St Joseph’s Secondary School, Rush
Europe's first CFES School of Distinction

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update

All updated letters and publications from school, deparment of education and HSE.
10-August-20
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update

NEW PDF Link of letter from Minister for Education Norma Foley to schools - 10th August 2020:

Letter from Minister Foley to schools 10 August.pdf


NEW- Important Information Regarding Examination Fees 2020

02 June 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians,

As a result of the revised arrangements of the Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate Examinations the State Examinations Commission (SEC) is refunding all candidates who have paid their examination fee for 2020.

Refunds were processed on May 26th for all candidates that paid the examination fee online. Refunds will go back to the card/account which was used to pay the fee. The process can take up to 7 days to process.

If candidates have not received the refund by June 10th , they should email us at fees@examinations.ie with their exam number.

Fees Section


NEW!! - PDF Link of Letter from Ms Hayden to Parents/Guardians Thursday 14th May 2020:Letter from Ms Hayden 14 May.pdf

Contents of Letter -

14 May 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Covid-19 has change our world and people young and old have faced many bewildering challenges often tinged with sadness or stress. I am writing to reassure you that we look forward to welcoming your son/daughter back to school in September. Currently we are formulating detailed plans to ensure that students will continue to build and develop strong relationships with their teachers, form teachers, year head, guidance counsellor and indeed all the support staff in our school. We will communicate these plans to you as soon as possible and subject to Public Health advice.

Staying Connected – St Joseph’s iClass App

Please ensure that you have downloaded the school iClass App. You will receive important information through this App and by email. It is vital that you have downloaded the App and that we have an accurate email address to allow us to set up online meetings and to keep you informed of your son/daughter’s progress.

Information Meetings for Parents/Guardians and Students

In the medium term, it is likely, that information meetings will be held online. It is essential that we have accurate email addresses so that you can be given dates and access codes to such meetings.

Personal Supply of Hand Sanitise Required at School

Hand sanitiser and other infection control measures will be in place in school. However, students must bring a small bottle of hand sanitiser with them to school.

iPads and Online Learning

As an iPad school we have well developed systems in place to operate an online learning environment. It is likely that as a result of social distancing requirements, classes will be taught both in school and online. This ‘blended’ system will continue to operate into the new year.

5th Year Students must download ebooks which are free with paper books as it is likely that blended learning may continue for some time.

Students in all years must make sure their iPads are up to date and fully loaded with their ebooks for classes in school. Paper books may not be brought to school.

Cost Reduction

At St Joseph’s we are acutely aware of the financial challenges faced by families as a result of Covid-19. We have put a number of measures in place during the crisis which we hope will assist families with the cost of attending secondary school:

  • Booklists and equipment lists have been reduced to minimum requirements for each subject. Paper books come with free ebooks. For reasons of infection control and social distancing, students will not be able to bring paper books to school
  • The journal and student insurance fee have been reduced to €40
  • As there may be a staggered return to school and blended learning for a period of time, the Board of Management has decided that the school uniform will be reduced to two pieces- the school jumper and blouse or shirt- until such time as the school is operating a full timetable in school. We hope that this will help families to manage the costs of transferring to secondary school
  • School trips will not take place for the foreseeable future.
  • It has been necessary to purchase an upgrade to Schoology and other online tools at a cost of €20 per student
  • For those who can afford it, the school voluntary contribution will be payable in three instalments of €40 per term. Secondary schools are not fully funded by the Department of education and Skills; the voluntary contribution is necessary to make up the shortfall in funding from the government.

Moving Up

We at St Joseph’s pride ourselves on being inclusive, dynamic and creative. We want to provide the best education possible for your son/daughter. This year, Moving Up, will be a little different but we at St Joseph’s will do everything in our power to make school enjoyable, interesting and stress free for the students and for you!

Throughout this crisis our fantastic team of teachers and SNAs have used technology and their own creativity to stay connected with our students. They have worked tirelessly with parents and students to minimise the impact of school closures on our students. We have really missed our students and I think they may have missed us too.

Keep safe and take care,

Patricia Hayden

Patricia Hayden


NEW!! - PDF Link of Letter from Ms Hayden to 6th Year Parents/Guardians and Students Tuesday 12th May 2020:Letter to 6th years 12 May.pdf

Contents of Letter -

12 May 2020

Dear Students, Parents and Guardians,

As you are aware, the decision was made last Friday by the Department of Education and Skills to postpone the Leaving Certificate and Leaving Certificate Applied examinations scheduled to commence on 29 July 2020 and to offer students a system of Calculated Grades. Hopefully this will bring an end to a period of great anxiety for all our Leaving Certificate Applied and Leaving Certificate students and their parents/guardians.

