Last Friday, 1st May, the Taoiseach Mr. Leo Varadkar, published the Government’s ‘Roadmap for Re- opening Society and Business’ document which was drafted on foot of the advice of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) and outlined a phased public health approach to reducing the social distancing measures which are currently in place. As part of the measures announced in Phase Five of the road map, schools will not re-open until the beginning of the new 2020/21 academic year and Scoil Chéile Chríost, Rathmore N.S. will now remain closed until after the Summer holidays.
I hope that you and your familes are continuing to keep safe and well during this unprecedented Covid-19 health crisis. On behalf of the staff and Board of Management of the school, I wish to offer my condolences to those of you who may have lost family members during the pandemic and those of you who may be unwell or attending to family members who are sick. It has been a particularly difficult time for those in our community who have experienced the bereavement of a loved one.
On Friday, 10th April last, the Minister for Education, Joe McHugh TD, announced that, as part of the wider public health measures, all schools will remain closed until further notice. This decision was taken on foot of updated advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET). The directive to schools to remain closed also has implications for students who were scheduled to sit State Examinations in June and their families and we can appreciate the extra worry it has caused.
Scoil Chéile Chríost, Rathmore N.S. will not now re-open after the Easter holidays on Monday 20th April as planned in our school calendar. As previously advised, the Board of Management held a remote Meeting on 30th March and again on Wednesday, 15th April of this week as part of contingency planning for teaching and learning should the school remained closed after the Easter holidays.
All teachers in Rathmore N.S. will be using their newly assigned Office 365 secure email addresses to communicate with parent/guardians and assign a manageable timetable of schoolwork for the children in their classes during this last term. This timetable will include a balance of both formal schoolwork that is age appropriate and informal creative activities such as reading stories, play, art, baking and physical education. I am aware that many parents/guardians are feeling overwhelmed at their attempts to home school while also trying to work remotely and attend to their families. Poor broadband connectivity in certain locations is another difficulty experienced by many of you, as is the availability of digital devices in homes with multiple users.
However, I would encourage all parents/guardians to engage with the Timetable which your child’s class teacher will email to you as best you can, taking account of your particuliar family situation. Look at it as a menu of activities from which you can choose what works for you and your child, as teachers cannot replicate the normal school day from their homes. All support teachers are liaising closely with class teachers to support the pupils in their care. Please stay in touch with your child’s teacher and you can provide some feedback on how your child is managing the class timetable of schoolwork as this will help the teachers to adapt their lessons if necessary. I strongly recommend using this opportunity to read more often with all children in the junior classes to develop reading fluency and to encourage older children to engage in more regular reading of books. The RTE programme ‘Home School Hub’, which is broadcast daily is another very useful educational resource for all primary school children.
I extend a big ‘hello’ to all our pupils and thank them for working with their teachers and sending them pictures and samples of some of their completed work. The wellbeing of our children supported by their teachers and their families is of the utmost importance at this time as they are missing their friends, their teachers and normal school life. A big ‘thank you’ to all parents/guardians for your patience and co- operation since the start of this health crisis and thanks to the teachers and staff of Rathmore N.S who are working to support all the children in the school in difficult circumstances.
I will continue to send you updates through the Aladdin Connect System as the situation evolves. Please remember to follow all the HSE guidelines in relation to hand washing, coughing/sneezing etiquette and social distancing. If we work together as a school community and follow the public health guidelines, we will come out the other side of this health crisis and hopefully can look forward to a return to school in Rathmore N.S. in the near future.
Take care and stay safe.
Lucy Travers Principal Teacher
Please note that the school will be closed until the 19th of April 2020 due to public health concerns regarding the Covid-19 virus. Please find below the press statement from the Department of Education, as well as the link to bring you to the Department of Education site.
24 March, 2020 – Covid-19 Statement from the Department of Education and Skills
All schools, pre-schools and further and higher education settings will remain closed to students until 19 April 2020.
The decision has been taken following advice from the NPHET (National Public Health Emergency Team) as part of efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19.
All young people and children are urged to practice social distancing, and to minimise physical contact to keep themselves and others healthy and to limit the spread of infection. This should include minimising social contact, avoiding meeting up and keeping physical space of two metres between each other. Parents and guardians are urged to support young people and children to follow those simple guidelines.
Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD said: “This is an extremely difficult time for everyone, not least students and their parents.
“The decision to keep schools closed until after the Easter break is based on public health advice. It is a hugely important aspect of our continued effort to limit the spread of Covid-19.
“My message to students facing exams is that they should keep focused, keep working and try, as much as possible, to prepare as normal for the state exams. We are doing everything in our power to make sure those exams happen.
“Teachers and students have answered the call to remote learning with exceptional flexibility and adaptability. You are all a credit to the education system.
“I am also deeply conscious of significant work being done to ensure continuity of learning across our higher and further education institutions. The impact of emergency measures has not stopped education, it has inspired innovation and we are indebted to all those continuing to provide education in these trying times.”
Please note that the school will be closed from today, Thursday March 12th to March 29th due to public health concerns regarding the Covid-19 virus. Please find below the press statement from the Department of Education released today, as well as the link to bring you to the Department of Education site.
Statement from the Department of Education and Skills
An announcement was made this morning by the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD of the closure of schools, pre-schools and further and higher education settings, for a period until 29 March 2020, to support efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19. This will take effect from 6pm this evening, Thursday 12 March. This is in line with the advice of the National Public Health Emergency Team.
All pupils and students, from pre-school to third level are urged to practice social distancing, and to minimise physical contact with each other, to help avoid the spread of Covid-19. This should include minimising social contact, avoiding meeting up and keeping physical space between them. Parents and guardians are urged to support their children to maintain this approach.
In order to minimise the impact on teaching and learning all schools will be asked to continue to plan lessons and, where possible, provide online resources for students or online lessons where schools are equipped to do so. Schools are asked to be conscious of students that may not have access to online facilities and to consider this actively in their response.
Schools are asked to prioritise supporting exam classes to continue to prepare for State examinations.
Physical classes in universities and higher education facilities will not be held during the closure. Institutions can make other arrangements for teaching and learning and other activities in line with their business continuity plans and contingency planning.
Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD said:
“I am deeply conscious of the impact that school and education setting closures have on students, on families and on the wider community. This is a necessary and proportionate measure that we are taking as a pro-active measure to help contain the threat of Covid-19.
“This is the right decision at the right time. It is taken in the best interests of our children, our young people, our school and college communities and our wider society.
“At this point in time the closure is planned for two weeks, from tomorrow until 29 March. The Government, in conjunction with the public health authorities, will keep the situation under ongoing review. Any change to that date will be communicated widely.
“Pupils should take their books and learning materials home with them this evening.
“This is a very challenging time for our pupils, our teachers, our students and our colleagues in further and higher education.
“Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine – we all live in one another’s shadow. If there was ever a time for us to appreciate how closely we are connected, how much what we do matters to others, how much we rely on each other, this is it. This is a time where we all need to work together for the best possible outcome for our students. The support of everyone across the sector is vital, as we all strive to ensure that this threat is dealt with as effectively as possible.”
The Department of Education and Skills will remain open and will continue to provide supports to the education sector at this time.
The Department of Education and Skills has been liaising closely on a continual basis with the Department of Health in relation to Coronavirus/Covid-19 since early January. This will continue.