Greeting to our pupils, parents and agents.
This document aims to inform parents and pupils on what to expect when Rockwell College re-opens on August 31st . There are some issues that remain uncertain, but I hope that, having digested this information, pupils and parents will have more certainty around the 2020-21 school year.
All the staff are very much looking forward to seeing you here again soon.
What are the school day look like when pupils return?
- Pupils arriving via bus or car-pool must wear masks travelling to school.
- All pupils must have 2 cloth masks, one clear visor, a pack of wipes and a pocket-bottle of hand sanitizer with them on return to Rockwell College. Pupils who cannot wear masks for health reasons may wear visors with care. (See Q&A at end)
- Each year group will be allocated a specific entrance doorway for the morning and a specific stairs to access their Studies and Classrooms to minimise contact between year groups.
- Lockers will not be available. You will have to bring your gear bag to your Assembly and leave it there. We must limit the places indoors where pupils can congregate in groups.
- Pupils will make their way to Assembly as normal, but take their seats promptly and wear their mask or visor in Assembly.
- Pupils in 1st, 2nd, 3rd & Transition Year will be based in their own classrooms. 5th & 6th Years will have designated areas where they will take their classes. We have 1m distancing in class, so all pupils and staff will be wearing masks in class.
- Teachers will move from class group to class group.
- Pupils will only leave their class for Specialist Classes.
- Specialist Classes are Art, Music, Home Ec, Graphics/DCG, all Science subjects, Music, Computers & SEN/Learning Support.
- There can be NO sharing of pens, calculators, pencils etc. between pupils. Each pupil must be responsible for having their own materials.
- This is to limit the chances of the virus transmitting.
- Morning break will be staggered to minimise interaction and reduce pressure on social areas, toilets etc. No vending machines will be in operation. Lunch will be staggered so that pupils can be distant from each other as much as possible. Both Refs will be used.
- Pupils will have designated areas to socialise but they must continue to wear their masks unless they can stay 2m apart.
- 3rd/5th/6th will take Lunch from 12:20 – 1pm.
- 1st/2nd/TY will take Lunch from 1pm – 1:40pm.
- Pupils must sanitise their hands on entering the Ref and on leave the Ref daily. Catering Staff will be wearing PPE for service. Trays will be set for the pupil with cutlery, cup etc.
- Regular reminders to pupils in relation to distancing, appropriate respiratory etiquette and hand washing will take place.
- Increased signage will be posted around the College as reminders of the above.
- Pupils will be regularly informed of what to do if they feel unwell.
- Training and extra-curricular will go ahead as far as possible, within guidelines issued by sporting bodies and other. Currently schools are advised to not operate shower facilities. This will be reviewed.
- The Senior Ref will open at 4:30pm for Tea to allow a ‘staggering’ of pupils eating.
- Study will run as normal with pupils wearing their visors. Pupils will be ‘bubbled’ with their class group and each ‘class bubble’ will be 2m from the other ‘bubble’. At the end of Study, pupils will remove and clean their visors and leave them in their desks. Masks are then worn while travelling home.
- As pupils return to school, they will be given information on hand hygiene, cough etiquette and social distancing - these three elements remain crucial to stopping the spread of COVID-19. College staff will be re-enforcing this message consistently and pupils’ support is required and expected. Non-compliance will be regarded as a disciplinary issue affecting the safety and welfare of other pupils under the Rockwell College Code of Behaviour.
What are the main changes parents/guardians can expect?
- The school year will start normally as per the calendar sent to parents, with 1st years returning on Monday 31st and the other Year groups following that week. We are planning for a normal school week at Rockwell College, with Study finishing at 8:15pm on Mon/Tue/Thurs and 7:15pm on Weds/Fri.
- Parents should observe their child’s health in general. Rockwell College will not be taking the temperatures of day pupils. This is a matter for parents.
- Under no circumstances should your child come to school if unwell. If a parent or any other family member shows symptoms or is awaiting a test, your child should not come to school. Please only drop-off at the rear of the building in the morning - even if you usually approach the College via the back gate. If your child is injured and cannot manage the steps, only then can the main door at Reception be used. Parents who are carpooling must be masked.