Leaving Certificate & Leaving Certificate Applied 2020 Information

We are awaiting further clarity and more details from the Department of Education Skills prior to engaging in the process and the steps as outlined in the Guideline to Calculated Grades for the Leaving Certificate 2020. Further updates will be provided as we receive them. All students will be given the option to receive a State Certificate of Calculated Grades in each subject. It will have the same status as Leaving Certificates awarded to students in previous years. Students will also have the opportunity to sit the conventional Leaving Certificate examination if they wish at the earliest safe and practical time. There cannot be any discussion or contact between St Joseph’s Secondary School staff and students or parents/guardians regarding the student’s overall percentage mark. To do so risks the integrity of the process. The estimated percentage mark is not the final grade, as there is a system in place to ensure the grades are based on more data analysed at a national level. The system has many checks and balances in it. No student should be afraid that a poor result in a Mock Exam or test, will determine the estimated percentage mark. We are therefore asking all students and parents/guardians to refrain from contacting teachers to discuss, query or suggest any reference to subject percentages. We appreciate your cooperation with this request. The Department and Education and Skills has also confirmed that “Senior Cycle for the current 6th year cohort will now conclude”. This means that teaching and learning for all 6th years is now complete. 6th year students do not need to submit any further work or assignments to their teachers.

Access to our school guidance and counselling service remains available to all students and can be accessed through sst@stjosephsrush.ie. Our Guidance Counsellor and Year Heads are available for support. In line with government advice we would like to emphasise the importance of maintaining students’ Wellbeing and Mental Health. You can find links to a range of Wellbeing resources on our school website:

http://www.stjosephsrush.ie/News/Resources-Supports-for-Students-ParentsGuardians/66275/Index.html

The government have also produced information regarding Wellbeing for Leaving Certificate 2020 students and it can be found here: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/256911-leaving-cert-2020-practical-supports/

Jigsaw have a wide range of online resources for students and their parents/guardians. They can be found at

https://jigsawonline.ie

Other very helpful websites and phone numbers are at the bottom of this letter.

End of Year Events for 6th Years

It is really important to note that teachers and students will have the opportunity to say goodbye and thank you to each other over the coming weeks using online platforms they have been using with their teachers. We will be in contact with students to organise this. Our staff are also looking at end of year arrangements with a view to holding a virtual celebration and a series of other options in marking the end of post-primary school for your son/daughter and we look forward to sharing these details with you as soon as we can.

This is not how we thought the wonderful journey we all set out on when you started in St Joseph’s Secondary School would end. We all miss you and are looking forward to a time, at some point in the future, when we can look back on this time from a better place. We wish to congratulate each of you for how well you have handled all the challenges of these strange times.

We will be in with contact with you again with additional information and further clarification as we receive it.

We hope that you and your loved ones are all safe and well.

Yours sincerely,

Patricia Hayden

Patricia Hayden

Spunout 086 1800 280

HSE 1850 24 1850

Childline 1800 666 666

Samaritans 116 123

Jigsaw (Online chat facility) (01) 6583070 & jigsaw.ie

AWARE 1800 804 848

Teen-Line 1800 833 634

Barnardos 01 473 2110

Pieta House 1800 247 247

Rape Crisis Centre 1800 778 888

Teen Counselling (01) 836 0011

ALONE 0818 222 024


NEW!! - PDF Link of Letter from Ms Hayden to 6th Year Parents Friday 1st May 2020: Letter to 6th Year Parents.pdf

Contents of Letter -

01 May 2020

Re: Leaving Certificate exams and working with the school to keep your son/daughter motivated.

Dear Parents/Guardians,

The announcement by the Minister for Education and Skills that Leaving Certificate Examinations will take place from 29 July 2020 has presented many 6th Year students with a challenge. We greatly sympathise with the students who have been placed in a seemingly endless cycle of preparation for these final exams. I would like to acknowledge how stressful and challenging it is to think about the next few months. However, this is the situation in which we find ourselves and we at St Joseph’s want the best for each and every one of our 6th Year students.

Engagement

We need students to keep engaging with their teachers. We are very worried about some students who are not connecting with the school. Parents and Guardians, this is a tall order but we simply cannot do it without you! Please keep in contact with teachers, form teachers and Mr McElwain, 6th Year Head. We are here to help your daughter and son get through this exam.

Student Support Team

Email us at SST@stjosephsrush.ie if you are worried or your son/daughter simply cannot manage the work on their own. We will work with you and their teachers to put in extra support if necessary.

Laptops

We have sourced laptops for some students who were struggling to produce work on their phones etc. Please contact Mr McElwain or the Student Support Team if a device is required. We do not have one for everyone, but we will do our best to source a device if necessary.

RACE and Additional Needs

RACE accommodations will operate as normal in the rescheduled exams. From the outset of this crisis, Race has been a major concern of the Department of Education and Skills and students can rest assured that the rescheduled exams will include all the expected reasonable accommodations.

End of Term

The official school term will end on 29th May 2020 and we will issue details of the July programme as soon as possible.

End of term Assembly

We will be in contact with students regarding end of term assemblies. Assemblies are a huge part of the life of our school. They create a sense of community and give students a sense of belonging. It will take a lot more than Covid-19 to stop us from celebrating our St Joseph’s community and the Rite of Passage that is the 6th Year Graduation

Please feel free to join us at our assemblies over the coming weeks – parents and guardians are welcome to join us as we bring our year to a close.

