Dear Parent / Guardian
Re: Return to School
Following a consideration of the guidance materials published by the Department of Education, provided below is some useful information regarding various matters pertaining our new school year.
Start dates for pupils
As per our school calendar, only Year 8 pupils will be in school on Friday 28th August 2020 and Tuesday 1st September 2020. (Monday 31st is a Bank Holiday). This will allow for induction of all new pupils.
Only Year 9 pupils will be in school on Wednesday 2nd September 2020.
Only Year 10 pupils will be in school on Thursday 3rd September 2020.
All pupils will be in school from Friday 4th September 2020.
School will be open from 8.50am
According to the guidance materials, there will be no transport available in the week 24th-28th August 2020 for pupils in Years 8, 9 and 10. Pupils in these year groups are advised to travel to school by walking or by car. In the interests of social distancing, parents are advised that they should drop their child off at the front of school (outside the front gates), or at the entrance to Millennium way for the foreseeable future.
For health and safety reasons, the entrance on Mourne Road will not be in operation for pupils because there is currently renovation work taking place in the Youth Annexe and this entrance has been designated as site access only for contractors and their machinery. This renovation work will continue until mid-October.
Parents are reminded that, for children travelling by bus, it is mandatory for all children aged 13 and over to wear a face covering on public transport. It is also strongly recommended that all pupils, regardless of age, should wear a face covering on all buses, trains or taxis for the journey to school, where it is appropriate for them to do so and they are able to handle them correctly. Pupils should bring a plastic bag for storing their face covering if they have used one on home to school transport. Home to school transport will run from 1st September 2020 for pupils in Years 8, 9 and 10.
Pupils should enter school on foot through the designated door/s for their year group and should not gather at the entrances.
Year 8 pupils should enter school via the Home Economics doors and this will be clearly marked. Staff will be there to direct pupils from the entrance gate to the relevant doorway.
Year 9 will enter school via the door beside Mr. Thompson’s office or through the delivery door at the side of the front entrance.
Year 10 will enter school via the door beside boys’ PE, the doors in the English corridor or the doors at Science. Again, staff will be available to direct pupils from the gate to the relevant entrance point.
Further details on specific procedures for the first day for each Year group will be posted in due course.
As per the guidance materials, parents are not permitted to enter the school grounds. Similarly, all traffic in the school grounds is not permitted, apart from school buses and staff vehicles. Should you wish to speak to a member of staff, you should telephone school. Please arrange with your child, to collect them at a suitable point outside the school grounds. Please be mindful of possible congestion in the Toberhewny Lane Lower area in making these arrangements.
As per the guidance received, canteen facilities will not be in operation for the week 24th -28th August, 2020. Year 8 pupils, who will be in school for a day that week, are advised to bring a packed lunch on that day.
It is intended that canteen services for pupils will operate from 1st September 2020. Further information on the canteen will be communicated to you in due course.
All pupils are expected to wear full school uniform, except on days when they have PE. On such days, it is necessary for pupils to wear the school Lurgan JHS tracksuit bottoms and PE hoodie only. Guidance videos in relation to correct uniform requirements can be viewed on the website as highlighted in a recent Principal’s blog.
Protective Bubbles and Sanitisation
When in school, as per the guidance, pupils will be in ‘protective bubbles’ in designated areas of the school building. This means that they will remain in the same classrooms, with the same desk, each day and teachers will move through the building to teach them. As stated in the guidance, social distancing between pupils has been relaxed, however, pupils are reminded to maintain, where possible, social distance from staff and other adults.
Whilst sanitiser will be available in each classroom, it is strongly encouraged that you send your child to school with their own hand sanitiser. It is also encouraged that they are sent to school with tissues and follow the ‘Catch it, bin it, kill it’ advice.
The guidance states that face coverings are not mandatory in school settings, however, if you wish your child to wear one, school staff will have no objection to this. If this is the case, you should provide these face coverings and advise your child in the correct use of them, including their storage and disposal.
It is expected that all pupils will have their own equipment and that this will not be shared with anyone else. Pupils are advised to have a pencil case that contains the following items as standard:
• Blue, black and purple pens;
• Colouring pencils;
• Calculator – Casio FX85GTX model please.
• 30cm ruler;
• A USB Pen is optional.
I take this opportunity of sending you all my best wishes and conveying to you how much we are looking forward to welcoming your children back to school.