L Nesbitt MEd BEd
( 028 3888 1400
Fax 028 3888 1537
18 March 2020
The position on COVID-19 is exceptionally fast moving. Primary Schools receive regular updates from the Department of Education regarding the decision on school closure. The teachers of Donacloney Primary School have prepared work packs and information for parents to try to ensure continuity in children’s learning in the event school closure. These will be sent home with the children or will be available for collection on Friday 20 March 2020. We have taken a decision not to order milk for term three. Anyone who has already paid will receive a full refund in due course.
Public Health Agency (PHA) recommends that:
- Anyone who displays specific symptoms of high temperature and/or a new persistent cough should self-isolate.
- For most people COVID-19 will be a mild infection.
- Health related information on COVID-19 can be found on https://www.publichealth.hscni.net/news/covid-19-coronavirus
Key points (based upon DENI Advice)
- COVID-19 appears to affect children less than other age groups. However, children can pick up the infection and can spread it to others.
- Hand-washing, for at least 20 seconds, is being encouraged and supported before and after any activity, such as meal times, break times and sporting activities.
- We are asking everyone to wash their hands upon entering the school.
- Children should be kept at home if they are unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature to avoid spreading infection to others. Otherwise they should attend as normal.
- DENI recommends that all educational settings remain open unless advised otherwise.
- Regularly touched objects and surfaces are being cleaned and disinfected more often than usual.
- Young children should be supervised to ensure they wash their hands more often than usual for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or hand sanitiser.
- Children are being encouraged to catch coughs and sneezes in tissues and then bin these tissue.
- If anyone becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature in school they will be sent home (home isolation advice on the PHA website should be followed).
- The Department recognises the potential impact of school closures on the welfare of school children who are currently entitled to receive free school meals.
- Together with colleagues from the Departments of Communities and Health and also from the Education Authority, Departmental officials are exploring options to mitigate the potential impact of school closures on the welfare of children entitled to free school meals.
- The Department recognises there are also many vulnerable young people who are supported by the education system. They are currently working with colleagues across government to consider how these young people can be supported moving forward in the event of school closures.
- The current advice is that schools should continue to stay open and carry on with their planned activities. Swimming and planned trips, however, have been cancelled.
- The School Pantomime has been postponed.
Decisions will be made based upon information available at the time. The health and wellbeing of our staff, pupils and the wider community is our highest priority. This is a time for people to support one another, to try to protect the most vulnerable and to act wisely and responsibly.