Take a Bow

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you for all your work over the past few months. Parents and guardians have done a brilliant job of keeping everything going. Whether working from home, connecting with teachers, caring for younger children or vulnerable relatives, you have been fantastic partners and we pay tribute to you for everything you have coped with since we closed our doors on 12 March.

If we pull together now as teachers, parents/guardians, young women and young men we can heave ourselves over this final hurdle. We will be there for you and for the 6th Year students of whom we are so proud.

I hope you enjoy the long weekend and that you and your family stay safe and sound.

Yours faithfully,

Patricia Hayden

Principal


NEW!! - PDF Link of Letter from Ms Hayden to Parents Friday 1st May 2020:End of Term Assessment 1 May 2020.pdf

Contents of Letter -

01 May 2020

Re:1st Year, 2nd Year and 5th Year End of Term Assessments and Well Done to All

Dear Parents/Guardians,

The announcement on Wednesday of the completion of the site purchase for our new school is welcome news at this time of uncertainty and stress. The fact that the building is going ahead, despite Covid-19, brings great hope to our school community and the wider community of Rush. It also brings certainty- our new school will be built and built very quickly! We have something to look forward to now more than ever. We can even begin imagining what a new school might look like.

Thank you 5th Years!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our 5th Years who made such an impact on Minister McHugh during their protest outside the Dáil when they were in TY. This year has been difficult for them but their legacy is amazing and they will definitely be the guests of honour at the grand opening.

1st 2nd and 5th Year End of Term Assessments

St Joseph’s have put in place the following assessment procedures for students:

Over the next four weeks, students will be assessed by their teachers using a variety of methods, including school designed exams, tasks, projects, assignments, essay style questions, presentations or other tasks agreed by teachers.

For the remaining four weeks in the current academic year, students overall result in each subject will be determined by the following:

  1. Engagement: 25% will be awarded based on student engagement and participation with their teachers and work through Schoology/virtual lessons/email. Please make sure your son/daughter communicates with their teachers or year head, if for any reason they cannot connect with their teacher or complete work set. We are awarding ¼ of all the marks in each subject for engagement because we know how difficult it is to work at home. So your son/daughter can earn marks for engagement by communicating with us about any difficulties they are having. We are here to help you!
  1. Continuous assessment, project work and exams: 75%

Students will be given a detailed breakdown by their subject teachers for each category of work and the associated marks. Please do not hesitate to contact the subject teacher, form teacher or Year Head should you have a query.

Assessment Timetable

Students will be given a detailed breakdown of what assessment will occur in each subject and what topics will be examined. Their teachers will help them prepare for these upcoming assessments. This timetable will be pushed out on the school iClass App.

RACE and Additional Needs

Any student who has RACE accommodations will have these taken into consideration and the marking schemes will be adjusted to reflect this.

End of Term

The school term will end on 29th May 2020 and we will issue details of the commencement of the new school term as soon as possible.

End of term Assemblies

Year Heads will be in contact with students regarding end of term assemblies. Assemblies are a huge part of the life of our school. They create a sense of community and give students a sense of belonging. It will take a lot more than Covid-19 to stop us from celebrating our St Joseph’s community.

Please feel free to join us at our assemblies over the coming weeks – parents and guardians are welcome to join us as we bring our year to a close.

Take a Bow

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you for all your work over the past few months. Parents and guardians have done a brilliant job of keeping everything going. Whether working from home, connecting with teachers, caring for younger children or vulnerable relatives, you have been fantastic partners and we pay tribute to you for everything you have coped with since we closed our doors on 12 March.

I hope you enjoy the long weekend and that you and your family stay safe and sound.

Yours faithfully,

Patricia Hayden

Principal


NEW!! - PDF Link of Letter from Ms Hayden to Parents and Students Thursday 30th April 2020:Letter to 3rd year re assessment.pdf

Contents of Letter -

30 April 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Yesterday’s announcement by Minister Joe McHugh that the school based version of the Junior Cert in Autumn has been cancelled, is welcomed by the Board of Management, principal, deputy principals and staff of St Joseph’s Secondary School. We did not wish to see students preparing for exams over the summer months without the support and encouragement of the school community. Our wish is for families to celebrate the educational achievements of the students at this time while acknowledging their immense work since 12 March 2020.

Perhaps we should be issuing parents and guardians with a certificate of completion too! It would have been impossible to keep on track without your support, patience, commitment and willingness to work with teachers, year heads and form teachers.

3rd Year Assessment

St Joseph’s have put in place the following assessment procedures for students:

Students overall result in each subject will be determined by the following:

50% of marks will be allocated towards a new assessment which will be explained to students over the next number of days.

30% will be awarded from exams previously completed in the 3rd Year school year e.g. Mock exam result and October exam result.

20% will be awarded based on student engagement and participation through Schoology/Virtual lessons/email for the remaining four weeks in the current academic year with their teachers and work.

