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Welcome to Donacloney Primary School

Back to School Letter to Parents and Pupis



Dear Pupils and Parents

After the longest summer holiday ever, we are getting ready to return to school at the end of August.  We plan to embrace the new start, refreshed and ready to learn.  We can all look forward to catching up with friends and sharing experiences and thoughts of the weeks and months since school closed. Our aim, as ever, will be to meet the needs of our pupils and realise their potential.


When school restarts, we will have to make some changes to help everyone stay safe and healthy. These will affect how we come in to school in the mornings, what we bring to school or take home, daily routines, rules and activities. We will have to work together to accept and, if necessary, tweak the changes.


Thank you, parents and pupils, for your efforts in using the work packs, for any engagement in online learning and, not least, for the rich learning experiences families have shared in during lockdown.  Thank you, school staff, for preparing the packs.


Please have a look at the information provided for the Return to School. Parents are encouraged to familiarise their children with the information so they know what to expect (age appropriate).  If you have any worries or queries about any of the information, please phone the school on 028 38 881400 from 20 August or, if it is urgent, you may contact me by email


Yours faithfully   

 L Nesbitt



Start Dates          (No school dinners until 1 September 2020. Packed lunch required.)

Monday           24.08.20          Primary 7 starts back.  9.00 – 2.00pm.  No school dinner.

Wednesday      26.08.20          Primary 1-6 start back. 9.00 – 1.30pm for all classes (P1-7).

             Nursery first cohort start.

Thursday          27.08.20      (onwards) P1-7 normal school times.

(Bank Holiday Monday -  31.08.20)


START OF THE DAY                                            

Parents must keep children at home if they display any symptoms of Covid-19, such as: high temperature; new, continuous cough; or, anosmia - loss or a change in normal sense of smell and/or taste. 


  • If children arrive into school unwell, their parents will be telephoned and asked to collect them.
  • Children from each class enter and exit school via designated door:
  • Nursery                       Side gate into outdoor play area (not through the front door).
  • Primary 1                    P1 cloakroom door.
  • Primary 2/3                 P2/3 cloakroom door at the back of Mrs Wright’s class.
  • Primary 3/4 and 4/5    Side door at P3/4 resource area (round the back past P6/7 doors).
  • Primary 5                    Senior resource area door (as usual)
  • Primary 6                    External P6 classroom door.  Keep coats in classroom.
  • Primary 7                    External classroom door.  Keep coats in classroom.
  • Social distancing of 2 metres (adults) must be maintained during hand-over of children in the morning. 
  • Parents will not be permitted to enter the school building (unless they have a pre-arranged appointment). 
  • All staff and children must wash their hands:
  • before coming to school
  • before going home
  • during day eg before/after break and lunch times, and
  • when they get home.
  • Parents must not gather at entrance gates or doors.  Social Distancing of 2 m must be observed.
  • If a child needs to be accompanied to school, only one parent should attend.
  • Particular consideration will be given to the arrangements for parents of children with complex needs or disabilities, who may normally drop their children off within the school building.   Staff will communicate with individual parents if necessary.
  • Upon arrival to school, children should proceed to their own classroom.
  • Children in P2-5 should hang up their coats as usual. 
  • P6 and 7 children should keep their coats in their classroom. 
  • P1 children should take their coats to their class on the first day.
  • Lunch boxes should be stored under desks.


      Social Distancing

  • Social distancing between staff and, as a far as possible, between pupils and staff will be 2m.
  • Social distancing between children will be the best spacing that can be achieved (government guidelines).
  • In some circumstances, it may not be possible or appropriate for social distancing to be applied.  For example, in the case of very young children who require additional support. Where close contact with staff is necessary to their wellbeing, full regard will be given to the best interests of children and staff.


