June 16th 2020.
As we enter the final days of the 2020-2021 school year I wish to convey the thanks of myself and of the school staff to you for your support and words of encouragement received over the past three months. This has been an incredibly difficult time for schools in general and at times such as this, our thoughts are firmly with the children who have had to face several challenges due to the changed living circumstances. The restrictions on movement, not seeing friends and not being able to participate in sport and recreational activities will undoubtedly have had an effect on all. The teachers at Scoil Íosa have been unwavering in their commitment to ensure that the children’s education has continued and we thank those who have engaged with these changed learning circumstances and who have made an effort to maintain the link with the school in the interests of our children. It has been gratifying to view the photographs forwarded to us which have been included on the school twitter and to witness the many and varied pursuits enjoyed by the children. It is fair to say that they have acquired a whole variety of new skills and interests during the enforced absence from school. Please continue to email photos to Mr O Brien (firstname.lastname@example.org) as we do intend to produce a display of these in the school lobby on our return to school.
Unfortunately we have not received any clarity or plan for reopening for the new academic year at this stage which is a cause of concern and frustration to our teachers. Rest assured that we do want to get back to school and to arrange for receiving our pupils into the school as soon as possible. We are however guided by health advice and will be influenced by the task of providing a safe environment for our pupils. Much will depend on the status of social distancing and whether the requirements will be for a one metre or a two metre limit. It is our contention that to continue as we are will be difficult and that the children must be in school, at least for a consistent weekly period. We will endeavour to achieve this and will be in touch with our parents to try to develop a workable plan for a safe return to school.
As we move on I ask you to note the following:
Sixth Class Graduation.
Sadly we say goodbye to our Sixth Class pupils who will move on to secondary school to commence the next stage of their education. Today (Tuesday 16th June) had been earmarked for the graduation ceremony/school mass but unfortunately due to Covid19 this has not come to pass. We are looking at ways in which to mark the children’s graduation at a later date as it is felt that the pupils need closure on their time with us. In the interim Mr. O’Brien has worked hard producing a slide show commemorating the sixth class pupil’s time with us. We thank those parents who assisted by sending on photographs and mementos of the children’s time at Scoil Íosa. The video is available to view on the school website and is a lovely, touching series of memories which I have no doubt will stir some emotions among the parents and children. It is available under the ‘News’ tab on the website (www.iosaballyhaunis.com) and is well worth a look even if your child is not among those graduating.
School Book Returns.
As you have been made aware, the school building was open on three days last week during which parents were invited to come in to collect their children’s belongings and to return any school property which the children may have borrowed. In all over two hundred families availed of this opportunity. However we still have quite a few outstanding packages to be collected. Unfortunately due to requirements around deep cleaning of the classrooms and preparation for reopening the school these books will remain in the school hall and may be collected on our return to school at the beginning of the next school year.
Second Hand Books.
If anyone wishes to purchase or to sell second hand books, Georgina at The Bookshop has agreed to facilitate this. Please contact Georgina directly to arrange this. The Bookshop is situated above Forde’s Shop at The Square.
School Reports and Book Lists.
The teachers are currently finalising the completion of school reports and these along with book lists for the new school year will be posted to all families shortly.
The final official day of term is Monday next (June 22nd). We have scheduled our first day of the 2020-2021 school year as either Wednesday 26th or Thursday 27th August. We will confirm the exact date as soon as we receive clarity on school opening arrangements. We will stay in touch and will publish all news to the school website as soon as it becomes available. In the meantime please make sure that the children enjoy the summer and please stay safe until we meet again for what will hopefully be a more normal school year.
Once again I thank you most sincerely for your continued help, support and cooperation.
K. Dennedy & Staff of Scoil Íosa.