Newsletter 20th December 2022

Dear Parents,

As we come to the end of the first term, I would firstly like to take this opportunity to thank you most sincerely for your continued support and assistance since our return to school in late August. Our first term has been a very successful one despite the restricted circumstances in which we continue to find ourselves. Our children have had the chance to compete in a sporting event for the first time in two years; we managed to hold our First Communion and Confirmation and also recommenced sports coaching with the FAI soccer tuition and with training for our school football team. The children in fourth class also took part in a course of tuition in Irish Sign Language. In achieving these milestones, we managed to achieve some semblance of normality for our children. I would like to express my gratitude to all of the school staff for their hard work over the term.

As ever, I would like to bring a few notices to your attention.

End of Term

The school will close for the end of term on this Wednesday, December 22nd at 12:00 p.m. Please arrange for prompt collection of the children at this time. The school is scheduled to reopen on Thursday January 6th at the usual time. Children may wear Christmas jumpers for the remaining days of the term.

Covid Arrangements.

1. School Contingency Plan

While we have no knowledge of any plan to keep the school closed, we do nevertheless need to prepare for such an eventuality, based on previous experience. As such the teachers will have sent home the children’s books and their codes for accessing online learning, should the need arise. Obviously this is not an ideal situation given that a large cohort of our families has struggled with this during previous lockdowns. Make no mistake, the teachers, Board of Management and our parents would prefer to keep the school open and would endeavour to do so if the decision was ours. Unfortunately whether we agree or not, we are compelled to follow NPHET imposed restrictions. Where children have been absent, we ask that parents should come to school to collect books before we close on Wednesday.

2. Mask Requirement

Thanks to our parents for the support in observing the rules around wearing masks in school. Please be aware that this is not a school rule but is one which has been imposed by the NPHET and as such is a requirement and not a choice.

3. Classroom Filtration

The school has received a grant from the DES to allow us to purchase HEPA filtration systems for the school in order to help to render the space in the classrooms as virus free as possible. We are currently in the process of sourcing suitable hardware for this and hope to have these ‘up and running’ on our return to school for the beginning of Term 2.

4. Symptoms

With the emergence of the latest variant of the Covid19 virus, we all need to be extra vigilant given the increased rate of transmission and consequently the increasing chances of contracting the virus. While in many cases infection is mild, we should do everything in our power to slow the spread of the virus particularly in the school setting. Remember that it is not just a child who contracts the virus, it may also be a vulnerable adult being

infected through the child picking it up at school. Therefore we bear a large load in terms of responsibility, not just to ourselves but to the community as a whole. Please do not send the children into school if they display any symptoms consistent with the Covid virus or indeed any cold or flu. If in doubt please administer an antigen test to the children.

5. Collection of Children after School

Please note that all children must be off the school premises no later than 3:00 p.m. in line with our Covid19 school response plan. We ask for your cooperation in this measure.

School News.

As you may be aware, the school has received sanction for a new extension to the school from the Department of Education and Skills. This should commence in the near future. The new building consists of four new mainstream classrooms, three Learning support rooms and a fully equipped, state of the art Special Education Unit to cater for children with autism. The ASD unit will open for the beginning of the new school year in August 2022. It is expected that there will be considerable demand for places in this facility. It is also planned to construct enhanced recreational space to include a large Astroturf play area/sports field. The staff and Board of Management at Scoil Íosa are delighted with this development which will considerably add to the school and provide the best facilities for our children.

Enrolment 2022-2023

Enrolment for new pupils for the 2022-2023 school year will commence on return to school. Application forms are available on the school website or from the school secretary.

Enrolment for the Current School Year.

Please note that the school is currently full and that unfortunately we cannot accept any further applications for enrolment for the current school year. All applications will be placed on a wait list. The situation should alleviate itself for the next school year.

Finally, as we approach the festive season, may I take this opportunity to wish all of our school community a very Happy Christmas and New Year and sincerely hope that we see a return to a greater normality in 2022.

With Thanks.

K. Dennedy