Ruby Waters and Lexi McEvoy/Presendergast on their first day at St Brigids NS; Pictured below is Daisy O'Donoghue | PICTURES: Brendan Gleeson
THOUSANDS of children across Limerick returned to schools this morning, with Covid-19 restrictions very much to the fore for the second year in a row.
Staggered starts, classroom pods, an emphasis on washing your hands thoroughly and often and finishing at different times remain in place at schools right across Limerick, with case numbers still at a high level.
Some Limerick schools were back late last week, including St Brigid’s National School at Childers Road in the city, which welcomed its junior infants in on Thursday.
Its principal Sarah Ryan said: “Everything is the same as last year, everything has been carried through. The main thing is the handwashing and the sanitising and the keeping students in their class pods at playtime, socially distancing and mask wearing for the staff.”
She said it has almost become second nature now, having had a whole school year of restrictions.
“It’s a bit easier coming back at this stage as we are used to the guidelines. But we want to see the end of these eventually. You do get to the stage where you want to see a bit of normality,” said the principal.
This year, she hopes that the easing of restrictions will lead to the return of after-school sports.
“Covid-19 has restricted a lot of what we can be involved in. But we are hoping to get our after school sports back up and running again, so we can play camogie, hurling and Gaelic football,” Ms Ryan explained.
Director of Schools at Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board Donncha O Treasaigh, who is responsible for a dozen, mainly secondary schools in Limerick, said facemasks will continue to be “a very central element” of protecting people.
“That is because of the fact the Delta variant is so much more contagious than the Covid virus that was there last September,” he said.
Mr O Treasaigh stressed schools remain as secure as possible.
“Schools are very safe places from the point of view of the cleaning machine that exists in schools, the level of awareness that schools undertake with parents and students and staff. All teachers will have to complete a return to work form to make sure they are safe to return to work,” he said.
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