I hope you all had a nice summer! Please let your child know that I have heard lots about them and am so looking forward to meeting everyone on the 31st August. It is such an exciting time for them. They are going to love learning new things and making new friends. If you missed the informational video about starting junior infants in North Bay, or you would like to refresh your memory, please follow this link. It tells you lots about our school and give tips about settling your child in.
I have no doubt you have many questions which I hope to clear up for you in this letter. I am going to outline how the first day is going to run, how our classroom is going to operate in light of the Covid-19 guidelines, and what you as parents can do to support me in keeping our classroom a fun, safe and clean learning environment.
On the first day of school and in fact for the duration of their first week, children will come to school at the later time of 9.15am. We will meet in the junior infant yard/playground. This is located at the front of the school, facing the playhouse (red tarmac). I am asking parents to please wear a mask; however, children will not require one. I will take six children into the classroom at a time with one parent each only. We usually enjoy welcoming all parents into the classroom at the same time, but unfortunately that will not be possible this year.
When you bring your child into the classroom, settle them at their table. I always advise for parents to say goodbye promptly to avoid upset, this will also allow for the next group of parents to come in and for the morning to run as smoothly as possible.
Children will finish their school day at the earlier time of 11.30am during the first week. You may collect them from where you dropped them off in the junior infant yard. We will have shorter days during the first two weeks of school to allow your child to adjust. See the table below for the start and finish times for the first two weeks of school, up to and including Friday 11th September.
After the first two days, the aim would be that parents would no longer be coming into the school building. Children will be lining up in the yard and coming in together with me. I know that this may not happen for all children, and we will work together to support each child individually.
As the first two weeks are only short days, children only require a small snack rather than a full-sized lunch. Please note that North Bay is a nut-free school and no nuts are to be allowed in lunches due to allergies of children throughout the school. This includes any nut products including peanut butter, Nutella and any cereal bar containing nuts. Please bring your child’s books in on the first day labelled with their name to be stored in their individual box of resources.
Due to Covid-19, the government have given schools guidelines around safely reopening, some of you may be familiar with the guidelines already. For the most part, it is felt that children in junior infants will not be capable of socially distancing from their classmates nor will they be capable of wearing a face covering correctly and without touching it for the duration of the school day. Therefore, the emphasis will be around keeping hands, desks, workspaces, resources, and the classroom in general clean and sanitary. The children will not be interacting with anyone outside of me, their classmates, and the relevant support teacher assigned to the class during school time. This will be called their "bubble".
In junior infants, we will:
- Wash/ sanitise our hands several times a day, when entering the classroom, after using the toilet, after playing and before eating. I will provide all soaps and hand sanitisers. Please do not give your child their own personal hand sanitiser to bring into school as this is unsafe to have in a classroom with such young children. I will be storing the classroom sanitiser out of the way of little hands and it will only be used under adult supervision. If your child is prone to eczema and requires a particular handwash, please supply them with one to be kept in school (labelled with your child’s name). Please practise handwashing at home.
- Children will be equipped with their very own set of resources. I have supplied the children with an individual box each for their books and copies. They will have their own crayons, pencils, eraser, scissors, counters, playdough and more. You do not need to provide them with any stationary or supplies.
- The classroom will be cleaned thoroughly every day after the children leave, with an emphasis on bathrooms, workspaces and any touch points. The toys will also be cleaned when they have been used. Only toys which are washable will be used in our classroom.
- Children will not share the playground with other classes at break times.
I will need your support in keeping our classroom a fun, clean and safe space for all of us. The best way that you can do this is:
- If your child has a fever, temperature, or a cough, please do not bring your child to school, and call your GP for advice.
- If you have been abroad to any locations which do not feature on the governments “Green List”, ensure that you have completed the mandatory two-week self-isolation before returning to school.
- Please wash your child’s hands thoroughly before coming to school each day.
- Dress your child in shoes with no laces if possible while in school. Velcro or slip-ons are a great alternative to laces. This will help allow me to socially distance.
- Only give your child a lunch box and water bottle that they can manage entirely independently. Similarly, with the food you give for them for lunch. If your child cannot peel an orange, peel it for them before putting it into the lunch box. If your child cannot open a Frube, please do not give them one. Practise with your child to manage their lunch and lunch box at home. The aim is for your child to be the only one to touch his/her own lunch, lunch box and bottle during the school day.
- At collection time, please leave the school grounds promptly to avoid groups of people from congregating.
- At North Bay we usually welcome parents into the classroom in the morning while your child is in junior infants. After the first two days, this will no longer be possible in order to reduce the number of people accessing the school. If you would like to make an appointment to speak with me or would like me to phone you back, just simply call the office and that can be arranged. All parent visits to the school must be pre-arranged with the office and a record will be kept for contact tracing purposes. Please wear a mask.
I have no doubt that your child is going to enjoy starting junior infants and making lots of new friends. While it is an exciting time for the children, I know that it can sometimes be an anxious time for parents so please let me assure you that your child is going to be happy and safe during their time in North Bay. Keep your eye on the website next week for the whole-school reopening plans to be issued. If you have any concerns please contact me through the office on (01) 8325536 or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to meeting you all very soon.
Junior Infant Teacher
North Bay ETNS