Arriving to school
If practicable, students are asked to walk or cycle to and from school each day. In order to reduce student interaction, students should not arrive to school earlier than 8.20a.m. On arrival at school in the morning, students will immediately make their way to the classroom where they have their first period of the day. Registration will be taken by the teacher of the first class.
It is intended that the Benamore Road/Rowanbyrn gate will be open morning and evening to help reduce congestion at the beginning and end of the school day. In consideration of local residents, ongoing use of this gate is dependent on parents/guardians strictly adhering to guidelines in relation to drop offs in the Benamore Road vicinity. (Do not enter Rowanbyrn estate under any circumstances; do not pull up/drop off on the two-lane section of Benamore Road. See attached map in email communication for further details).
Classrooms & Base rooms
In order to decrease interactions, as far as possible, teachers will move from room to room, not students. Junior Cycle students (1st, 2nd and 3rd years) will be assigned base classrooms. Assigned seats according to a seating plan will be used by all teachers for all year groups.
All class periods are now 60 minutes long. Amongst other benefits, this will halve the number of transitions between classes and significantly reduce corridor interactions. It will aid students’ organisation and reduce the daily books/materials required. It also enables us to pivot to a fully online environment with greater clarity and security if the need should arise.
Break and lunch times
Break and lunch times will be staggered to increase distancing and reduce the number of students circulating during breaks.
First, third and sixth year will operate according to timetable ‘Grid 1’. Second, fourth and fifth years will operate according to timetable ‘Grid 2’. Please see attached ‘Timetable Grids, 2020/2021’ for more detail.
Each year group will be assigned a specific area on campus for break and lunch times.
The ‘Lunchbox’ service from the school kitchen will not be available at break time. Each student will receive an information leaflet and fob during their initial induction class which will explain the ‘opt in’ lunch time food offering from the ‘Lunchbox’ team. Essentially, it is a pre-order cashless meal scheme. This scheme is entirely optional for families and the agreement/communication is between each family and the ‘Lunchbox’. Students not opting into this scheme are encouraged to bring packed lunches to school.
As per ‘Timetable Grids, 2020/2021’, attached in the email communication, ‘Grid 1’ students (first, third and sixth years) will leave school at 15.50 each day (13.10 on Wednesday) and ‘Grid 2’ students (second, fourth and fifth years) will leave school at 15.40 each day (13.00 on Wednesday).
Students must leave school as soon as possible after classes have ended for the day and by 4.00 p.m. Where it makes sense for students to leave by the Benamore Road/Rowanbyrn gate, they should do so.
Students must not congregate before or after school outside school gates, outside local shops or as far as practicable, at public transport stops. Students must endeavour to observe two metre distancing in these situations and to be mindful of our neighbours and our local community.
In line with guidance, the library is being used to accommodate larger class groups for timetabled classes. All library books have been stored, as the borrowing and use of library books is not advisable under current guidelines. Students assigned to the library for certain class periods will be allocated to another supervised space.
Junior Cycle students are required to wear school uniform in the normal way. For all students, all items of clothing should be washed as often as possible.
Supervised Evening Study
The Supervised Evening Study programme will not be possible for the initial phase of reopening. This will be reviewed in due course.
As far as possible, PE will be taught as normal to all year groups. Some interventions/restrictions may apply, in line with current guidance around use of the Sports Centre. Students will not be allowed to use shower facilities. Junior Cycle students are allowed to come to school in their PE gear, if they have PE that day.
After-school activities will not begin until core school activities are running smoothly. We envisage outside extracurricular activities as being most likely first enabled. Students should note that reentry to school buildings after extracurricular activities will no longer be possible.
Students must practice good hand and respiratory hygiene at all times. External hand sanitizer stations will be available outside all main entrances/exits and must be used prior to entering the school buildings. Students will be required to sanitize their desk, chair and any shared equipment they have used before leaving the classroom.
Hand sanitizer and surface sanitizer will be provided in every classroom and in other key locations around the school.
The school has an increased hygiene and cleaning protocol in place with our contract cleaners, including an additional full time cleaner during school opening hours who will be focusing exclusively on sanitizing all touch points in the building and regular toilet checks.
Face Coverings and School Journal/Planner
The Department of Education and Skills requires that students wear face coverings in the classroom. Public Health Advice recommends that students wear face-coverings when a physical distance of two metres cannot be maintained. Accordingly, all students will be required to wear a clean reusable face covering every day in school. The requirement for some students will be different based on medical grounds. If, on medical grounds, you believe the requirement for your child will be different, please make contact with the school nurses at email@example.com
In order to facilitate families and in order to promote appropriate and equal face mask use, every student must purchase a pack of five reusable, cloth face masks at the start of term. These face masks will be blue and will bear the Newpark crest. A washable storage pouch will also be supplied, and it is expected that every student will arrive to school with a clean mask each day. It is planned to distribute the mask pack to students along with their student journals/planners at their initial induction session. The total cost of the face mask pack and the journal/planner is €26, and parents/guardians are requested to make this payment on VSware as soon as possible.
For both hygiene and anti-congregating reasons water fountains will not be in use. Students will need to bring their own drinking water to school. Where a student wishes to use a water bottle, they will need to fill the bottle at home before coming to school.
Lockers will be provided for first and second year students only. Other students will need to carefully consider the list of books which they need to bring to school on a daily basis. Teachers will endeavour to assist in this.
While Newpark does not require students to have a laptop/tablet, we use the Microsoft suite of apps to support teaching and learning. Our experience last term has shown that having access to a laptop or device with a keyboard makes it much easier for students to engage with digital learning and teaching.
We intend continuing to embed our use of Microsoft Teams and other Microsoft apps in the forthcoming academic year, whether students and teachers are working together in school or online. A new computer is not necessary: access to a basic device with a keyboard and internet access (shared with a sibling if necessary) is sufficient.
When not to attend school
In line with public health advice no person (student, teacher or parent) should attend the school if unwell or any members of their household are unwell with symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Students who have been identified by the HSE as a contact of a person with COVID-19 must not attend school and HSE advice on restriction of movement must be followed.
Should there be a suspected case of Covid-19 during the school day, as per guidelines, the person will be brought to, or report to, the isolation room. In the case of students, parents/guardians will be contacted, and arrangements made for the student to be collected.
Students at high risk
While we are very much looking forward to welcoming all students back, we do appreciate that there may be students in high risk categories who are unable to return. If you believe that your son/daughter is or may be at high risk of serious illness if he or she contracts COVID-19, please contact the school nurses at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know so that we can plan accordingly.
In line with guidance, visits to the school for any purpose are actively discouraged. Where absolutely necessary, visits to the school must be by prior arrangement only. Accordingly, parents are asked to avoid having to bring forgotten lunches, bags etc. to the school.
Queries to be addressed by the school office should not be made in person, but by email (email@example.com) or telephone (01-2883724).
Schedule for start of term
This year the school will reopen on a phased basis as follows:
Tuesday, 1st September
10.00 – 12.20 Induction for first year students only.
Wednesday, 2nd September
10.00 – 12.20 Induction for first year, third year and sixth year students.
Thursday, 3rd September
10.00 – 12.20 Induction for second year, transition year and fifth year students.
Friday, 4th September
8.50 – 15.50 Normal classes for all students
On the induction days, students should go straight to their form rooms where they will meet their form teachers. Form groups will shortly be on VSware and form rooms will be communicated via the app prior to return.
The induction classes will focus on COVID-19 awareness and training, new school systems and practices and the usual routine matters, such as timetable, Relationships and Behaviour policy, dress code, etc.