Return to School 2020/2021, #8 (Frequently Asked Questions)

Below are answers to frequently asked questions, which we hope will further assist parents and guardians in supporting students.

You may also wish to refer to Return to School 2020/2021, #3


1. Does everyone have to wear a face covering?

According to the DES directive, face coverings must be worn when the distance between people is less than two metres. In the classroom and corridors, it is not possible to maintain a distance of two metres between students, therefore face coverings must be worn in the school building.

Outside the building, where students choose to distance themselves and maintain a distance of two metres from others, they may remove their face covering. Obviously, everyone needs to eat and drink during the day. However, every effort must be made to remain as distant as possible from others while eating and drinking.

Except where someone has a letter from a medical practitioner stating that for medical reasons, they cannot wear a face covering, a face covering must be worn. If you believe you are in that category, please talk to the school nurse.


2. Do I have to wear the Newpark face covering?

It is not mandatory to wear the Newpark face covering, but we strongly encourage students to do so because it promotes a sense of equality and collective responsibility. However, we recognise that some students may find another mask more suitable.


3. My daughter/son does not have a locker this year. What about heavy bags?

Students from 3rd to 6th year will be instructed by their teachers what they need for classes. Teachers intend to use alternatives to textbooks such as photocopies and projecting the online textbook on the whiteboard, so that students can leave their textbooks at home for home use. We neither expect nor wish students, particularly in 3rd year, to carry heavy bags to school each day.


4. Can I bring a laptop to school and use online textbooks?

At the moment this is not necessary as teachers are making alternative arrangements to textbook use in class.


5. I’m worried about how best to support my child right now. Have you any advice? 

This short 7 minute video may be of help Return to School 2020/2021, #7


6. I have an issue with my locker. Who do I go to?

For first years, prefects are available before school and at break/lunch. Otherwise, see Bobby. You will find him in the Caretakers’ office on the middle floor.


7. Students are outside during break and lunch. What if it rains?

There is some covered outdoor space on campus. To supplement these, the school is awaiting the installation of modular unit canopies in the school yards. We expect these to be in place in the next week or two. The intention is for these canopies to provide rain cover for students when outside. In any event, students should always come to school with appropriate clothing to be outside during break and lunch.


8. My child needs to sign out early for an appointment. What do I do?

Email by 8.30am with your child’s name, form group and the relevant date and time he or she is to sign out at in the subject line. Your child must sign out in G20 with Ms Loughman (mornings) or Ms White (afternoons). If returning to school after the appointment, they must also sign back in in G20.


9. My child is late to school. What do they do?

Go to G20 (the GPA) and sign in with Ms Loughman, who will register attendance on VSware and give the student a yellow slip. The student should present this slip to the classroom teacher.


10. Late notes. How do I send a note to the Form teacher?

Email with your child’s name and form group in the subject line.


11. When writing a late note, what’s an acceptable/non-acceptable excuse? 

Examples of acceptable excuses are illness, medical appointments, personal appointments or family issues.

Examples of unacceptable excuses are an alarm not ringing, missing the bus, or not being in the humour.


12. My child was absent. How do I send a note to the Form teacher?

Email with your child’s name and form group in the subject line.


13. Where is the library now?

The old library space is now a classroom. The old GPA is now called G20 and while it is sometimes used as a classroom, G20 is now a supervised space where students allocated to the ‘library’ should go. As before, it is supervised by the school librarians, Ms Loughman (mornings) and Ms White (afternoons).


14. My child has texted me to say they are feeling unwell. Will I come to the school and collect them?

No. They should go to the school nurse. The nurse will contact you if collection is required.


15. I am not sure if I should send my child to school due to a Covid-19 related reason?

In line with public health advice no person should attend school if unwell or any members of their household are unwell with symptoms consistent with COVID-19. They should contact their GP to see if a Covid-19 test is required.


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.


You may also like to read this ‘Open letter from Acting Chief Medical Officer to parents & guardians of school children’ available here: Open letter from Acting Chief Medical Officer


16. Can I come into school to drop something in?

No. Under Covid-19 guidelines, visitors are not permitted in the school building.


17. How do I make a payment to the school office?

Use the fees section on VSware or contact the office for bank details if you prefer to pay by EFT. Unfortunately, the office is not in a position to accept cash payments.


18. I have got a Lunchbox query. Do I contact the school?

No, unfortunately we cannot help with Lunchbox queries. Please contact


19. What is happening with extra-curricular activities?

After-school activities will not begin until core school activities are proven to be bedded in satisfactorily. We envisage outside extracurricular activities as being most likely first enabled. Students should note that re-entry to school buildings after extracurricular activities will not be possible.


20. VSware is not working for me. Who do I contact?

Email You will get a response by email or by phone as soon as possible.


21. How do I reset my VSware password?

Email You will get a response by email or by phone as soon as possible.


22. Who do I contact if my child has an issue?

Your first point of contact is the form teacher. Form teachers are contactable at


23. Where can my child collect lost property?

Items are being held for one week only and can be collected on a Friday afternoon from the storeroom next to the main stairs. Please label all your child’s personal belongings.


24. I am absent but not sick. How do I access what is happening in class?

Students are expected to log into Microsoft Teams on a daily basis, whether they have been in school, or at home (feeling well).  For more see Blended Learning in Newpark, 2020/2021