Q & A
1) Break time:
Could you confirm whether the slide/jungle gym on the Year1/2 playground will be used during break times
Will break times be staggered (i.e. year 1 at a certain time and year 2 at another time)?
Is the understanding correct that the boys have 2 break times - a 30minute break mid-morning and then 1 hour at lunch time
We have come up with a rotation system where by each class will be able to use the jungle gym in the infant playground at least once a week. For small break the playground will be split into sections/area with social distancing space in the between so the classes can be there at the same time but contained within their area/section. The next day they will rotate the area. Due to timetabling and lessons we cannot staggered every break though the teachers are aware that should they be able to go out at a different time in their day (and to a secluded area), they will do so. Year 2 have an approx. 20min morning break and an hour break in the afternoon. The later to involve eating time too.
2) Boys arriving by van
If the boys arrive at say 8am will they be directed to class immediately and kept there till lessons start or will they be kept on the grounds with their class or year, or will they be in a ‘general’ area outside?
As shown in the SEC areas map sent out, the boys arriving early (vans or not) will be escorted by supervisors to their allocated morning area where they will join their class bubble. The area will of course be supervised. On rainy days, the boys will go straight to their classroom. There will be no 'general' outside areas for mixing of students.
I understand that you may be awaiting curia instructions on this. Is there a possibility that this be held online? Will the boys still be able to have receive their First Holy Communion at SEC in May (or whenever permitted, if postponed) or should parents make alternative arrangements with their Parish (in there words, are you still offering the SEC option for Holy Communion celebration?)
Yes we should be, however I am awaiting the details also.
4) Laminated Grid Frame and laminated Tens frame
The attachments have a number of each in different colours. Could you clarify whether we need to bring just one laminated grid frame and one tens frame?
Please send in 1 number grid and 10 sets of 10s (to make up a 100) from the 10 frames per student. The boy can pick which sets he wishes to print.
5) School books
Should we send all books to school on the first day? If Parents cannot accompany their children in to school it would be impossible for the boys to bring in all items (books, art supplies and the box) in themselves.
Could parents send what is needed for term 1 - possibly the teacher could instruct the parents on this during orientation or send a list before Monday?
Parents can send in the books etc bit by bit during the first week. So long as the 'personal box' is the first thing sent, it's not a problem. We have used this system for many years for parents/students who could not attend part orientations. I will check and let the teachers inform you should you be able to send in the first term books only.
The additional supplies includes straws. In light of the ongoing environmental campaign, have you considered requiring paper straws to be brought?
Of course! As you wish.
Could you clarify the position regarding masks. We will be buying two masks this week. We understand that each boy is required to come to school wearing a mask and with another in their bag. Will they be required to leave a
Mask at school or will both masks be taken home at the end of the day (i.e. one in their bag and one on them)? Parents have asked about this since at this time we can only purchase two masks and if they leave one at school
Then they’re wondering whether they should send a third mask (a non-SEC one) to be left at school their plastic box at all times.
Parents are to indeed send in a non-SEC mask in its case (labelled) to be left in the child's personal box in the case of an emergency (lost/dirty mask etc). I strongly ask that they don't send in the second SEC labelled mask (to be purchased this week) as those need to be continuously washed and worn.
In principle boys will be wearing masks whilst in the common areas and not in class (except in the case of art/drama/music), unless the teacher/assistant is vulnerable. Is the understanding correct that if the class teacher is vulnerable the boys will effectively be wearing a mask from 07:30/08:20 (when they leave home/when they arrive) until 15:00/16:30 (when they’re collected/they arrive home)? Will the parents be informed beforehand if their class teacher is vulnerable so that they can take this into consideration before deciding whether to send their son to school or opt for online learning?
Yes this is the situation. Please note that the health of our students and staff is of utmost priority to us. We will be working hard to safeguard the staff too and ask parents that their son wears the mask during the day like the older students also. This will only be so when we have a vulnerable class teacher. We are hoping to inform parents of such classes once the class lists are finalised and published.
