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Golden National School, Golden, Cashel

Return to School Guide (August 2021)

27th Aug 2021

Dear Parents/Guardians,

I hope that you have enjoyed a fun-filled summer break with your friends and family. We have been busy preparing for this year’s return to school and we are very much looking forward to welcoming your child back for the 2021/2022 academic year.

I hope that this summary answers any questions you may have about our return on Monday next, 30th August. Please read it carefully and discuss any changes or new routines with your child. Most of the information here is common practice now in Golden National School but I am mindful of new entrants/parents who may not be au fait with procedures and arrangements from the previous academic year.


Covid-19 Pandemic

We are aware that even though there have been great improvements through vaccination rollouts since we departed in June, it is nonetheless an anxious time for everyone. Please reassure your child that every effort will be made by school staff to alleviate any such worries they may have. Please note the following points regarding Covid-19:

  • You must submit a Parental Declaration Form (available on homepage in advance of returning to school and after any absences throughout the year
  • Pupils must self-isolate or restrict their movements at home if they display any symptoms of COVID-19
  • Pupils should not return to school in the event of the following:
  • If they are identified by the HSE as a close contact/confirmed case
  • If they live with someone who has symptoms of the virus
  • (Note: We are currently awaiting guidance from government/public health in relation to overseas travel and returning to school)
  • If showing symptoms in school, a pupil will be isolated and parents called. Parents will contact their GP to arrange a test. The response to confirmed cases or outbreaks is the responsibility of and will be led and managed by Public Health HSE
  • Children are not required to wear a face covering but may do so if they wish
  • It is a requirement for teachers and other school staff to wear face coverings when a physical distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained. A visor and/or face mask will be provided for each staff member
  • Hand Hygiene & Respiratory Etiquette: Hand sanitizer dispensers are at every entrance. Children will sanitize hands on entry, before eating, after coughing or sneezing and after playing outdoors. Children will wash hands with soap and water when hands are physically dirty and after using the toilet. Encourage your child to wash their hands before school each morning. Please ensure your child knows how to wash & sanitize their hands efficiently. Teach your child how to sneeze or cough into their elbow
  • Signage: There will be posters displayed in classrooms and around the school to promote social distancing, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.

*Please refer to our Covid-19 Response Plan (available on for more specific information*


Preparations for Returning to School

Book Rental Scheme

  • Many thanks to our Parents’ Association Book Scheme Committee members who have worked tirelessly throughout the summer months to ensure all is in order for each child’s book and stationery requirements

Basketball Hoops

  • Our newly erected basketball hoops are ready just in time for the new academic year!
  • All pupils will have an opportunity to have fun and practise their skills throughout the year


  • The entire school building and areas of use in the GAA Complex have undergone a comprehensive clean over the summer break
  • Every window in the school has also been thoroughly cleaned both internally and externally


  • All staff have been asked to refamiliarise themselves with relevant Covid-19 training and the revised DES Response Plan (August ‘21).
  • Members of staff will complete a Return to Work form three days before returning to school


Allocation of Classes & Teachers

GAA Complex

The Department of Education has sanctioned Golden N.S. to continue our occupancy in the two spacious classrooms in the GAA complex from the beginning of this academic year. These two rooms will once again be occupied by Ms. Ryan (1st& 2nd class) and Ms. Corbett (3rd and 4th class).

School Building

5th & 6th class (Mr. McCarthy) will remain in the school building along with Junior and Senior Infants (Ms. O’Brien).

Two of the three classrooms located at the front of the school will again be utilised as Special Educational Teaching (SET) rooms by Ms. Kelly and Mr. Cahill. The third room will be used as our Storage Room/Library for the time being.



Our ‘School Zone’ area at the back of the Astroturf has been revitalised to facilitate and sustain an increased footfall each school day. While the new drop-off/collection plan worked extremely well last year, there are a few points to note.

