by Bronagh O’Loughlin

It’s back to school time with difference!

Due to the Covid-19 situation parents are, understandably, experiencing some anxiety around schools reopening and the Louth Meath Education Training Board (LMETB) are currently reassuring parents that the schools have the regulations necessary to protect their children.

One East Meath secondary school, Colaiste Na HInse, who are a part of the LMETB, recently sent out their return to school information in an effort to assure parents that the children will be safe when returning to school.

Hand sanitizers, face coverings, cough etiquette and social distancing were highlighted as indicators to what will become the new norm in the schooling environment.

Colaiste Na HInse also how important it is for young people to return to school because children have spent months out of routine with increased screen time and they need to get back to into a routine.

The chair of LMETB, NIck Killian, told LMFM radio this morning, “Parents can be certain that schools are ready to safely welcome back their children”. The chair of the LMETB, Nick Killian has said that the necessary precautions have been taken by schools in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He explained, “For parents sending their children back, our principles have worked extremely hard to get the schools ready, they are ready, they are looking forward to the students starting and commencing in as safe a matter as possible and that is the aim of Louth Meath Education Training Board that our students are safe and that they get back to their learning as soon as possible”.

Alongside parents being nervous about sending their children back to school and the LMETB and schools working on their safety regulations in regards to COVID-19, two new schools have opened in County Meath.

Dunshaughlin Community National School and Enfield Community College have opened their doors. All the while, the green light has been given for construction on the new Ashbourne Education Campus also.

Dunshaughlin Community National School is a multidenominational school. They will be opening their doors at the beginning of September to their first junior infant pupils in their temporary accommodation in the grounds of Dunshaughlin GAA.

From this point onwards, they plan to take a new junior infants class every year until they have all eight class levels. A move to a permanent school site is envisaged in the next few years to cater for this growth.

The opening of Enfield Community College at the beginning of September will be the culmination of years of campaigning by local families for a school in the South Meath town.

Before this school, many students in Enfield had to travel lengthy journeys to schools in Longwood, Trim, Maynooth and Kilcock.

The new school will open to around 35 first year students and is expected to grow to 1000 pupils in the coming years. They are in a unique position to provide social distancing since they are only opening to 35 pupils.

The Ashbourne Education Campus has been given the green light and the plans include building three schools on the one site.

Colaiste de Lacy which will be a brand new two storey 450 pupil post primary school with a special needs unit facility, a general-purpose hall, a library and other ancillary accommodation.

Colaiste na Mí which will be a new two storey 16 classroom Gaelscoil featuring similar facilities to the above along with a junior play area.

The third school will be Ashbourne Educate Together which will be a new two storey 16 classroom Educate Together NS with similar facilities to the above along with a SNU garden and two enclosed ballcourts. The date of completion for the Ashbourne Education Campus has not yet been confirmed