Letter (5) 03122021

Dec 3, 2021

Dear Parents                                                    Issue: 05                                                         December 3rd 2021


The whole staff of Scoil Chroí Naofa would like to offer our sincere gratitude and appreciation to both you and the pupils for all your compliance with the Public Health guidelines and our new school practices. We are genuinely proud of all the efforts the whole school community have made since we re-opened in September and are truly very glad that we have been able to remain open while keeping everyone safe. As you will be aware there have been some recent new developments which are summarised below:


Antigen Testing Programme:

  • When a parent receives a “detected” / Positive PCR Covid-19 test result on their child, they should notify the school principal immediately
  • The school principal will inform the parents of the children in the case’s pod that they are close contacts of a confirmed Covid-19 case. The name of the case or any other details will not be shared
  • The school principal will identify the children in the case’s pod and inform their parents offering the opportunity to order antigen tests from the distribution company
  • The antigen tests will be posted to the parents of the children in the pod by the HSE.
  • Parents carry out the antigen test on day they receive it & every second day until 3 tests have been done
  • The children in the pod can continue to attend school as long as they remain asymptomatic and their antigen test results remain not detected
  • If an antigen test is positive, the child isolates at home and the child’s parent / guardian logs onto the HSE to request a PCR test
  • The antigen test distribution company will record the numbers of antigen tests distributed, batch numbers and the names of the relevant schools
  • If at any stage a child becomes symptomatic they should isolate at home and organise a Covid-19 PCR test, if indicated. A “not-detected” antigen test holds no value in the situation of a symptomatic child.


Face Masks / Coverings (3rd to 6th class):

  • NPHET has recommended the wearing of face masks / coverings by children aged nine years and above on public transport, in retail and other indoor public settings, as already required for children aged 13 years and over.
  • They have also recommended that this is introduced for children in 3rd class and above in primary schools.
  • They have advised that this measure is being introduced on a temporary basis and is subject to review in mid-February 2022.
  • Face masks / coverings act as a barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from travelling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the face mask / covering coughs, sneezes, talks or raises their voice. Face masks / coverings are therefore intended to prevent transmission of the virus from the wearer (who may not know that they are infected) to those with whom they come into close contact
  • Face masks / coverings must not contain any slogans / logos / images that may cause upset or be deemed offensive to any member of the school community
  • Face masks / coverings are more effective than visors. In the limited circumstances where a face mask / covering cannot be worn, clear visors must be considered
  • A medical certificate to certify that a person falls into a category listed below must be provided to the school on behalf of, any person (pupil) who claims that they are covered by the exemptions below:
    • Any pupil with difficulty breathing or other relevant medical conditions
    • Any pupil who is unable to remove the cloth face-covering or visor without assistance
    • Any pupil who has special needs and who may feel upset or very uncomfortable wearing the cloth face covering or visor, for example pupils with intellectual or developmental disabilities, mental health conditions, sensory concerns or tactile sensitivity


Dates for Diary & School Closures:

  • Wednesday December 22nd – all children go home at 11.45am : Christmas Holidays
  • Thursday Jan 6th – school re-opens for Term 2
  • Thursday Jan 27th – Staff meeting Term 2. All children go home at 1.15pm
  • Monday February 21st to Friday February 25th: Mid-term break
  • Thursday March 10th – Staff training Term 2 (PLC webinar). All children go home at 1.15pm
  • Tuesday March 22nd: School Photographer
  • Monday April 11th to Friday April 22nd: Easter Holidays


Presentation Day:

Scoil Chroí Naofa is a Presentation Primary School. November 21st was Presentation Day, our school feast day. Our school feast day was celebrated in a different way again this year, because of the public health situation. On Monday November 22nd our pupils and staff tuned in to mass in the church via the Parish Webcam. In addition all classes held short prayer services to commemorate the Venerable Nano Nagle (foundress of the Presentation Order) and her work. What we really wanted to achieve was an awareness and an appreciation of what it means to be a Presentation school. We want each member of our community to have a real sense of who we are, what we are, and what we stand for. We cherish our School Vision, which was inspired by Nano herself;

