Letter to Parents 18 September 2020

“The most critical part of managing the risks of COVID-19 related to schools is doing everything practical to avoid introduction of COVID-19 into the school. If the infection is not introduced it cannot spread. The risk of introduction is related to how common the infection is in the community served by the school at a given time. If the infection is uncommon in the community then the likelihood of introduction is much lower”

Dear Parents/Guardians,

At this stage everyone is settling well into our new term.  It has been a very unique start to the school year and we thank everyone in our school community for their hard work, co-operation and understanding thereby ensuring that the re-opening of the school went as smoothly and as successfully as it did.  It was fantastic to welcome our pupils, parents and staff back to school.  We extend a special welcome to our Junior Infants who didn’t have the opportunity of visiting the school before the re-opening.  They came in unaccompanied by parents without any bother. We also welcome pupils new to the school and hope they will be happy in Johnstown. We compliment all the pupils for their efforts in keeping a safe distance apart and complying with all the new safety measures. Well done to everyone for their prompt arrival in school – we really have very few late arrivals which is brilliant. We are also really grateful to parents who are being extra vigilant with their children and on many occasions keeping them at home as a precautionary measure thereby helping to keep everyone else safe. We would ask parents to adhere to social distancing when dropping children to school and not to congregate at the school gates.

Please find a useful advice sheet from the HSE – Covid 19 Advice for parents – When to keep your child at home and phone your GP and When it’s okay to send your child to school or childcare – https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/news/newsfeatures/covid19-updates/partner-resources/covid-19-schools-and-parents-resources/back-to-school-advice-for-parents.pdf

We welcome Mr. Gibson, Ms. M. Browne and Mr. Curran back to the school.  We also welcome Ms. Barry, Ms. Dillon, Mr. Rogan and Mr. Sheeran who form the Substitute Supply Panel.

Sadly we bid adieu to Ms. Bouskine who taught here for the last 3 years.  We thank her for her great contribution to the work of the school and in particular to the boys’ education.  She will be greatly missed in Johnstown and we wish her well in her new school.  Having served for a considerably longer period Ms. Roseanne Doyle has retired from her role as a Special Needs Assistant.  She helped a great number of our pupils over the years and displayed great kindness and understanding towards all the boys, while encouraging them to be independent.  We thank her for her great contribution to the school, the children and the staff.  We wish her a long, happy and healthy retirement.  We welcome Eileen Taylor to the staff of the school.

Teachers have been busy emailing you with their school email address.  Please have all correspondence relating to your son going to the teacher via email.  It is safer for us all not to have notes coming in/going home.  A consent form for Seesaw has been sent home.  Please email it back to your son’s class teacher at your earliest convenience.

3rd – 6th class pupils can exit the school yard at going home time through either exit from Monday September 21st.  Junior Infants to 2nd are still asked to exit via the designated gate set out on the logistics plan.

Tracksuits can be ordered via your secure Aladdin Link from Monday-Thursday weekly on the link http://olgc.ie/wp/index.php/tracksuits/  The orders will then be collated and delivered to your son’s classroom on the following Monday.

Child Protection Policy 2020 – Reminder

The annual review of the Child Protection Policy was conducted and ratified in June 2020.  A copy is available on the website and hard copy is available on request from the School office.

School Admission Policy (2020)

A new School Admission Policy has been ratified by the school Patron and the Board of Management.  It will be available on the website from Monday, September 21st 2020 and will apply to enrolments for 2021/2022 and beyond. New applications for 2021/2022 will be taken between 5th October 2020 at 09.00 and 6th November at 17.30.  If you need to check that yours son’s name is on the existing list for 2021/2022 please email the Secretary at johnstownbns@gmail.com.

Mobile Telephone Numbers

In the current times it is essential that we have up to date contact numbers for everyone especially for the purposes of contact tracing if required.  If you have changed your mobile recently please email your name, child’s name, class and new mobile number to johnstownbns@gmail.com.

