Update for Parents 20 April 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian,

We hope you had a nice Easter in spite of the restrictions on movement that were implemented nationally since 27 March 2020 in line with public health guidelines. We know from feedback from our staff and interactions with students, that students and teachers miss school-life and attending classes.  As you are aware, the current health advice is that all schools remain closed until further notice - until Tuesday, 5 May 2020 at least.

Teaching & Learning and planning

We have listened carefully to feedback from students, staff and parents prior to Easter.  We want to ensure that we focus our efforts for the coming weeks.

NB To this end, we are holding an on-line Staff Meeting and a series of Subject Planning Meetings on Tuesday, 21st April 2020.

This is to coordinate the most effective work-stream for the coming weeks and to provide for enriched feedback to your child/children.  This will mean that teachers will not be available for some classes tomorrow. Each teacher will advise his/her students via Teams as to their availability and will set work accordingly.

Students in Sixth Year and Third Year

We are especially mindful of Sixth Year and Third Year students.

Sixth year students facing examinations have been asked to keep focused and to keep working in preparation for the exams which are now scheduled for July.  Junior Cert students are also strongly encouraged to keep up the good work that they have put in so far. Even though the way the exam is run has been changed for this year, it is envisaged that the Junior Cert exams will take place as school-based examinations at the start of the next academic year.  

More details will be forthcoming in the near future. We will bring this information to your attention without delay.

Supporting Students with Additional Education Needs

The National Council for Special Education has developed resources for parents of children with additional needs who may benefit from specific advice during the period of school closure.  All resources are available on the NCSE website and publicised through education partners and Twitter. The NCSE visiting teacher service continues to provide direct telephone/skype support to families and students.  The NCSE resources can be accessed at: www.ncse.ie/online-resources and include resources for parents and teachers such as class\age level activities and practical advice.

Support for students with special educational needs

All students who receive Special Tuition classes are in a specific Team for the year group eg SCC 3rd year Special Tuition. Within each special tuition team, supports and resources specific to our students needs are shared and students have the support of an assigned Link Teacher.

Currently, SNA personnel are being temporarily reassigned to assist with efforts to support front-line health workers.  We will make every effort to ensure that students who have access to an SNA are receiving supports throughout the coming weeks.

Assessing Teaching and Learning in our School

Microsoft Office 365 & Teams, which students are familiar with, is the main portal for accessing on-line classes and feedback from teachers.  Our staff has received support and guidance from Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board on the most effective strategies to manage on-line learning.  Several teleconferencing meetings of all Principals and Deputy Principals of all eighteen post-primary schools of our ETB have taken place since 13 March 2020 and this has proven invaluable in the sharing of best-practice and resources between all of our schools.

Acceptable User Policy (AUP)

Our school’s Acceptable User Policy (AUP) has been revised to reflect the increasingly popular use of teleconferencing platforms.  Our school only utilises platforms which fully comply with GDPR requirements.  It is important that students understand that the school expects all of its community to observe responsible and ethical use of such platforms in respect of other users - fellow students and staff. 

Supports for Students including Internet Connections and Data Bundles on Mobile Providers

Thankfully, we are seeing progress in some ways to help students with connectivity and data issues. All major telecoms providers have committed to a number of measures to help people stay in touch and work from home during Covid-19 and these will be implemented by operators as soon as possible. Each service provider will provide details and implementation updates on their own website. The commitments will remain available to consumers until 30 June 2020 and will be reviewed in advance of that date if needed. The Covid-19 Consumer Commitments are as follows:

1. Any fixed broadband customers who do not have unlimited usage already as standard will be given the opportunity, if they require, to upgrade their package (which may be on a temporary basis), with their current service provider

2. Any customer who does not have fixed broadband and who relies solely on mobile access to the Internet will have the opportunity to avail of affordable unlimited mobile data access/package from their service provider

3. Fair usage policies will not be automatically applied to unlimited fixed and mobile data packages

4. Service providers may implement appropriate permitted traffic management measures to avoid network congestion

5. Access to healthcare and educational resource websites identified by the Government will be zero-rated for all customers where technically feasible

Customers experiencing issues should contact their service provider in the first instance, before contacting ComReg's Consumer Care Team at consumerline@comreg.ie or 01 8049668 (from 8.00am to 8.00pm Monday to Friday and 9.00am to 1.00pm on Saturday, excluding public holidays.

Wellbeing including physical activity

NEPS, the Department’s National Educational Psychological Service, has developed advice and resources for keeping Children and Young People well during Covid-19. These resources aim to support children and young people’s learning and wellbeing at this time. In the context of wellbeing, NEPS has included a reference in its advice for young people and for parents of young children for the need for physical activity as part of everyone’s daily routine while schools are closed.

For information, the relevant text can be found at the following links:

Advice for Young People: https://www.education.ie/en/The-Department/Announcements/advice-to-young-people-while-schools-are-closed.pdf

Advice for Parents: https://www.education.ie/en/The-Department/Announcements/guide-for-parents-supporting-children.pdf

Contacting the School during Closure

Please do not hesitate to contact us at the school via email. For office/general queries, please email scc@lcetb.ie. For all other queries, please email angela.mcnamara@lcetb.ie or angela.russell@lcetb.ie as appropriate and we will address your query as soon as possible.

Kindest regards,

Angela McNamara (Principal)      Angela Russell (Deputy Principal)