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COVID-19       update Wednesday 25th March  2020   

(John O’Roarke) 

  1. SCHOOL CLOSURE  to CONTINUE 

Last evening, the minister announced the continuation of school closure.  The next milestone in the process is the 20th April for a return to school.  Please see the Minister’s press release:  https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/4366e7-statement-from-the-department-of-education-and-skills-on-covid-19/

This extension of closure places more importance on the engagement of all our students with the on-line learning platform.

 

  1. ON-LINE LEARNING –  IS EVERYONE ENGAGED? 

PLEASE CHECK your Son’s/Daughter’s Google Classroom account again today … 

Yesterday I asked that you check in with your son/daughter to monitor their engagement with classwork over the on-line system in Google Classroom.   We have surveyed teachers in relation to the engagement of 3rd and 6th year students.  The returns from this survey are very positive and show the majority of students engaged in most of their classes.  This is a very encouraging start to a new process for all of us.

Of course there are teething problems and we are in the process of contacting parents in relation to this.  You may receive a text message today from a teacher alerting you to the fact that your son/daughter has not engaged with a particular subject.  Please partner us in encouraging all students to engage with all subjects at an appropriate work level.   This is of even greater significance with students in the examination years as we strive to support them in getting ready to take examinations when they are scheduled.

We are asking you to please contact us if your son/daughter is experiencing technical difficulties engaging with work and we will see what help we are in a position to give.  Please contact Patfleming@mercymounthawk.ie or shanekissane@mercymounthawk.ie with your queries.

 

COVID-19       update Tuesday, 24th March  2020

(John O’Roarke) 

  1. SOCIAL  DISTANCING    –  a call from President Higgins   –  a reminder to everyone

Further to our reminder yesterday to students regarding Social / Physical Distancing, we have been asked to share with you, our students and parents, a message that President Higgins has issued where he is urging people to respond in a generous way to the Health Service Executive’s advice on measures to alleviate the spread of Covid19.  This further reinforces the pronouncements of An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, other government ministers and health officials on the responsibility of all to adhere to social distance guidelines and to respond to HSE advice at this time of national emergency.

In the President’s words:

“All of us in Ireland now must realise that social distancing – keeping a physical distance of no less than 2 metres or 6.5 feet – is one of the best measures we have to protect our people from Covid-19.  I would appeal to those who have found these measures difficult, to simply begin again during this crucial week and to go further.

The language we use is now even more important than ever. The most vulnerable should be described as just that, more vulnerable than the rest of us, and appropriate for special care. This can be done by strengthening rather than weakening both the bonds of connection with those at risk and also help retain their valuable participation in society.”    

( Mon 23rd Mar, 2020 | 13:29  Statement by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins )

Can I again remind students that you play your part in the national effort to curb the spread and the worse effects of the Covid-19 virus.  Schools are closed to students at present to prevent the spread of this highly contagious and potentially lethal virus.  There is no point in this unless by avoiding assembling and socialising in groups, you now play your part in supporting the national health campaign.

You can find the President’s message at:

https://president.ie/en/media-library/news-releases/statement-from-president-of-irelandfollowing-his-signature-of-the-health-preservation-and-protection-and-other-emergencymeasures-in-the-public-interest-bill-2020

 

  1. ON-LINE LEARNING –  IS EVERYONE ENGAGED? 

PLEASE CHECK your Son’s/Daughter’s Google Classroom account today … 

As part of this concerted effort to get everyone involved, I am asking all parents to check into the Google Classroom account of your son/daughter to monitor the level of engagement that is taking place.   Since this is a new way of working, it is important that we have a strong partnership between home and school to support the system and to identify and address emerging issues so that we can work as efficiently as possible to provide quality engagement and learning.

We are currently surveying teachers on the engagement of students with learning online through Google Classroom.  We have started contacting parents of students in 6th and 3rd year who are experiencing difficulties and indeed this can be for a variety of different personal/family circumstances.   Your support in addressing these issues as parents will help us greatly.

We are asking you to please contact us if your son/daughter is experiencing  difficulties engaging with work and we will see what help we are in a position to give.  Please contact Patfleming@mercymounthawk.ie or shanekissane@mercymounthawk.ie with your queries.