In the morning:

  • Parents/Guardians are asked to park for a brief time in a marked lay-by area or in an available parking space where their child/children can safely enter our ‘School Zone’ before accessing the Assembly area
  • Those who wish to park their car and walk their child to our ‘School Zone’ may do so without causing congestion for arriving cars
  • To provide safer access to the School Zone, children are asked to walk along the GAA track inside the wall rather than walking alongside parked or moving cars. There is an access point to the track behind the GAA goalposts
  • Your child is only permitted to enter for Assembly from 09:20a.m. where a supervising teacher will be on duty

In the afternoon:

  • Parents/Guardians are asked to physically collect their child in the Astroturf area by forming an orderly queue from the entry point of the Astroturf back towards the stand (along the green fence)
  • The supervising teacher will release your child/children to you as you approach the entry point
  • Children must return to the Astroturf area at the end of each school day with their teacher to maximise safety
  • Again, to provide a safer return to your car, children are asked to walk along the GAA track inside the wall rather than walking alongside parked or moving cars
  • Please ensure to collect your child on time at their allocated finish time each day.

Parking in the GAA Grounds:

  • You are asked to park in an allocated parking space only in the GAA grounds.
  • Disabled bays and double yellow lines are not permitted as they pose a risk to oncoming cars or persons walking
  • No car should be parking up at the front of the school, except in emergency circumstances
  • Markings for lay-by parking are for parents to safely drop off their child in the morning
  • To safely access our School Zone, children and parents are asked to cross via the pedestrian crossing markings

Assembly Area (Astroturf & School Zone):

  • Parents/Guardians are not permitted to enter our Assembly area in order to avoid congestion and to minimise the risk of spreading Covid-19
  • Parents are asked to wear a face covering and social distance themselves in line with HSE guidelines


Reopening date – Monday, 30th August 2021

Junior Infants

As this is an exceptional time for our new Junior Infants, the start time for their FIRST DAY ONLY will be brought forward to 09:00 a.m. to allow sufficient time and space for children and parents/guardians. Their schedule for the initial two weeks is outlined below.

  • 09:00 - 12:00 p.m. (Monday, 30th August) 
  • 09:30 – 12:30 p.m. (Tuesday, 31st August to Wednesday, 15th September inclusive)
  • 09:30 - 14.10 p.m. (Thursday, 16th September onwards)

*Please refer to your Welcome Pack received last May if you require any further information*

Senior Infants – Sixth Class

Our normal timetable, starting at 09:30 a.m., will apply to Senior Infants and all other classes from Monday, 30th August. Senior Infants will finish at 02.10 p.m. from the start with all other classes finishing at 03:10 p.m.


Class Routines

*Please note: To settle back into the new school year, children will partake in an Induction morning with their teacher in their classrooms on our first morning back.

Junior & Senior Infants

Junior and Senior Infants will be asked to assemble in our Yellow Zone in the Astroturf. The children will enter and exit through the external door of their classroom at all times to avoid interaction with other class groups. Ms. O’Brien will accompany the children to and from the classroom for assembly (exception made for their first morning at 09.00 a.m.). Infants will use the same cloakroom located at the back of their classroom.

1st & 2nd Class

1st and 2nd class will be asked to assemble in the Blue Zone in the Astroturf. The children will walk along the pedestrian crossing from the ‘School Zone’ and onto the main door of the GAA Complex by following the footpath. They will then walk up the main stairs before entering their classroom. Ms. Ryan will accompany the children to and from their classroom in the GAA complex for assembly and break times. This class grouping will hang their coats in the corridor outside their new classroom. This area will be specified by Ms. Ryan on our first morning back in school.

3rd & 4th Class

3rd and 4th class will be asked to assemble in the Red Zone in the Astroturf. The children will walk along the pedestrian crossing from the ‘School Zone’ and onto the main door of the GAA Complex by following the footpath. They will then walk down the corridor and up the stairs, which is located beside the Sports Hall, before entering their classroom. Ms. Corbett will accompany the children to and from their classroom in the GAA complex for assembly and break times. This class grouping will hang their coats in the corridor outside their new classroom. This area will be specified by Ms. Corbett on our first morning back in school.

5th & 6th Class

5th and 6th class will be asked to enter through the Astroturf area and assemble at the back of the school in their individual classes alongside Harry’s Garden. The children will enter and exit their classroom through the external door by Harry’s Garden at all times to avoid interaction with other class groups. Mr. McCarthy will accompany the children to and from their classroom for assembly. 6th class girls and boys will use the cloakroom located beside the girls’ toilets. 5th class girls and boys will use the cloakroom located beside the boy’s toilets towards the end of the corridor. This will be specified by Mr. McCarthy on our first morning back in school.


