Home Page

Information for Key Workers

Dear Parents,

You will no doubt be very aware of the information released by the Education Minister yesterday evening. In essence, this confirmed the closure of all schools on Friday 20th March, but with skeleton staff being available on Monday 23rd March to support identified Key Workers. This announcement was then followed by a letter to Principals in which the extensive list of key workers was highlighted.

As part of a national response, we are keen to pastorally support the Minister’s request. However, this has been initiated with such haste, that we must consider carefully the potential implications of such an extensive list and ensure that appropriate steps are put in place to manage this request effectively. Similar letters are being issued to Primary Schools across the country.

Consequently, we will only be able to offer places for childcare based on capacity.

It is worth bearing in mind that we have been instructed to close to minimise the risk of infection transfer at a time of national and global crisis. It is essential, therefore, that we are still able to comply with this ultimate reason for closure. Consequently, we will only be able to offer places for childcare based on capacity. To inform that decision, we need to be able to manage who can access the offer, otherwise the original reason for closure of schools becomes meaningless. In practice, this will mean we are not able to safely provide the offer of childcare from Monday morning, but will need a few days to organise the provision. We may also need to consider offering places to a smaller group, where the need is most urgent.

Once key information has been gathered and decisions made, only families with an offer of a place should attend the school, and they should only do so when directed to by the school. It could potentially be impossible to accept the number of families who may apply for such provision, given the extensive nature of the Minister’s key worker list.

To help us support those most in need and yet still safeguard appropriately, we request that if you require this provision, you contact the school with the information detailed below. Before doing so, please consider the guidance:

Points to Consider

• A list of key workers, issued by the Department of Education is listed below. Only children with BOTH parents working as key workers, and both parents out at work at the same time, should consider attending school.

• In single parent families, the main carer MUST be a key worker.

• If possible, alternative childcare arrangements should be sought before deciding to send your child to school, for example, with other family members, friends etc.

• Please try and use schools as a last resort. This is to try and limit the number of children and adults together in a small space in line with recent social distancing guidance.

• School’s normal opening and closing time will apply. For example, 8.50am –2pm, 8.50am –3pm. Please check with Sleepy Hollow for any separate arrangements regarding wrap around care.

• Children attending will be required to wear their school uniform.

• Schools will largely be performing childcare duties as not all teachers are currently available to teach specific year groups; teachers are also providing remote learning at the same time. Any child in attendance should bring their pack of work that has already been supplied

Please keep well and keep reassuring your children that everything’s going to be ok.

There are currently discussions around how lunch would be provided during the closure period for children entitled to Free School Meals. As yet, there is no clear guidance on this but once we are notified, we will inform you accordingly.

Thank you for your understanding as we have sought to work our way through this most difficult of weeks.

As a school, we are deeply grateful for the diligence, compassion and expertise of vital key workers, particularly those of you on the front line in health and medical services. We are mindful that many of you are under extreme pressure at this time.

Please be assured that the praying people of GPS are holding you up daily as you battle against this awful disease.

Thinking of you all.

I am still holding out hope (however slim) that this is not the end. If it is, on behalf of myself and all of the staff, I want to thank you for everything, not just during this most trying of weeks, but right throughout the year. The Gilnahirk spirit is as strong as it’s ever been and there has been a real sense of togetherness in the face of adversity amongst staff and parents.

Please keep well and keep reassuring your children that everything’s going to be ok.

With kind regards

D Corbett






Please email your response to by 3.00pm on Saturday 21st March, with the following information included

Children’s Names and Classes

Key Worker roles of parents or parent if you are a single parent (please indicate that you are a single parent in your email.)

Any other circumstances or considerations that the school should be aware of if we need to prioritise.

Contact number(s)

Email address

We STRONGLY underline the fact that, given the timeframe, this provision will not be in place for Monday 23rd March. This is to give us time as a school to make the necessary preparations. It is envisaged that the provision will be available from Tuesday 24th March





Health and social care. This includes doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, home carers and staff required to maintain our health and social care sector

Education and childcare. This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those education professionals who will remain active during the Covid-19 response.

Public safety and national security. This includes civilians and officers in the police (including key contractors), Fire and Rescue Service, prison service and other national security roles.

Transport. This will include those keeping air, water, road and rail transport modes operating during the Covid-19 response.

Utilities and Communication. This includes staff needed for oil, gas, electricity and water (including sewage) and primary industry supplies, to continue during the Covid-19 response, as well as key staff in telecommunications, post and delivery, services and waste disposal.

Food and other necessary goods. This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution and sale, as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (e.g. hygiene, medical etc.)

Other workers essential to delivering key public services.

Key national and local government including those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the Covid-19 response.