 

 

COVID-19       update 23rd March 2020

Dear Students,

I hope you are all keeping safe and well and that you are minding yourselves as best you can physically, mentally and emotionally. I hope you that you are managing as best you can under the current circumstances. We are in unprecedented times and we are all being challenged in different ways with the changes that have come about in the past weeks.

  1. State Examinations – FAQ on the implications of the changes to Orals…

The State Examinations Commission (through its Director of Operations) has issued a FAQ to the institute of Guidance Counsellors which I am sharing with you at:  SEC FAQ on Examination and Orals March 2020

This is a useful document to answer some of the questions being asked resultant on the decision regarding the Orals last week.  Please read if you have any questions and if there are remaining queries, please contact us at admin@mercymounthawk.ie and we will do our best to answer them.

Mock exam results – will be released online today after 4:00

  1. Physical Distancing

We all need to remind ourselves that everyone in the country is in the same boat and there is no point in worrying about things that may or may not happen.  But each one of us has our own part to play and this is certainly the case in relation to Physical Distancing.   It may not the easiest thing to do, but you are well used to connecting over social networks – and now is the time for that.  Once everyone does their part to keep the correct physical distance from friends, neighbours and extended family members outside of your household, we will be doing our part to stop the spread of COVID 19.   Physical Distancing will save the lives of people in your family, your street and neighbourhood, people that you know and love.

  1. Taking care of ourselves.

There is no doubt but that this unprecedented reality is challenging all of us.  It is stressful and worrying, not least in relation to examinations and study, but more fundamentally in relation to our own health and the health of those around us whom we love a care for.   Part of this process is setting a routine that is not so easy.  Psychologists tell us that it takes significant repetition of the routine to for it to become settled and integrated into our lives.  So for the moment it is new and we have to consciously work at it.

SOME ADVICE to make the most of the coming weeks which has been put together by our Guidance Department and Deputy Principals:

  1. Routine Try and maintain a sense of routine: shower, get dressed, eat healthily.      Create a study space for yourself as best you can.

Take regular breaks, talk to others through social media, phone etc.

  1. Keep up with your school work – log on early each day.

Keep your routine as if you were at school, do the work on the day you get it so as not to let it build up.

Set yourself a deadline to have assignments done.

Remember what you are learning now, albeit in a different way is a building block towards future tests and exams.

  1. Get exercise and fresh air.

Open windows and let fresh air into rooms where you study and sleep.

  1. Stay connected with friends and family by phone or social media but filter the amount of negative news you read.

Maintain a healthy balance with screen time. Just like the rest of your day, set a certain amount of time during breaks to catch up, but do not let that time drift. You could easily waste your whole day on your phone!

  1. Make time for yourself each day. Read a book, keep a journal by listing three things that you are grateful for at the end of each day.

Use meditations, breathing or mindfulness exercises to relax.

Listen to music that you enjoy and engage with hobbies that adhere to social and physical distancing.

  1. Talk to your teachers – If you do not understand what is being asked, if the workload

is too heavy, if for some reason you haven’t managed to get the work done – Just

message your teacher and let them know. We are here to help!!

  1. Revision  Use this time of uncertainty as critical revision time.

Each evening plan what you want to revise the following day – the subjects and topics and email school and adult education staff (on work emails) with any questions.

Use websites that are useful for exam students, such as www.examinations.ie and www.studyclix.ie, to look at past papers, marking schemes and sample answers.

The current crisis is unprecedented and a possible trigger for anxiety. Try to remember that while the country acts to control the spread of the virus, all we can do as individuals is to do our very best to care for ourselves and those around us.

The current situation may be out of our control but how we deal with is very much within. Try to remain positive by doing the things that help to make you feel better, albeit in a different way. Remember it is also a stressful time for parents, so cut them a bit of slack and offer to help at home with housework, looking after younger siblings or whatever is needed. We are all in this together!

You might feel like you find it hard to cope, that you have nobody to talk to. It is important to remember you are not alone.   I have attached below a list of helplines from the HSE website if you feel the need to contact someone to chat or ask for help.

Take care of yourself and be safe and mindful of the safety of others around you ….

John O’Roarke (Principal). 

