Sligo Champion

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Schools likely to stay closed for many weeks

Shoppers rush to buy as pandemic forces schools, colleges, pubs and businesses to shut

It now seems likely that the re-opening of schools and colleges will not re-open for many weeks and that it may even be September before they do so as the country prepares itself to battle one of the biggest threats it has ever witnessed.

What is to become of Junior and Leaving Certificate exams remain to be seen but even at this stage it is unlikely they will go ahead as planned in June.

Going by the dire situation in other countries and in particular, Italy, it may well take at least four months for the dreaded coronavirus to wreck its deadly path through Ireland before clearing.

IT Sligo closed its campus to students from 6pm last Thursday, March 12th and will remain closed until the 29th at the earliest.

There will be no access on campus to students during this period which is certain to be extended.

In a statement the college said it would continue to deliver courses remotely where possible and lecturers will inform students of how this will be delivered over the coming days.

"How we will provide assessments and exams will be reviewed in due course. These are unprecedented times and we require everyone's co-operation. We remind all of students that this is not a two week break and encourage them to continue their studies and join in remote lectures where possible.

"We ask all staff and students to act responsibly and to stay away from large gatherings to prevent the spread of Covid19. Please use social media to stay in touch with friends, colleagues and fellow students and look out for each other over the coming weeks.

"We would like to acknowledge the huge levels of cooperation and support of our students and staff and to thank them for working with us as the Institute manages through this crisis," said the statement.

Teachers at both national and secondary school level in the county have also sent out homework sheets and there will also be some online classes for those in exam year.

The oral exams have been postponed.

Meanwhile, IFA Farm Family & Social Affairs Chair Caroline Farrell has welcomed changes that mean farmers and other self-employed, if diagnosed with COVID-19 or are suspected of having COVID-19, will be entitled to income support.

"The enhanced Illness Benefit announced by the Government means farmer will be entitled to €305 per week for a maximum of two weeks if they are medically required to self-isolate," she said.

Mrs. Farrell said if a GP diagnoses somebody with COVID-19 or are medically certified to self-isolate, they can apply for Illness Benefit. The current six-day waiting period for Illness Benefit will not apply. She encouraged farm families to heed the public health advice.

Retail Excellence has issued assurances that Ireland is prepared to continue to supply all grocery outlets for the coming months. There is no reason for anyone to have any concern in that regard.

The industry had planned for a hard Brexit over the past number of months. Shelves are restocked every evening and restocking will continue into the future.

Sligo Champion