- Parents are asked to arrange for: 2 cloth face coverings (see Q&A), 1 visor, one pocket-sized hand sanitizer & one small pack of wipes for each pupil returning in August/September. These can stay in their desks when not being used. This means that, at all times, pupils should have the basics to stay sanitised and safe. The mask should be taken home each day and cleaned, with the second mask staying in the pupil’s desk as a ‘spare’.
- We have had to use all available space including the Concert Hall, Common Room and former Music Academy to create classroom spaces with 1m distancing.
- All meetings will be by appointment only, we will be unable to facilitate unscheduled meetings no matter how short. Because of the need for increased supervision, parents may find that the Principal and Deputy Principal are less readily available than in previous years. Every effort will be made to return calls, arrange meetings etc. as speedily as possible.
- Parents should not drop in any items to the College that their child may have forgotten, unless it relates to medical or general health matters. This is to limit the persons interacting on site.
- Year Deans may request more remote meetings to deal with matters relating to your child.
- Reception will be screened off.
- If there are face-to face meetings with staff or management, social distancing will apply.
- Arrangements for PAC AGM, or Parent-Teacher Meetings have not yet been confirmed and parents will be informed in due course. Regular College events such as Open Day, Masses, Carol Service etc. will be treated on a case-by-case basis.
1.Will pupils be 1m apart from others throughout the day? During Class and meals yes, but your child will not be one full meter from others in Evening Study. The Studies are configured to provide 2m between each class ‘bubble’ and so to minimise transference between class groups within a Year. The visors will protect from moisture particles being transferred.
2.Will pupils wear a face mask or visor in class? Are these provided by the College? Rockwell College is not entitled to financial support from the DES in the provision of PPE or many other supports announced by the DES. We are applying for support, but we need parents to provide masks/coverings at the start of the year at least.
The advice is that cloth face coverings be used and we advise parents to source these. If your child has breathing difficulties, sensory issues or special needs that would make a cloth face covering difficult, she/he can wear a visor but with care. When pupils are actively talking, a mask is a better guard against moisture transference than a visor. Visors are sufficient in Evening Study because the pupils are not talking to each other, so moisture particles are spread a lot less.
The wearing of masks will be something staff and pupils will need time to get used to, we will all try to do our best in this regard.
Masks should be relatively plain in colour, with no embellishment or illustration. There is no need to buy branded masks. Offensive or inappropriate masks will not be accepted. Having made enquiries, we will not be able to supply crested masks to pupils in time for the re-opening of the College, so pupils will be wearing their own personal masks.
- 3.What about after school activities? It is intended that these continue and we are following guidance from the various sporting bodies. There is no decision on matches at this time and that will be managed in due course. We hope to run as full a programme as is safe for our pupils.
- The swimming pool is closed until probably the October mid-term for necessary maintenance. All other facilities will be open.
- 4.My child is joining TY. Will the programme be affected? A number of the activities in the TY Programme will have to be reviewed. Work Experience can go ahead as it is a ‘block release’ system. Overseas exchanges are unlikely and activities such as Outdoor Pursuits will have to comply with regulations before they can get the go-ahead. Activities scheduled within the school day such as Toastmasters, Microsoft, Film-making etc. will go ahead as normal.
5. What changes will there be to the curriculum? There will be no changes to the curriculum as a result of the loss of class contact time from March 12th. Instead, the NCCA and the SEC will look at the State Exams and provide greater flexibility in the layout and choices in examinations to make up for the loss of class time. The 3rd Year cohort will have their CBA requirements reduced from 2 to 1. This means that if your child has completed a CBA in 2nd year in a subject she/he will not have to undertake one in 3rd year. Their teachers will go through this with them.
6. What happens if there is a confirmed case at Rockwell College? In this event, the HSE will guide the College on the steps to take.
7. Will the uniform need to be washed daily? We will follow advice on this, which currently states that it is not necessary and that items such as pens, pencils are a more likely means of transference that clothing.