Please download and print order form below for PE kit, complete and return order form to Mrs Wilkinson (firstname.lastname@example.org and your parent pay account will be debited with the appropriate amount.
13 August 2020
I trust this letter finds you and your family all well. I hope you have managed to enjoy some relaxation over the past weeks and feel the benefits of it. Thank you for your patience over the summer and in particular over recent days as you have waited for information about arrangements for a return to school.
As I indicated in June I felt it was prudent to wait until more definite information was forthcoming regarding prevailing circumstances as close to September as possible. Following a meeting of the N.I. Executive on Thursday 6th August, it was made clear by the Minister that all pupils would return to school fulltime from this September. Schools were requested to wait for final guidance to be published and schools received this on 13th August. I now wish to bring to your attention as much information as possible about the arrangements we are putting in place for all pupils.
Dromore High will reopen following the summer break respecting the aforementioned information and guidance from the Department of Education and with the health and safety of the school community in mind. The DE guidance, is available at https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/landing-pages/education-restart. A summary guide for parents can be found here.
- Pupils must be in school by 08:50 and in their designated classroom by 08:55 where registration will start promptly. Please note this is 5 minutes later than previously and should ease any problems with late buses. Punctuality is critical. Parents please remember your responsibility to ensure your children are in school, on time.
- We have amended our school day to include longer lessons and less moving around the school.
As many of you know, the size of our school canteen is woefully inadequate for the needs of the school. Accordingly, at the outset, the school canteen will initially be providing a very limited service. No food will be available at break time. At lunchtime the canteen will provide a limited service for pupils entitled to free school meals and Year 8 and Year 12. All other pupils should bring a packed lunch to school and if they wish, something to eat at break time. These arrangements will be reviewed during the coming weeks.
In line with the Department of Education guidance no pupils will be permitted to leave the school grounds to purchase food at any stage in the day. Please ensure you send your child with sufficient, healthy food for the school day and ensure they do not make their way to Supervalu or other shops to buy food on the way to or from school. To avoid congestion and to respect members of the local community, pupils must refrain from using local shops while in school uniform.
Health and safety
- Social Distancing
- As per the DE guidance, we will maintain social distancing by having social bubbles where possible, especially in years 8, 9 and 10.
- Students will remain in ‘bubbles’ at break and lunchtimes
- Adults/staff will keep 2 metres distance in lessons, during supervision and throughout the school
- Members of the school community will wear face masks to protect themselves and others where social distancing is decreased.
- Specific play/recreational areas will be designated for bubbles.
- Pupils in years 8, 9 and 10 will be allocated a room and they will remain there for lessons. Teachers will come to the classrooms to teach the pupils.
- Pupils in years 11, 12, 13 and 14 will have to follow their timetable to a limited number of rooms to facilitate subject choices.
- We have changed or adapted our curriculum for some subjects, e.g. practical lessons where pupils will not for the time being be able to participate in practical lessons themselves. If it becomes possible to recommence practical lessons for the pupils we will do so at the earliest opportunity. In the meantime the practical element of these subjects will be delivered through teacher demonstration.
- We have improved our hygiene facilities
- More hand washing facilities – additional sinks have been purchased.
- Sanitising stations are provided throughout the school
- We will provide handwashing tutorials/reminders
- Extra cleaning staff will be in the school providing additional cleaning/sanitising of key areas, such as toilets, corridor areas etc.
- Doors and windows will remain open when and where possible
- All members of the school community must practice the ‘Catch it, Kill it, Bin it’ approach for coughing and sneezing
- Students must adopt a ‘Hands Off’ policy at all times throughout the school and grounds– no physical contact is permitted between pupils at all.
- No equipment will be given out or shared in line with advice
- Ultra violet sanitisers have been purchased to offer quick sanitising for some frequently used equipment
- Parents/Carers can help by
- Keeping sick students and those with any Covid-19 symptoms at home
- Inform the school immediately if any students are displaying Covid-19 symptoms
- Providing your child with a handy sized individual bottle of sanitiser.
