Melview National School Principal Mary O'Boyle and Audrey Hunt welcoming back pupils to the school Picture: Shelley Corcoran
It’s been an extremely busy few weeks for schools as they worked hard towards reopening their doors this week and last week, with new, strict measurements in place to avoid the spread of Covid-19. Melview National School reopened on August 27 after what principal, Mary O’Boyle, described as “a very busy month for all the staff”.
Painting, cleaning, re- organisation of classrooms and classroom furniture and putting in place a Covid-19 Response Plan for the safe and sustainable reopening of Melview school have been our main areas of focus. All staff completed the HSA Return to work Safely online course,” she said.
The biggest challenge for the school was the large pupil to teacher ratio and, in order to manage the large class sizes, pupils have been split into groups to use all available space.
“We are lucky that our classrooms are modern and very spacious, so it has been possible to maintain a one metre distance between each of the ‘pods’ (groups) in every ‘bubble’ (class),” said Ms O’Boyle.
“To cater for social distancing during break times we have staggered our two break times. This does require a lot more staff supervision but our teachers are very willing to do whatever it takes to make our re-opening a success.
“Appropriate social distancing markings have been put in place in our senior yard and necessary PPE is available to staff.”
Children are independently entering and exiting the school via designated routes and must follow these routes at all times, Ms O’Boyle added.
“We have put signage in place to help with these new practices. Sanitisers have been installed throughout the school, inside classrooms at all entry and exit points. The children are regularly asked to wash/sanitise their hands,” she explained.
“Our whole focus in Melview has been on creating a welcoming and safe environment for all our pupils and staff as we return school.
“Feedback from parents has been very positive. Our pupils are all delighted to be back in school with their friends and teachers.
“A special word of thanks to our Board of Management for all the assistance they provide to ensure the smooth running of Melview school.”