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Dear Parent/s Guardian/s,

I hope that all of our school community, pupils, parents and staff continue to stay safe and well. This is an unprecedented time in our country and we are all learning how to best cope in this challenging crisis. I believe it is essential that we all abide by the advice of the medical experts in how to tackle Covid-19. We must exercise physical distancing and use good hygiene etiquette/practices. It is hugely important that our pupils, your children do not mix freely with other children. We all have relatives, elderly or vulnerable who we do not wish to pass this virus to.

As we find ourselves at home it is important to try to keep some sense of normality both for ourselves and for our children. I wish to acknowledge that as many parents have lost their jobs due to this crisis, being at home is already stressful before we even consider how to engage our children in learning activities. For any parent who has to self-isolate the challenges presented by not being able to hug your child or sit to a meal with your family will be very difficult. We would like to acknowledge all those parents who are working in the frontline at this present moment.

I would like to thank all the parents who collected the books on Tuesday evening in such a calm and organised manner. It was an uneasy experience in such difficult times. A lot of the books are loan books and I would like to remind parents to look after them and we will organise a return date later in the school year.

We will begin to send home a Suggested Timetable on a Sunday evening or Monday morning before 10 a.m. This will contain some English, Maths, Gaeilge, SESE and Art which will help the children keep in touch with their school work. This will be emailed to your e-mail address and will also be posted on our school website under Latest News and in the Suggested Timetable tab on a Monday morning. It is so important to emphasise that this is a suggested menu and does not have to be completed. Teachers will also e-mail you a list of useful websites and off screen activities that you may wish to do with your child. The most important thing for your child is to keep them reading, go over their tables and do practical activities with them such as baking, cooking, gardening etc.

If your child receives SEN support, concentrate on the work sent home by our Special Education teachers as this will be differentiated for their needs. If you would like to share any projects/art/LEGO/poetry your child has already completed or will complete in the coming weeks, please take a picture and send it to the school and we will post it on our website. I will also be surveying parents to see how you feel you are being supported by the school and your opinions on the level of work contained in the suggested menus.

It has been announced that school will remain closed until the 19th of April and when we hear more information, we will be in touch. The school will also continue to update you with useful websites, resources and advise from the HSE and the Department of Education. RTE will be starting a new live school show from 11 am starting this Monday the 30th of March.

I emphasise that whatever we send to you or post online are suggestions for learning at home. We do not wish to create a sense of panic or tension if work is not completed. Normal teaching practices cannot be sustained at the moment. Teachers teach in the structured environment of a classroom and in a school setting. Your home is your home and is not a school. You have to balance the reality of home life in the current crisis with trying to create an environment where a child can learn and be actively engaged with the learning process.

None of us have experience of the emergency situation created by the virus pandemic that we find ourselves in but we do know our own children and our own family circumstances. Whatever you chose to do with your child should in the first instance be for the betterment of your child’s wellbeing. Children will be aware of the fears and anxieties created by social distancing and the ongoing news of Covid-19 updates. Your children need to be reassured and have their questions answered as best you can. In answering these questions please refer to the HSE advice, none of us are experts on infectious diseases no matter how much we search the internet and comment or interact on social media.

Providing content is only one aspect of trying to enable your child to continue with their learning. I believe that what they will learn from you, their parents, about how to be positive, how to be resilient, how to keep going will be far more valuable to them. Worrying about doing school work and worrying what their teacher will say if they don’t have something done is of no value to them right now. They have far more important things to be concerned about at the moment! Reassure them, comfort them, love them, enjoy their smiles, and let them see your smile!

Be safe, wash your hands and maintain physical distancing.

Wishing everyone the best in these difficult times,

John Britton

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