St Declan's College

Appeal to parents 20 October 2020

Keeping our school safe and open
Appeal to parents 20 October 2020


Keeping our school safe and open

20 October 2020

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s).

I write to you as we face into another period of restricted movement and activity. Last night the Taoiseach announced that from midnight on Wednesday the entire country will move to Level Five. It is a decision he has not taken lightly as it has far reaching implications for all people on the island of Ireland.

For our part, as members of the St Declan’s College community, we are tasked with continuing the good work which began last August. We have managed to return to school by adapting and developing methodologies to deliver a full academic program. That we have done so successfully is testament to the wonderful work and commitment of each member of the school community.

I am turning to you now as parents and guardians at this critical point to ask you to help ensure that our school can continue to operate. Firstly, I wish to express my thanks to you for your wholesome support as we have taken the tentative steps in reopening. Rest assured like you the importance of having a safe learning and teaching environment is our number one priority. We are committed to maintaining a school that protects the health and safety of everyone. Care of each individual’s physical, social and mental well-being is utmost in our thoughts.

The Constitution of Ireland rightly recognises and promotes the role of parents as the primary educators of their children. The example and lessons you impart to your child create for them their unique value system. Given the importance of that role and the role St Declan’s has in supporting your child on his journey through secondary school we are jointly charged in educating them as Covid responsible citizens. Citizens who are aware of their duties to protect their own health, that of their family, their friends and their community.

In the coming weeks they will travel to and from school and interact within a community of over 700 people. We need to protect everyone in that community and the wider group with whom we all come in contact. We can do this by embedding a few simple but essential behavioural adaptations.

Wear a face mask.

Face masks need to be worn not alone in school but on the journey to and from school. It is during this time when people mingle that they are most vulnerable. It is essential that the habit of wearing a mask in public becomes second nature for everyone.

If feeling sick – stay at home

When a student presents as feeling sick in school it triggers into action a whole protocol of isolation, sterilisation and notification. All cases of illness on the campus are treated as potential Covid cases. We can reduce the demand on the school isolation team by keeping a student at home when he shows any sign of illness. If in doubt keep him out - err on the side of caution.

Limit contacts

In a world where multiple methods of communication exist, students are being asked to minimise their physical contact with relatives and friends. Maintaining those all important connections can be done by phone, by writing or through a digital device. We all need to stay connected but we all need to be careful how we do so.

Go home for lunch

We are asking, where possible, for students to go home at lunchtime. By doing so the number of people on the school campus is reduced. This minimises contacts and the potential for exposure to the virus.

Wash/sanitise hands and wipe surfaces

Good hygiene practice includes washing hands regularly and properly. Hot water and soap is provided in the school bathrooms. Hand sanitiser should be used regularly and surfaces wiped down before use.

Each student must carry their personal supply of hand sanitiser and surface wipes. It is essential all students bring these items with them and take responsibility for their use. From Thursday 22 October if a student arrives to school without these items he may be sent home to get them.

We have six weeks to play our part in getting Covid-19 under control. Schools are uniquely positioned as one of the few places which are allowed to operate as normal under Level Five. The entire school staff; administrative, cleaning, caretaking, teaching and learning support are doing their utmost each day to enable our students access the gift of education. We are placing our trust in each other to behave in a safe responsible way.

Please have a conversation with your son emphasising the points I have outlined and his role in taking positive action. We all need to work together. This Halloween common sense needs to prevail. While celebrating the occasion it is vital that one night’s celebration does not come with the price tag of someone’s health or life. Stay at home, stay together stay safe.

Yours sincerely,

Brian Avery


23 Dec 2020
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St Declan's College,
Nephin Road,

01 838 0357

Edmund Rice
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