 

Mental Health supports and services during COVID-19   (from the HSE website:

https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/list/4/mental-health-services/connecting-for-life/news/supports-and-services-during-covid-19.html

Turn2Me

  • Free online counselling and online support groups for people over 18
  • Visit www.turn2me.org

MyMind

Jigsaw

  • Mental health information and a Q&A service for young people, their parents and guardians, and those who work with young people.  Jigsaw also offer an online group chat service.
  • Visit www.jigsawonline.ie

Shine

  • Support for people with mental ill health. Shine also are currently providing remote support and an outreach service to people who use Shine services by phone and email.
  • Visit www.shine.ie or email phil@shine.ie

Bodywhys Online Support

  • Support for people who are affected by eating disorders including for friends and families. Online support groups are continuing as normal.
  • Visit www.bodywhys.ie or email alex@bodywhys.ie

 

Phone, email and text supports

Alone

  • Alone provide a COVID-19 support line for older people
  • Telephone 0818 222 024 (from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday)
  • Visit www.alone.ie

Samaritans

  • Emotional support to anyone in distress or struggling to cope
  • Freephone 116 123 (any time, day or night)
  • Email jo@samaritans.ie

Pieta House

  • Pieta House provides telephone and text-based support counselling for people who are suicidal or engaging in self-harm
  • Freephone 1800 247 247 (any time, day or night)
  • Text HELP to 51444 (standard message rates apply)
  • Telephone appointments will be provided to replace face to face appointments – contact your local Pieta House for details

Childline (ISPCC)

  • Ireland’s 24-hour national listening service for young people up to the age of 18
  • Freephone 1800 666 666 (any time, day or night)
  • Text 50101 (from 10am to 4pm every day)
  • Chat online at www.childline.ie (from 10am to 4pm every day)

BeLonG To Text Support

  • BeLonG To provide support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI+) young people in Ireland
  • Text LGBTI+ to 086 1800 280 to can chat in confidence with a trained crisis volunteer (anytime day or night, standard SMS rates may apply)
  • While face to face services are closed, information, referral and advice will be provided digitally, by email, SMS, phone call or video conference
  • Visit www.belongto.org

Aware Support Line

  • Information and support to anyone over 18 about issues relating to their own mood or the mood of a friend or family member, or who experiences depression or bipolar.
  • Freephone Support Line 1800 80 48 48 (from 10am to 10pm every day)
  • Support and self-care groups nationwide, are cancelled until further notice
  • Life Skills Online Programme continuing as normal
  • Email supportmail@aware.ie for services information and support

Crisis Text Line Ireland

  • A confidential messaging support service
  • Text TALK to 086 1800 280 (any time day or night, standard SMS rates may apply)

LGBT Ireland

  • Online support and through the helpline for LGBT+ people across Ireland
  • LGBT Helpline 1890 929 539 (every day)
  • Gender Identity Family Support Line 01 907 3707
  • Email info@lgbt.ie for support or information while face to face services are closed
  • An instant messaging service is available 7 days a week, from 6:30pm to 10pm Mon – Thur, from 4pm to 10pm Fridays, and from 4pm to 6pm on Sat & Sun

Mental Health Ireland 

GROW Mental Health Recovery

  • Information line 1890 474 474
  • Visit www.grow.ie or email info@grow.ie for more information, or while peer support groups are postponed

 

 


COVID-19       update 20th March 2020 9:40

 

3rd and 6th year students

Dear Parents, 3rd and 6th year students, we know that this is a most difficult time for you all and not only in relation to your school work.  There are challenges facing us all at this time.

I also recognise that losing the oral component of the exams is a major realignment of the examination process.  There will be a range of reactions.  Some students will be delighted that the imminent reality of orals is lifted and indeed others that they have now passed their Irish for the Leaving Certificate and gained significant marks in other subjects.  Other students will be understandably disappointed and annoyed that they have not had a chance to have their years of hard work, preparation and investment of time, money and energy tested and validated individually. It is another example of the impact and collateral damage that this pandemic is having on our lives, not just in education but in every other area as well.

All of these reactions are real and valid and the job now is to identify the most constructive way forward.   As with most realities beyond our individual control, while it is right to acknowledge reactions and feelings, the best approach is to accept the changed reality and plan forward – something that requires a hard headed decision, but that way we do not get stuck.

The minister has been clear that the current intention is to run the remainder of practicals in May and to hold the state examinations in June.   Therefore the advice is to continue to prepare for the examinations according to the new schedule – please see the details in the posting below from yesterday.  Your teachers will work with you online to re-plan your schedule to address the changes.