Over the next four weeks, students will be assessed by their teachers using a variety of methods, including school designed exams, tasks, projects, assignments, essay style questions, presentations or other tasks agreed by teachers.

Assessment Timetable

Students will be given a detailed breakdown of what assessment will occur in each subject and what topics will be examined. Their teachers will help them prepare for these upcoming assessments. This timetable will be pushed out on the school iClass App.

RACE

Ms Caulfield and the Additional Needs Team will be in contact with further information following consultation with students and staff.

Any student who has RACE accommodations will have these taken into consideration and the marking schemes will be adjusted to reflect this.

Department of Education and Skills Certificate of Completion

The Department of Education and skills will issue all 3rd Year students certificates for the completion of Junior Cycle. St Joseph’s will issue a written report outlining the student’s achievements in 3rd Year at the end of the current school year.

End of Term

The school term will end on 29th May 2020 and we will issue details of the commencement of the new school term as soon as possible.

Transition Year

We look forward to meeting you and your sons and daughters next term to confirm the programme for Transition Year 2020-2021. Our students are resourceful and resilient and although things have been difficult they have not lost their sense of humour as one student proved when he remarked, “I did not realise the end of the world came with so much home work!”

Take care and keep safe,

Patricia Hayden


Need some IT Support from Mr Murray?

Follow the step by step guide outlined in the following PDF to book an online appointment with Mr Murray directly:

How to book in for an online appointment with Mr. Murray.


NEW!! - PDF Link of Letter from Ms Hayden to Parents and Students Monday 20th April 2020:Letter to Parents Students 20 04 20.pdf

Contents of Letter -

20 April 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians and Students,

I hope that you had a good Easter break and that you managed to enjoy the sunshine despite the restrictions on our movements.

By now you will be aware that the Minister for Education has indicated that the Leaving Certificate Examinations will be rescheduled to take place in August and possibly early September. If public health advice allows, schools will reopen to 6th Year students during the last two weeks of July so that students can prepare for the exams with the help and support of their teachers. It is not an ideal situation but it is hoped that being back in school for a few weeks in advance of the exams will be of benefit to the students.

The Junior Certificate Examinations have been postponed until September at the earliest. As I write this letter, there are still many unknowns, but the Department of Education and Skills is working hard with the education partners and the State Examinations Commission to bring clarity to the situation as soon as possible.

For now, we return to our virtual classrooms as we do our best to bring continuity to learning and teaching. Last term, we quickly learned that adhering to the school timetable helped to bring structure to the school day. However, that structure did not work for all students and we greatly appreciate the feedback we received from parents and students which helped us to adapt virtual lessons to the needs of learners. We encourage you to communicate with teachers, Form Teachers and Year Heads so that we can better understand and respond to your child’s needs. The Student Support Team continues to meet on Tuesday mornings to address concerns in relation to students’ progress and welfare.

As we head into the last month of school we are acutely aware that motivating students to engage with their teachers will be our greatest challenge; we are grateful for the support you have given us and thank you for continuing to work with us for the benefit of your child’s education. Even though it has been difficult at times, teachers have tried to connect in meaningful ways with their students. We have all learned so much in such a short space of time, I think you should be proud of what we have achieved together to date.

Finally, I would like through our thoughts and prayers to remember those loved ones who have been taken by COVID-19. Ar Dheis Dé go raibh a n-anamacha dhílis.

Yours faithfully,

Patricia Hayden



NEW!! - PDF Link of Letter from Ms Hayden to Parents Friday 3rd April 2020:Letter from Ms Hayden 3rd April 2020.pdf

Contents of Letter -

3 April 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians

I hope that you are all well and that you and your families are adapting to these demanding circumstances.

We know that there is a great deal of productive work being completed at home. Some of you will have been contacted directly by teachers, especially if they have had concerns regarding your child’s access to class work. On the whole, we have been very pleased with the level of engagement and the amount of hard work in evidence across the school community. With the PE Department’s exercises and fitness programme, there is no excuse for anyone to be inactive.

I am aware that some students are struggling a little to organise their time. For First and Second Years in particular, knowing how to prioritise work can prove challenging. Some students may feel overwhelmed by the volume of work they have received and may be struggling to cope. All teachers understand that each household has its own pressures and they have worked really hard to adapt to our new virtual school.

Teachers and students alike are looking forward to less screen time over the Easter holidays and with this in mind we have assembled a substantial bank of resources to support student and parent wellbeing over the break. These resources are designed to provide some continuity, structure and light relief for our school community. Here are the links:

In light of the current crisis, the Guidance Department have collected a large amount of important and relevant supports for both parents and students to be shared with the school community. The supports have been broken up into different categories so they can be easily accessed and will be updated on an ongoing basis.

Check out these supports here:https://padlet.com/annabelheaney/bsb2ds4m0f9x

The PE Department have created a physical education and healthy lifestyle page for students and parents. Some of these links include different student programmes, challenges, home workouts and healthy recipes suitable for all year groups and family members.