Break Times & Yard Supervision

All class ‘bubbles’ (groups) will have the same break times as normal, but will be assigned designated zones on the yard for a one week duration. These zones will rotate from week to week. Children will be asked to remain in their zones for the duration of break to avoid interaction with other class ‘bubbles’.

Three members of staff will supervise yard during break times to encourage good behaviour, monitor social distancing and accompany children who wish to use the toilet. The toilets located in the GAA Complex (located beside the pedestrian crossing) will be utilised by children in 1st – 4th class during break as they have external access and are in close proximity to the ‘School Zone’.



To ensure that classrooms are well ventilated, windows must be kept open as much as possible regardless of outside temperatures, and will be opened fully while children are taking breaks in the playground. Windows should be opened when children are singing as a group, or when they are playing musical instruments.

The Department has also published guidance on how these practical steps measures can be supplemented and enhanced by the use of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) monitors. Where practical, all internal doors will be left open to minimise hand contact with common surfaces.


School Bags & Lunches

  • There are no restrictions on school bags this year
  • All books, copies and stationery must be brought in your child’s school bag on their first day back
  • School bags can be used to carry lunch boxes, homework packs, coats etc. from the second day onwards
  • Parents/guardians must make sure that your child brings their lunch each morning to school to avoid adults having to come to the school during the day
  • Please remind your child not to share their food or drinks with other children
  • Discretionary time (approximately five to ten minutes) will be allocated in advance of both break times for children to eat their lunches in class
  • Children are not permitted to share any item of their lunch and must store any rubbish in their lunch boxes to dispose of at home
  • Reusable lunchboxes and bottles to be washed thoroughly every evening
  • Please adhere to our Healthy Lunch Policy. Fun-size treats are welcomed on Friday’s only.


Pencil Cases & Labelling

  • Each child is asked to have two pencil cases. One pencil case is to remain in school for class work and the other is to remain at home for homework activities
  • O’Brien (Infant teacher) will supply each child with the necessary materials required for class work only
  • All children are required to have their personal belongings and items for school labelled accordingly



Homework will not be assigned initially. The focus for the beginning of the academic year will be on the wellbeing of children and allowing them to re-adjust to school life and routine.

Homework will be implemented gradually from Monday, 13th September. Teachers will arrange for children to take home books/copies specifically for homework purposes in advance.

We may explore different online learning platforms (e.g. SeeSaw) during the month of September and beyond where some online activities may be assigned for homework. 

It is important that we have an alternative educational plan in place if the return to school plan changes going forward as a result of Covid-19.  Each child’s mental and physical wellbeing will be to the fore from the outset.


School Uniforms/Tracksuits

Children are asked to wear their formal school uniform on Tuesday and Thursday each week.

Children are asked to wear their school tracksuit on Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week and on school tours/outings, if specified.

Parents/Guardians are encouraged to wash their child’s uniform/tracksuit regularly.



There will be no access to the classrooms for parents or visitors. Parents and staff are asked to communicate via phone call and/or email. Please note that Seesaw is not a suitable platform for correspondences with class teachers.

If you need to collect your child during school hours, please inform the class teacher in advance where possible.


Teaching and Learning

As a staff, we appreciate the time and effort that went into learning from home during last year’s school closure, and we recognise the challenges that home learning presented for all families.

Each child will be in a different place in relation to his/her learning, and we wish to assure you that staff will take that into consideration when planning for teaching and learning during the 2021/2022 school year.


Confirmation & Communion Ceremonies

Arrangements for both ceremonies will be made as soon as we receive further advice from the Department and Archbishop O’Reilly as to when it is safe to go ahead.

You will be notified of any plans as soon as possible thereafter as I understand it may be causing some frustration.


Welcome Back!

Back to school can be a challenging time for parents/guardians, children, staff and all in our school community. We fully understand that you may feel anxious about your child’s return. However, we have put in place all the precautionary measures necessary so you can be assured that your child will return to a safe and welcoming classroom. If you have any concerns, please contact the school and we will do our very best to ease your worries. We are delighted to welcome our new and past pupils to Golden National School and look forward with great excitement to the year ahead.  

If you need clarification or further detail on any aspect of this Return to School Guide or Covid-19 Response Plan, you can contact me directly by email at or


Is mise le meas,

James McCarthy