- Encourage students to come to school and be on time
- Ensure that students are in full school uniform
- Drop off students outside the school grounds away from the main entrances
- Encourage students to walk or cycle to and from school
- From a pastoral point of view
- Speak with your child about their school day
- Encourage them with their learning
- Speak to the school pastoral team about any issues that have arisen since school closed in March
- Re-inforce the Covid-19 health precautions
- Make sure the students are ready to learn by ensuring they have the following every day;
- READY to LEARN KIT
- Pens/Pencils/colouring pencils
- Protractor & calculator
- Laptop (Post 16 students)
- Notebooks, File blocks/pages
- Sanitising gel
- Parents may also wish to provide a face mask for students
- READY to LEARN KIT
Pupils will be required to wash their hands in the required manner when they enter the school, at every opportunity that presents itself throughout the day and to sanitise their hands as often as possible.
- Normal school uniform must be worn by all pupils and the rules will as usual be rigidly enforced.
- Parents are encouraged to transport their child to school if possible to keep the numbers of pupils on school or public transport to a minimum. If parents can transport their children to school, they should ensure they drop the child off for school a sufficient distance away from the school building to avoid traffic congestion and pupils congregating together. Pupils who live sufficiently near the school are encouraged to walk or cycle to school. After being dropped off pupils must make their way straight to their designated classroom or registration room.
- The Department of Education has indicated that pupils will not be required to retain a social distance when on school transport either on yellow EA Buses, or Translink buses. Pupils over the age of 13 travelling on Translink service buses with members of the public also on board, must wear a face covering. All pupils travelling by bus are however strongly encouraged to wear a face covering because they will be in close proximity to pupils who are not in their social bubble in school. On buses pupils should sit together in year groups.
Suspected Covid-19 case
In line with regulations, Dromore High has an isolation area ready should we have any suspected cases during the school day. Parents/carers must keep any students feeling ill or displaying any of the Covid-19 symptoms, at home and notify the school.
All parents must have in place with school up to date contact details so that they can be contacted easily if their child shows covid-19 symptoms. Collection of the pupil must be prompt and parents are advised to have in place arrangements with a family member or neighbour etc. to collect their child if their work arrangements make it difficult for them to collect their child in person. As a guide we would expect any child with symptoms to be collected from school within one hour at the latest.
To reinforce all the above messages, we will:
- Have signage throughout the school
- Plan extended, induction sessions
- Change our Behaviour Policy to deal with Covid-19 related, unacceptable behaviour
- Please note pupils who do not strictly comply with all the school regulations related to covid-19 can be excluded from school. Parents must reinforce this to their children.
- Facilitate support from the school counsellor and other support agencies
- Keep in contact with our community through the Parents’ App, and social media.
Further details, in response to DE or Public Health guidance, which is likely to be frequent, will be issued to parents as soon as possible. Parents must prepare to be flexible, often at short notice, in response to changing circumstances.
Other information relevant to your child, such as:
- the room they will be working in (key stage 3)
- the doors they must use to enter the school
- the area of the school grounds allocated to them for break and lunch
- the arrangements for entering and leaving school
- and so on
will either be communicated to parents via the school app or will be available to the pupils on their first day back at school.
Regrettably, for the time being, extra-curricular activities will be severely restricted and in most cases they will not be able to run. I hope this will change and we will be working towards their resumption at the earliest opportunity.
We look forward to the new school year in a positive manner but acknowledge that it will be difficult for everyone in our school family. More than ever we need your support, patience and understanding. Following normal school processes, if you have concerns please contact school via the usual channels and we will endeavour to work to solve any issues. I would urge everyone to contact school directly and to avoid disparaging, unfair and ultimately uninformed comments on social media which are demoralising for staff and the whole school community. Surely positives which have arisen from this unfortunate pandemic have been a sense of togetherness and mutual support amongst communities? We wish to see this continue, will as usual endeavour to instil it in our pupils and expect to see it modelled in our parents and staff.
I look forward to seeing your children back in school very soon. My best wishes to you all at this time.
Do stay safe.
Mr I McConaghy