Back to school…with a smile!

There was plenty of excitement in Roscommon this week as junior primary school and Leaving Certificate students across the county returned to their classrooms as part of the Government’s updated ‘Living with Covid’ plan.

Outside Ballyforan National School, young students happily greeted their classmates while parents made a welcome return to the school run.

Sophie (9) and Emily (8) Cramer and their dad Eric said they were delighted school was back in session.

Sophie said she was happy she would get to see her friends again while Emily agreed that it was good that so far she hadn’t received any homework!

Cáit Kenny-Finneran said her children, Donnacha (7) and Clodagh (9), were also happy to be going back and praised Ballyforan NS for providing devices as part of online learning.

“My experience of home schooling was very different,” she said. “I was working from home so I was struggling at times and worried that they were falling behind with the work. They had a Zoom class each day and they really looked forward to that.

“This is another step and hopefully the next thing that returns is the sport. One thing I noticed is that screen time has gone way up during lockdown but thank God for Fitbits because we could set them a target of 10,000 steps each day before they were given devices,” she said.

Cáit also praised the school for providing provisions through the school meals programme while the children were at home.

Next Monday week it’s the turn of the more senior primary school students and parents are already looking forward to some sort of normality.

Rita Tansey’s daughter Marissa is in fourth class and she said the online classes provided by Principal Thomas Murray and his staff were “brilliant”.

“We got our timetable on Friday evenings and it was all laid out for the following week.

“It was great that all the teachers could log on too and we could email if she was struggling with something and they’d go over it. It was like being in the classroom,” she said.

“Without doubt though, they need their classmates, and Marissa can’t wait to see all her friends,” she added.

Sharon Dunning-Thorose’s daughter, Darcy, is also in fourth class in Ballyforan, and Sharon says the excitement is already building ahead of Monday week.

“They were relatively happy with the Zoom classes and seeing their friends everyday but I think they are definitely looking forward to getting back into class and seeing their friends and teachers. Zoom made the transition easier though and they have covered a lot,” she said.

Meanwhile, Carmel Fahy’s daughter, Robyn, is in fifth class and Monday week can’t come quickly enough!

“She is looking forward to it. Today was the first day she didn’t want to put on clothes so she needs to go back!

“We weren’t put under any pressure with online learning. She had three or four Zoom classes every day and the principal Mr. Murray would go over the work so he’d understand where they might be struggling.

“It’s also good that they will be getting outside and getting a bit of fresh air and exercise because I think Robyn was becoming a bit of a hermit!”