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€22k works as St Oliver’s prepares to reopen

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By Michelle Crean

Works to the tune of €22,000 including colour coded areas for children, over 80 hand sanitiser units, a marquee for dropping off children and new electronic doors are all part of the changes at St Oliver's National School.

Principal Rory Darcy this week said that with 714 pupils and between 28 and 30 pupils per class, there's a lot of work going on in the background to ensure social distancing can be met as per the Department's guidelines for when the school reopens next month.

They also have a pre-school with 103 children in attendance.

And although children from Third Class up are advised to socially distance one metre away from each other, he says it's going to be their biggest challenge.

"With the one metre issue, it's very difficult to work. You can't stay one metre away. One metre apart is not going to be possible, that's a worry and a concern. We will have to look at face visors and masks," Rory told the Killarney Advertiser this week.

A big school, reworking the space to try and allow the recommended distance is underway.
"Every available space will be used. Our hall is now a classroom with partition walls going up. This hall was used seven days a week for the gym, speech and drama and choir, that's all gone now."

The expected return date is August 31 and when children return parents are advised to drop them off at the marquee at the courtyard where teachers and SNAs will greet them and bring the pupils in through their various colour coded areas.

"The school is divided up into six pods all colour coded. For instance Junior Infants will be colour coded red and Senior Infants blue. They will follow the coloured line into the school. We've installed four sets of double doors with fob key entry. Each class is like a family and that class then only have a teacher, SNA and support teacher where possible. There'll be three different break times and they will only play with their own class."

He added that they'll be sending out a video explaining the new procedures before they return.

"The children might be nervous in the days before they return so we'll send them a video message to welcome them back."

The Killarney area has a panel of substitute teachers ready for any absences, he added.

Cleaning will also be a priority, including everyone pulling together to keep the school as sanitised as possible. Door handles have been changed costing €4,000. Contract cleaners will now come daily as opposed to every second day and doors to classrooms will be locked each evening.

Aside from the funds to get the school ready for reopening, €55,000 has been spent on new secutiy measures which were already planned for, he added.

"We don't have all the answers, we're doing the best we can. Everyone will need to be patient."

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What to look out for when viewing second hand homes

By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY After spending so long saving for a mortgage and filling in countless application forms, you are now ready to begin your house hunting in earnest. Set yourself a budget and have a look to see what is available in your desired locations within that budget. Viewing appointments can […]

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By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY

After spending so long saving for a mortgage and filling in countless application forms, you are now ready to begin your house hunting in earnest.

Set yourself a budget and have a look to see what is available in your desired locations within that budget.
Viewing appointments can be arranged via a telephone call or a simple email to the selling agent. When making the appointment make it clear that the mortgage is in place and you are ‘ready to go’.

This week we will deal with viewing second hand homes and what to look out for on that first property viewing.

When you arrive at a house, you’ll get a general feel outside of how well it’s been maintained. Arrive early and study the exterior of the property before going in, and have a glance at neighbouring properties. This will help you to get your bearings before continuing with the viewing.

If viewing an older house, a musty smell is the first red flag for signs of damp. Also be wary of the smell of fresh paint; was this done to simply freshen the property up or what is it covering up? Is paintwork bubbling or flaking?

Take note of any wall cracking; hairline cracks in walls and ceilings are generally fine, but if you can spot a crack from the other side of the room, then it’s probably big enough to be concerned about.

In older houses, take a good look at windows and roofs. Window frames can slope downward if there are poor ground conditions underneath, and the roof of the house can sag in too.

Is there room to extend? If you are lucky enough that there is have a look for external manhole covers; it gives a good indication of the drainage and pipe layout which may complicate a future extension.

Don’t be afraid to ask the nosy questions; why is the house for sale? How long has it been on the market? How long have the current owners resided there? Has the house been rented out frequently? How many times has it changed hands in the last decade? Have there been any refurbishments? Has it been rewired/replumbed? Who are the neighbours? What is included in the selling price?

It is a good idea to take photos (with the agents consent) or videos as this will help you remember the property after you have returned home.

And finally, don’t be afraid to ask for more time. Spend as much time as you think you need to and don’t hesitate to request a second viewing.

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Bus to Belfast to stay on the road

A Kerry TD has today (Monday) welcomed the news that the Bus to Belfast is to stay on the road. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae said assurances from the Department of Health that The Northern Ireland Planned Healthcare Scheme (NI PHS), which has been in effective operation since January 1 this year, will remain in place until […]

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A Kerry TD has today (Monday) welcomed the news that the Bus to Belfast is to stay on the road.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae said assurances from the Department of Health that The Northern Ireland Planned Healthcare Scheme (NI PHS), which has been in effective operation since January 1 this year, will remain in place until a new a statutory scheme is put in place.

The Kerry deputy avails of this service for his constituents on a regular basis and said many were concerned that the scheme may come to an end due to Brexit.

“What this will mean to so many of my constituents is that they can continue to avail of this scheme for treatments for cataract removals by travelling from Kerry by bus to Belfast so that they can get treated in a timely manner and get back to living their lives in a healthy manner,” Deputy Healy-Rae said.

“I am delighted that the Government has seen the good sense to help continue this scheme and I’m delighted that the pressure of representation that I have brought to this scheme will see it continue.”

The Scheme was first introduced to mitigate the loss of access to care from private providers in Northern Ireland under the EU Cross Border Directive, which ceased to apply as a result of Brexit. However, the Government intends to place the administrative NI PHS on a statutory basis and an extensive examination of options to inform the drafting of a General Scheme is currently underway with confirmation that the administrative scheme will remain until such time that a statutory scheme is in place.

Patients also continue to have access to health services under the EU Cross Border Directive Scheme in all other remaining EU/EEA countries.

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