Check out these resources here:https://padlet.com/emerkiely/6s6o4n4gjx4p

The Religion Department have set up an online virtual prayer/intentions book. Everyone is invited to take one minute at 12pm every day to join with us in praying, thinking, reflecting on the intentions and prayer requests. Please be assured that your intentions/prayer requests will be held in a confidential space. All you need to give a first name or title e,g, aunt, sister and then just write what the intention is/if you want them to be prayed for. You can also make your own prayer/intention request too. Our school community will be thinking of /praying for all the people and intentions in the book every day at 12 pm. We hope that you will find comfort and support in our intention/reflection/prayer space.

Access the virtual prayer/intention book here:http://www.stjosephsrush.ie/page/PrayerIntentionReflection-Space/66002/Index.html

We know that many of our parents/guardians and family members of staff work in the health care services and other agencies charged with tackling this crisis. For them, this time is particularly difficult. To them, we offer our support and our deepest thanks. The sacrifices being made are great and we are in their debt. We will continue to do our part to encourage your children and the wider St Joseph’s community to follow all the guidelines designed to keep us all safe.

Please see below an extract from a recent JMB Bulletin which contains a message from the Minister for Education, Joe McHugh.

Please bear in mind that the School community is large and has a wonderful network of support, ready and willing when needed. Do not hesitate to contact us if you are in need of assistance.

Stay safe and well and I hope you have a Happy Peaceful Easter.

Yours faithfully,

Patricia Hayden

Patricia Hayden

Principal

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.”


NEW!! - PDF link of Letter from Chairperson Dr James Reilly, 25th March 2020: Letter from Chairperson of Board 25th March

Contents of Letter -

25 March 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians,

These are anxious times for all of us and as a local doctor, I am fully aware of the challenges caused by the restrictions which are necessary to stop the spread of the Coronavirus Covid-19. I assure you that there will be good days again and when we come through this, everything we are doing now will be worth it.

I am so proud of our school; the plans that the Board of Management, Principal and staff put in place in the weeks leading to the announcement of school closures and the work on making sure everyone could access Schoology have aided a quick transition to online classes. The senior management team continues to work with teachers, students and parents to iron out issues as everyone adapts to a new way of learning.

Where possible, parents and students are encouraged to stick to a timetable during the day. I am assured that teachers are communicating with students via Schoology and the reaction has been positive.

We all need to recognise the work of the teachers as they do their best to continue teaching and learning in very difficult circumstances. I appreciate it is a challenge having the students at home but I know most are doing their best to cope.

I was very pleased to hear that the pastoral care needs of the students are not being neglected. The Student Support Team has met remotely on a number of occasions to try to make sure all students are being reached.

Yesterday, the Minister for Education and Skills announced that schools will not re-open next Monday; so we are in this for the long haul. Rest assured that the staff of St Joseph’s will continue to work in the best interests of the entire school community. I applaud what they are doing and on all our behalf’s cannot thank them enough.

Finally, I cannot emphasise enough how important social distancing is in preventing the spread of this virus. We all have a duty of care to impress on our children and especially our 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, especially those who are older or have underlying conditions. None of us want to look back in months to come and question that if we had observed the rules more closely, some of our loved ones might have survived but didn’t.

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

Yours faithfully,

Dr James Reilly



NEW!! - PDF Link of Letter from Ms Hayden to Parents Monday 23rd March 2020:Letter from Ms Hayden 23rd March 2020

Contents of Letter -

Monday 23 March

Dear Parent/Guardian,

As we begin another week of this school closure and distance learning, I hope that you and your families are staying safe and in good health.

I hope that your children have been engaging positively with their teachers and that they have, where possible, been following a timetable which reflects the structure of a school day. I know and appreciate that this is a difficult time. None of us have ever experienced anything like this before. Some of our teachers, like you, are managing a new way of working while also caring for young children or vulnerable family members, at home. Like everyone else, we are doing our very best to continue to support students’ learning albeit from a distance. Our politicians have asked that we all do our bit to see us safely through the next few weeks and months and I know you will be passing on this message to your sons and daughters at home. Undoubtedly, our 3rd and 6th Year students, will have concerns regarding their exams and this will add a layer of stress to which other years are not exposed. I have no doubt that the Department of Education are looking at ways of dealing with the state examinations.

Last week’s announcement regarding orals and practicals was communicated to all 3rd and 6th Year parents. I know that many of our students who tend to shine in oral and practical work were very disappointed with this decision. However, this is something that we cannot control so we need to stay positive. All our focus must now be on the written papers in June. Parents need to acknowledge their child’s disappointment but encourage and help them to move on. This is a challenging time but we are all trying to work together to get the best outcome for all. Remaining healthy and supporting one another is key at the moment.

We will inform you immediately when we receive any further updates in relation to the examinations themselves. Until then our best advice is that your sons/daughters continue to engage with their teachers and continue to work hard.