Parents who collect their children are now required to pick-up at 15:00. We understand from the document that essentially you have reduced the school day by 30 mins such that at 15:00 boys will be walked to the van-area or to the Kalkara gate for pick-up. Could you clarify whether, as a result of the earlier end-time for year 2s, there has been any change to the curriculum? Some parents are concerned that this would mean that the boys would not complete the curriculum for the year.
We will indeed complete the curriculum. The Ministry of Education has already issued a reduced curriculum across the board which we have looked at. However, also do keep in mind that without events, concerts, visits, outings, etc, we have gain plenty of rehearsal and class time too which is usually dedicated to these appointments.
9) Brown shoes
There is concern about having the boys handling their shoes every morning. Since the shoe changing will happen at the same time across the school, there is concerning about the process of changing and then washing hands, causing crowding. Since the brown shoes are traditionally part of the ‘out of school’ uniform or special occasions within school and since for the first term at least there will be no outings or special events, have you not considered doing away with the brown/black shoes requirement for term 1 and having the boys wear only white running shoes? Possibly you could have disinfectant mats at the entrances to the school and again the classroom and require boys to wipe their feet upon entering.
I know that SEC has been looking at disinfectant mats but we also introduced the changing of shoes across the year groups (apart from Junior block). The boys will not be meeting in the corridors to change their shoes nor in the bathrooms. They will have different times for bathroom use and should it be occupied, the boys will sanitize their hands instead.
Could you kindly clarify the process for boys who leave school on transport. When they are escorted from class (presumably at 3pm), are they taken to the bus line to wait till 15.30 (the Junior School Pack refers to the Bus line on the volley ball pitch)?
The year 2 'mummy boys' will be taken to the gate for pick up, the 'van boys' will depart later from class so as not to have them wait outside for too long. A short while after, when the areas have cleared, they will be taken to the transport assembly area for lining up.
11) Plastic box
The document suggests a 30X50 size box. What is the suggested depth? should this be on the large side, for eg 50 X 30 X30? Will the boys be expected to carry this in themselves (this may in particular be difficult for the van boys) or may parents for example, leave the box when they collect the masks this week? The box may be approx. 30cm high. I will need to get back to you should you be able to leave with when purchasing the SEC mask.
12) If my child is found to have fever on screening at school entrance what
should I do?
If your child is sent home for having an elevated screening temperature on school entry but has no other symptoms and is otherwise well, inform your doctor and keep your child at home and measure their fever using a digital thermometer (either orally or axillary) every 6 hours without
giving them any medicines which decrease temperature (such as paracetamol or ibuprofen). If after 24 hours the child has no fever, your doctor can certify your child well to attend school the next day. If he/she develops any symptoms discuss the next steps to be taken with your doctor.
13) If my child is sick, what should I do?
If you notice that your child is unwell whilst at home or has been sent home from school, it is recommended that you seek the advice of your doctor. This communication should initially
take place by virtual means either on the phone or else through a virtual consultation. According to the information provided, the doctor will decide on what further action is
necessary including on whether your child should be booked for a swab test or not.
14) If someone is sick at home, should I still send my child to school?
As a general rule, if someone is sick at home, but your child has absolutely no symptoms, then he/she can attend school normally unless otherwise instructed by the doctor.
15) Who will provide a medical certificate for my child to be able to return to
A medical certificate to enable your child to return to school is required from your doctor. This certificate will provide the date when the child can resume in-person learning. Please be aware that the child is expected to be free of symptoms for 48 hours before return to school and the date given on the certificate for return to school will take this into consideration. A medical
certificate is required each time a child is absent from school, even for one day. This may be changed depending on the general situation of COVID-19 in the country.
16) What happens if the child’s symptoms get worse or the symptoms change
after initial consultation with a doctor?
In this case, if the course of recovery from illness is not that which was expected by your doctor, you should get in touch with your doctor again so that the situation can be re-evaluated.
17) After how many days of absence from school will my child require a medical
certificate to return to school?
During the spread of COVID-19 it was decided that every day of school absence due to medical reasons needs to be certified. The Medical Council currently considers virtual/phone/on-line consultations as an acceptable format for a medical encounter and allows the doctor, according to her/his clinical discretion, to determine whether a person to person encounter is necessary. Consequently, remote consultations are an acceptable means of providing certificates for school fitness and return to school. The medical certificates from the doctor may be on paper, on an sms or on e-mail.
