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Oakwood School & Assessment Centre, Belfast

Letter from Tish 1st January 2021

1st Jan 2021

1st January 2021

Dear Parent,

I wanted to take a few minutes to wish you all a happy and healthy New Year and to outline our plan for the return to school in the new term.

As you may be aware from the media the Education Minister outlined revised guidance to schools for reopening in January. Alongside Nursery Schools he has determined that Special Schools should open as usual to all pupils from the week beginning the 4th January 2021.

School was set to reopen on Tuesday 5th January; however, the Minister has granted schools one day to ensure that they can open safely to all, therefore, the first day of term for pupils will be Wednesday 6th January.

Staff will use Tuesday 5th January to revisit and enhance our policies and procedures for Covid safety and hygiene. 

I must once again stress the importance of your role in ensuring the health and safety of our whole school community. As parents and carers, you can help keep us all safe by making sure that you do not send your child to school if they are unwell in any way. Any form of illness could require staff to have close contact with your child, whether blowing their nose or dealing with tummy upsets. Additional close contact poses risk to both pupils and staff. May I also ask you to limit what you send in each day as any belongings have the potential to transmit the virus both from school to home and vice versa. Finally, I would ask that your child wears a fresh clean uniform each day. Should your child present with any illness during school hours we will contact you and ask that you collect your child as quickly as possible.

As a school community we will do all in our power to keep your child healthy while in school. This includes staff wearing face coverings and using full PPE while carrying out any intimate care procedures and during break and lunch. Staff will continue to wash and sanitise your child’s and their own hands frequently throughout the day and to disinfect and sanitise surfaces and toys frequently in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus. However, as with all things Covid related, it is extremely difficult to mitigate all risks posed by the virus and despite our best efforts, maintaining social distancing between pupils and between staff and pupils is just not possible in our unique setting.

It is understandable that you may have concerns about your child’s safety in these extremely worrying times. As parents and carers, we fully appreciate how changes make it difficult to plan, organise and maintain some normality for your family. We would ask for your continued support and understanding during these unusual times.

Yours Truly,

Tish McCann