Staff Absences

We are extremely fortunate to have a healthy staff with a great attendance record.  In the current Covid era we need to be particularly careful and mindful of everyone’s health and wellbeing.  Unfortunately, from time to time people fall ill or may be advised not to attend school.  In these situations we will make every effort to employ a substitute teacher despite the current chronic shortage of substitutes.   We have been nominated as a base school for a Substitute Supply panel – we have 4 additional teachers serving 25 local schools!!! If you know of any qualified primary teacher, registered with the Teaching Council who may be interested in substitute work or anyone who has completed Fetac Level 5 or Level 6 Special Needs Assistant course, please ask them to contact the school. In any event in the case of a teacher(s) being absent, the class(es) will not be split and redistributed as was previously the case.

We look forward to working closely with you during the coming year not alone in advancing your child’s education but also doing our utmost to keep everyone in our school safe and well at all times.

Stay Safe and Stay well.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Cadogan


Information from Minister for Education 26 August

Dear Parents,

As requested by the Minister for Education and Skills to make the following information available to parents. I hope you find this useful as we head towards the reopening of the school –

• Video for parents with key information on supporting children to return to school available here and here
• Fliers for parents – available for download here. The HSE has prepared material on recognising symptoms, which complements the material from the Department on returning to school. This is available here
• Age-appropriate videos for children and young people at different stages. Videos for primary (both junior and senior level) and post-primary students are available here
• Resources in a wide range of languages. Many schools will enjoy a huge diversity among their student and parent community. To support these parents, we have translated guidance for parents at gov.ie/backtoschool

The Covid-19 World Service project has also consulted with the Department and has used our key messages to produce a range of videos in a variety of languages which your school community may find helpful – please see more at https://nascireland.org/covid-19-world-service

Yours sincerely,

Neil Cadogan,

Return to School, Further Info, Logistics Map letter 25 August

Dear Parents / Guardians,

Re: Return to School / Further Information / Logistics Map

The Board of Management and School Staff are looking forward to welcoming all our pupils and parents/guardians back to school for the 2020/2021 school year on September 1st.

We are still working towards reopening and are satisfied that we will have control measures in place to ensure that this will be a safe re-opening.  It will take some time for all of us to get used to the “new circumstances” as we become familiar with the new routines and procedures designed to keep everyone safe and to prevent the spread of the virus.  There will, undoubtedly, be some unforeseen challenges and we will deal with these as they arise.

We would like to thank you for your co-operation in making preparations to date and look forward to working with you as we assist the children adapt to the necessary changes.  We are also conscious of the fact that our pupils have not been in school since March and that they are looking forward to coming back to school to meet their friends again.  We are aware that our new pupils are beginning a school year at a challenging time and have made plans to ensure that their arrival will be as free from stress as possible.

If there is any issue which has arisen in relation to your child’s social, emotional or educational welfare since he was last in school, and which you feel the school should be aware of, please e-mail the school at johnstownbns@olgc.ie and the Principal, or another Staff member, will contact you to discuss the matter.

We look forward to seeing everyone returning to school on September 1st and starting the school year together. We thank you for your assistance and co-operation thereby ensuring a safe return to school for everyone.

Yours sincerely,

Michael J Hunt, Chairman
Neil Cadogan, Principal

Click here to download this letter as a pdf

Further Information and Logistics Map

The advice in relation to Lunchboxes and Schoolbags is that they can be allowed.
Lunchboxes should be cleaned daily and deep cleaned weekly.
Schoolbags to be disinfected daily and deep cleaned weekly.

Water bottles (non metal) to be cleaned daily and deep cleaned weekly.

A light waterproof jacket/poncho (in a drawstring bag) is recommended to keep coats dry for storage in school bags or on the backs of chairs. These will be worn over their coats as required.

Inhalers can be brought to school in the normal way.

