are generally unwell
Supporting the Learning of Children who cannot attend school:
If a child is not able to attend school for an extended period of time, the class teacher (and/or the learning support teacher, where relevant) will provide suggested activities to support the child’s learning at home.
Impact of a Suspected or Confirmed Case of Covid-19 in a Class
If the school is notified that a person in your child’s class has a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19
- The parents of all children in the class will be notified
- Public health advice will be sought and followed
- In so far as possible, it is requested that all children from Junior Infants to 6th Class will bring their own pens, pencils, colours, rubbers, etc., to school in their own pencil case to avoid the sharing of equipment.
- It is further requested that all items have the child’s name on them for ease of identification.
By necessity, some classroom equipment needs to be shared including Ipads, laptops and the equipment used for structured activities and play in Infant classrooms. Cleaning of such shared equipment with wipes or other cleaning products will take place at regular intervals to minimise the risk of the spread of infection
In keeping with our Special Education policy, learning support will be provided. The provision of support will be organised to ensure our support teachers will work within the confines of a bubble.
- Where a support teacher is working alongside a class teacher in a classroom, both teachers must be mindful of maintaining social distance from one another.
- We have two SET teachers. One will work with the Junior end ie Juniors – 2nd and the other will work with the Senior end 3rd to 6th.
Personal Protective Equipment – PPE
While it is not envisaged that PPE will be worn by staff in general, staff who are attending to particular pupil care needs or who are administering first aid will wear appropriate PPE including gloves and face masks aprons etc . All staff will however be given the option of wearing PPE if they so wish.
Teacher Absence and Substitution:
In the event that teacher is unable to attend school, every effort will be made to secure a substitute teacher for the class. If a substitute teacher is not available, it is not appropriate for the class to be divided into groups and accommodated in other classes. In such circumstances, the SET teachers may be teaching the class for the day.
Where possible, PE will take place outdoors and use of equipment should be confined to the sets that have been distributed to class groupings.
The possibility of facilitating extra-curricular activities will be explored in time in association with the relevant authorities. This will relate to the running of Cuman na mBunscol training and matches. We will have more information on this in September. However for now Extra Curricular Activities are not envisaged.
Lead Worker Representative:
Edel Parkinson will be our school Lead Worker Representative with regard to all matters relating to Covid 19. A committee of Staff members will assist.
On your son’s return to school, he will be given a form to complete which will update us on any change of medical requirements/ address/ contact phone number. We also request that all parents provide an email address for letters/forms we may need to send out during the year.
The above plan will be a working document and will be subject to change as the new school year begins and we see what works /doesn’t work.