St. Joseph’s Boys School in Derry reopens again on Monday

A Derry school hit by a spate of Covid-19 cases has reopened sooner than expected after a partial return yesterday of year 12 and Year 14 students with the whole school re-opening again on Monday.

Friday, 13th November 2020, 8:15 am
SCHOOL RETURN. . . . .Mr. Gerry Beattie, Senior Teacherl, St. Josephâ€TMs Boys School ensuring Year 12 students actively hand sanitise before entering the school yesterday morning as Year 12 and 14 students returned to the school. (Photos: jim McCafferty Photography)

Last week, St Joseph’s Boys School in Creggan informed pupils to stay at home for two weeks because of the number of positive Covid cases reported within the school community. The Principal informed parents that all teaching would be done online for the fortnight, with the school planning to reopen on Monday, November 23. This will now be brought forward a week with all returning on Monday, 16.

Speaking yesterday, principal, Martina McCarron said: “We had all year groups taught remotely since the closure. And though no canteen facilities will be available this week we are hoping all will be back to normal next week with a full canteen service available.”

Explaining the logistical difficulties the school faced, Ms. McCarron said: “Last week St Joseph’s, like many other schools, found ourselves in a difficult situation - desperate to remain open to all in our school community, but very mindful of our duty to consider the well-being and safety of everyone within that community. We reluctantly took the decision to move to remote learning last Friday but we immediately set about the dual tasks of ensuring on-line learning and teaching and kept our pupils fully engaged.”

Year 12 students returning to St. Josephâ€TMs Boys School yesterday morning. All students will return on Monday, 16th November.

Relieved to see the school operational again yesterday morning, even if only for two of the year groups, the Creggan principal said she was delighted with the partial re-opening and looked forward to a full return on Monday. “We are invested in the education of all our pupils with a school ethos rooted in ‘Achievement For All’. However, the school’s ethos is underpinned by three rules - ready, respect, and safe, with myself, the board of governors and senior teams’ decision-making firmly focused on the safety of pupils and staff as we manage this ever challenging and ever-changing pandemic situation.”

Praising staff, both teaching and non-teaching, who worked tirelessly to sustain learning online and also EA and CCMS personnel who have supported the school back to face-to-face learning so quickly, she concluded: “We at St. Joseph’s look forward to welcoming all our boys back on Monday.”

Ms. Fiona Harrigan-Stewart, Senior Teacher, ensuring Year 12 students wear masks and hand sanitise as they returned to school yesterday morning. Included are students Daryl Shiels, Eoin Campbell, Calum Barr and Sean Wade.
Senior Teachers Mr. Gerry Beattie and Mr. Pat Hribar, pictured at Josephâ€TMs Boys School ensuring Year 12 students social distance before entering the premises yesterday morning.
Year 14 students at St. Josephâ€TMs Boys School using the Assembly Hall for classes yesterday morning. All pupils at the school will return on Monday next, 16th November.