Tag Archives: schools


Sister Mary Kelly.

Old school.



Belvedere College, Dublin 1 during the rona




Earlier: No Meaningful Effect


That’ll learn the porter.

Junior Infants teacher Jennifer Ní Chathaláin, of Gaelscoil Uí Drisceoil, Glanmire, county Cork

This afternoon.

Via RTE news:

Junior infants  teacher Jennifer Ní Chathaláin can now use facial expressions as well as her voice to teach her class of five and six-year-olds as, for the first time in a long, long time, she no longer has to wear a face mask in class.

“It’s the sense of normality that we have missed,” she told RTÉ News.

“I’m looking forward to being able to sit down and do circle time, with the kids sitting next to them on the carpet and reading a book to them, where they can sit wherever they want. It’s the structure and rigidity of the restrictions that have really been felt.

“Now it feels like it’s just back to normal, the way it should be in a junior infants class, where kids can mix and socialise and they can develop new friendships and they can expand their social networks.

It’s a really positive day today.

Five-year old Seb MacCarthaigh agrees.

“I am really happy because I can hear Múinteor Jennifer’s voice and I can see her face,” he said.


Cork school ‘delighted’ to ‘see children smiling’ (Paschal Sheehy, RTE)

Pic via RTE news

This afternoon.

Via Margery Smelkinson, Leslie Bienen, and Jeanne Noble in The Atlantic:

To justify mask requirements in school at this point, health officials should be able to muster solid evidence from randomized trials of masking in children. To date, however, only two randomized trials have measured the impact of masks on COVID transmission.

The first was conducted in Denmark in the spring of 2020 and found no significant effect of masks on reducing COVID-19 transmission. The second is a much-covered study conducted in Bangladesh that reported that surgical masks (but not cloth) were modestly effective at reducing rates of symptomatic infection. However, neither of these studies included children, let alone vaccinated children.

Other studies—not randomized trials—have looked at the effects of masks in schools, and their results do not support pervasive, endless masking at school. A study from Brown University, analyzing 2020–21 data from schools in New York, Massachusetts, and Florida, found no correlation between student cases and mask mandates, but did see decreased cases associated with teacher vaccination.

A study published in Science looking at individual mitigation measures in schools last winter found that, although teacher masking reduced COVID-19 positivity, student masking did not have a significant effect.

Even though the first half of this school year was dominated by the highly transmissible Delta variant, the picture in more recent studies looks similar. In Tennessee, two neighboring counties with similar vaccination rates, Davidson and Williamson, have virtually overlapping case-rate trends in their school-age populations, despite one having a mask mandate and one having a mask opt-out rate of about 23 percent.

One would expect a quarter of the students opting out of masking to affect transmission rates if masks played any significant role in controlling COVID-19 spread, but that was not the case.

Another recent analysis of data from Cass County, North Dakota, comparing school districts with and without mask mandates, concluded that mask-optional districts had lower prevalence of COVID-19 cases among students this fall. Analyses of COVID-19 cases in Alachua County, Florida, also suggest no differences in mask-required versus mask-optional schools.

Similarly, the U.K. recently reported finding no statistically significant difference in absences traced to COVID-19 between secondary schools with mask mandates and those without mandates.


Recent prospective studies from Greece and Italy found evidence that masking is a barrier to speech recognition, hearing, and communication, and that masks impede children’s ability to decode facial expressions, dampening children’s perceived trustworthiness of faces.

Research has also suggested that hearing-impaired children have difficulty discerning individual sounds; opaque masks, of course, prevent lip-reading. Some teachers, parents, and speech pathologists have reported that masks can make learning difficult for some of America’s most vulnerable children, including those with cognitive delays, speech and hearing issues, and autism.

Masks may also hinder language and speech development—especially important for students who do not speak English at home. Masks may impede emotion recognition, even in adults, but particularly in children.

The Case Against Masks At School (The Atlantic)


Minister for Education Norma Foley

This morning.


The General Secretary of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) has estimated that around 15% of members will be absent when schools reopen tomorrow.

John Boyle said that around seven or eight thousand teachers will be absent because of Covid-19.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr Boyle said that the term ahead, up to mid-term, is going to be an extremely difficult one and there will be situations whereby children will have to have classes at home…

…He said that he was deeply concerned about finding enough teachers to keep the system running and added “there isn’t a hope” that there would be enough replacement teachers.

Thousands of teachers ‘will be absent’ due to Covid (RTE)

This morning.

Airfield Estate, Dundrum, county Dublin.

Pupils from Wesley College – from top: redsers Lucy Clarke and her brother Henry and Juliette Carol Breen and fake redser Charlotte White – launch ‘From the Ground Up’, a free Junior Cycle short course where students will ‘use skills learnt in Science, Business, HE and Geography to demonstrate how all subjects are integrated through the production of food’.

It all sounds a bNOMNOMNOM

Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

From top: Minister for Education Norma Foley outside the Department of Education in Dublin earlier; A carbon monoxide monitor for classrooms

This afternoon.

Via RTÉ:

…an order of carbon dioxide monitors for schools has arrived and will be distributed in the coming days.

Minister for Education Norma Foley said the monitors are “an additional tool” to aid ventilation and the recommendation is that they should be portable and shared between classrooms at different times of the day.



Ms Foley said that pilot antigen testing is being carried out in the childcare sector and at third level, and said should it be recommended that antigen testing be rolled out in schools, she will be happy to comply with that….

Ms Foley said the Department of Health has recommended the continued use of masks at secondary level and not primary.

Minister ‘confident’ of measures in place for school reopening (RTÉ)

Sam Boal/RollingNews/Honeywell



This afternoon.

Boyband impresario Louis Walsh helps Minister Foley launch the Arts Programme for Schools for reasons that remain unclear.

Sam Boal/Rollingnews

Last night.

Claire Byrne Live on RTÉ 1.





Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer, HSE at Dr Steevens’ Hospital for the weekly HSE operational update yesterday

This morning.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer, HSE said it is tragic to be talking about school closures again and no one wants to see this protracted because of what children experienced during the first lockdown.

However, he said, transmission levels are currently ten times what they were in early December.

He said this needs to reduce to a much lower level “before we can add to additional risk by the mixing of crowds at school settings”…

Transmission levels too high for schools to reopen – Henry (RTÉ)