St. Mary's Secondary School, Ballina

Coronavirus / Covid-19

HSE advice on Coronavirus / Covid-19
Coronavirus / Covid-19


Letter to 3rd year parents re. Assessment of Junior Cycle


Statement from the DES regarding Junior Cycle Assessment 2020


Letter to parents of 3rd year students re. examinations


Fun Activities with Family


Letter from school to Parents


FAQ on postponement of State Examinations


Press Release from the DES re postponement of State Exams


Letter from Marathon Travel re. TY tour


Letter to parents re. School Meals Programme


Relaxation techniques published by the National Educational Psychological Service


Covid-19 Statement from the Department of Education and Skills

All schools, pre-schools and further and higher education settings will remain closed to students until 19 April 2020.

The decision has been taken following advice from the NPHET (National Public Health Emergency Team) as part of efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19.

All young people and children are urged to practice social distancing, and to minimise physical contact to keep themselves and others healthy and to limit the spread of infection. This should include minimising social contact, avoiding meeting up and keeping physical space of two metres between each other. Parents and guardians are urged to support young people and children to follow those simple guidelines.

Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD said: “This is an extremely difficult time for everyone, not least students and their parents.

“The decision to keep schools closed until after the Easter break is based on public health advice. It is a hugely important aspect of our continued effort to limit the spread of Covid-19.

“My message to students facing exams is that they should keep focused, keep working and try, as much as possible, to prepare as normal for the state exams. We are doing everything in our power to make sure those exams happen.

“Teachers and students have answered the call to remote learning with exceptional flexibility and adaptability. You are all a credit to the education system.

“I am also deeply conscious of significant work being done to ensure continuity of learning across our higher and further education institutions. The impact of emergency measures has not stopped education, it has inspired innovation and we are indebted to all those continuing to provide education in these trying times.”


School letter to Parents and Students 23/03/2020

Statement from President of Ireland following his signature of the Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Bill 2020

Following his consideration and signing of the Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Bill 2020, President Michael D. Higgins has released the following statement:

“As President, I am urging all citizens, given the emergency of our situation in relation to the grave challenge to our public health, to respond in a generous way to the Health Service Executive’s advice on measures to alleviate the spread of Covid19.

These new health and social measures may be difficult for many but they affect us all and we are at a point now when a person’s actions have consequences not only for themselves but for all in society. Irresponsible individual action puts all at risk. We must draw on our strengths now.

Intergenerational solidarity has been one of the greatest resources of contemporary Irish society. Future generations, it is my belief, will look back at this critical time and I hope that they will be proud of how we as a society rose to the challenges together, with different generations taking account of one another.

As President, I have such appreciation for, and deeply value the connection I have experienced with, young people around the country. I appeal to these young people to spread the word among their friends of the importance of that which we have been asked to do.

In every generation there will be exceptions to what is being sought in the public interest. Let us hope that we have seen the end of such behaviour which puts all of us at risk.

Many of the older people, of whose generation Sabina and I are a part, and to whom I have spoken, have been very appreciative of the large numbers of young people who are helping them, and that such assistance is offered in such a caring way that addresses issues of our older citizens that go far beyond the delivery of necessary groceries or food.

Those older people who have been helped have felt a connection within society, a sense of a bond that is being strengthened rather than weakened. Older people as well as being grateful for how they have been helped have spoken of how they have welcomed the sight of young people who have given them such hope for the Ireland that is to come.”

Physical Education Resources for Students

During these times it is so important for you all to keep active and participate in regular physical activity. Physical activity can reduce stress, increase productivity, improve brain memory and boost your mood. For you to keep active at home, the PE department have created a resource containing home workout videos, circuits, dances, yoga, mindfulness and apps to provide lots of ways for you to keep active.
A healthy body leads to a healthy mind. Keep active and keep safe.
Please click on relevant link below:


FAQ on Impact of School Closures on Examination Activities due to Cancellation of Oral and Practical Performance Tests 2020


Minister of Education has this morning stated that the orals & practicals that were planned before Easter will not go ahead this year. Students will receive full marks for any of these practicals that they were due to complete before Easter. The deadline for submission for remaining practicals and coursework for the Leaving cert has been extended to 15 May.