In line with children not sharing personal equipment, all children from 1st Class upwards are required to bring their own pencil case containing pencils, rubbers, colouring pencils etc. that they will leave in school. Each item should be labelled with the child’s name on it.

School books ordered through the school have been delivered and will be in your child’s class on September 1st. For parents who did not order books through the school, your child’s books can be dropped at the main door of the school on Wednesday or Thursday 10.00 – 12.00.  Books/copies should be in a sealed plastic bag with your child’s name clearly on the outside.

Any families returning from a country not on the “Green List” are required to isolate for 14 days. Children isolating should complete the isolation period before returning to school.

Updating Emergency Contact Numbers

Now, more than ever, it is essential that we have up to date contact details for everyone. In the past we have found that numbers aren’t valid so would ask parents to please give us current numbers via this link or via the Parents Menu on the school website www.olgc.ie

Thank you for your support and co-operation in keeping the school a safe place for everyone.

Logistics Map

Click image to view pdf:

Drop-off and Collection Routines

19 August 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians,

We hope that everyone is safe and well.

The Board of Management, the School Leadership Team, our working group and staff have been busy working to ensure a safe return to school for all pupils and staff in two weeks’ time.   We have now finalised our plans for drop-off and collection of the children every day.

Our Lady of Good Counsel Boys’ School appreciates the enormous efforts of parents and staff during the Lockdown as we try to safely reopen the school building. If at all possible we request you not to come onto the school grounds or into the school building unless it is essential. We appreciate that dropping off the Junior Infant pupils to their line is essential, but for the older pupils a drop off at the school gate is vital. We will be in touch with the parents of our Junior Infants in the coming days. Working together we hope to be able to progress the reopening in as safe a manner as possible for all as outlined in the Logistics Plan. Again we look for your help and support as we safely try to reopen.

We would ask all parents to familiarise themselves with the Logistic Plan and follow drop-off and collection routines for the safe delivery and collection of pupils from school.  Please be patient as we endeavour to embed these necessary precautionary and protective practices at the beginning of the school year.

It is imperative that

  • adults do not come within 2m of each other
  • adults do not congregate at the gates/yard/carpark.
  • parents do not try to have meetings with members of staff in the playground at drop-off and collection times – meetings between parents and teachers can only take place by prior arrangement. (This may have to be more restrictive depending on guidance – it is quite possible that the recommendation will be for remote meetings/telephonic communications.)
  • all parents/guardians adhere to the drop-off and collection plans as outlined.

Thank you for your support and assistance in helping us get everyone back to school safely.  We look forward to welcoming all the boys on September 1st.

Michael J. Hunt, Chairman
Neil Cadogan, Principal

Click here to download this letter as a pdf

Logistics Plan for Reopening of Our Lady of Good Counsel BNS (19 Aug 2020)

“The most critical part of managing the risks of COVID-19 related to schools is doing everything practical to avoid introduction of COVID-19 into the school. If the infection is not introduced it cannot spread. The risk of introduction is related to how common the infection is in the community served by the school at a given time. If the infection is uncommon in the community then the likelihood of introduction is much lower” 

Underlying Principles

  • The school has a responsibility to make effort to ensure the safety, health and well-being of all members of our school community – children, parents and staff. This plan has been formulated to better ensure that the school can exercise that duty of care.
  • Assuming it is in keeping with public health advice and guidelines issued by the Department of Education and Skills, it is preferable for all children to return to school for all five days of the school week and for a full school day. This plan has been formulated to achieve that aim.
  • It is not possible to eliminate the risk of infection. However, with the co-operation of all members of our school community, it is possible to minimise the risk of the virus being introduced to school and the consequent risk of its spread.
  • As well as co-operation, the flexibility and goodwill of all will be required to ensure the plan can be implemented.