18) Can the school request a negative swab test or any other test prior to allowing
my child to return to school?
No, the school cannot request or demand a negative swab result for the child to return to school. The school can only request a doctor’s certificate which would state that the child is fit to return to school and that any acute or infective illness is now resolved. A sms or an email certifying school fitness is an acceptable means of certification.
19) My child was confirmed to have COVID-19 and we were instructed by the Public Health Authorities to remain indoors since we were placed in mandatory quarantine. Who will certify when she can return to school?
As a confirmed case of COVID-19 your child will be placed in mandatory quarantine for at
least 2 weeks as instructed by the Public Health Authorities. The Public Health team will be
in touch periodically and will let you know when to re-test your child to check whether s/he has cleared the virus from her/his body. Upon receipt of this negative test, your child would be considered recovered. The Public Health team will provide documentation that can be passed on to the school. Your child can return to school with no other measures to be considered once s/he is recovered. A separate sick leave certificate is not required in this case.
20) My child was a close contact of a person diagnosed with COVID-19 and as a result, Public Health Authorities have placed us in mandatory quarantine. What certification can I show to the school in order to justify my child’s absence?
Persons who are identified as close contacts of positive cases are generally placed in mandatory quarantine together with their households. When they are contacted by Public Health, a Quarantine letter is issued with a start and an end date of quarantine. This letter can be presented to the school to certify the absence. The child can return to school on the day after the end of quarantine has been set and no additional measures or precautions are necessary in the school setting or in his/ her regard.
21) What is shielding?
Earlier in the pandemic, based on the evidence available at the time, the Health Department issued a list of chronic conditions known as the ‘vulnerable list’. Persons with these conditions were expected to remain at home and were given legal protection to do this. The legal basis for this decision was withdrawn at the end of May. Since then newer evidence has emerged and medical experts have determined that only a very restricted list of medical conditions in children makes them clinically more susceptible to serious complications from a COVID-19 infection than the general population. This list is provided in Annex 1 (below) and only the caring hospital consultant paediatrician can certify such children as requiring shielding. If the hospital consultant paediatrician certifies that your child would warrant shielding, this does not mean that your child must necessarily forego attending school and must stay at home. This certification means that additional mitigation measures to decrease contact with others should be implemented to enable the child to still attend and learn from school. Each Hospital Consultant Paediatrician who cares for these children will be in touch with the family and provide them with a certificate for shielding. It is the parents’ responsibility to present this certificate to the school management following which a discussion should ensue on how to make the child’s school attendance and experience
Examples of additional shielding include:
• increasing the interpersonal distance of this particular child from others
• arranging the seating plan so there may be less interaction
• avoiding the use of school transport
• asking all the children in the class to wear a face covering (even if they are within the
age group where this is not mandatory)
• considering physical barriers made of acrylic or tempered glass to surround child’s desk
• meticulous enhanced general hygiene measures and hand sanitization.
These are examples of possible measures which can be taken. However, the feasibility and implementation of these additional measures need to be determined with School Management.
22) How will I know if my son/ daughter should be shielded?
Only a restricted number of children warrant shielding and not necessarily all children with these listed conditions would require it. This depends on the present clinical condition of your child and also the spread of COVID-19 in the community. You will be contacted by the Hospital Consultant Paediatrician caring for your child and given a shielding certificate if this is indicated. In the annex to these FAQs the list of conditions for which a shielding certificate may be produced is included. If in doubt consult your family doctor, who would be able to discuss your concerns with the Hospital Consultant.
23) Is it safe for my children to be collected from school by their grandparents and for the children to be cared for by them whilst I am at work?
