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Masks could become the new classroom accessory

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MASKS: Principal Sean Coffey says students may have to wear masks when returning to The Sem. Photo: Michelle Cooper Galvin

By Michelle Crean

Masks may become a whole new look at one Killarney secondary school as staff look at ways to safely return students and staff to classrooms.

Principal of St Brendan's College, Sean Coffey, this week told the Killarney Advertiser that he's currently working through the guidelines and is looking at ways to ensure one metre distancing can be maintained in the school for the 760 students and 85 staff.

"The emphasis is to get the schools reopened," Sean said. "We're planning a staggered return for the students and are currently finalising dates. In terms of the one metre distancing we're currently looking at the school building and how we can reconfigure it. A lot of those rooms are small."

He explained that using the bigger spaces such as the hall for classes will have an impact on the students social gathering areas.

"We're looking at masks or visors for staff and students as a last gasp if no other solution is possible."

Other changes coming down the line include parents making appointments and not dropping in, sanitisation at entry and exit points outside each classroom, the upgrading to sensor taps in the bathrooms to minimise touch in staff and student facilities.

"We're looking at lockers, social gathering of staff in the staff room bringing that down to 10, the bathrooms will have to be monitored with a tracing list.

"This will all have to be done in four weeks," Sean said. "But the overall aim is to make it work."

What teaching staff have really leaned in recent months is the importance of face to face contact.

Well-being will be a central focus for all staff and students, he added.

"We'll find solutions. The time is right and reopening is a priority."

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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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