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“The main challenge will be social distancing”

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By Michelle Crean

Two new classrooms are due to be opened for the new school term - but school principal of Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra in Rathmore this week told the Killarney Advertiser that social distancing will be one of the main challenges when students return.

Principal Denis Kerins explained that the full effect of changes won't be fully understood until the 390 students and 30 staff return as they have never experienced anything on this scale before.

Hand sanitisers will greet the students at the entrance into the school building and will have to be used when changing classes. Students will also be kept to certain areas to minimise the movement within the building but subjects like PE and practical classes such as construction, metal work, Home Ec and some Science classes will need changes, he explained.

"The main aim will be to keep it [COVID] out of the building and the country," Denis told the Killarney Advertiser.

"We'll follow the recommendations but the first thing is to get the school open. Face masks aren't really being recommended for schools but the one metre rule is recommended between desks. It's a totally new thing we're dealing with, we have no experience to go on. There could be a breakout at anytime but we have to learn to get on with it."

He said some schools will have to stagger bringing in students for the first time but that it's something the Rathmore school has been doing for years.

"We've always done that. In our particular case we're due to open two new rooms so we're in a good position and will have a bit more space than normal."

However, he said some classes are quite big and as timetables are already completed some changes will have to be made.

"Practical subjects will involve a lot of hygiene as there's a lot of utensils being used but we won't know until we start."

And as students will have been out of school for six months since the sudden lockdown in March he said that staff will be very mindful of the impact of COVID and will take steps to address any concerns students or parents may have.

"Some might have have anxiety, that will be identified and taken seriously."

And he added that for students entering an exam year hopefully the Department of Education will make adjustments for the time lost.

"It's going to be very uncertain year ahead, it's new territory."

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Ballycasheen junction to get upgraded this year.

A long awaited solution to traffic problems where Ballycasheen Road meets the N22 Cork Road looks like finally being resolved this year. Late last year Transport Infrastructure Ireland allocated €1.2m to be spent on the section of road between the Park Road roundabout and Ballycasheen junction. “Technical Approval for the improvements, along this section which […]

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A long awaited solution to traffic problems where Ballycasheen Road meets the N22 Cork Road looks like finally being resolved this year.

Late last year Transport Infrastructure Ireland allocated €1.2m to be spent on the section of road between the Park Road roundabout and Ballycasheen junction.

“Technical Approval for the improvements, along this section which include Active Travel provision and Junction Improvements at Ballycasheen, is being sought from TII before commencing,” a council spokesperson confirmed. “The elected members will be briefed on the proposals ahead of the commencement of the statutory process in early 2022.”

The council official was responding to a request by Cllr John O’Donoghue who sought an update on progress being on a promised “more user friendly junction.”

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€2.3m funding for Kerry schools under Summer Works Programme

Minister for Education and Kerry TD Norma Foley has today (Monday) announced funding of €2.3 million for the approval of 24 projects across Kerry under the Department’s 2022 Summer Works Scheme. This funding is part of the overall package of €65m for a total of 497 projects around the country. “I am delighted to confirm […]

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Minister for Education and Kerry TD Norma Foley has today (Monday) announced funding of €2.3 million for the approval of 24 projects across Kerry under the Department’s 2022 Summer Works Scheme.

This funding is part of the overall package of €65m for a total of 497 projects around the country.

“I am delighted to confirm this significant tranche of funding which will provide further investment for schools in Kerry under the Summer Works Scheme,” Minister Foley said.

“School communities have shown great resilience, flexibility and leadership in adapting to the many challenges that arose over the course of the pandemic. This funding is a further endorsement of the excellence in education provided by schools across the county. I am announcing the Summer Works Scheme projects now so that schools have a good lead-in period to plan and deliver the projects in summer 2022,” she said.

“Today’s announcement follows on from the enhanced minor works funding which was delivered to schools a number of weeks ago.”

The projects for Kerry included in today’s announcement include Mechanical Works at Two Mile Community NS and Spa National School, Science Labs including Gas Works at Community College Killorglin and Castleisland Community College, as well as Roof Works at Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra. 

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