Letter to parents and carers from Minister Weir – 13 August 2020

  Education Restart – Parent and Carers Leaflet                  


Dear Parent/Guardian

After what seemed to be the longest summer holiday for some of us, we are getting ready to safely return to school next week. We are all looking forward to the new start and we aim to ensure the children settle back in and their individual needs are met. We have received updated guidance for our return to school from the Department of education. This letter provides a detailed overview of how we aim to get everyone back to school safely. It will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and will require full cooperation from the whole school community.


  • Tuesday 25th August-Children with other family members, these must be siblings P1-P7 only
  • Wednesday 26th August- Children with no family members P1-P7 only
  • Thursday 27th August- All children in school P1-P7 only
  • All pupils must bring a packed lunch
  • No school bags are required as indicated in the previous correspondence we have purchased all the required items which will remain in school
  • Children must bring £5 to cover items

Nursery- parents were asked to email the nursery by 17th July, these parents will have received an induction date and a starting date will follow this week. Please ensure you have emailed in order to receive this information.


  1. Class starting and finishing times
  • Primary 1 and 2 8:45am – 1:15pm
  • Primary 3, 4 and 4/5 9:00am – 1:45pm
  • Primary 5, 6 and 7 9:15am-2:15pm
  • Children who are in the same family will arrive at the earliest time and be picked up at the latest time where possible (this may be too long a day for some younger children)


  1. Allocated Entrances/Exits
  • Nursery- gate at nursery playground
  • Primary 1, Primary 3 and Primary 5- gate at bottom of steps
  • Primary 2- Tullygally shop gate
  • Primary 4, Primary 6 and Primary 7-new gate at new carpark
  • Primary 4/5 will have their own entrance into top block


I want to reassure you that any child experiencing difficulty coming into school/separating from their parents in the foundation classes will be supported pastorally by our experienced school staff.

  • In an emergency please contact the school office by telephone or email
  • Staff will be on duty at the allocated gates and will ensure your children get safely to their classroom.
  • Only one parent should accompany their child to their gate
  • Parents should maintain strict social distancing in school grounds

This is essential for the safety of all pupils, parents and staff. We appreciate your full cooperation in adhering to these requirements.

  1. Protective bubbles

In so far as possible each class will operate as a bubble, ie they will not mix with children from other classes. This will however have a number of implications for school routine

  • Breakfast/afternoon club- will not operate initially
  • Breaktimes and lunchtimes will be staggered with playground zoned
  • No afterschool activities will be possible
  • No physical assemblies will take place


  1. School meals


  • Induction week all children must bring a packed lunch which will be eaten in their classrooms
  • From Tuesday 1st September school dinners will only be available to children entitled to free meals-this will be reviewed at the end of September
  • Lunch bags should be disposable


  1. Healthy break/water in school


  • Children must bring a labelled water bottle which is filled, water fountains will not be available for use.
  • Healthy snack will continue


  1. Communication

The school will keep parents updated with any developments in relation to COVID 19. Information will be placed on school website, letters will not be sent home. It is also essential that you are signed up to class app. All communication to parents will be electronically.


  1. Health

Children should not attend school if they appear unwell. They should not be sent to school if they, or any member of their household, displays any symptoms of COVID 19. The school must be informed as soon as possible.

Symptoms of COVID 19 include

  • A high temperature
  • A new continuous cough, this means coughing for at least an hour or 3 coughing episodes in 24 hours
  • Loss of taste or smell

If a child presents unwell in school he or she will be isolated and supervised by a member of staff until collected. All PHA guidance will be followed


Children will engage in regular hand washing during the school day. They must wash their hands before they come to school and when they return home. Handwashing is extremely beneficial in reducing the spread of COVID 19, so it is vital that children engage in this simple act. Please reinforce this at home.

  1. Face coverings

Given the risk mitigations in place in schools to limit and contain COVID 19, face coverings are not generally recommended for routine use in school. Staff and pupils may wish to use them during the routine of school day and this is acceptable.


Following current DE guidance, staff will only be wearing full PPE when administrating first aid, medication or intimate care needs. If possible medication should always be administrated at home. Please reinforce the following at home

  • Using a tissue ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’
  • Coughing/sneezing into a tissue or elbow
  • Washing of hands with soap for 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
  • Independently putting on jumpers and coats, opening lunches


  1. Behaviour

Positive behaviour and manners are always a priority at Tullygally Primary School. With the ongoing health situation in mind, the guidance from the Department of Education states ‘ the behaviour policy should be reviewed to ensure it covers COVID 19 incidents and should make provision for the school to enable to sanction, up to and including exclusion, pupils who wilfully refuse to adhere to arrangements of social distancing and deliberately cough or spit at pupils or staff, putting them at risk’

Please ensure you have spoken to your children regarding the above to ensure everyone is kept safe.


