We would like to thank you and our students for your help and co-operation in ensuring a successful return to school this week. This has been the most challenging school reopening in recent memory but the levels of compliance around face masks, uniform, etc. has been outstanding and a testament to the culture of working together that is now established in the school. We would also like to thank our GCC staff for their practical, solution focused approach to the issues that have arisen throughout the week.
We wish to emphasise a number of key points as our full return to school continues next week:
Continuous sanitizing of tables and chairs is a requirement of our school protocols particularly when students are moving classrooms. This week the school used an approach where students were required to wipe down their desk and chairs when leaving a classroom. The school provided tubs of wipes in each classroom to facilitate this cleaning. This approach has not been successful and having consulted with our staff and parents council we are altering the process. From next Monday 7 September students must bring their own wipes to school and will be required to wipe down the desk and chair they are at each time they enter a classroom. This will ensure that the desk/chair is properly sanitized by the student himself/herself before the class begins. We anticipate that a small packet of wipes (between 30-50 wipes) should be sufficient for the week and we are confident that this procedure will ensure proper cleaning of surfaces in classrooms.
School Finishing Times
As indicated in previous updates to parents, the school will stagger the finishing times for students to help minimize the number of students exiting the school at the end of the school day. The following are the details of the finishing times:
Monday to Thursday
1st Year and 2nd Years will finish at 3.40pm
4th Year and 5th Year will finish at 3.45pm
3rd Year and 6th Year will finish at 3.50pm (normal finishing time)
1st Year and 2nd Years will finish at 12.50pm
4th Year and 5th Year will finish at 12.55pm
3rd Year and 6th Year will finish at 1.00pm (normal finishing time)
Students are asked not to loiter around the school grounds and to head home immediately when school ends. Parents are asked to note that the school finishing times will be kept under constant review and may be subject to change.
A reminder that face masks are compulsory for all students when in class. Students may use a visor when on the corridors (for example transitioning between class rooms) or in the outdoor areas at break times.
School Canteen: Online Purchasing
Unfortunately, our school canteen online purchasing system is not yet in place. We anticipate that the system will be in operation fully by next Friday (11 September) at the latest. In the interim students must bring their own lunch to school each day to cover the morning break (11.35 to 11.50) and the afternoon break (1.10pm to 1.50pm Junior Cycle & 1.50pm to 2.30pm Senior Cycle).
Reusable Face Masks
Please note our order of reusable face masks has still not been delivered. Once the face masks have arrived we will distribute one to each student in the school. Please note students are not obliged to wear the face mask the school provides. Students are free to wear an appropriate face mask of their own. We encourage students to have more than one reusable face mask so that they use them on alternate days.
Replacement Face mask/Visors
As you are aware the school has provided every student and member of staff in the school with a visor and bottle of hand sanitizer (with the reusable face mask due to arrive next week). This has been at a considerable cost and at a level that the school could not sustain indefinitely. We have a stock of visors and disposable face masks available to purchase from the school office if required. A replacement visor is €5 and a disposable mask is €1.
Technology for Education
Please click on the link below to view some guidance on the use of technology to support learning. This advice was first shared with parents back on 14 August. We have received a number of queries this week regarding the requirement and suitability of IT devices. We hope this information is of assistance.
There are many challenges ahead but we will continue to work together over the coming weeks and months to ensure our staff and students can engage as fully as possible in our programmes of learning. The school is open to any suggestions that are reasonable and practicable within the resources available to us. The change with regard to sanitizing wipes (outlined above) demonstrates our openness to changing any approach that is not working and using a more efficient process. Thank you once again for your support this week. We will update you again next Friday.
GCC Senior Management