  • Handwashing will be incorporated as part of the school day (use of soap and thorough washing).
  • Toilet visits will be staggered. We may consider having a single toilet room per class, where possible, to avoid sharing between class groups (P2-4).
  • Break and lunch times will be staggered.
  • Entrance to Dinner Hall will be one class at a time.
  • Guidance on social distancing will be given to children when lining up eg in the dinner hall.
  • Children will remain in their own classroom for the majority of teaching time to reduce movement around the school.
  • Teachers will move to afternoon classes rather than children moving to different classrooms. The number
    of teachers (and other staff) that mix with a class will be restricted to as few as possible.
  • Class groups will not interact with other groups within the school. Children will be kept within their class groups throughout the day.
  • Specific playground areas will be designated to class groups each week.


Classroom Organisation

  • Classrooms and other learning environments will be reorganised to promote social distancing.
  • Unnecessary equipment and furniture will be removed to create space an enable effective cleaning of surfaces. 
  • Seating will be arranged to help children and staff maintain social distance.
  • Available spaces, such as the multi-purpose rooms and resource areas will be repurposed to accommodate groups as necessary.
  • Children will have an allocated desk which they will use throughout the school day with minimum movement within the classroom.
  • Desks will be cleaned at the end of the school day, using designated cleaning substances.
  • Staff will ensure that, where possible, the school is well ventilated (opening windows).
  • All classrooms will be provided with basic cleaning kit and stored in appropriate safe locations.
  • Some activities will not be available.
  • The use of outdoor learning facilities will be considered where possible, eg PE. 

Equipment and Belongings

  • Children must provide their own stationery which will be kept in school at their desks eg a pencil case that stays in school.
  • Plastic folders, which can be wiped down, should be used to transport any learning materials to and from
    school (rather than school bags).  No school bags (for now).
  • More information will be provided, when school starts back, regarding the system for managing homework and books being brought to school.
  • Pupils will have school resources allocated to them to keep at their desks. eg scissors.
  • Other resources, for the day/week cannot be shared and will be kept at individual desks. 
  • Lunch boxes, clearly named, must be cleaned every day.  These will be kept under each pupil’s own desk.
  • Water bottles, clearly named, must be cleaned every day and kept at the pupil’s desk.
  • Medication e.g. inhalers should be brought into school on the first day back, these should be kept in school from that point in a sealed bag.
  • Children should not bring items such as toys, from home into school. 

Personal Protective Equipment

  • The majority of staff will not require PPE beyond what they would normally need for their work, even if they are not always able to maintain a distance of 2 metres from others.
  • PPE will only be needed in a small number of cases: where a child already has routine intimate care needs that involves the use of PPE, or where an individual child, young person or other learner becomes ill with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms and only then if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained.
  • Staff will be provided with gloves, aprons and masks as appropriate for First Aid and Intimate Care issues.
  • Children may bring their own hand sanitiser and/or emollient cream if they wish. This cannot be shared.


     Suspected or Confirmed Case of Covid-19

  • Whole family to self-isolate for a period of 14 days in line with Government guidance.
  • Open communication between school and home. Both to be informed immediately of any symptoms.
  • Consult PHA website for most up to date guidance.
  • Everyone over five years of age in Northern Ireland with symptoms of coronavirus is now eligible for testing.
  • In the event of a shortage of teaching staff and/or a reduction in leadership capacity due to Covid-19, viable options will be explored to maintain normal service but, where pupil/teacher ratios exceed DE recommendations, partial closure for certain classes or part time (morning/afternoon) classes may have to
    be considered.
  • The rolling ticker bar on the School Website will be used to inform parents of any changes to normal practice.



Social distancing of at least 2 metres must be maintained at hand-over of children in the afternoon.  

  • Children should be collected by a single parent/carer from the designated door for the child’s class. 
  • Parents should remain at a distance from staff, pupils and other parents.



It is essential that we make every effort to prevent the COVID-19 virus

from coming into school or spreading in our community.

At the same time, we must do what we can to resume a level of normality

with regard to learning, and developing socially and emotionally in the school setting.


The changes that are being introduced are intended to reduce the risk of infection.

It will be a challenge for all of us and we may find that we need to rethink and adjust further. 


Your cooperation and support will be very much appreciated,

not least in helping your child/children to understand and follow the new rules and guidelines.


More information will be provided when school gets underway and as matters arise.