Scoil Chriost Ri girls secondary school in Portlaoise
A big Laois secondary school has announced the measures it is taking to try and prevent the spread of Covid-19 when students return to lessons this August.
Scoil Chríost Rí girls school has nearly 1,000 pupils in Portlaoise.
The big changes facing the girls and the staff include many years staying in the one classroom all day, no lockers for the entire year, no access to changing rooms and staggered break times.
School principal Helen O'Donnell has issued a detailed letter to parents and guardians this Friday, August 14, ahead of students returning on a staggered basis starting on August 28 for 6th years.
"School based classrooms are being set up as far as possible to maximise social distancing. 1st years, 2nd years, 3rd years, Transition year and Leaving Cert Applied students will be classroom based except for practical classes. This is to minimise movement during the school day," the school principal has said.
Class times are to be extended to one hour classes. Break times and lunch times will be staggered. Senior and Junior pupils will have different break times and students must stay in their own year groups.
First years will begin induction on Monday September 1, with the school to themselves to adjust.
Students must have a fresh mask every day to wear when 2 metre social distancing is not possible.
"Staff and students will be required to wear face coverings when a physical distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained. This means all students will be expected to have face coverings for use during the school day. Cloth coverings are advised as these can be washed daily. We recommend that you have a number of masks to rotate throughout the week. It is important to source these now. Each student will also need a freezer ziplock plastic bag to carry their mask when not being worn".
Students returning from abroad (from a non-green list country) cannot return to school until their isolation is complete.
There is no supervised study for September and October, to be reviewed.
Lockers will not be available.
"One hour classes will reduce the number of classes from 9 to 6. The school lockers will not be available to students this year due to the difficulty of socially distancing access to them. Storage of text books needs to be based at home and students should only bring in text books as required in negotiation with their teachers".
The girls can come to school in their PE uniforms on PE day. There will be some new outdoor picnic tables for staff and students in the courtyard for lunches, while the water fountain will be not in operation.
"We are very conscious that it will be almost six months since students have been in school and it has been an unprecedented time for us all. Many families are dealing with significant and life changing events. If you feel that your daughter might need extra support on return, please contact her deputy principal," Ms O'Donnell advises.
"It will be a big adjustment for everyone as there are many changes to the school day. It will be important that everyone plays their part so we can ensure a successful and safe reopening of the school," she said.