Other year groups:

While you are not in examinations mode this year, it is important for students in other year groups to remember that courses are two years in length and that it is vital to lay a good foundation of work in the first year of the cycle.  We are encouraging all students to engage with the online work being provided by teachers and to use Google Classroom to learn along with your classmates and teachers.

Please be aware of the pressure on any of your siblings who have examinations.  This is an evolving situation, and we are all called to respect the instructions for social distancing and follow the hygiene guidelines. Remember also to mind your health – both physical and mental- keep in contact with your friends.  Try to get out for a blast of healthy air each day while still obeying the social distancing guidelines.

 

The National Parents Council (Post Primary) have asked us to circulate the following to Parents:

Educational Publishers provide open access to online resources.

19th March 2020: Members of the Irish Educational Publishers’ Association (IEPA) have taken the unprecedented step to provide open access to all their online educational resources to teachers, parents and students during these uncertain times. The decision was taken by members in an effort to provide the maximum availability to as many resources for teachers, parents and students while working remotely from the classroom.

Publishers provide online resources which enhance and bring added value to the curriculum both for Primary and Post Primary students and teachers. Post Primary teachers and students will now be in a position to access Podcasts, Videos, experiments, presentations among other material. This resource will allow teachers and students to work independently and also augment their textbooks and eBooks.

Resources for Primary School teachers and students account for more than just eBooks, full teacher resources, games, puzzles and easy to use interactive exercises for younger children used in the classroom,  are now available for parents and children online.

These valuable resources can be accessed online in a matter of minutes by registering on any of the Education publisher’s web site and following the instructions or entering a code that has been provided. These codes are available through the publishers social media account, on their web site or through schools.

 

 COVID-19      Education update 19th March 2020 11:45

The full statement from the Department is as follows:

Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD has today (Thursday 19 March 2020) announced the cancellation of oral and practical performance tests of the state examinations which were originally scheduled to take place from Monday 23 March to Friday 3 April 2020.

All students who were due to take these tests will be awarded full marks for this portion of the exam.

The decision was taken in light of the closure of schools as a result of the Covid-19 virus and it will be implemented by the State Examinations Commission (SEC).

Minister McHugh said: “This is a difficult time for all. Students are facing a challenging period out of school and our decision on this element of the exams is being taken with their best interests at heart.

“It is the fairest response we could take in the circumstances. It guarantees that no student will score less than they would have if schools had been operating as normal.

“We have seen a new emphasis on remote learning amid the uncertainty about the impact of Covid-19 and the closure of all schools. I hope this decision will ease some of the pressure that students are feeling and allow them to focus more clearly on completing project work and preparing for written exams.”

The change to the 2020 state examinations means all students who were due to take oral and practical performance tests in the following subjects will be given full marks for this part of the examination:

  • Oral tests in Leaving Certificate Irish and the Modern Languages of French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian and Japanese.
  • Practical performance tests in Leaving Certificate Music.
  • Practical performance tests in Junior Certificate Music and Home Economics.

Minister McHugh also confirmed changes to deadlines for students to complete project work and coursework in a number of subjects.

Students were originally scheduled to complete these elements of the state examinations on a number of dates from Friday 20 March to Friday 24 April 2020, depending on the subject.

Students will now be given until Friday 15 May 2020 to complete this work.

Minister McHugh said: “We know we are asking a lot of people in order to stem the spread of Covid-19. In response to that I want students and their parents or guardians and teachers to be given flexibility as they work towards the exams.

“All of Government is hugely grateful for the effort, commitment and energy that students and teachers are putting in to continue education in difficult circumstances. I urge you all to keep up the momentum and focus on preparing for the exams.”

Minister McHugh also said the Department will continue to work with the State Examinations Commission to monitor the Covid-19 situation in terms of its potential impact on the other later scheduled components of the state examinations.

“We will continue to respond at the right time and in the right way, with the impact on our students at the forefront of our minds,” Minister McHugh said.

The Minister also advised of steps taken by the Department to minimise the impact on teaching and learning of the current school closures. All schools have been asked to continue to plan lessons and, where possible, provide online resources for students or online lessons where schools are equipped to do so. Schools have also been asked to be conscious of students that may not have access to online facilities and to consider this actively in their responses. School buildings are available to staff if they wish to access the facilities in order to provide online delivery, or essential services once this is in line with Health Service Executive (HSE) advice.