  • All children return to school and classes operate within a bubble system
  • The school is split into 4 groups with each group having different starting times, break times, lunch times and finishing times.
  • Groups will be colour coded to their bubbles’ entrance points and remain in these bubbles throughout the day. There are 4 colours with staggered times.
  • The day will include 1 x 10 minute break minute and 1 x 30 minute break
  • Each class will line up on their colour at their arrival time to be collected by their teacher, maintaining social distance
  • Hand sanitiser will be available at all entry/exit points and in all class, staff room and support and isolation rooms. There will be two isolation rooms to be used when there is a suspected case, one in the library and photocopying room.

Logistics for School Start, Finish and Break Times (Click here for 1 page pdf)

Staggered Times:
8.40 – 2.20
8.50 – 2.30
9.00 – 2.40
9.10 – 2.50

4 colours for 4 entrances and exits

  •  Red – Hall door
  • Yellow – Main Entrance
  •  Green – Pond Entrance
  •  Blue – Basketball Court Entrance

* All children line up in their bubbles on the bottom yard, by colour code, and are collected by their teachers at their designated staggered times and escorted into their classrooms through their designated, colour coded door.


Red –

Hall door

Yellow –

Main Entrance

Green –

Pond Entrance

Blue –

Basketball Court Entrance

Group A: 8.40 Junior Infants (S.C.) Mrs. Mulholland Ms. Gavin Ms. Cooney
Group B: 8.50 Ms. McGreal Mr. Bolger Ms. S. Browne Junior Infants (S.W.)
Group C: 9.00 Mrs. Matthews/Ms. Cruise Mr. Moloney Mr. Clancy Ms. M. Browne
Group D: 9.10 Mr. Gibson Mrs. Quinlan Ms. O’Hara Mrs. Sheehan
Junior Infants Week 1 and 2

Start time 9.40-11.40 and 9.55 – 11.55:  Drop off and Collection point at top yard and brought into and out of school gate in Woodland Area.

Collection Point to be reviewed after the settling in period.

Junior Infants “Normal Time” will resume once they have settled in. Date to be Confirmed. Normal hours will be

Mr. Curran 8.40am to 1.20pm

 Mrs. Whelan 8.50am to 1.30pm

Senior Infants:

 Ms. Gavin’s class will finish their school day at 1.20pm.
 Ms.S.Browne’s will finish at 1.30pm.

1st Class:

To settle the First Class pupils in to their longer day Mr. Gibson’s class will finish at 1.50pm and Ms.McGreal’s class will finish at 1.30pm until Friday September 4th.  Normal Hours as per this document will resume from Monday September 7th.

Newcomers to the School:

Start time of 9.30am on Sept 1st only and parent /guardian may accompany the child to the Main Entrance where they will be welcomed by staff members.


Little Break:

Group 1: 9.50 – 10.00
Group 2: 10.10 – 10.20

Big Lunch:

Group 1: 11.20 – 11.50
Group 2: 12.00 – 12.30

*Newcomers to the School:  Start time of 9.30am on Sept 1st only and parent /guardian may accompany the child to the Main Entrance where they will be welcomed by staff members.

Group 1: 9.50 – 10.00 and 11.20 – 11.50:

Ms Gavin, Mr Bolger, Ms S Browne, Mrs Mulholland, Ms Cooney, Ms McGreal

Top Yard

Bottom Yard

 Mr. Bolger main entrance

Ms. S. Browne (through door at Ms. O’Hara’s class at break)

Ms. Cooney (around by back of school through door at BB court)

Ms. McGreal – Hall Door (area beside GNS)

Ms Gavin (through door at Mr Curran’s class at break)

 Mrs. Mulholland – main entrance

Group 2: 10.10 – 10.20 and 12.00 – 12.30

Mr Moloney, Mrs Matthews/Ms Cruise, Mrs Quinlan, Mr Clancy, Ms O’Hara, Ms M Browne, Mr Gibson, Mrs Sheehan

Top Yard

Bottom Yard

 Mr. Moloney – Main Entrance

 Mr Clancy – Up by pond and through own door

 Ms. M Browne (around by back of school through door at BB court)

