Cork principals welcome reopening: ‘Nothing more lonesome than a school without children’

Cork principals welcome reopening: ‘Nothing more lonesome than a school without children’

Kinsale Community School principal Fergal McCarthy is looking forward to welcoming his Leaving Certificate students back next Monday.. Picture Denis Boyle

CORK school principals have welcomed the phased reopening of schools in the latest ‘Living with Covid’ plan, with some school pupils set to return to the classroom on Monday next, March 1.

Junior and senior infants, as well as first and second class in primary schools, will be among the first back to school. Leaving Certificate students are also scheduled to return to the classroom next Monday.

Kinsale Community School principal Fergal McCarthy is looking forward to welcoming his Leaving Certificate students back next Monday.

“What schools are craving is the return of normality. Going forward we will try to claw back as much normality as possible for students,” he said. 

The secondary school principal said his school has already welcomed back some pupils this week.

“We are one of the largest providers of ASD in the county. Those students came back to us on Monday. Some of those students are doing the Leaving Certificate. They have been in receipt of a hybrid approach this week. All their classes will be delivered on an in-person basis from next Monday on. We are looking forward to assisting the students in relation to the accredited process and preparing them for the exams themselves. Students need to be supported hugely to get them ready for the next phase of their lives.

“There is nothing more lonesome than a school without children. To have children coming into your school and creating their own bit of fun is great. For the children on the autism spectrum, they really need to connect,” he added.

Mr McCarthy said he has no concerns about safety. 

“Schools are safe environments. We temperature check students on arrival. We have sanitising stations in every classroom and in every corridor. The transmission of the virus within the community was the issue. We need to make sure that the community transmission rate remains low.”

Principal of Morning Star National School in Ballyphehane Donal Deasy said: “It will be great to see more students next Monday morning.”

Mr Deasy and his teaching colleagues welcomed back 24 students this week which proved very successful. “We had four ASD classes come back last Monday, 24 children in total and we had 17 staff back. They are thrilled to be back. All the staff has shown a great attitude. The parents have been very positive as well. The kids have been smiling and they are delighted with their new rooms. Bit by bit, we will get back to some level of normality,” he added.

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