Yesterday An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced the closure of all schools nationwide from 6 p.m.
This came as a shock to us in school as it did to you, our parents. We communicated the news to students in a calm way so as not to upset or unduly worry them. Parents may be unsure how to speak to children about the current situation and the Department of Education have given guidelines at the following link. https://www.education.ie/en/The-Department/Announcements/talking-to-children-and-young-people-about-covid-19-coronavirus-advice-for-parents-and-schools.pdf
I want to pay tribute to the teachers, SNAs and all staff who worked tirelessly to create booklets of work for younger students at such short notice and ensured children in older classes had access to online resources to enable us to communicate with them over the coming weeks. Senior classes will be using a mixture of Google Classroom and school email addresses to enable teachers to set work and allow students to respond and submit their work online. School email addresses can be used at home by logging into Gmail.com with the students full school address (e.g. email@example.com) and their own password. These school email addresses can only be used to communicate with other students and teachers in our school. By logging into the address the student has access to their own documents etc. that they are used to using at school. There they can create projects or slideshows and use Google Docs for story writing. These can then be shared with the teacher or with other students.
I remind parents that many of our students have access to online programmes such as Reading Eggs (https://readingeggs.co.uk/), Mathletics (https://www.mathletics.com/uk/), Math Seeds (https://mathseeds.co.uk/) and Accelerated Reader. These are powerful tools and are a very useful way for children to fill their time over the next two weeks. Children will hopefully know their own log in details and have been shown how to log in to their own account. If your child does not know their details please send an email to the school and we will get back to you as soon as we can. The school might also send occasional emails with some ideas for work the children can undertake or other relevant information.
We would also encourage children to enjoy traditional activities like reading, jigsaws, board games etc. and younger students should do plenty of cutting, sticking, colouring and working on fine motor skills.
To finish I want to thank you for your understanding in these unprecedented times. We will keep you updated as and when we hear more information from the Department of Education and the Government. The relevant page on the Department of Education website is https://www.education.ie/en/The-Department/Announcements/information-for-schools-preschools-and-third-level-institutions-on-the-coronavirus.html
We hope all members of our school community stay healthy and we look forward to returning to school in the near future.