The Department of Education and Skills will continue to provide supports to the education sector at this time, particularly schools with students taking State examinations.

The Department of Education and Skills has been liaising closely on a continual basis with the Department of Health in relation to Coronavirus/Covid-19 since early January. This will continue.

Ends 

Notes for Editors  

Further information in relation to the Department’s response to Covid-19 is available here www.education.ie/covid19

Some 126,000 students are due to take the state examinations in 2020:

  • 65,190 students sitting the Junior Cycle examinations
  • 61,053 students are due to sit the Leaving Certificate Established, Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme and Leaving Certificate Applied.

The examinations comprise several components spread over a number of weeks, culminating in the final written examinations which are scheduled to commence on Wednesday 3 June and run until Tuesday 23 June.

Orals & Practical Performance tests (originally scheduled from Monday 23 March to Friday 3 April) are cancelled. These tests are in the following subjects:

  • Leaving Certificate Irish and the Modern Languages of French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian and Japanese
  • Leaving Certificate Music
  • Junior Cycle Music and Home Economics

Students who were due to sit the orals or practical performance tests in the affected subjects will take their final written examinations in these subjects at the level they have indicated when confirming their subject choices to the State Examinations Commission earlier this year.

Project and Course Work completion deadlines are extended to Friday 15 May for the following subjects:

  • Leaving Certificate Computer Science, Physical Education, Technology, Art, Agricultural Science, Agricultural Economics, History, Geography, Religious Education, Politics and Society, Music, Constructions Studies and Home Economics;
  • Junior Cycle Metalwork, Materials Technology Wood, Technology and Religious Education;
  • Junior Cycle Assessment Tasks in English, Irish, Modern languages, Science and Business Studies.

Second phase of practical examinations remain as originally scheduled from Monday 27 April to Friday 8 May, as well as the final written examination in the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP) scheduled for Wednesday 6 May, a range of oral and practical tests in the Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) programme, along with the first examination in Leaving Certificate Computer Science on Wednesday 27 May, and the final written examinations commencing on 3 June.

Weighting of the marks for the oral and practical tests in the subjects included in today’s announcement, as a percentage of the total examination marks for those subjects, is as follows:

 

  Oral /Practical Performance  
Subject Higher Ordinary 2020 Entries
Leaving Certificate  
Irish 40% 40% 50,062
French 25% 20% 23,133
German 25% 20% 8,802
Spanish 25% 20% 8,461
Italian 25% 20% 456
Russian 25% 20% 567
Japanese 25% 20% 287
Music 50%* 50% 6,618
Junior Cycle
Home Economics 50% 50% 22,769
Music 25% 25% 10,706

* The value of the practical performance in Leaving Cert Music Higher level can be up to 50%, depending on what elements the candidate selects to be examined in.

The Department of Education and Skills has taken a number of steps to minimise the impact of the school closures on teaching and learning.

Further information is available here www.education.ie/covid19

 

 

 COVID-19      Education update 18th March 2020

Good morning and I hope that everyone in the school community is ok after the Bank Holiday weekend.  If you are aware of anyone in the school who might require some support at this time can you let us know and we will see if there is anything we can do to help.   Let us know at admin@mercymounthawk.ie

As we messaged last Friday, we will take up again today with our on-line engagement with students.  Teachers will connect again today with classes using Google Classroom according to today’s classes;   – so for instance, if you have geography on Monday Thursday and Friday – then contact in relation to that class will happen on Monday, Thursday and Friday only.

If you son/daughter is having any difficulty connecting to Google Classroom, can you please e-mail Shanekissane@mercymounthawk.ie   or patfleming@mercymounthawk.ie likewise, if you yourself have not signed up for the school App and want to do so, can you contact shanekissane@mercymounthawk.ie.

We are asking parents, in as far as possible to support students in establishing a routine around work for the coming weeks.  As it stands we are looking towards the 29th March as was indicated, but this might change.  It is very important therefore to establish routines.  I am attaching two interesting articles that might useful:   https://flip.it/TtuB.C  and   https://flip.it/aoUInt      We will try to support you by sending other resources over the next days.

We have not had any update yet from the State Examinations Commission regarding the scheduling of examinations.  We will pass on any information as soon as we have it.

Please check in on this website page regularly as we will be posting any updates directly to this page.

