18 May, 2020

Dear students, parents and colleagues,

Today marks the beginning of phase 1 of the government’s road map to easing restrictions in the country’s efforts to limit the spread of Covid-19. This phase allows access to schools for teachers only, under strict health and safety protocols, and only for essential work which cannot be done remotely.

A return for all is not scheduled until phase 5, the final phase. The Return to Work Safety Protocol will be in place. We are now engaged in planning for this safe return, which naturally will see changes in how we normally do things at school. The board, senior management and staff members are currently teasing out implications and working on contingency arrangements.

I am conscious that in the rush to leave, many books and other materials were left behind, and although there was an opportunity in the first two weeks to collect these, I can see clearly that a lot of books remain in lockers. At a later stage we will notify you about how to collect these, when it is safe to do so.

We expect to receive more guidance this week about how the LC calculated grades model will operate. The school has received queries concerning individual cases, questions which we are unable at present to answer adequately. They have all been logged however and we will revert when more guidance is provided. It was wonderful last week to have an opportunity to speak to the Class of 2020 and wish them well, with their year head, teachers and DPs, though in the circumstances bittersweet.

A I write, two weeks of the 2019/20 academic year remain. Under normal circumstances our 6th years would be in to their final weeks of exam preparation, while trying to distract themselves with thoughts of their graduation ceremony with their teachers, families and friends; similarly 3rd years would be doing final revision and preparation while savouring the last days in their junior form class with their form tutors; TY students would be exhausted but exhilarated having learned lots about themselves and their capabilities, not only during their week in Achill, but also at the end of a period of self-discovery that is a regular TY experience; 1st, 2nd and 5th years would be sitting their summer exams in the sports hall and junior corridor. Those things of course are not happening this year, instead it continues to astonish us all, how our lives and expectations have changed.

There are many ways people are ‘working on the frontline’, and I have mentioned here before our alumni, past pupils, family members, who are serving our community, whether at home or abroad. I encouraged them to get in touch and am always delighted when they do; as the saying goes, ‘ask a busy person’. The ties to one’s ‘old school’ are strong and you are all owed our admiration and thanks. And to everyone else who is doing their part, simply by getting on with things, as recommended, without complaint, this is also a service to our community. We are hearing a lot these days about ‘modelling’, in terms of Covid-19 predicted outcomes and responses; we are conscious too of another kind of ‘modelling’:  In schools, in families and in the workplace we are all modelling behaviours for our young people. These are the generation who will be in charge in the future, and this experience will influence the kind of leadership and service they will demonstrate when that time comes.

In conclusion I remind you that in Crescent we are fortunate that so many are praying for us, Fr Jim Maher SJ and Fr Joe Hayes SJ in our Della Strada community in Dooradoyle, Fr Provincial, Leonard Moloney SJ our Jesuit colleagues world-wide, and the leaders of the other church communities represented in Crescent.

I wish you and your families the very best in the short and long term, and I thank you as always for your support for our school.

God bless,