See statement from SEC below:

Dear All,

Since the Government announcement last week of the closure of schools until the 29th March, the State Examinations Commission has been working closely with the Department of Education and Skills on considering alternative arrangements for candidates approaching the state examinations. The planned closure period directly impacts on the scheduled dates for this years’ oral and practical performance tests. Following a review of all possible options the Minister has just now announced at a press conference that it has been decided to cancel these tests and to award candidates the full marks for the components in question.

For your attention and information, see below the SEC’s press release on this decision. We have also announced an extension of the completion date for project work and coursework which was due for completion on various dates between the 20th March and the 24th April. Candidates will now have until the 15th May to complete this work. The SEC will provide further details on the revised arrangements in the coming days to school authorities and will publish details on our website for the information of students, parents and guardians.

Awarding full marks for the oral and practical performance tests was considered to be the most fair to candidates as it guarantees that no candidate can be awarded a mark lower than they would have achieved in the test. No other approach to generating a result for these components would have given this guarantee. These decisions have at all time been guided by consideration of the best interests of candidates.

Our advice to candidates is that they should continue to prepare for the remaining elements of their examinations as scheduled.

We are continuing to actively monitor the evolving health emergency and are working very closely with the DES in assessing the impact on the examinations system.

Kind regards,

Andrea Feeney


Operations and IT Division

State Examinations Commission


Online Leaving Certificate Resources


Video guide on how to access Microsoft Teams using a smart device

Letter to parents of TY school tour students

Letter to parents regarding contingency arrangements due to school closure


Statement from the Department of Education & Skills


CMO Letter to schools 10/03/2020

Please click here for the latest letter from the Chief medical Officer to schools

Covid-19 – Statement from the Department of Education and Skills on 10/03/2020

The Department of Education and Skills is liaising closely with the Department of Health on a continuing basis.

Any decision to close schools will be made on public health advice. There is no such advice at this point. It is essential that any decisions regarding responses to Covid-19 are proportionate, necessary and based on specific public health advice. No other response is appropriate.

Public health professionals will contact schools if there is any action to be taken. Schools should not take unilateral action.

Schools, pre-schools and higher education settings have been provided with advice and guidance in respect of Covid-19. There is up to date guidance for schools and parents on

The Department is deeply conscious of the significance of decisions concerning school closures, and the potential impact any such decisions would have on parents, families and the wider community.

This is an evolving situation and the health advice is being updated on a daily basis. The Department of Education and Skills and Department of Health will continue to work closely together on this issue.

Previous Advice

The Department of Education and Skills has updated information for schools, preschools and third level institutions on Covid-19; provided by the Department of Health and HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre following a meeting of the National Public Health Emergency Team.

Public health doctors are available to liaise with schools and advise on precautions if staff and/or students have any concerns.

Anyone who has been to affected regions in the last 14 days and has a cough, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties or fever should self-isolate and phone their GP immediately.

Anyone who has travelled from the affected regions and has no symptoms should visit for advice.

The most important action we can take to protect ourselves from Covid-19 is regular hand-washing and good respiratory hygiene.

As further advice or information is provided, it will be issued to schools and posted on the Department’s website.

Travel advice for all Irish citizens is provided through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Note - The Covid-19 affected regions are listed as mainland China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Iran and the following regions of northern Italy - Lombardy, Veneto Emilia-Romagna and Piedmont.

Link to updated guidance from HSE

For updated guidance specific to education settings please visit the HSE's Health Protection Surveillance Centre's (HPSC) website

Chief Medical Officer advice to parents and schools

02 March 2020: Letter from the Chief Medical Officer to Parents of School & Pre School Children

01 March 2020: Letter from the Chief Medical Officer of the Department of Health, Dr Tony Holohan to school principals .

27 February 2020:The Chief Medical Officer from the Department of Health, Dr Tony Holohan, has issued the following letter to parents of school children travelling from affected regions.

Sep 21
School Closed: JCT Staff In-service
Sep 27
Mercy Day / Opening of school year Mass
Oct 07
Staff Meeting/Subject Department Planning
Oct 18
Transition Year Parent Teacher Meeting
Congratulations to Sarah McHale (1st year) who won the Mayo Schools Poster Competition organised by Mayo Education Center and Mayo GAA.
Well done to every single student in the class of 2021 on reaching your full potential, we are so proud of you all and wish you every luck and blessing for your future!
Congratulations and Best Wishes to the Class of 2021
Convent Hill, Ballina, Co. Mayo, F26 R928
353 96 70333
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