It is important that all students work towards their deadlines and follow the guidance of their teachers. Maintaining a routine, getting up early and following a daily timetable is vital. I am very aware that the teachers have been in regular communication with your sons/daughters and are working extremely hard to set work, to offer support and to give feedback. It is, however, important that you reinforce with your children the necessity of regularly checking Schoology to make sure they are up to date with all communications.

We have received feedback from a significant number of students and parents that they are overwhelmed by the amount of work being set and managing the online communication with teachers. The senior leadership team will work with Year Heads and subject departments to streamline communication as much as possible. We are all learning and we are in this together so keep feeding back to us and we will do our best to find solutions that work for everyone. Please ask your child to let their teacher know if they are ill or if for some reason they cannot follow up on the work set. The greatest challenge for teachers and parents is how to introduce new topics to learners. Teachers are feeding back comments and problems encountered by students and parents- this is very helpful for us as we try to develop new systems and routines for our virtual school.

I know that you as parents/guardians are keenly aware of your duty to maintain an air of calm. We are here to support you, albeit at one remove from the family setting. We expect that some of your children will be fearful, upset and frustrated at having to socially isolate. These are all very normal emotions and ones which we would expect of them. However, they will look to you for confidence that this will pass and their future will be bright.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @stjosephsrush and check the website www.stjosephsrush.ie for information and news.

Yours Sincerely,

Patricia Hayden
Principal



State Examinations Commission - Press Release Thursday 19th March 2020

Click the link for full PDF version of release:STATE EXAMINATIONS COMMISSION Press Release



PDF Version of Letter from Ms Hayden Friday 13th March 2020:

Letter from Ms Hayden 13th March

Contents of Letter -

Friday 13th March 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian,

Since half-term and the evolving situation of COVID-19 Coronavirus, we have been preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. Unfortunately, we are now in a situation where those preparations are in operation.

As usual the staff at St Joseph's have swung into action, in their creative, quirky, caring way to make the best of things for their students and for each other. When I stood in front of the staff and students yesterday, I was so proud to be part of a school community like ours. I never take such things for granted and nor should you as parents/guardians. It is just great to have such leadership in our community at this time.

Just so you know, our staff is focusing on remaining a community of practice - albeit a virtual one! Roll Call was taken by a number of teachers this morning and I have been fascinated by the number of ideas being shared by teachers about how to get the best out of our digital technology; in particular, the teachers are sharing effective ways of maintaining a structured routine for our students at home.

Obviously, some teachers are more advanced in the use of technology than others (for example this principal!) so I expect this innovation to gather momentum, not just with our school but other schools too as teachers reach out to each other.

So how can you help out?

Students have been told to operate their normal class timetable. This means most teachers are checking in with the class at that time too. Students will communicate directly with students but it would be great if you could support your child in keeping to a healthy schedule. Otherwise the days will drag.

I am attaching the Remote Learning Plan again so that you can check these things out with your independent learner at home. I urge you to get involved with the learning. Find out what is going on and get your son/daughter to teach you about it. Learning takes place in a relationship so if you let your child teach you they will learn a lot and so will you!

School Environment
While the school is closed we have arranged for it to be deep cleaned. Every nook and cranny will be disinfected. For when we return to school we have instituted additional and targeted cleaning rotas to reduce risk of infection. A fully equipped cleaning trolley will be used to sanitise all surfaces and it will circulate the school on an ongoing basis.

Links with the Community
To date we have cancelled or postponed participation in a variety of local partnerships. The decision to do so was taken in the best interests of our local partners and in an effort to reduce the chance of infection. The school looks forward to resuming these important partnerships as soon as possible.

Remote Learning Plan
As part of preparing for any potential school closure, we are making sure staff and students are prepared to continue lessons remotely through Schoology. As we use many digital learning tools at St Joseph's, we are very well positioned to continue lessons remotely.

Students should make sure that these apps are installed and up to date on their devices:

- Schoology: This is used for posting updates, scheduling tutorials and communicating with students. It is essential that Schoology is checked each day if the school is closed.

- Khan Academy: This app allows students to study many subjects independently and has thousands of video lessons and quizzes. Like teachers, parents can add themselves as coaches to monitor their son or daughter's progress.

- Edpuzzle: This allows teachers to attach questions to educational videos. Teachers can also see if the student has watched the video lesson and if they have answered the test questions correctly throughout the video.

We have also deployed and are testing a number of extra apps to iPads to allow students to get the most out of e-learning should the school building be closed.

- Meet: Googe has made the Premium Meet for Hangouts app free to schools due to the Covid-19 outbreak. This allows teachers to schedule a Face to Face video lesson with the entire class joining in.

- Flipgrid: This app allows students to practice their language skills by sending short video or audio clips to their teacher to be graded.

If your child does not use an iPad, s/he will still be able to access these platforms on a smartphone or PC, or in some cases students will be able to use hard copies of their books at home, should the need arise. It is very important that you download the school iClass app and check the website for updates. Students should use their school timetable as a guide for studying and contacting teachers.

Our students are 'Super Spreaders' of the virus!

