As we prepare for our return to school in August/September our top priority will be the safety of students and staff and we ask for your assistance ensuring this.
We do not know yet what the medical advice or social distancing requirement will be
Very definitely school will be different. Bathrooms, classrooms, lunch halls, changing rooms, text books, copies, sharing of equipment, PE, practical subjects, food provision and school transport are among the challenges which face us.
It will be difficult for us in the normal school day to enforce social distancing with teenagers but in the interest of their safety and the teachers safety we will be making every effort. If any student presents as sick we will be asking that in the first instance they do not attend school but if they do that we have a contact number where arrangements can be made immediately for their removal from the school. We will have an isolation area as a short term measure.
Strict regulations will be enforced on toilet use and circulation areas
We are transferring all of our payment systems (Book Rental, etc) to an online system (Way2Pay) which can operate through mobile phones. This will both limit the handling of cash and limit the visits to the building which parents formerly had to make. Already you should have received a message from the school on the use of this system (sorry if it arrived at an unsocial hour). Payments can be made all together or gradually and in part between now and the end of the summer. We really want to try and limit cash and unnecessary visits. A link to apply for Book Grant is also available here.
Certainly our delivery in the classroom will be a combination of online and traditional teaching methods.(Blended Learning) Over the years we have purchased a large number of Chromebooks which are used throughout the day by students The sanitising of these between each use will present us with a problem as we do not have enough for each student and sharing has been our practice.Through recent research we have discovered that a very large proportion of our students already have their own Chromebooks and in September we will be encouraging students to bring these in as it will prevent sharing and thereby limit the possibility of any infection.
If you are in a position to or are considering purchasing a device we recommend the Chromebook which is one of the cheapest devices and is available from most computer suppliers and even stores like Argos. The retail price is of the order of €250 and the device would be of great benefit to students both in school and at home. We are looking at how best we can share out the resources which we have.
We are fortunate that Athy College has been selected as the only Google Reference School in Ireland which gives us added advantage in delivering education through Google Classroom and Google Meet. Also many of our teachers have qualified as Google Educators in order to deliver the very best of education on line.
We are establishing a regular cleaning and disinfecting regime and hand sanitisation will be available in all classrooms, at the front door and all social areas. We will also be reminding all students of best hygiene practices.
Drinking water fountains will be turned off and students are asked to provide their own personal drinking water bottles. Ideally these should be filled at home as contamination can occur.
We are planning for a staged return as normal in the first week. A schedule for this will appear on our website.
For those who would like to join us in 21/22 our enrolment can now be done online from our enrolment section of our web page. We already have a record number of enrolments submitted for 21/22 and if you have already submitted one we will be in touch in September to confirm this.
The planned school calendar for the coming year is accessible on our website. This may be subject to change.
Our new building has moved to Stage 2 of Design and we will be installing 5 new prefabricated classrooms during the year to meet the demand in the interim.
Updated information will be posted here as the summer progresses.