GALLERY: Navan's secondary schools pull out all the stops to welcome students back

After months of preparation and anticipation this week saw the reopening of secondary schools across the county. From pods and bubbles to mandatory face masks and staggered break times it has been a mammoth task to implement but schools in Meath are confident that the stringent measures they have introduced will ensure as much as possible the safety of students.

In Navan, Loreto Secondary School Year head for third year Cathriona Purcell explains some of the procedures they have in place since reopening yesterday (Monday).

“There was Trojan work done over the summer, the whole school has been reconfigured with the implementation of extra classrooms and we have a covid isolation office for students who might experience symptoms.

“We have been able to keep our sports hall and canteen unlike some other schools because we are lucky with space. We have Loreto House which was given to us as extra space from the convent.

“There is a metre distance between desks and we have staggered our lunchtimes and we have divided the school into a junior and senior pod.

“It is a very safe environment, all of the girls are wearing masks and they are able to go out, weather permitting social distance and remove the mask.”

“The senior prefect leadership team for Leaving Cert created a little video for the school explaining the new rules for Covid which was very helpful.”

It was a joint effort by the entire school including principal Sean Kelly and deputy principals Maria Harney and Andrea Finlay – Kajic according to Catriona.

“Caretaker Shane McGuinness and his team did amazing work in the run up to reopening along with, Orla McGuinness, office manager and her team.

“Allana Nugent special needs assistant, lead worker representatives Aisling Geraghty and Brian Herity and Return to School Aid Claire Cullen have carried out Trojan work.”

St Joseph’s Mercy Secondary School Navan reopened to First Year students on Monday 31st August. “Tremendous work” was completed in the last few months to ensure a safe reopening for students and staff according to a school spokesperson who commented:

“Among the safety protocols put in place include mandatory face coverings for all students upon entry into the school.

“Signage, including wall and floor markings to ensure social distancing between students in the school building and on school grounds.

“Different year groups have been assigned designated entrance and exit doors to ensure social distancing.”

They went on to say that sanitising stations have been installed at all entrances to the school and in classrooms and a one-way system is in operation in the school for students.

“Physical Education classes will be based in the spacious Navan O’Mahony’s GAA Club and enhanced cleaning regimes have been put place across the school.”

Meanwhile St Patrick’s Classical School has introduced a number of measures to ensure social distancing and safety for students.

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