Firstly, can we wish you and your families a very happy and healthy New Year! We are glad to see the end of 2020 and look forward to 2021 bringing us a pathway out of the uncertainty that Covid-19 has visited on our community.
Alarmingly High Rates of Covid-19 in our Community
As we write to you, the country is once more in the middle of a new surge of Covid-19, with the number of cases at an unprecedented level. This has caused increasing alarm for all of us in our community and we are writing to you to ask you to do everything that you can to help drive down the virus in our community.
The entire country has been placed into the highest level of alert, Level 5, and will remain at that level for the number of weeks. This measure is in place to ensure the protection of everyone. There is no doubt that we are facing into a very perilous time in our community. The rate of increase in the spread of Covid-19 must be brought right down, and this must happen now. If it continues to escalate at the current rate of transmission, it is surely only a matter of time before the continued safe operation of schools is called into question.
School Holidays extended for three days
As you know, the Minister for Education, Ms. Norma Foley has extended the Christmas holidays for a further 3 days. The Minister states her desire is to “allow every member of the school community to follow public health advice closely and minimise their contacts before children return to school...".
On foot of this advice, we want to confirm that our schools will be closed for the remainder of the week. There will be no online learning in this period, and families are asked to remain at home, to keep their close contacts to an absolute minimum and follow public health advice to the letter.
We await the advice of the Minister in relation to the safe re-opening of schools from Monday the 11th January. We will let you know if there are any changes to the plan to re-open on that date.
Need for Parental Vigilance during the coming days and weeks
As we enter the New Year, and with children at home for another week, we are very anxious to ensure that they continue to be safe and protected. In order for this to happen, we are once more asking parents to continue to make very difficult decisions:
- To stick to public health advice
- Not to organise visits to other households
- Not to organise sleep-overs or play dates with other households
- Not to travel beyond a 5km radius from home
- Adults wearing face coverings, as required
- Continuing to encourage good hand hygiene and respiratory health among all members of the household
We need to have everyone on board!
These public health guidelines are there for the protection of all of us. They are there to keep each member of our community safe and well.
Yes, they are difficult and yes, they are challenging for all of us. However, if we do not commit to following them- each and every one of us- it will mean giving in to the increased transmission of the virus, and allowing it to go un-checked throughout our community. This cannot be allowed to happen.
We want to appeal to you all, as our partners in the education of our precious young people, to take every step possible to drive down the transmission of the virus.
We want to re-discover the sense of solidarity that was there in the months of March and April when we were all in this together.
Please, please adhere to the guidelines, keep your children safe during the coming weeks, and in doing this, help to ensure that our schools remain open and safe for everyone.
Alma Moran Enda McGorman
Mary, Mother of Hope Junior and Senior Schools