COVID Lockdown / School Closure - FAQs
Is school open?
School will be open for the children of Key Workers and those children who are in the ‘vulnerable’ category. All other children should stay at home.
We ask that the children of Key Workers are only sent in if it is absolutely necessary. If there is someone at home who can look after them they should not be sent into school.
Will learning activities be provided for my child?
Each teacher has already provided a folder of learning activities for the first week of lockdown. There will be two further folders provided, on the following dates:
Friday 8th January - a folder with two weeks’ work will be made available.
Friday 22nd January - a further folder with three weeks’ work will be provided.
Each teacher will also provide additional teaching and learning resources via Dojo or Google Classroom. These many take the form of short teaching videos or additional explanation sheets to assist your child with their work.
Do I have to inform the school if I am sending in my children, as a Key Worker?
Yes, we need to know how many children will be attending each day, to ensure that we have adequate supervision in place. Please advise us, in advance each week, what days your child will be attending. It is easiest to do this by sending an email to email@example.com
When will school re-open for all children?
The current guidance states that we are to remain closed until after the half-term break in February. This means that the planned date for re-opening is Monday 22nd February. However, this is provisional, and is subject to change by the Minister for Education and the NI Executive.
What are the opening hours for those children attending school?
The doors will open at 8:45am to receive children. The normal home times apply.
Will all children be collected at one time or at their individual normal times?
Normal home times will apply. However, if the younger children need to stay on until 2:45pm we can make provision for this. Equally, if you wish to collect the older children at 1:45pm this can be facilitated.
Are school meals available?
No, they won’t be available. The children will need to bring in a packed lunch.
Are the school buses running?
No, the school buses will not be in operation.
Do the children have to wear school uniform?
No, school uniform is not required.
What will the children be doing when they’re in school?
The children who come into school will be completing the tasks from the work folders prepared by their class teachers.
Is my child able to get help with their work when in school?
The children will be supervised by a member of staff when they are in school, but formal teaching will not take place. Assistance will be given to children if they have difficulty with their work.
What will the staff be doing with the kids?
The staff will be supervising the children in the classroom, and during lunch break and play times.
Are the children permitted to bring devices with them?
Yes, if your child wishes to bring in a device they can do so. They will be allowed to use this if they complete their work before home time. However, this will be done at your own risk, and we cannot take responsibility for any damage caused to a device. Please note that internet access will not be available for such devices. Children may also bring in a book or a toy if they wish, within reason.
Are the children allowed outside during the day?
The children will be allowed outside at break and lunch time, as usual, weather permitting. We would ask that they bring a warm coat to school.
Will there still be a designated break time and lunch time?
Yes, we will still operate in this manner, as it is important to keep the children in a structured routine.
Will the children be in their own classes with their teacher?
No, they won’t be. All of the children will be in one room, as long as the numbers allow. They will be supervised in school by one classroom assistant and one teacher. This might not be their own class teacher.
Will social distancing be adhered to?
The children who come in will be treated as a new ‘bubble’ over the next five weeks. Therefore, they will be able to mix freely with one another. However, the rules that have been in place will remain, meaning that they will not sit facing one another in class.
Will they or the staff need to wear masks?
There is no requirement for primary school children to wear masks when in school. The staff have the option of wearing a face covering if they wish to do so, but it is not mandatory.
How can I get my child into a routine where school work is concerned?
When working at home we advise that you have a regular, set time each day for your child to complete their work; preferably in the morning/early afternoon. Stick to this every day wherever possible and establish this as their routine during lockdown. Remove all devices, and ensure that the TV is switched off, to minimise distractions.
Think about what works best for you as a family, but try to have a clear delineation between home life and the time given to school work.
Would a timetable for work help my child to settle?
A timetable that is written out and discussed with your child can be a very effective tool for assisting with home learning. Give your child the opportunity to have input into the timetable, which will make them more likely to stick to it without too many tantrums!
How long should I keep my child working without a break?
Do not keep your child working for extended periods of time without a break. Short brain breaks for children during work time have been shown to have real benefits. They reduce stress and frustration and increase attention and productivity. For P1 to P3 children we’d suggest a maximum of 20 minutes work followed by a ten minute break. For P4 to P5 children, a maximum of 30 minutes, and for P6 and P7 children no more than 40 minutes at a time.
The goal of brain breaks for kids is to help their brains shift focus. Sometimes that means getting up and moving, especially if your child has been sitting for a while. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which helps with focus and staying alert. It also reduces stress and anxiety, making it easier to focus on important tasks.
Research has also shown that children learn more quickly after they’ve exercised. But brain breaks don’t always have to be active. Relaxing, quiet activities can have similar benefits. They may also be a better option for kids who can get overstimulated by a physical brain break.
Where should my child do their work?
Set up a designated workspace for your child before getting started every day. Make sure he/she has all the materials they might need, including pencils, glue sticks, scissors, books, etc. A consistent work area is useful, as it may help children decipher between work and play time.
Is there anything else that may help?
Let your children make decisions about where they work and in what order they will complete their activities. This will help them take ownership of their learning and keep them motivated. If you feel like they will need a little guidance in making appropriate decisions, you can give them a maximum of two choices and let them choose from there!