These type of arrangements should be taken freely in discussion between the parents of the child and the grandparents. It is however important to point out that taking care of children who come into regular contact with other children does carry an increased risk, since children do have multiple social contacts in different settings and bubbles, such as at schools, at childcare centres, on school transport, and at extracurricular activities (e.g. sport, ballet, catechism etc). It is important that if grandparents are going to be caring for school-aged children for a number of hours a day, extra precautions should be taken since older persons and those with chronic illnesses are more likely to be severely affected if they had to contract COVID-19. Never leave children in the care of grandparents if they exhibit any symptoms of being sick. Masks should be worn if grandparents would be driving children to/from school. If they care for them for any prolonged time they should be extremely vigilant to avoid unnecessary close contact, maintain social distancing as much as possible, wear masks/visors at all times. Rooms should be adequately ventilated by opening the windows or spending time outdoors if possible. One should be careful to adopt very good hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene both for the children and the grandparents.
24) My daughter suffers from frequent allergies/ suffers from asthma so she has
an occasional cough. How can reassure the school that she does not have anything contagious?
If your child has some long-term allergic symptoms or suffers from asthma, obtain a note from your doctor certifying that child does not have acute/ infective symptoms. This would reassure the School Management and avoid him/her being sent home unnecessarily. Any increase or change in the usual symptoms would warrant medical attention.
25) If a person in my child’s class has been identified has a positive case of COVID-19, will the whole class need to remain in quarantine for 2 weeks?
When a positive case is found within a school, a risk assessment is performed by Public Health in conjunction with the COVID Liaison Officers of the school. This risk assessment is based
on many factors, whether an adult or a child is the positive case, the age of the children in the classroom, whether they were wearing masks or not, whether the positive person had symptoms and the duration and proximity of contact between children amongst others factors. Following
this assessment, it will be determined who needs to go into quarantine. This could range from nobody, to a few students in close contact to also the whole class if necessary. It is difficult to give a definite answer since this depends on these various factors. When a person is placed in mandatory quarantine, the household members would also need to remain in quarantine for the same period of time. School Management and the COVID Liaison Officers of each school have been provided the Contact Tracing Protocol for them to be in a better position to advise parents and staff accordingly.
Annex 2 - Paediatric conditions that may necessitate shielding September 2020
The following are paediatric conditions for which children may be asked to shield. Advice to shield depends mainly on community transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and public health advice on when extremely vulnerable or less vulnerable people should shield. Degree of vulnerability is not the same for all conditions listed below, and is also dependent on the severity of the condition which will be determined by the caring consultant.
Advice for shielding is also affected by:
a) the complexity of the underlying condition,
b) guidance given by the caring hospital consultant,
c) age of the child, and the mental capacity of the child with respect to the ability to
perform hand hygiene, respect social distancing and put on and take off a face mask
d) the capacities of schools to provide help with shielding of vulnerable children: schools
need to be well prepared for this and work to provide inclusive education to all children
irrespective of any underlying condition the child might have. There should be no form
of discrimination against children who suffer from a condition that makes them
Conditions that may put children more at risk* to COVID-19 are as follows:
*Not all children with these conditions have the same risk to COVID-19 and the need for
shielding may vary depending on the epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2.
• Primary or secondary immunodeficiency disorders if on prophylactic antibiotics or
immunoglobulins AND on immunosuppressants (such as steroids for >4 weeks, or biologics) OR with a concurrent co-morbidity (significant lung disease, renal
impairment, chronic liver disease).
• Following a bone marrow transplant for a primary immunodeficiency disorder AND
are still within 12 months of the transplant OR are on immunosuppressants or
immunoglobulins or have significant lung disease or ongoing Graft versus Host disease.
• HIV infection AND with a CD4 count less than 200 or had an opportunistic infection
within the last 6 months or have detectable viral load or are not on any antiretroviral
• Are on induction chemotherapy for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) or NonHodgkin’s lymphoma or are on chemotherapy for Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) or for relapsed and/or refractory leukaemia or lymphoma.
• Are post autograft transplant in the last 6 months or post allogeneic transplant within
the last 12 months or until immune reconstituted.
• Are on CAR-T therapy or within 6 months from administration or until immune system
• Are on chemotherapy for any cancer diagnosis or within 6 months of its completion or are on long term maintenance steroids.
• Have completed treatment for cancer but have ongoing significant respiratory, cardiac,
renal or neurological conditions.