  • Acknowledge and respect the dignity, uniqueness and individual needs of our pupils and in doing so, develop the whole child, physically, intellectually, emotionally, creatively, spiritually and socially
  • Be caring, fair and committed to the best interests of our pupils and seek to motivate, inspire and celebrate effort and success.
  • Enable each child to learn and develop in a happy, safe, stimulating and mutually respectful environment.
  • Establish a learning environment where pupils are active agents in the learning process and instil in them an interest in and love of learning
  • Develop each child as a social, literate and digitally responsible being who lives and co-operates generously with others and so contributes to the good of society.



  • Last Sunday (November 28th) was the first Sunday of Advent. The First Sunday of Advent is actually the Christian Church’s New Year’s Day.
  • With the current level of Public Health restrictions, not all of us are able to physically attend mass. For this reason, let me remind you all that every mass in the church is broadcast live via webcam. If you and your family would like to view the 11am Sunday mass together, please visit www.athenryparish.ie and follow the links to the “Parish Webcam”.


  • Christmas is only around the corner! On this topic we’d appreciate it if the magic of the season is preserved for all the children in the school. Staff will certainly play their part. It is a special time in particular for primary school children. We’d like to ensure it remains that way. We thank you for playing your part
  • Santa usually visits the school in the days before we get our school holidays. This year, he won’t be able to come into the building to meet all the children, but he might still make an appearance – we’ll have to wait & see……..
  • Plans are currently underway in all the classes where the children are working on a mini Christmas performance. Each performance will be recorded and compiled together into the school Christmas iMovie. This will be put up on the YouTube channel for parents to view.
  • Unfortunately there can be no Band performance for the turning on of the Christmas lights in Athenry this year. The senior girls will however still be making decorations for the Christmas trees around the town, as they do each year.
  • Thank you to all the people who ordered Christmas cards / Christmas labels / Calendars / Stockings from “Designacard”. We expect the finished products to be delivered in the next week or so. We estimate the Parents Council made approx. €500 from this fundraiser, which will be used to benefit the children in different ways throughout the year.
  • All the children will receive a Christmas annual courtesy of the Parents Council this year. These are fun & educational Christmas-themed activity books which will be given to the children in December. The money raised from the Cross-County run back in October was used to fund the annuals.
  • It has been decided not to hold a Christmas Raffle this year. We will have an Easter raffle instead.
  • The school will hold a Christmas Jumper fundraiser on Tuesday December 21st in aid of the Athenry Christmas lights committee. This will be a non-uniform day. The children may come to school wearing a Christmas jumper, hat etc., if they wish. We ask for a donation of €1 or €2 for this privilege, which will be given to the Athenry Christmas Lights committee, to assist them in making our town look so festive every Christmas.
  • The school will close at 11.45am on Wednesday December 22nd for the Christmas holidays and will re-open on Thursday January 6th at 8.40am (with class starting @ 8.50am sharp)

Incidental Inspection:

  • Martin Whyte is our school inspector for this year
  • Mr Whyte came for an Incidental Inspection on Wednesday Nov 17th.
  • He visited Mrs Murray’s Senior Infants class, Mrs Greally’s 4th class and Miss Murray’s 5th class, where he observed teaching & learning. He also asked the children questions.
  • Afterwards he provided the teachers and me with his feedback, which was very positive. He was very generous in his praise of our school. We were all justifiably very proud.

Lego Workshops:

  • Last week the children in Junior & Senior Infants had Lego workshops facilitated by “Bricks 4 Kids”. Many thanks to the Parents Council who financed these workshops for the children.

Sixth Class Hoodies:

  • All the 6th class girls in both classes will be getting a hoodie as a souvenir of their final year in SCN.
  • The girls (and their teachers) have chosen the colour / design and have all put their signature on a template, which has been transferred onto the hoodies.
  • The Hoodies cost €21. Sincere thanks to Parents Council who have agreed to part-fund this for the girls.
  • There is a balance of €10 to be paid by each of the girls.

