1 January 2021
I hope that you and your family are well and that you had an enjoyable Christmas break, albeit different from previous years.
We are all aware that the Covid-19 pandemic remains firmly in our midst and I am acutely aware that the consequences of the virus have had a sad impact on the Ballygawley community over the past few weeks. I continue to keep all families, who have been affected by the virus, in my thoughts and prayers.
Following the Minister of Education’s statement on 31st December 2020, I would like to outline arrangements for the new school term in relation to St Ciaran’s College.
As you are already aware, Monday 4th January 2021 is a planned Staff Development Day. Virtual mathematics revision classes will continue on Monday as planned. Staff will use Tuesday 5th January to prepare for online/remote learning. Work will be available online to all pupils from Wednesday 6th – Friday 8th January (inclusive). All pupils should remain at home for this period, except for vulnerable pupils and children of key workers who cannot be accommodated by alternative childcare arrangements. Supervised online learning will be available to these pupils from Tuesday 5thJanuary. They will follow the same online work as their classmates. If your child belongs to one of these categories and you intend sending them to school from Tuesday 5th January, please let me know by email (using the address at the end of the letter) by 4.00pm on Sunday 3rd January so that arrangements can be made to provide school meals during this period. These arrangements will remain in place for all pupils from Year 8 – Year 11 up to, and including, Friday 29th January 2021. Pupils working from home should follow their timetable each day, including registration. Pupils have been well prepared for this routine during our Remote Learning Days last term.
Pupils in years 12, 13 and 14 will be expected to return to face to face teaching on Monday 11th January. As you are already aware, the majority of our Year 12 pupils and some Year 11 pupils will be sitting public examinations during that week. These examinations will proceed as planned (in line with public health guidelines). Both English and mathematics teachers hope to schedule revision classes prior to 11th January (details will follow). Year 13 and 14 pupils will also continue with their mock examinations during the week of 11th January. Pupils have already received their mock timetables via their school email address. It is also vital that they attend all online lessons prior to these examinations as teachers will be working with all pupils to ensure that they reach their full potential. Year 12 mock examinations will continue, as planned, on the week of the 25th January.
Prior to your son/daughter returning to school, I would also ask you to please stress the importance of adhering to public health guidance in relation to the ongoing pandemic. As well as all our recent procedures, face coverings will now also become mandatory in the classroom. This, together with all previous regulations, must be adhered to by all pupils. We, as a staff, will continue to do everything to keep your son/daughter safe. The safety of all continues to be a priority throughout this period. I would also ask you to exercise caution when sending your son/daughter to school. Should he/she display any of the three main symptoms of Covid-19 (fever, new, continuous cough, new loss of taste and/or smell) please keep him/her at home and seek medical advice.
Could I please encourage all parents/carers, who have not yet downloaded the school app, to please submit your current email address via our online form on the school website? https://stciaransballygawley.org/scc-school-app Subsequently you will receive an invitation link, via email, which will enable you to access the app. Since the current situation is ever- changing, I believe that the app would be our most immediate and efficient way of informing parents of regular updates in relation to teaching and public heath guidelines.
I would like to thank you all for your support throughout 2020 and to wish you and your family a holy, happy and healthy New Year.
Mr P. Lavery