Laurel Hill Coláiste FCJ
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Teachtaireacht ón bPríomhoide Gníomhach

Information for parents and students about school closure, exams, office 365 and remote learning.
25-Márta-20
Teachtaireacht ón bPríomhoide Gníomhach

25ú Márta 2020

A Thuismitheoirí / Chaomhnóirí & Scoláirí,

Tá súil agam go bhfuil gach duine sábháilte agus ceart go leor agus saol an víris mórthimpeall orainn. I hope that everyone is safe and coping well in these strange, challenging and unprecedented times. There have been lots of enquiries since Minister Joe McHugh’s interview yesterday morning and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s press conference yesterday evening. This letter is to share the information we have so far and outline what we are doing to facilitate remote teaching and learning.

State Exams

The Department of Education and Skills (DES) and State Exams Commission (SEC) have cancelled the practical and oral exams and students are to be given full marks for these components of their exams. The SEC has confirmed that there will be flexibility in relation to the completion of project work so students should not worry about deadlines in subjects such as Art, History and Geography. The minister has also stated he is committed to making the exams happen and this is what the DES and SEC are working towards.

School Closure

The Taoiseach has confirmed that, as expected, schools are closed at least until after the 19th of April. At this point, we do not know if we will be opening on April 20th.

Office 365

A number of students have contacted me because they are having difficulty with logging on to their Office 365 accounts. If your password expires, email me and I will reset it for you. If you are working through the Apps on a device, make sure you log-in through OneDrive. This is the central point for all the other Apps you might be using.

Remote Teaching

I have been getting some very positive feedback from parents and students alike about the effort’s teachers are making to stay in touch with their students and ensure that teaching and learning is taking place while the school is closed. Your kind words and acknowledgment are much appreciated. I have also been hearing wonderful things from teachers about all the hard work going on at home so our students are to be commended for this.

This is new to all of us, students and teachers alike. We are all doing our best in a difficult situation so let’s please support one and other. We are all on this learning journey together.

There are some points outlined below that will make the process easier for students and teachers alike:

  • Some teachers are teaching live classes during the day. In so far as is possible, teachers using this method are following their own timetables. This isn't always feasible however, and we are working on ways to schedule this type of lesson and avoid clashing for teachers and students alike.
  • We cannot expect teachers to be available from 8:50am – 3:10/3:45pm every day or at the exact time they are scheduled to teach classes. As teachers, we have people depending on us and people that we are worried about too. It might not suit some teachers to work until the evening time. Flexibility, patience and understanding is required!
  • Teachers are prioritising exam classes. Students in other years should not panic if they don’t hear from their teacher for a few days. The teacher might decide to assign work for a few days rather than touch base every day. Teachers are under a lot of pressure and mastering online platforms and preparing lessons takes a lot of time.
  • Students in non-exam classes should not worry about falling behind – your teachers will work with you when we get back to school to ensure that you get the courses covered. You should, however, ensure that you come back having learned, studied and revised over all the content covered so far. That way, teachers will be able to plough ahead with work when we resume classes, whenever that may be.
  • I am asking parents to follow the proper channels if they wish to contact the school about their daughter’s work/progress or if you have any other concerns. That means contacting your daughter’s Year Head, the Acting Deputy Principal, Marinella Ní Reachtaire, or myself. Parents are asked not to contact their daughter’s teachers directly.
  • Some students have said that they are getting too much work and feel under a lot of pressure. If this is the case, let your teacher know. As I said already, your teachers are also learning so if the workload is too much, they will happily reduce it. We need to make sure that how we are now working is sustainable, for everyone.
  • Unfortunately, not all students are engaging, so as a parent/guardian can I ask that you play your part and ensure that students engage as much as possible.
  • If any student needs to collect anything from the school, email me before Thursday 26th March and we will make arrangements.
  • We have a limited number of iPads in the school. If any student has no access to a device and would like to borrow one, please email me.

Message for Students

While we have no control over the decisions that the government is making for us at the moment, you can play your part. The only thing we do have control over at the moment is how we behave and what actions we take over the coming weeks. Difficult as it is, please stay at home and practice social distancing when you do go out in public. Try to remain positive, because your actions now can actually save lives and ensure that we get through this difficult time faster. That’s a pretty big responsibility but it’s the least we can do when we think of the medical staff putting their lives at risk every day and the vulnerable people in our families and communities that we love whose lives we put at risk if we don’t adhere to what the government is asking of us.

We will get through this. I can’t wait to see you all back in Coláiste soon. It’s a pretty lonely place without you!

Tabhair aire daoibh féin agus coinnigh slán agus sábhailte.

Le gach dea-ghuí,

Norma Ní Luinneacháin

Príomhoide Gníomhach / Acting Principal

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