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St. Patrick's Primary School Mullanaskea, Garvary, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh

Covid Letter to Parents RE Halloween

15th Oct 2020


Dear Parent,

I am sure you are aware that schools will be off until 2nd November. This is deemed to be an extended holiday. Hallowe’en holidays were due to be taken from Monday 26th October until Friday 30th October. The Minister for Education has now included next week 19th-23rd October into this holiday period. He has also declared that there is to be no remote learning.

We, as a school, are very disappointed with this. We felt that we were doing very well and any difficulties we did have were manageable. The children are paying a huge price. However, these matters are out of our control. The two weeks will fly, and we will get back into our stride quickly again.

We understand that next week is considered to be a holiday. However, the children have already missed so much. I want to ensure that during next week, the children are encouraged to read and to do some school work. Each teacher is sending some work to cover the week in a busy pack. (P.7. can access their material via Microsoft Teams. Mr. Dolan is sending information about this to the P.7. class).

I encourage your children to complete the work sent home. It keeps them mentally agile and in a work mode. They have learned so much in the few weeks that we have been back, we do not want these concepts and skills to be lost. Young children need lots and lots of practice to learn. Very few children learn something once and embed it. Most children require learning and over learning. When consistent practice is missing this is when gaps appear. Please ensure that they read, do whatever is sent in their packs, and for the older children, practice their times tables. Children should also be revising the spellings that they met this term.

It is vital to ensure that the children keep reading. When they stop reading, their whole learning suffers. I am sending you two links that you might exploit so that you can access reading material via e books. ‘Oxford Owls’ is good for younger children. The ‘Libraries NI’ should provide reading materials for all.

However, for the designated Hallowe’en break, the week of 26th October, I advise letting the children have their break. They need a rest; they have worked very intensely since the start of tem. For our normal practice at Mullanaskea outside of this COVID situation, children eat in the canteen, they have visitors into the classes, they have assemblies etc. This pattern, by and large, has not been happening for the fear of bubbles mixing. The practice during these COVID times is very intense in the classrooms. The children are quite exhausted so they will need their break as well.

The school had planned to have a Staff Development Day on Monday 2nd November. I have now cancelled this in light of this recent development. So I now want all children to return to school Monday 2nd November.

If you have any difficulties or worries, please e-mail me and I will return to you as quickly as I can.

My Very Best Wishes to You All,

Ms. O’Neill.