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School Closure Update - Thursday 26th March

Dear Parents,

As announced by An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, all schools will now remain closed to students until 19th April 2020.

It is fair to say that what we are experiencing with COVID-19, a situation we could never have previously imagined, is unprecedented. Each of us, in our own way, must deal with it to the best of our capacity, in our own context.

Our first responsibility is to do everything we can to prevent it spreading further, to take HSE advice and to support those agencies who are in the front line of dealing with it.

I cannot emphasise enough how important physical distancing is in preventing the spread of this virus. We all have a duty of care to impress on our children and especially teenagers, that it is our behaviour and not that of the virus that could lead to serious illness, and indeed fatalities, amongst our loved ones.

As a staff, we are cognisant of the stresses in many homes at the minute. Many parents are working in front line services or, in thousands of cases, have lost their jobs because of the closure of shops, pubs, restaurants and other places of employment as a result of the COVID-19 virus. In many homes, older brothers and sisters are stressed because of Leaving Cert or Junior Cycle issues compounded by the current crisis. Many are also catering for elderly parents, relatives or neighbours.

Any work assigned by teachers is not meant to add to the pressure, either on you or your children. If you are still going out to work, if your family home is very busy or you are working from home, then cut yourself a break. It may not be possible to get any work assigned completed. It is important to think of the work we share with families as more of a "menu" to pick from than anything else.

To the fantastic one hundred and thirty seven pupils, who are the most important members of our school community, I would like to say well done for keeping up with your school work at home over the last two weeks. I know that you will continue to work as hard in the coming weeks. All the staff miss teaching you at this time and we look forward to having you all back in Glounaguillagh National School as soon as we can! Be kind and helpful to the adults at home and make sure that you do your best to help out around the house every day. I would like to thank my colleagues for the tremendous effort they have put in to get our classes set up for online learning. They continue to deal very professionally with this unprecedented closure. I am very thankful for their support and assistance in this uncertain time.

There are lots of things we can try that could help our well-being at this time:

  • Use trustworthy and reliable sources to get your news: Stay informed, but set limits for news and social media as the constant stream of updates can cause you to feel worried.

  • Connect with people - stay in touch digitally: We can still stay close without face-to-face contact. Remember to call your family members (telephone/Face time/WhatsApp). Maybe you could write a letter or draw a picture and post it to them. Use the postcards delivered by An Post to stay in contact with those we can’t see right now!

  • Try to keep active: Build physical activity into your daily routine, if possible. Exercise regularly, walking – while social distancing - is especially beneficial.

  • Maintain healthy sleep habits: Without the structure of having to get to school, college or the workplace, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy sleep habits like going to bed later and getting up later. The negative impact of sleep disruption on mood is well established.

  • Get as much sunlight, fresh air and nature as you can: Spending time outdoors will greatly benefit your mental and physical well-being.

As a community we can overcome this challenge by pulling together but staying apart. We will come out the other side stronger and wiser!

Mind yourself and mind each other - stay safe!

Sinéad Pigott



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