26th March 2020.
I hope you are all keeping safe and well at this very strange time in our lives. We, as a school community are devastated that our school will remain closed for the foreseeable future, but are fully aware and appreciate the decision by our Government to do so, in the interest of all of our health.
At this time, it is so important that we all continue to adhere to the guidelines set out by the Chief Medical Officer and the Government. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to ensure we play our part in flattening the curve of this deadly virus. Social distancing, strict hand hygiene and staying at home are the only tools we have to beat this virus so please continue to do your very best in the weeks ahead.
We hope you and your children are adjusting well to the new daily routine. It is important to stay as positive as possible for the benefit of everyone in your household. I cannot stress the importance of physical exercise for everyone at this time. I am very impressed with the variety of activities that everyone can partake in that have been shared online over the past few weeks, most of which are free of charge. One that stands out for very positive reasons is the daily routine with Joe Wicks which is available on Virgin Media at 12 noon, Monday to Friday and also on Youtube. There are plenty others so choose whichever one suits you and your family best. We are still permitted to go outside in groups of 4 so I would encourage you to get out and walk if you can. All this helps to maintain a calm and collected mindset which helps us all cope with the added stresses that have hit us like an avalanche over the past few weeks.
As a school, we will continue to support our parent community in every way possible over the coming weeks. I have requested each teacher to send out a class plan for the coming week. This is really a guide that aims to help parents support their children while out of school. This is definitely not something that should place extra pressure on parents at this time so please do not view it as this. The work that is set out is predominantly revision work and is in line with the homework that your child would normally be doing if circumstances hadn’t changed.
We would encourage all pupils to have a set routine from Monday to Friday whereby they are up and dressed ready for work by 9.30am-10am. If the pupils can work through their daily plan for an hour, I would encourage a short break and then return for another hour if at all possible. The senior classes may need to spend some extra time on research or project work but these boys are capable of working independently. This is simply a guide for all of you and hopefully it will keep our pupils in a routine of learning so that when we do get to return to school, all pupils will reintegrate without any major problems. Each teacher has attached his/her own email address for parents/guardians. I would ask that if you have any questions in relation to the work set out to make contact with your class teacher and they will do their best to support you.
I am fully aware that many of our parents are trying to maintain a very busy household while holding down a full-time job. I appreciate that this has caused massive stress to families and I want you all to know that our school support you in every way possible. If it is too difficult to follow such a schedule, no one will judge or pass comment on this in the future. It is so important that we as parents take care of ourselves because if we don’t, how can we stay strong for our children. Parents must realise that this is not homeschooling. This is simply trying to do our best in very difficult circumstances. If that means your child does not complete all their work, well so be it. Remember, we are all battling through this. Schools did not get any notice that this was going to happen so we are trying our best to get it right for you. I’m sure you have seen endless links to resources, activities etc on social media platforms. Many have great ideas but somethimes it’s just too much to take in. Please don’t get hung up on trying all these great activities. Getting the kids out for a walk or to kick a ball in the back garden is better than most I have seen. Spending time, chatting, reading together, watching a movie, baking, doing house chores, tidying up around the house. All these things are valuable learning experiences for your children. Use this time to explore all the other learning opportunities for your children.
Before I finish, I would urge all parents to keep a close eye on your child’s social media activity. There have been reports recently of Covid 19 Challenges that children/teenagers are sending to each other. These challenges are placing people at risk of contracting Covid 19. Please ensure your child is not partaking in this very dangerous online behaviour.
All our pupils were given their Sportathon cards before the school closed unexpectedly. I would ask you all to hold onto these cards and any money collected and we will collect them up when we return to school, hopefully sooner rather than later.
For our 6th class pupils. I’m so sorry they are missing out on their final months with us. They are a wonderful bunch of boys who I have had the pleasure to work with throughout the year, especially in relation to our Debating competition in recent months. I hope they are managing this time well. It’s difficult for them not to be with their friends and making memories of their primary school days. They will not make their confirmation in April but I’m sure we will secure a date in the near future for this very important sacrament.
I wish everyone the very best over the coming weeks. Please stay safe and follow the necessary guidelines. We must stick together by staying apart. I really look forward to seeing you all when life resumes as normal. Give all your children our best wishes. We are thinking of our wonderful pupils at this very difficult time.
Sinead White, Principal