• Fontan, single ventricle physiology, especially with evidence of failure, and or end
• Persistent cyanosis (oxygen saturations <85% persistently)
• Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) especially those on pulmonary vasodilator
• Infants under 1 year with unrepaired congenital heart disease requiring surgery or
catheter intervention e.g. VSD, AVSD or tetralogy of Fallot.
• Severe cardiomyopathies requiring medication.
• Congenital heart disease on medication to improve heart function.
• Post heart transplantation.
• Congenital heart disease and significant co-existing conditions e.g. chronic kidney
disease or chronic lung disease.
• Severe and or symptomatic heart failure, particularly those on heart failure therapy.
• High dose steroids, defined as ≥ 0.5mg/kg/day, for at least 4 weeks, within the last 4 weeks.
• Sickle cell disease with additional co-morbidities or with a history of at least one chest crises needing intensive care treatment or at least two chest crises necessitating
• Thalassaemia or other inherited or congenital anaemia with severe iron overload and additional co-morbidity.
• Ex-premature infants with continuing oxygen and/or intermittent non-invasive
• Any infant who is eligible for palivizumab.
• Patients with significant difficulty with swallowing (e.g. myotonic dystrophy patients).
• Patients at significant risk of decompensation during infection (e.g. mitochondrial
• Patients with symptomatic heart failure, particularly those on heart failure therapy (e.g.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy).
• Patients with myasthenic syndromes.
Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition
• Paediatric inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients with ANY of the following:
- Whilst on intravenous or oral steroids ≥20mg prednisolone (or >0.5mg/kg) or
equivalent per day.
- Have started biologic therapy plus immunomodulatory or systemic steroids
within previous six weeks.
- Have moderate to severely active disease not controlled by moderate risk
treatments who may require an increase in treatment.
• Intestinal failure patients requiring Home Parenteral Nutrition (HPN) with any of the
- Primary immunodeficiency or immunodeficiency induced by drugs as part of
- Other significant conditions or other organ involvement (renal, haematology,
cardiac, GI, respiratory, diabetes mellitus).
- Social cofactors (eg heavily reliant on support from healthcare professionals/
• Liver disease with any of the following:
- Decompensated liver disease.
- Receiving post-transplant immunosuppression or on transplant waiting list.
- Other significant conditions or other organ involvement (renal, haematology,
cardiac, GI, respiratory, diabetes mellitus).
- Active or frequently relapsing autoimmune liver disease where an increase in
treatment is likely needed.
• Renal transplant especially if in the last 3 months.
• On a high level of immunosuppressive medication for active disease undergoing
induction treatment: those who are currently receiving or completed treatment within 6
weeks of high dose steroids of 20 mg/day or above (or 30 mg/m2 /day) AND
cyclophosphamide or rituximab or other immunosuppressants.
• Have renal disease and satisfy any of the following:
- On haemodialysis
- On 2 different immunosuppressants
- Have active or frequently relapsing nephrotic syndrome
• Have significant impairment in ability to cough and to clear airway secretions:
including children with severe neurological diseases such as severe cerebral palsy,
neuromuscular disabilities, severe motor impairment and severe metabolic disease.
• Require a cough assist device to help with clearance of airway secretions.
• Life-dependent on long term ventilation, both invasive (via tracheostomy) and noninvasive (CPAP and BiPAP).
• Severe lung disease requiring continuous or overnight supplementary home oxygen
and/or intermittent non-invasive ventilation.
• Children with:
- Cystic fibrosis and Primary ciliary dyskinesia.
- Severe bronchiectasis.
- Severe restrictive lung disease such as interstitial lung disease or obliterative
- Severe asthma: children treated with biological agents or maintenance oral
- Children with repaired congenital thoracic abnormalities such as congenital
diaphragmatic hernia / trachea-oesophageal fistula only if significant airway or
Rheumatology / Paediatric ophthalmology
• On cyclophosphamide and/or high dose steroids, defined as ≥ 0.5mg/kg/day, for 4 or
more weeks, within the last 4 weeks.
• Have unstable or flaring rheumatological disease.