Return to School September 2021

Dear Parents/Guardians,

The Department of Education has advised that all schools should continue to operate the infection prevention and control measures in place in the previous term. Therefore, all arrangements that we had in place in St. Gabriel’s N.S. in the last school year will remain in place for our return to school this September 2021.

As before, a return to the school building is not a return to normal.

All previous morning and hometime arrangements remain in place (see more information below).

All stationery and copies will be provided by the school (see more information below).

Updated Logistics Plan for Returning to St. Gabriel’s N.S. September 2021

St. Gabriel’s N.S. COVID-19 Policy Statement

COVID-19 Response Plan for the safe and sustainable operation of Primary and Special Schools (issued by the Department of Education)

Advice for Parents – Back to School September 2021 (issued by the Department of Education)

Resources and materials for parents/guardians on returning to school are available in a range of languages HERE.


Physical Distancing will be implemented in a number of ways:

Class Bubbles: each class will be referred to as a bubble and we will endeavour to ensure that there is as little contact as possible between children in different bubbles.

Class Pods: within the bubbles (classes), children will be organised into pods.  A pod is a group of children (normally 4 – 6) who will sit together and who will stay in their pod while in the bubble, or classroom. In classes from 3rd – 6th class desks will be arranged to facilitate social distancing as required.

The pods, as arranged by the teacher, will remain in place until a review takes place in line with Department of Education guidelines. Only in very exceptional circumstances will a pod be changed.

(Due to the number of pupils we have in the school and the needs of each individual class it is impossible to arrange pods by friends, neighbours, crèche users, childminders, etc.)

Separate Entrance/Exit Doors: This will help decrease the potential for children from different bubbles to interact. Bubbles will have designated areas to play in the playgrounds. Lunchtimes will be staggered to ensure pupils have additional space to play.

Staggered Start Time: In addition to using separate entrances pupil’s arrival to school will be staggered. School gates will not open before 8:50am. Parents and children are asked not to arrive before 8:50am and not to congregate outside the school gates or railings. All class teachers will be in their classroom from 8:50am.

8:50 – 9:00 Slot for families with surnames A – L to arrive at school

9:00 – 9:10 Slot for families with surnames M – Z to arrive at school

These times are flexible. We understand if you arrive outside your designated slot. Please remember to keep socially distanced from others and do not congregate with other parents and children outside the school.

Children will enter the school, sanitise their hands and go directly to their classroom. Parents/Guardians are not to enter the school grounds in the morning. Please drop your child at the gate and go. Please try to avoid congestion at the school gates.

Procedure for Entering the School in the Morning

Home time: Please see pdfs below for procedures to be followed at home time.

Procedure for Collecting Pupils in Junior and Senior Infants

Procedure for Collecting Pupils 1st to 6th class


Hand sanitising & hand washing in school:

We ask that all children (except those in Junior Infants) bring their own small hand sanitiser to school. These will be labelled with your child’s name and left in school. By having their own hand sanitiser bottle, the time spent sanitising hands will be greatly reduced and will significantly reduce the impact on teaching and learning time. These bottles will be topped up with the school’s supply of sanitiser.

We have hand sanitising stations at every entrance door to the school. There is a hand sanitiser in every classroom. Hand sanitiser is also accessible to each individual pod.

All toilets have hand wash facilities. Regular handwashing will be timetabled into the school day for pupils.


School Bags:

All children must have a bag that they can carry on their back or over their shoulder. Children will need to have their two hands free on entering the school to be able to sanitise them correctly. They will not be able to do this with a wheelie bag.


Personal items are to be kept at home:

Unfortunately, due to cleaning regimes in the school personal items such as toys are not to be brought into school.



All copies will be provided by the school. These copies will stay in school.




The school will provide each child with their own individual stationery pack. These packs will be labelled with each child’s name. Children are not to share items from these packs. Items will be replaced by the school when necessary. Each pack will include a pencil, pencil parer, rubber, scissors, glue stick, colouring pencils/crayons, etc.

Please have your own stationery at home available for your child to use for homework. The stationery packs provided by the school will stay in school.


Uniforms, Tracksuits, School Crests and Ties:

There is no guidance or advice to say that school uniforms or tracksuits should be washed every day and this is not practical for most families.

We will follow our usual practice in relation to uniforms and tracksuits. Uniforms should be worn every day, except on P.E. days, or when otherwise requested by teachers.


School Supplies Fee:

Payments for school supplies and other items can be made through our Aladdin ePayment system. If you have any queries, please contact Vivienne on 01 83 84 853 or email


Returning from abroad:

Please inform us if your child needs to be absent from school after returning from abroad.



Staff will be wearing face coverings:

In line with Department of Education Guidelines, all staff, where necessary, will be wearing face coverings (facemasks and/or visors).

The government advise against children under 13 wearing a face covering. Pupils may wear a visor/face covering in school if parents/guardians or the child wishes. However, school staff will not monitor or enforce pupil wearing of face coverings.


Breakfast Club Cancelled:

Breakfast Club will not take place. Unfortunately, it is not possible to have Breakfast Club due to the crossover of bubbles and pods.


Meeting with the Principal or a Teacher:

If you would like to meet your child’s class teacher or the principal, please make an appointment via phone, note or email. Please give some idea of the matter to be discussed so that both parties can prepare.

When entering the building by appointment all visitors must wear a face covering and sanitise hands on entrance to reception. Visitors will be asked to complete a visitor register that complies with DES contact tracing form.


Contact Details:

Please make sure we have your up to date contact details – phone number, emails and emergency contact details. These can be updated by you by emailing the office at