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.
04-April-20
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update

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!! - 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 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

Apr 06
2020
Easter Holidays
May 04
2020
SCHOOL CLOSED Public Holiday
May 07
2020
2nd & 3rd year end of the year JCSP celebration
May 08
2020
1st year end of year JCSP celebration
02-Apr-2020
Find included links to a live resources from our Guidance Department, PE Department & RE Department.
26-Feb-2020
Updated information from St Joseph's & The Department of Education in relation to the Coronavirus (Covid-19)
25-Feb-2020
The 2nd installment of our Transition Year Blog. March 2020.
Convent Lane, Rush, Co. Dublin
01 843 7534
© 2020 St Joseph’s Secondary School, Rush