It may not be nice to hear but it is a fact. I am asking you to adhere to HSE advice and restrict the the students from hanging around in groups or socialising in groups. This is a big ask but at this time we have to think of our older loved ones and vulnerable members of our community. I am asking you to help save lives by thinking of others.

Saying no to teenagers is not easy. But think of this: there are 800 students in this school and 82 employees. St Joseph's makes up about 10% of the population of the town and we are the biggest employer in Rush. What your son or daughter does now matters. What you do now matters.

The other important action we can take to protect ourselves from COVID-19 is regular hand-washnig and good respiratory hygiene. Please make sure you teach this at home and monitor handwashing.

We are actively monitoring the situation as it develops and if there are any material developments of relevance we will be in contact with a further update. I will keep in regular contact through the website, iClass and text. You can contact the school by emailing office@stjosephsrush.ie and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

The email will be monitored but may not receive a response over St Patrick's weekend until Wednesday 18 March 2020.

We would like to thank you for your continued calm support, encouragement and realism.

Yours Sincerely,

Patricia Hayden
Principal



PDF Link of letter from Chief Medical Officer - 10th March 2020:

Chief Medical Officer Letter March 10th

PDF Link of letter from Secretary General Department of Education & Skills - 10th March 2020:

Letter from Secretary General of Department of Education & Skills



Link to PDF Version of Letter from Ms Hayden Friday 6th March: Letter from Ms Hayden 6th March 2020

Contents of letter:

Dear Parent/Guardian,

Further to my text last evening regarding coronavirus, COVID-19 and our precautionary contingency learning plan in the event that the Department of Education and Skills or the HSE directs schools to close, I am writing to confirm that currently there has been no change to the advice previously issued by the HSE.

Nonetheless, as part of preparing for any potential school closure, we are making sure staff and students are prepared to continue lessons remotely through Schoology. As we use many digital learning tools at St Joseph's, we are very well positioned to continue lessons remotely.

Students should make sure that these apps are installed and up to date on their devices:

Schoology: This is used for posting updates, scheduling tutorials and communicating with students. It is essential that Schoology is checked each day if the school is closed.

Khan Academy: This app allows students to study many subjects independently and has thousands of video lessons and quizzes. Like teachers, parents can add themselves as coaches to monitor their son or daughter's progress.

Edpuzzle: This allows teachers to attach questions to educational videos. Teachers can also see if the student has watched the video lesson and if they have answered the test questions correctly throughout the video.

We have also deployed and are testing a number of extra apps to iPads to allow students to get the most out of e-learning should the school building be closed.

Meet: Google has made Premium Meet for Hangouts app free to schools due to Covid-19 outbreak. This allows teachers to schedule a face to face video lesson with the entire class joining in.

Flipgrid: This app allows students to practice their language skills by sending short video or audio clips to their teacher to be graded.

If your child does not use an iPad, s/he will still be able to access these platforms on a smartphone or PC, or in some cases students will be able to use hard copies of their books at home, should the need arise. It is very important that you download the school iClass app and check the website for updates.

The most important action we can take to protect ourselves from COVID-19 is regular hand-washing and good respiratory hygience. Although not stipulated by the HSE, we are taking the added measures of disinfecting classrooms each evening, installing hand-sanitizers and disinfecting public areas throughout the day.

We understand that this is a worrying time for our community, but I would like to reassure you that we will do whatever is necessary to support and calm the young people in our are by putting an appropriate plan in place to continue lessons remotely and to limit out of school activities.

We have asked students to bring books etc. home with them today and over the next few days so that they will feels secure should anything change.

We are actively monitoring the situation as it develops and if there are any material developments of relevance, we will be in contact with a further update.

We would like to thank you for your continued calm support, encouragement and realism.

Yours Sincerely,

Patricia Hayden

Principal




Link to PDF of most recent Chief Medical Officer Letter to Parents 2nd March:CMO Letter to Parents



Link to PDF version of Letter from Ms Hayden Monday 2nd March:
Letter from Ms Hayden 2nd March 2020

Contents of letter:

2 March 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian,

Further to my previous letter regarding the coronavirus, Covid-19, I am attaching a letter to Principals received from the Chief Medical Officer this morning.

Access this letter here:PDF of Letter from Chief Medical Officer to Principals

Following a review of planned school activities, in consultation with the Board of Management, the school has decided to postpone a number of events scheduled to take place over the next few weeks. This is an entirely precautionary measure which we have taken to avoid making last minute decisions. The school is erring on the side of caution and will continue to operate as normal in all other respects.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our entire school community for communicating with the school and the HSE where necessary.

Thankfully, our students were not in an affected town or area. Nonetheless, as a precaution, we have been in regular contact with the Department of Public Health, the HSE and the Department of Foreign Affairs in relation to our students and staff who were on the trip. The advice from our Department of Public Health and the HSE has not changed. Students and teachers have been advised that anyone displaying symptoms (respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties) should firstly contact the HSE by phone and self-isolate.

