Covid explained at entrance of Pobailscoil Ghaoth Dobhair
Students may be more resilient, have learnt positive life skills and be better armed to face into challenges as a result of the pandemic, that is the message from principals across the county as students return to the classroom environment, this week.
Principals were delighted to welcome students and staff on their return to school as restrictions began to ease this morning. Today marked the first day that secondary schools across the country were full to capacity since December, 2020.
Pobailscoil Ghaoth Dobhair
The Principal of Pobailscoil Ghaoth Dobhair, Séamus Ó Briain said that the atmosphere was jubilant at the all-Irish speaking school. He said the school building is the best place for students to learn and it was also important for them to to be among their friends from a social perspective. He added that while students and teachers could work online together his preference would be to teach in a classroom environment. He said that students have all suffered a loss due to the pandemic but that the focus should be on the fact that students are healthy and well enough to return to a learning environment. He said that students will have learnt a lot of life experience as a result of the pandemic and that he would hope this experience would be useful to them and work to their benefit later in life.
Safety paramount at Bundoran-based school
The Principal of Magh Éne College in Bundoran, Pat Tighe said the main priority will be to adhere to regulations and guidelines as students and staff return to school.
He said: “Safety obviously is the main priority and main concern but at the same time the learning is starting to get back to what it was before online and that is good.”
Students across the county were given refresher courses on safety, including mask wearing, social distancing and hand sanitisation on their return to school.
Mr Tighe said the time off from school will affect the students: “They definitely have been affected by it.”
He added that their first years have been off school for almost as long as they have been at school this year, so far:“They were with us from September to Christmas and we haven’t seen them from December 23 until the middle of April almost. That’s a long time in their year as a first year, with us, so of course so everyone has been affected by it.
“Some of the senior students have different concerns, I suppose, they have stresses and anxiety connecting with either their academic perfomance and exams ... and a lot of them have the difficulties associated with the social side of things that they’ve missed their friends and missed working with their teachers.”
He added that the focus of the school will be to help their students as best they can and get things back to normal.
Students get best results in real classes
Students at Coláiste Cholmcille on Tory Island also returned to their class this morning under the principalship of Patrick Queenan. He said that it would benefit the students being back at their school. He did add that the internet coverage was not as good as it had been before to facilitate students working from home.
Meanwhile, at the Rosses Community School, John Gorman said that they were delighted to be back at school.
Mr Gorman added that students at the Rosses Community School were enjoying online lessons five or six years ago which helped during the pandemic. However, he did add that it was not the same as classroom teaching: “Nothing beats being the building. There is a lovely atmosphere around here today.”
All principals thanked their hardworking students and staff for their ongoing commitment to their work during these difficult and unusual times.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.