Hockey Club Competition winners:

  • Congratulations again to Ailbhe Mannion (6th class) & Chloe Quinn (6th class) who were winners in the competitions run by the new Athenry Swans Hockey team!
  • They will be presented with their prizes by a member of the Irish Women’s Hockey team (Ms Naomi Carroll) on Monday of next week.
  • Ms Carroll will provide a short coaching session to the senior classes (Miss Murray’s 5th, Mr Kelly’s 5th & 6th and Mrs Monson’s 6th) after the prize-giving ceremony. The club will provide the hockey sticks for the session, but if the girls have a gum shield that they use for any other sport, then they should bring it with them on Monday.
  • Coaches from the new Athenry Swans Hockey club will provide coaching sessions to a number of the junior classes later in December also

Promoting Gaeilge:

  • I am continuing to record Irish videos for both the Junior & Senior classes. The purpose of these is to promote the Irish language throughout the school, and also for the children to see me!
  • There is a smartphone app called “Duolingo” which I would recommend. This is a fun app which helps you to learn a second language. It is very child-friendly. It encourages you to keep up your “streak” by playing a lesson every day. You also get points & rewards for all the lessons you complete. There is a leader board and the more you play the more you can “level up”! The children will be learning Irish, while having fun!
  • The school has also invested in new Irish readers which are being divided out among relevant classes.
  • Sincere thanks to Miss Feeney who made an online application on behalf of the school to receive “An Bosca Leabharlainne” – a box of 25 original Irish language books, handpicked by Laureate na nÓg Áine Ní Ghlinn. We were selected from the many applicants and our Bosca Leabharlainne will arrive in Spring 2022!
  • A set of levelled Irish PM readers have been ordered & will be piloted in Mrs McSpadden’s class.
  • Gaeilge (amongst other specific items) will always continue to be a central theme for promotion amongst staff and pupils in Scoil Chroí Naofa

Branar Theatre for Children:

  • This week all the children in the Junior Infant, Senior Infant, 1st class and 2nd classes had the opportunity to tune in to a performance of “How to Catch a Star”. This adaptation combines an original score by Colm Mac Con Iomarie with puppetry and stunning stage design. Sincere thanks to the Board of Management for funding the cost of this.

TULCA Visual Arts:

  • Next week Mrs Monson’s 6th class will be having their workshop with artist Aoife Barret.
  • Earlier this month the girls travelled to Galway city to visit the art gallery and to get inspiration for what might be involved in the project – sincere thanks to the Parents Council for funding the cost of the bus.

Raincoats, Extra Layers & Suitable Footwear:

  • Please ensure your child brings their raincoat to school & wears suitable footwear every day. The children will be going outside for break every day so they need to be suitably dressed for the weather.
  • Windows and doors throughout the school will be left open, to ensure there is plenty of ventilation. The heating in the school is on all day also.
  • As the weather gets colder and the need to ventilate the classrooms remains the same, we are suggesting that all pupils wear an extra layer of clothing over their uniform to school, such as a fleece or hoodie

Community Links:

  • Athenry Christmas Lights are due to be switched this evening at 7pm.
  • Athenry Christmas Lights Craft fair will take place on Saturday December 4th from 10am to 5pm in the Community Hall. Support local, shop local this Christmas from a range of arts, crafts and festive food stalls or simply browse and stay warm with a hot cup of tea or coffee and a sandwich.
  • Galway County Council Parking Concessions for Christmas 2021: there will be free on and off-street parking each day for the month of December 2021. Galway County Council wishes a happy, peaceful and fruitful Christmas to the traders in Co. Galway!


Buíochas as ucht na tacaíochta i gcónaí. Tá séasúr na hAidbhinte buailte linn! Cár imigh an chéad théarma?

Slán go fóill.


Fergal Naughton


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