Mr. Gibson – Hall Door (area beside GNS)

 Ms. O’Hara – Door on Infant Corridor

 Mrs. Quinlan – Main Entrance

 Mrs. Matthews/Ms Cruise – Hall Door

 Mrs. Sheehan (around by back of school through door at BB court)

Arrival at school

  • Each group should aim to arrive at the school at their exact start time

Group A – 8.40
Group B – 8.50
Group C – 9.00
Group D – 9.10

  • We ask for co-operation with these times as it will mean that the numbers congregating on school grounds at any one time will be minimised.
  • Each child should line up at their designated point with social distancing observed.
  • The class teacher will invite the children to enter the building via their designated, colour coded entrance point at the appropriate time.
  • No adults, other than staff members, should enter the school yard.
  • Messages for teachers can be sent by email or by phoning the school office.
  • In so far as possible, please walk or cycle to school.

End of School Day

  • Adults, who are collecting their children from school at the end of the day, should wait at the designated exit point for their child’s class at the child’s exact finish time.
  • When the school day for that class is over the following arrangements will apply –
    • Junior Infants -2nd Class – the class teacher, SNA and Support Teacher will bring the children to the school yard and will release the children into the care of the adult who is there to collect them outside the school gates at their designated collection points
    • 3rd – 6th Class – the class teacher escorts the class to the school yard for dispersal.
Designated Collection Points at End of School Day

Gate at lower/staff car park

Single gate at top yard

Double gate at top yard


Top of top yard, coming from Woodland Area/Auburn Road

Collection of Children during the School Day

If an adult has to collect a child during the course of the school day, the following arrangements will apply:

  • When the adult arrives at the school, they should either phone the office to alert the office that they have arrived.
  • The child will be brought from their class to the adult by a member of staff
  • The adult who is collecting will be asked to sign the child out
  • No adult should enter the school building, unless invited to do so

Dealing with a suspected case of Covid-19

Pupils should not attend school if displaying any symptoms of Covid-19.

They are:

    • High temperature
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or breathing difficulties
    • Loss of smell, of taste or distortion of taste

If a pupil displays symptoms of Covid-19 while in the building, the following are the procedures will be implemented:

  • Parents/guardians will be contacted immediately
  • The child will be accompanied to the designated isolation area via the isolation route by a member of staff. The staff member will remain at least 2 metres away from the symptomatic child and will also make sure that others maintain a distance of at least 2 metres from the symptomatic child at all times
  • A mask will be provided for the child presenting with symptoms, if one is available. He/she should wear the mask if in a common area with other people or while exiting the premises
  • An assessment will be made as to whether the child who is displaying symptoms can immediately be brought home by parents and call their doctor and continue self-isolation at home
  • The school will facilitate the child presenting with symptoms to remain in isolation, if they cannot immediately go home, and will assist them by calling their GP.
  • The child presenting with symptoms should be advised to cover their mouth and nose with the disposable tissue provided when they cough or sneeze and to put the tissue in the waste bag provided
  • If the child is well enough to go home, the school will arrange for them to be transported home by a family member, as soon as possible, and advise them to inform their GP by phone of their symptoms. Public transport of any kind should not be used
  • If they are too unwell to go home or advice is required, the school will contact 999 or 112 and inform them that the sick child is a Covid-19 suspect.
  • Arrangements will be made for appropriate cleaning of the isolation area and work areas involved.

The HSE will inform any staff/parents who have come into close contact with a diagnosed case via the contact tracing process. The HSE will contact all relevant persons where a diagnosis of COVID-19 is made. The instructions of the HSE should be followed.