J O’Roarke…


 


COVID-19 Coronavirus Update 13th March 2020

CONTINUING EDUCATION 

Today sees the beginning of an unusual and unprecedented period of two weeks in the cycle of education.  As I indicated yesterday, it is the intention of the school staff to support the ongoing education of students in as far as possible over the coming two weeks.

Staff have been preparing for this possibility over the past weeks.  Following on from classes this week, teachers will engage with students through Google Classroom – prioritising connection with the examination classes.  Teachers will follow the weekly timetable of classes – so that connection from a given subject teacher will follow the days on which that subject is scheduled for a student.  Teachers will indicate and support work or revision or homework as appropriate and in as far as possible using this digital space.

As was mentioned yesterday, we are suggesting that parents establish a working schedule for students at home to structure engagement over the coming two weeks.  Parental support for this work will be significant for a good level of participation and a good start today will establish the routine.  A good practice would be for a student to follow the times in their school timetable and this will structure the day.   Students should check google classroom for work and updates and this is best done in the morning between 9:00 and 11:00.

Remember that students (particularly those in examination classes) can use this time as an opportunity to revise and this is even more important now as teachers may not have time to engage with revision when school reopens. By way of structuring study and revision there is a useful guide for students and parents from the Institute of Guidance Counsellors at: http://www.igc.ie/download/1/documents/For%20Students/STUDY-LEARNING-TO-LEARN.pdf

Past Exam Papers are available on https://www.examinations.ie/exammaterialarchive/  and students can also see marking scheme for past exam papers on this site.

It is important that students spread their time across all their subjects and again it would be useful to structure the day in accordance with the school timetable as a way to ensure this.

In relation to examination classes, we are particularly mindful of 6th year examination students.  we will be in touch with any information on the examinations and in particular the ORALS as soon as we have it.  Please continue to check this page.

You will recall that the school was due to be closed for the St Patrick’s weekend and even though celebrations will be muted and very different this year, we will resume work again on Wednesday as was planned.

 

Wishing you all the best for a very different national holiday this year…   Stay safe and say well… 

 


COVID-19 Coronavirus Update 12th March 2020

NOTIFICATION OF SCHOOL CLOSURE  

 

As you no doubt have heard, following the Taoiseach’s announcement today, the school is closed from this evening to the 29th March.  Please see the notification on the Department Website:  https://www.education.ie/en/Press-Events/Press-Releases/2020-press-releases/12-march-2020-statement-from-the-department-of-education-and-skills.html

All school related activities are cancelled for this period (including supervised study, games and training etc…).  Work placements and community work placements in TY and LCA are also cancelled.  The school office will be closed and there will be no access to the school building during this period mindful of minimising social contact as we are requested to do.

We are also mindful of the continuation of education through this period and to this end teachers will make use of Google Classroom to connect with their classes – prioritising examinations classes in 3rd and 6th year as requested by the Department. It is important that this initiative is supported from home.   Thinking through this process, we recommend that you establish a structured working timetable at home to support school work.  During this time students should check in with Google Classroom for updates from teachers and maintain a connection with school work and return any homework that is organised.

We will remind students to bring home their books this evening.  The school will be open until 6:00p.m. this evening to facilitate any student who needs to collect books.  Supervised study will take place this evening until 6:00.

Any arrangements regarding state examinations (Orals and Practicals etc..) will follow as soon as they are released by the State Examinations Commission.

We will keep in contact with you through the School App and this webpage will be updated with any new information as we receive it.

We hope that everyone will maintain good health during this closure and that we will all return to normality in due course. 

Please take good care …

COVID-19 Coronavirus Update 11th March 2020

Measures adopted in the school in response to the evolving COVID 19 situation.

The school has already taken several measures in a proactive response to the positive diagnosis of Coronavirus in Ireland. It is our aim to protect our pupils, their families, our staff and the wider community, in as far as possible, from contracting or transmitting the virus.

1. Proactive measures

Students are advised on the importance of regular hand hygiene and we have serviced and filled alcohol gel dispensers around the school. Hand washing with warm soapy water is the number one way to prevent the spread of this infection. Pupils have been informed about the risk of touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. We encourage you as Parents/Guardians to reinforce this message within the home.
The correct coughing technique has been discussed with pupils and is another effective measure to prevent cross contamination. Coughing into the elbow in a downward motion is advised.
Posters from the HSE and DES with information on correct techniques have been posted around the school.