The most important action we can take to protect ourselves from Covid-19 is regular hand-washing and good respiratory hygiene. Although not stipulated by the HSE, we are taking the added measure of installing hand- sanitizers with immediate effect around the school, disinfecting classrooms daily and where possible, limiting contact with groups outside the school.

We understand that individual families, given their particular circumstances, may wish to contact their own GP, the HSE or the Department of Public Health to discuss this further e.g. if your child has a compromised immune system.

We ask that parents let the school know immediately, if they are taking any measures to have their children tested for Covid-19, so we can pass the information on to the HSE.

I would request that all involved in St Joseph's Secondary School follow the above guidelines, to ensure the wellbeing of our students, staff and parents. This is an evolving situation and the Senior Management Team will continue to engage to review updates from the HSE and the Department of Public Health. The School Board of Management is fully briefed with regards to the situation and will be kept informed of any changes. The school is open and operating as normal.

The following websites are recommended as key information sources:

www.hse.ie

www.hspc.ie

www.education.ie

Furthermore, we will seek to provide key updates on the school website: www.stjosephsrush.ie

We are actively monitoring and assessing the situation as it develops and if there are any material developments of relevance, we will be in contact with a further update.

With kind regards
Yours Sincerely,

Patricia Hayden - Principal



Link to PDF of Letter from Ms Hayden Thursday 27th February:
Letter from Ms Hayden 27th February 2020

Contents of letter:

27th February, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian,

Further to my previous letter regarding the coronavirus, Covid-19, I am writing to confirm that there has been no change to the advice previously issued by the HSE. This advice is that if you or your children have been to any of the affected regions in the last 14 days and are experiencing a cough, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties or fever, that you should self-isolate and phone your GP immediately.

Please note the following key points from the HSE:

It has extended its travel advice to include the following areas: China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Iran and the following regions of northern Italy - Lombardy, Veneto Emilia-Romagna and Piedmont.

IF YOU OR YOUR CHILD IS UNWELL (fever, cough, shortness of breath)

If you or your child develops symptoms suggestive of acute respiratory illness, you should:

  • Stay at home
  • Not go out to public places
  • Not go to school
  • Please phone your GP or emergency department for medical advice, rather than turning up in person.

Make sure that, when you phone, you mention you or your child's recent travel or exposure. The health services will arrange for you to get medical help.

Anyone who has travelled from the affected regions and has NO SYMPTOMS should visit www.hse.ie for advice. Please note the following HSE guidelines:

IF YOU OR YOUR CHILD IS WELL (no acute respiratory symptoms)

You (parent or guardian) are asked to phone your local Department of Public Health by phone for further advice.

If you or your child have been in the affected areas in the last 14 days and is well:

  • There is no need for quarantine (the child or student does not need to be kept separate from others) and the child can attend school as normal.
  • Watch out for symptoms of respiratory illness for 14 days. If your child develops any respiratory symptoms, you should phone your GP or Emergency Department for advice. Tell the healthcare provider what symptoms your child or student has and that they have recently been in an affected area.

If you or your children have been in contact with a person diagnosed with coronavirus or attended a health care facility in another country where cases were treated:

  • Stay at home until you have contacted the Department of Public Health and received advice

As many of you may be aware, a number of our Transition Year students returned at the weekend from Lavarone in Northern Italy via Malpenza airport. Thankfully, our students were not in an affected town or area. Nonetheless, as a precaution, we have been in regular contact with the Department of Public Health, the HSE and the Department of Foreign Affairs in relation to our students and staff who were on the trip. The advice from our Department of Public Health and the HSE has not changed. Students and teachers have been advised that anyone displaying symptoms (respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties) should firstly contact the HSE by phone and self-isolate.

The most important action we can take to protect ourselves from Covid-19 is regular hand-washing and good respiratory hygiene. Although not stipulated by the HSE, we are taking the added measure of installing hand-sanitizers with immediate effect around the school.

We understand that individual families, given their particular circumstances, may wish to contact their own GP, the HSE or the Department of Public Health to discuss this further e.g. if your child has a compromised immune system.

We ask that parents let the school know immediately, if they are taking any measures to have their children tested for Covid-19, so we can pass the information on to the HSE.

I would request that all involved with St. Joseph’s Secondary School follow the above guidelines, to ensure the wellbeing of our students, staff and parents. This is an evolving situation and the Senior Management Team will continue to engage to review updates from the HSE and the Department of Public Health. The School Board of Management is fully briefed with regards to the situation and will be kept informed of any changes. The school is open and operating as normal.

The following websites are recommended as key information services:

Furthermore, we will seek to provide key updates on the school website: www.stjosephsrush.ie

We are actively monitoring and assessing the situation as it develops and if there are any material developments of relevance, we will be in contact with a further update.

With kind regards,
Yours sincerely

Patricia Hayden
- Principal

Oct 26
2020
Mid Term Break
Dec 23
2020
Christmas Holidays
Feb 15
2021
Mid Term Break
Mar 17
2021
School Closed- Bank Holiday
Convent Lane, Rush, Co. Dublin
01 843 7534
© 2020 St Joseph’s Secondary School, Rush