Galway ETSS

Back to school 2020


Update 1 - 7th August 2020

Dear Students, Parents and Guardians of 1st and 2nd Year,
We hope this communication finds you all well.
Please read through this email with the students as this will help them to understand what to expect in the coming weeks.
As we prepare to welcome our students back to school, we just wanted to touch base to update you all on our progress so far. As the weeks unfold and the situation with Covid 19 develops we will update you further. We will also adapt plans in line with any developments in national guidelines.
As you will see, there is a lot of planning and work happening so that we can reopen our school safely and effectively in September. All of our staff are very much looking forward to our reopening and to working with all of the students.
We are preparing a detailed Welcome Back to School Pack for you all but in advance of this, the following information should give you a sense of what to expect and how you can prepare for the return to school.
Phased Reopening Dates:
We will phase our reopening to allow each of our year groups to have a day in the school on their own in order to familiarise or themselves with the building and the new routines. We will be taking time with the students to allow them settle back into school and work through the new systems with them over the first week back.
  • 1st Years only: Tuesday September 1st
  • 2nd Years only: Wednesday September 2nd
  • All students (1st & 2nd Years): Thursday September 3rd
More specific details etc will be sent nearer the time in our Welcome Back to School Pack.
1 metre Social Distancing
This week we rearranged our learning spaces so that they meet the guidelines for 1 metre social distancing.
We were delighted to be able to do this in a way that should allow us to continue learning and teaching in a creative but safe way that meets the current guidelines. Each class will have their own learning space for the core classes and when split for options we will have systems in place in line with the current advice.
Hand Hygiene
We are all aware that Hand Hygiene is one of the most important things that we need to do to prevent the spread of Covid 19.
  • Hand sanitisers are being installed in all rooms and bathrooms and at entry points.
  • Soap, water and paper towels are also available for hand washing.
We will be working with the students on good hand hygiene habits and there will be routines put in place in relation to this for all staff and students.
At this stage I think we are all practicing good hand hygiene but in school there will be an increase in how often we will have to disinfect our hands. Please support us in preparing for this by washing and sanitising hands regularly and making sure that all are familiar with how sanitiser feels on the hands.
We ask that all students have their own bottle of hand sanitiser with them.
The school will be cleaned professionally every day.
Face Masks
As we monitor the ever changing national situation over the coming days and weeks with regards to Covid 19 we will finalise our expectations in relation to masks in advance of the school opening.
Our current stance is that every student has a clean face mask(s) with them each day either washable or disposable. This should be kept in a zip lock bag when not being worn.
We do encourage the wearing of masks. There will be times during classes and on corridors where they will be​ ​required to wear them. We realise that some students may find this uncomfortable so we would advise that over the coming weeks, they practice wearing them, become used to them and learn to use them hygienically. They are a very necessary part of every day life at the moment.
The HSE give guidance on how to wear them here:
What about Face Shields or Visors?
Students may also have a face shield or visor to wear at appropriate times, but they must also have clean masks as outlined above. Face shields and visors must be cleaned regularly, students must have their own wipes at school to clean them.
As part of the students Return to School training we will work on how to manage masks and visors safely and effectively but it would help greatly if you have done some work at home on this also.
School Lockers and Bags:
Luckily our students have iPads, this means that will not have a huge amount of extra materials to bring to school.
For the moment, in line with the guidelines, there will be no access to lockers.
Students should have a school bag that is big enough for their iPad, school journal, hard backs, copy books, stationery, lunch, water bottle and hygiene materials. Everything should be labeled and carried in one school bag.
Again we will work on the key skill of "managing myself" so that they only bring what is needed for the day as outlined on their timetable and in their journals. In the first weeks they may need help with this at home.
Personal Equipment:
There will be no sharing of personal equipment so it is very important that the students have their own materials.
The 1st Year stationery and equipment list is attached and has been updated to include the masks, visors and sanitiser. This is also available on our website by using the link below:
As previously advised, 2nd Years will need all of their stationery and equipment from last year as well as the masks, visor and sanitiser.
High Risk
​If any of our students or their family members are in the high risk category we would like you to share this with us as soon as possible. Please email us to let us know and we can come back to you to discuss. This is very important information and will help us to support in the best way possible.
We hope that you will find this information useful and that it will prompt you to have conversations about returning to school. This is very important for the students.
We really appreciate your support with these measures. Our staff and students are coming from homes where some family members may be high risk or they may be vulnerable themselves, we need to take every precaution.
In the coming week we will send further details as part of our Welcome Back to School Pack.
Warmest regards,

Sarah and Louise.


Aug 26
Staff return
Aug 27
Students return to school - times to be confirmed through email
Sep 23
3rd Year Parent Student Teacher Meeting
Sep 24
European Languages Day
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We had the first meeting of our parent community this week. Lots of great ideas were shared.
Galway ETSS,
Grianach House,
H91 YTR6

091 394262

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