I am delighted to be five weeks into a new school year and to see how well all our new students have settled in. There are 23 new Junior Infants and three extra students up the school and they have settled in so well and are learning in their new school environment.
Obviously, there are changes to how our school life is operating but the smiles on the faces of the children every morning are heart-warming and they have adapted to all our hand washing and social distancing changes so well.
We are also planning for some staffing changes in the school. Mrs Eileen Kenny had her last day with us last Friday and she will be sorely missed after all her hard work, input and care for the children of our school. Her patience and kindness to the pupil and staff of our school will be irreplaceable
Our new principal, Siobhan Clarke, plans to take over on the 16th of November and up until that time I will be the Acting Principal. Siobhan has visited the school and met the staff, and we are looking forward to working under such an experienced principal as is she looking forward to working with our staff, students and school community.
We do not have a confirmed case of Covid-19 in the school but in the event that we have one I have attached a letter to this newsletter, for parents as to what procedures we follow. Please see attached.
If your child is ill
Please continue to follow all Public Health and HSE advice regarding whether your child is ill. Remember the symptoms of Covid-19 are:
• Temperature (above 38 degrees)
• Loss of taste/smell
• Difficulty breathing
If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact your GP immediately and follow their advice.
If your child is otherwise unwell, please exercise caution. For example, if you feel you child requires Calpol the child should be kept off school as a precaution. If your child appears ‘off form’ please keep them off school. However, if your child has a runny nose but in good form they may come to school. Please see the link below for more information. https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/guidance/educationguidance/Isolation%20quick%20guide.pdf
In the event of your child missing a prolonged period of time from school because of a Covid related issue i.e. told to self-isolate, awaiting the results of a test; the teacher will support the child in their schooling at home. You must contact the teacher by email, and they will provide some direction as to their schooling.
However, if you choose to keep your child off school or your child is absent due to a non-Covid related illness the school is not obliged to provide work to be completed at home. This is the same as in previous years. As you can imagine our teachers are working extra hard to adhere to our Covid guidelines, teach all of the curriculum and catch up on topics missed from last year.
Here in Four Masters NS we have a very active and hard-working Parent Association who last year raised over € 2,000 for our school through a Christmas raffle. They have also helped organise Fr Keogan’s retirement function and Grandparents Day.
Parents do two-year cycles on the council and this year Stuart Regan, Denise Simpson, Eloise McGinty and Brigid Birney all step down after their two-year cycle. We sincerely thank them for all their hard work over the past two years.
Four new members will take their place and they are Julie Armstrong, Roise Rynn, Emma Reeves and Miceal McGinty and we thank them for stepping forward and helping everyone make our school a better place. They will join current members Maureen Mc Gowan, Biddy Golden, Onóra Gill-Fitch and Martina Fergus.
The Annual General Meeting of the Parent Association takes place via Zoom on the 7th of October at 8pm. If you would like to attend the meeting as all parents are members of the Parents Association please email the school at firstname.lastname@example.org to get the Zoom Meeting ID and Password.
Drop off in the Mornings
To help alleviate the mixing of children in the morning time we now open our school doors at 9:15 am. However, it is essential that no children or parents congregate at the school gates before 9:15am. I would ask children to wait in their cars with their parents or if they are walking to make sure they do not arrive at the school grounds before 9:15 am.
Attendance is more important than ever considering the times we are living in. However, we are aware that there will be more absences this year than other years. We are asking parents and guardians to have their children in school as much as is possible while adhering to Public Health guidelines.
This year we will not be sending out a text after fifteen days absent, but the principal will be making phone calls to families if there are too many unexplained absences. If your child is absent from school, it is up to the parents to email the teachers with the reason.
Permission for Seesaw and Zoom
We plan to begin to use Seesaw as an online learning platform for the coming school year. Over the next few weeks, the children will get a chance to use our new iPads in class and get familiar with different apps. They will also be set up with their own Seesaw accounts (details to follow) that will be used in class and may be used for homework. Seesaw may also be used in case of another lockdown.
Seesaw (http://seesaw.me) is a secure online journal where students can document and reflect on what they are learning in class. Your child will be able to add the things we work on (including photos, videos, worksheets, drawings and voice recordings) to their Seesaw journal and we can share them privately with you and other family members to view and comment on throughout the school year.
There are also a number of children who are in the Very High-Risk category and they will be working remotely from home. As per Department of Education guidelines we would like to include them in whole school activities such as Zoom assemblies and enable them to interact with their class by using Zoom under teacher supervision at all times. I am also looking for consent from parents to be involved in these activities.
Therefore, we need parental consent to using Seesaw and Zoom in our school. Can you please send a message to your child’s teacher to give permission?
We would like to congratulate our student council of 2020/2021 for being elected to this year’s Student Council. They are Michaela McGloin (Chairperson), Ciaran Kerrigan (Treasurer), Dylan Murphy (Secretary), Euan Good (Public Relations Officer), Oscar McConville (Vice Treasurer) and Paddy Rooney (Vice Public Relations Officer). I’m sure they will be keeping myself and Mrs Clarke on our toes with lots of interesting and innovative ideas.
We will be organising a Halloween Dress Up Day for Friday the 23rd of October. Students may come in dressed up but unfortunately we won’t be able to have our usual assembly. We will be collecting €2 per child that day.
The money raised will go towards a past pupils of our, Niamh Carolan, who is going on an educational immersion trip to a rural school in Kenya. This money will go to providing school resources to the children there and to pay for the teachers salaries.
Parent Teacher Meetings
Parent-Teacher meetings will not be able to take place face to face this year. More details will follow when we receive guidelines from the Department of Education as to how to proceed.
Due to circumstances a number of normal school activities will not be able to take place this year. We have to remember to adhere to public guidelines and do our best to keep our schools open.
Best Kept Classroom
All classrooms were well kept for the month of September and the winners in the competition for the month of September were:
Junior Award: Junior Infants – Mrs McGurrin
Senior Award: Third Class – Mrs Rooney
Mid Term Break
The school will close for the Halloween mid-term break on Friday October 23rd at 3 p.m. and reopen on Monday November 3rd at 9.20 a.m.