We are nearing the end of the first week of the new school year and I am delighted to report that the reopening of the school has gone very well. The planning and preparations of the last month have paid off and the children have returned to school after an absence of almost six months. Planning and preparation are great but the goodwill and generosity of all staff,- Board of Management, teachers, SNAs, cleaners, caretaker and secretary - were the vital ingredients that have enabled everything to run so smoothly.
I must record my appreciation of the work of the Community Alert volunteers who have assisted with stewarding all week. The staggered arrival times have allowed Social Distancing to take place. Finally, I want to commend every boy and girl in the school on the ease with which they have adapted to the new protocols.
Teachers are attending at 8.50 a.m. each day, which is 25 minutes before the timetabled start of school so as to facilitate staggered arrival of children. Gates are opened each morning at 8.50 a.m. Children who arrive early are requested to stay in the car with their parents until the appointed time.
As part of our preparations for reopening, Emer Corbett of Elite Cleaning Services made a presentation to all staff on Corona Virus protocols last Monday August 31st. It was very worthwhile.
I am delighted to welcome three teachers new to the school, Ms Orla O' Gorman, (Senior Infants), Ms Sarah Stokes (Third Class) and Ms Ciara Stapleton ( Third/Fourth class). Mr Tuohy and Mrs Barry have returned for another year while Ms Cathy O' Connor returns after a four year absence. Katie Hannan is on Work Placement as part of her studies in Mary Immaculate and we are delighted to welcome her also.
Some practical issues: While school has reopened, it is quite possible that there may be another Lockdown if there is a spike in cases in the Limerick area. To be prepared for every eventuality, the school will make provision for Remote Learning while hoping that it doesn't come to pass. Your child's teacher will be in touch with you to inform you of arrangements so please check your e mail. It is vital we have up to date contact details for all families.
As part of our policy to reduce the Covid risk, children leave textbooks and copies at school. Their will be no homework for the month of September and we will review the situation as time goes by. Consequently, children do not need to bring a schoolbag to school. A small bag for lunch and a drink will suffice. If children are carrying their lunch box and drink in their hands, it makes it difficult to sanitise on the way out at end of school day.
If a child leaves lunch at home, there is a box in the foyer where parents may leave the lunch. The child may collect at breaktime.
Communication: Please check the school website www.ballybrownns.ie or follow us on Twitter @Ballybrown NS to keep yourself informed on school news.
Healthy Eating: We are very proud of our Healthy eating policy. Fruit, sandwich, water or milk are all a child needs. Fruit Break every day at 11.10 a.m. before children go out for morning break.
Private bus service: In recent years, a private bus service operated by Colin and Peter collected children at 2 p.m. and at 3 p.m. and also brought children to school each morning. The service is not operating this year. This service is a private arrangement and is not part of the school bus service. Another contractor is interested in taking on this role. If you are interested in availing of the service, please ring Rosemarie in the school office with your details. Please have your Eircode to hand.