Physical Distancing And Safe School Attendance

Written by Nicola McCarthy

13 August 2020


Dear Parents / Guardians, 

Physical Distancing and Safe School Attendance

We are currently working on upgrading our procedures and routines within the school to ensure that there is as much Physical Distancing as is possible in our building. We will apply physical distancing in a practical and sensible way, recognising that the learning environment cannot be dominated by a potentially counterproductive focus on this issue.

School Re-opening

Junior Infants – To enable a gentle start to school for our junior infants they will begin school onMonday 31st of August from 9.30am – 12.30pm. They will be the only children in school that day and this will help both them and their parents to learn the new school routines when the school is quiet. 

Senior infants – 6th class will return on Tuesday 1st September. Full details on opening and dismissal procedures to follow. 

Physical Distancing will be achieved in two ways: –

Increasing Separation.  This will be achieved by re-configuring the classrooms to maximise physical distancing. Each class will be referred to as a bubble and we will ensure that there is as little contact as possible between children in different bubbles (class groups). Within the bubbles, children will be organised into pods.  A pod is a group of children (between 4-6) who will sit together and who will stay in their pod while in the bubble, or classroom. 4th class will now use the hall as their classroom, to avail of additional space.

I am sure that you are wondering what classrooms will look like when we return so I have attached some photographs of classroom layouts that conform to social distancing guidance from the DES.

Decreasing Interaction. This will be achieved by decreasing the potential for children from different bubbles (class groups) to interact.  There will be marked routes on the tarmac for various bubbles to enter and exit the school and to access their classrooms.  Bubbles will have different mid-morning and lunch-time access to the playground.  We will make these routines enjoyable activities for the children, emphasising safety at all times.

While all children will be welcome back to school, we would remind parents that, where children are displaying colds, coughs or flu like symptoms,they should not be sent to school. 

Children who have travelled from countries not on the Green List should not attend school during the 14-day self-isolation period 

Further information on COVID-19 symptoms in children is available at: –

Teachers will make children aware of the proper hygiene procedures regarding hand washing and etiquette related to sneezing, coughing or spitting.  We would be grateful if you could also emphasise safe behaviour in this regard to your children at home as part of the preparation for returning to school.

Guidance for Parents/Guardians:


  • Parents are to ensure that their child knows and uses the protocols around coughing/sneezing/use of tissues/hand washing prior to returning to school.
  • Children are to wash their hands before leaving  for school.
  • Parents must ensure that their child has his/her own packet of tissues coming to school. 
  • Parents must ensure that all the child’s equipment/books/copies are labelled with the child’s name as equipment/books cannot be shared.


  •        Parents/guardians are asked to ensure that children bring their lunches to school to avoid adults having to come to the school during the day. 
  •       Please remind your children not to share their food or drinks with other children. 
  •      It is important that children can manage their lunch by themselves and do not need assistance for items such as Frubes.  
  •      Children will eat their lunches at their desks, as per our usual practice. 


  • Children’s uniforms (including tracksuits) should be clean and washed regularly as a  child may have coughed or sneezed into their sleeve as per coughing     protocols.
  • Our normal school uniform policy will apply unless we are advised otherwise by the Department
  • It is more important than ever that all clothing be clearly labelled, as a “Lost and Found” box cannot be facilitated.
  • As a  school we strongly advise that children should wear their school uniforms  or tracksuits only for the school day. Uniforms or tracksuits should be taken off straight after the child arrives home from school for the day. They should not be worn in after-school facilities, shops, around the village etc.

Pencil cases, lunch bags and copies

  • In so  far as possible, it is requested that children from junior infants to 6th class will have 2 pencil cases.     One to remain at home – for homework when it begins, and a second pencil case which remains in school.  
  • Each     child should bring a normal sized pencil case with them to school on  Tuesday 1st September with their own pencils, pens,ruler, colours, rubbers, sharpener etc. Please do not purchase large colour sets in boxes. Twistables are advisable from infants – 2nd and colouring pencils and highlighters for 3rd- 6th. No items will be shared.
  • Pupils  in 5th and 6th classes will need a geometry set,  which will remain in school.
  • Pupils from 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th     classes will need to bring 6     writing copies and 4 maths copies (C5) to school. I have attached samples of these copies. 
  • Copies     for all other classes will be supplied.
  • To prevent     sharing of equipment children in all classes will have their own personal     storage box on their table. 
  • For now children will only need a small lunch bag to bring lunch to school daily as there will be no   homework across the school for the month of September.     School bags can be kept for later, we recommend re-using last years. 

Children who should not attend school (Department guidelines) 

If your child is in one of the following categories, they should not attend school –

  • Children     who have been diagnosed with Covid-19
  • Children     who have been in close contact with a person who has been diagnosed with     Covid-19
  • Children     who have a suspected case of Covid-19 and the outcome of the test is     pending
  • Children     who have been in contact with a person who has a suspected case of     Covid-19 and the outcome of the test is pending
  • Children     with underlying health conditions who have been directed by a medical     professional not to attend school
  • Children     who have returned home after travelling abroad and must self-isolate for a     period of 14 days
  • Children     who are generally unwell

Children in High Risk Groups

Parents should seek advice from their GP/Specialist if they think their child is in a high-risk group. We are awaiting specific guidance from the Department on children attending school in high risk groups. If there are any parents out there who have concerns about their child’s health, please contact the school  at to arrange a call. 

Supporting the Learning of Children who cannot attend school due to medical reasons

If a child is not able to attend school for an extended period of time, the class teacher (and/or the Special Education Teacher [SET] will provide suggested activities to support the child’s learning at home to the parents/guardians.

Our aim remains to re-open the school in an orderly safe manner, while reassuring the children and making them feel comfortable, safe, and relaxed with their friends in the new school environment.  This will be achieved by all of us working towards this common goal.

The staff and Board of Management and I are working continuously to ensure as safe a return to school as possible. I will continue to be in touch with further information regarding procedures in the coming weeks. 

Kind regards,

Nicola McCarthy