24 March, 2020 – Covid-19 Statement from the Department of Education and Skills

All schools, pre-schools and further and higher education settings will remain closed to students until 19 April 2020.

The decision has been taken following advice from the NPHET (National Public Health Emergency Team) as part of efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19.

All young people and children are urged to practice social distancing, and to minimise physical contact to keep themselves and others healthy and to limit the spread of infection. This should include minimising social contact, avoiding meeting up and keeping physical space of two metres between each other. Parents and guardians are urged to support young people and children to follow those simple guidelines.

Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD said: “This is an extremely difficult time for everyone, not least students and their parents.

“The decision to keep schools closed until after the Easter break is based on public health advice. It is a hugely important aspect of our continued effort to limit the spread of Covid-19.

“My message to students facing exams is that they should keep focused, keep working and try, as much as possible, to prepare as normal for the state exams. We are doing everything in our power to make sure those exams happen.

“Teachers and students have answered the call to remote learning with exceptional flexibility and adaptability. You are all a credit to the education system.

“I am also deeply conscious of significant work being done to ensure continuity of learning across our higher and further education institutions. The impact of emergency measures has not stopped education, it has inspired innovation and we are indebted to all those continuing to provide education in these trying times.”

Latest Update from Department of Education

Dear Principal and Teachers,

As you all know the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD yesterday announced the closure of schools, pre-schools and further and higher education settings, for students, for a period until 29 March 2020, to support efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19. This is in line with the advice of the National Public Health Emergency Team. The Government, in conjunction with the public health authorities, will keep the situation under ongoing review. Any change to that date will be communicated as soon as it is known.

All pupils in schools are urged to practise social distancing, and to minimise physical contact with each other, to help avoid the spread of Covid-19. This should include minimising social contact, avoiding meeting up and keeping physical space between them. Parents and guardians are urged to support their children to maintain this approach.

This is an unprecedented situation and we are all conscious that in difficult times school communities come together to find solutions and always work in the best interest of their students. The Department is aware that schools have been actively engaging in contingency planning for an event such as this over the past few weeks. 

In order to minimise the impact on teaching and learning all schools are asked to continue to plan lessons and, where possible, provide online resources for students or online lessons where schools are equipped to do so. Schools are asked to be conscious of students that may not have access to online facilities and to consider this actively in their response. School buildings should be available to staff if they wish to access the facilities in order to provide online delivery, or essential services once this is in line with HSE advice on social distancing etc. 

In order to assist all schools to support students your attention is drawn to a range of online resources to assist schools to provide ongoing support to students during school closures.
Scoilnet https://www.scoilnet.ie/  is a resource to support schools, teachers, students and parents. Scoilnet has a number of home usage supports for teachers and students to benefit from. These are detailed on pages 3 and 4 in Appendices 1 and 2 attached. Scoilnet will be updating the material available on its website regularly.

In addition to the Scoilnet there are other resources available to schools. The Digital Technology team has developed a new dedicated webpage of curated content to support schools and teachers engaged in distance learning in order to provide continuity to pupils/students. The page can be accessed at:
https://www.pdst.ie/distancelearning.

Using some of the online platforms and/or tools that are detailed on this page, schools will be enabled to limit the impact of school closures by giving learners access to materials, support, classwork and feedback. 

This is a very challenging time for schools, teachers, students and parents. It is critical that during these challenging times we continue to work together and that the focus of all is on the best possible outcomes for our students. The support of everyone across the sector is vital, as we all strive to ensure that this public health threat is dealt with as effectively as possible.

The Department of Education and Skills, and its various services, will remain available providing advice and supports to the education sector at this time.

Yours sincerely,

Seán Ó Foghlú

Secretary General


Latest Covid 19 Advice from Department of Education and Skills

Please read the latest advice on the Covid 19 Virus for parents and schools here

https://www.education.ie/en/The-Department/Announcements/talking-to-children-and-young-people-about-covid-19-coronavirus-advice-for-parents-and-schools.pdf

We would also like to direct your attention to a child-friendly interview that Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn did with RTÉ’s new2day programme last week, that may also be a useful resource when talking about Covid-19 with children and students.
https://www.rte.ie/news/coronavirus/2020/0306/1120692-news2day-coronavirus/

Latest Update from Department of Education and Skills

The Department of Education and Skills has received an updated letter for all schools from the Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, Dr Tony Holohan, addressing the recent school closure as a result of the confirmed Covid-19 case.

The letter is attached here (in the second link below) and is also available on our website below under the heading, ‘Chief Medical Officer advice for parents and schools.’

https://www.education.ie/en/The-Department/Announcements/information-for-schools-preschools-and-third-level-institutions-on-the-coronavirus.html

Please ensure that parents and other interested parties receive this update.

Thank you for your assistance and please get in touch if you have any further enquiries.

Pearse Ó Caoimh

Higher Executive Officer — Communications.
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An Roinn Oideachais agus Scileanna
Department of Education and Skills
 
Sráid Maoilbhríde, Baile Átha Cliath, D01 RC96.
Marlborough Street, Dublin, D01 RC96.

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T +353(0)1 8892304

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See attached letter here:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1w8cUTymW4RSRMJABd7c51dJfiJ7fuUCsj1pDqAr3NXU/edit

500 in 5 Pilot Programme by Sligo G.A.A

4th class are participating in a pilot programme organised by Sligo G.A.A.
The programme is called 500 in 5. The aim of the programme is to encourage the children to get 500 touches with a football each week.
The children complete various activities with a ball in school two to three times a week, while also getting as many as possible at home, to achieve their target of 500 in 5 days.