2. Cleaning and Maintenance

We have liaised with the contractors in the school – our Cleaning Company and Canteen Company – and have worked with the guidelines as recommended by the HSE on how to clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces.
Our cleaning Company (ABC Cleaning) has switched to the use of a specific virucidal cleaning agent in the school and is focusing on the cleaning of touch surfaces.

3. Procedures in order to minimise risk of exposure are being adopted as follows:

(a) We are asking that the first point of contact for Parents/Guardians with the school be by phone, text or by email to admin@mercymounthawk.ie rather than by presenting at the school office in person. This will minimise contact and subsequent arrangements can be organised via phone.
(b) When students have unavoidable scheduled appointments we are asking Parents/Guardians to keep them at home for the day rather than requiring a visit to collect and sign out.
(c) The school has the usual procedures in place to facilitate communication by students with home if this is required.
(d) The scheduling of trips, meetings and events will be evaluated and reviewed on an ongoing basis as the situation evolves with a view to making sensible decisions to protect health and safety. A number of events have already been cancelled this week and we will update you on any further amendments to scheduled events.

4. In relation to foreign travel:

The Parents/Guardians of any students returning from travel abroad are required to contact the school at shanekissane@mercymounthawk.ie before their scheduled date to return to school in order to enable us to engage with you and the HSE regarding proper procedures should this be required.
Any Staff returning from travel abroad are also required to contact the school as shanekissane@mercymounthawk.ie before their scheduled date to return to school in order to enable us to engage with them and the HSE regarding proper procedures.

5. Class contact and Study

The school is open as usual, operating as normal and following DES advice in this regard.
As a prudent strategy, teachers have worked with their classes to activate Google Classroom and this platform can be used as a vehicle to provide work to students in the event of a school closure.
In this eventuality, Parents/Guardians are asked to ensure that students are keeping up with their work from home and also to ensure that students have arranged to have their books at home.
Parents and students will be kept informed of any developments in this regard and of any rescheduling that is required, following instruction from the Department (DES) and/or State Exams Commission (SEC).

6. Reporting and Contact with the school

The Parents/Guardians of any Students who come into contact with or who are diagnosed with the virus are required to notify the school as soon as possible.
Any student  who may have been exposed to the virus or are showing symptoms are asked to self-isolate for the recommended 14 days in their own home. Please inform us in this eventuality.

 

7. School App for Updates

To ensure every parent has access to all updates and notices from the school, we have sent a text message to all parents who do not have the school App. We have asked those parents to download the App from their App provider.

To find the App on your App provider please search for “Mercy School Mounthawk”, then download and register.

The school App will provide regular updates and notices on school life to  the school community.

 

 

 

Assessment and Reporting – policy development   2019/2020

The NCCA is supporting the development of a policy in schools in relation to Assessment and Reporting on student progress as part of the development of Learning in the new Junior Cycle.   Assessment in Junior Cycle places the student at the centre of the learning process allowing for new ways of learning and a broader range of skills to be assessed.   The student is encouraged to claim and take ownership of their own learning and the emphasis in assessment is switching from ‘terminal assessment’ to ‘assessment for learning’ (AfL).  The new process sees assessment not a a judgement of achievement at the end of a process, but as an ongoing part of the process whereby the student receives feedback that facilitiates their ongoing learning.

In Mercy Mounthawk, we are currently (Jan 2019) engaged in a process of consultation in realtion to this policy.  A focus group of parents from the Parents’ Council is involved in providing parental perspectives that will inform the new school policy.  Information of this process and the thinking behind the Assessment for Learning structure can be found on   https://www.ncca.ie/en/junior-cycle/assessment-and-reporting

If you would like to be a part of this process, please contact the Parents’ council.


DES Privacy Notice in Relation to the JCPA

Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement awards will shortly be issued by the school.  The DES has asked that the following privacy notice be brought to the attention of all parents of students were in third year 2017-18 prior to the presentation of the JCPA. Click on the link to view the statement:

PRIVACY NOTICE – for parents from SEC


Government Circular on Use of Mobile Phones & Tablet Devices

The circular released in May 2018 by Minister Richard Bruton on technologies in schools can be viewed here:

Consultation on Use of Smart Phones and Tablet Devices in Schools