Children who should not attend school

If your child is in one of the following categories, they should not attend school –

  • Children who have been diagnosed with Covid-19
  • Children who have been in close contact with a person who has been diagnosed with Covid-19
  • Children who have a suspected case of Covid-19 and the outcome of the test is pending
  • Children who have been in contact with a person who has a suspected case of Covid-19 and the outcome of the test is pending
  • Children with underlying health conditions who have been directed by a medical professional not to attend school
  • Children who have returned home after travelling abroad and must self-isolate for a period of 14 days
  • Children who are generally unwell
  • We advise all parents and staff that they must comply with current Public Health Guidance in relation to travel and should restrict their movements for 14 days if they have been to a location outside of the countries on the green list.

Supporting the Learning of Children who cannot attend school

If a child is not able to attend school for an extended period of time, the class teacher (and/or the learning support teacher, where relevant) will suggest activities to support the child’s learning at home which will be shared with parents.

Impact of a Suspected or Confirmed Case of Covid-19 in a Class

If the school is notified that a person in your child’s class has a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19

  • The parents of all children in the class will be notified
  • Public health advice will be sought and followed

Personal Equipment

  • In so far as possible, it is requested that children will bring their own pens, pencils, colours, rubbers, etc., to school in their own pencil case on the first day to avoid the sharing of equipment. Pencil cases are to remain in school. Teachers will let parents know when new stationery is needed.
  • For children in Junior and Senior Infants, the school will provide necessary equipment
  • It is further requested that all items have the child’s name on them for ease of identification.

Shared Equipment

By necessity, some classroom equipment needs to be shared including tablets, laptops and the equipment used for structured activities and play in Infant classrooms. Cleaning of such shared equipment with wipes or other cleaning products will take place at regular intervals to minimise the risk of the spread of infection.


Children will be segregated in yard in their own class bubbles. Yards will be supervised by class teachers, learning support teachers and SNA’s working within those bubbles. Colour coded Entrance and Exit to yard will be adhered to.  Children are allowed to re-enter the building to access First Aid and/or go to the toilet using their class entrance and exit point.  Permission must be granted from the teacher on yard and all admittance noted on yard list.

Learning Support

Learning support will be provided mostly through in-class support to minimise movement of staff and children throughout the school. The provision of support will be organised to ensure our support teachers will work within the confines of a bubble.

  • Where a support teacher is working alongside a class teacher in a classroom, both teachers must be mindful of maintaining social distance from one another.
  • Where children receive support in one of the SET rooms, social distancing of 1 metre will be maintained between children and 2 metres between child and teacher where possible.
  • The tables and chairs in SET rooms will be wiped clean in between different children attending.


It is envisaged that PPE will be worn by staff in general, staff who are attending to particular care needs and who are administering first aid will wear appropriate PPE including gloves and face masks.

Teacher Absence and Substitution

In the event that teacher is unable to attend school, every effort will be made to secure a substitute teacher for the class. If a substitute teacher is not available, SET teachers will be diverted where necessary.

Curriculum and Wellbeing

The curriculum advice from DES/NCCA is “Slow Down to Catch Up”.  There will be a focus on Literacy Numeracy, Wellbeing and PE for the first few weeks of school.


Where possible, PE should take place outdoors and use of equipment should be confined to the sets that have been distributed to class groupings. If the PE hall is being used by class groupings, common touch points should be cleaned at intervals throughout the school day and the hall must be well ventilated.

Extra-curricular Activities

In line with current guidelines no extracurricular activities will take place at this time. This issue will be kept under review.


Clean uniforms and tracksuits to be worn as usual.


Access is restricted and all parents/guardians MUST make an appointment to visit. Where possible, a phone call may suffice but if not, or a face to face meeting is required then approval must be granted by the Principal for the person to enter the school.  Contact tracing forms must be completed and visitors must adhere to social distancing, wearing of a mask and hand sanitisation.


There will be no transfer of equipment from home to school after Day 1.  Homework will not be given until the first week in October where it will then be through an online platform.

Emergency Contact Details

It is imperative that the school is furnished with a list of up to date contact information in the event of a suspected Covid Case.