  1. School uniform

Pupils should wear full school uniform.A CLEAN UNIFORM SHOULD BE WORN EACH DAY. PLEASE ENSURE SCHOOL UNIFORM IS ONLY WORN IN SCHOOL AND NOT IN OTHER SOCIAL CIRCUMSTANCES. All PE where possible will be outside. PE kits are not required at the present.


  1. Pupils with medical needs

I fully understand parental concerns about returning to school, in particular if your child has a medical need or if someone in the house has a medical condition. Specific advice regarding this is available on the Education and Health Departments websites. If, for any reason you feel our child/ren cannot return to school please contact me either by telephone or email address.

We look forward to welcoming everyone back, I know this will be a challenging time ahead of us but you can be assured that all staff will be doing their best to ensure things go smoothly and the children settle back into their learning.

More information will follow as the weeks progress. Thank you for your continued support


K Andrews










Dear Parent/Guardian

I hope you and your family are keeping safe and well. The events of the past months have resulted in significant changes to normal routine for all. School as you know has remained open for key worker and vulnerable children and at the minute there is a Summer Scheme running for P5-P7. Staff have gone above and beyond and I wish to commend my staff for the fantastic job they have done supporting the children and parents with home learning, vital communication and supervision of children attending school over the past few months. I would also like to thank you parents for the great job you did engaging in the home learning. I for one know this has not been an easy task attempting to balance your work and other commitments whilst supporting your children’s school work.

It was lovely to see you all the last weeks of term when you called down to collect your children’s work and report. We are open to the 17th July for those of you that didn’t make it down in June.


Arrangements for August/September restart

On 19th June the Department of Education (NI) released the ‘NI Re-opening Schools Guidance-New School Day’ which helped clarify the requirements for primary school return. In addition, a supplementary guide was published for pre-school settings and then a further additional guidance on planning for the foundation stage. However, it is very likely that some/all of this guidance will be updated again and as such all arrangements are subject to change.

The guidance for Primary Schools states that social distancing for children will be reduced to 1m. The plan we have proposed takes into account the current guidance which recommends that ‘Primary school children return to full time education with social distancing, where practical, while implementing a ‘protective bubble strategy’

Therefore we aim to phase all children back to school during the week beginning 24th August 2020. The children will be in their ‘protective class bubble’ and will only interact with children and staff within this bubble. In order to accommodate the social distancing recommendations, we have created a new class, a Primary 4/5 class which will be taught by Miss Forbes. We will also be using any available areas within the school building.

Due to the many changes in routines, which are essential to keep everyone safe, we are phasing all P1-P7 pupils into school week beginning 24th August. This will give children time to learn the new routines and have time with their new teacher. It will enable your child to get used to the ‘New School Day’

Changes will include:

  • Staggered arrival and departure times and entrances/exits
  • Increased hygiene routines; new classroom layout
  • Understanding how protective bubbles work-limiting movement around school and no mixing of classes

Induction week:

  • Children with other family members P1-P7 will attend Tuesday 25th August
  • Children with no family members will attend Wednesday 26th August
  • All children will then attend Thursday 27th August
  • Children should bring a packed lunch.


All Nursery pupils will have an induction session week beginning 24th August, followed by the normal practice of phasing pupils in over September and October. Nursery teachers will be in touch regarding a time and date.

Parents will be notified of arrival and departure times and entrances through the School App in August. It is important you adhere to these times as the safety and welfare of the staff, pupils and parents is of the utmost importance.

School will then be closed for the August Bank Holiday and will reopen on Tuesday 1st September for all pupils.


School bags and school resources.

Guidance states that we limit items brought between home and school on a regular basis. We have ordered the necessary equipment that your child will need for school. This has been ordered in bulk and will be organised by the class teacher for pupil’s individual use.

A contribution of £5 towards the cost of these resources should be brought to school during induction week.

I will contact all parents again in early August with any further information.

Finally, thank you once again for all the support we have received during this difficult time. I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable summer break. I wish all the P7 pupil’s every success as they move onto their next school.

K Andrews