Sunday 20 January 2019

Schools strive to reopen as staff and parents lead the clean-ups

Schools across the county were still adjusting to life after Storm Emma with many only reopening on Tuesday because of the major disruption caused by heavy snowfall.

Rosaleen O'Neill, Principal of Avondale Community College, said a 'great deal of effort' went into preparing the Rathdrum school to ensure it could reopen on Tuesday.

'We were determined to get into work today,' said Rosaleen.

'We had a lot of snow around here and there is still only a single lane of traffic up to the school. You can still see a fair amount of now winding up by the windows. One bus couldn't make it out because certain parts of the country are still very bad but we were only down around 100 out of 580 or so pupils. We had to clear up the staff car park because there is quite a drive down to it. Staff, parents and students all made a great effort.'

It took a community-led effort to prepare St Joseph's National School in Glenealy for reopening on Tuesday.

'A few parents and some staff cleared the car park and our caretaker cleared the yard. We got hit quite bad out here. I know some of the staff and parents living in Wicklow town thought Glenealy looked like a different world compared to what they had experienced where they live,' said school secretary Anne Hogan.

Carnew experienced high levels of snowfall meaning Coláiste Bhríde wasn't able to open again until Tuesday as well.

Principal Linda Dunne said: 'We had an awful lot of snow so we had to get some machines and shovels out on Monday to clear the place up. We still have some bad areas within the school grounds which we have cordoned off. The students are being very mature about everything. They haven't been throwing snowballs or anything and at this stage I think they are getting bit fed up with the snow as well.'

Kieran Burke, Principal of Blessington Community College, was relieved normality was finally beginning to return to the school.

'A mixture of teachers and our caretaker cleared the footpaths and around the school yard on Sunday. However, there was still a lot of snow on the footpaths outside the school so we decided to remain closed on Monday but we were still back out clearing things by hand, especially along the front of the school. All our staff were able to make it in for Tuesday and most of our students, though some living in Valleymount, Lacken and Kilbride had difficulties.'

Saint Fergal's National School in Bray was able to open on Monday.

Principal Tom Sargent said: 'The snow wasn't too bad but the biggest problem we actually had was people not being able to get in and out of their estates. The approach roads to the school were fine though and we virtually had our full complement of pupils in attendance.'

Bray People