Limerick school avoids COVID—19 with mandatory PCR testing and achieves higher than national average Leaving Cert results

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GLENSTAL Abbey school managed to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 among its Leaving Certificate boarder population, with mandatory PCR tests, and it is also celebrating after recording higher than the national average Leaving Cert results.

Five of the Co Limerick fee-paying school’s 37 Leaving Cert students, who returned to the castle-walled fee-paying school, achieved maximum 625 points in their final exams. Ten students earned 600 plus points.

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School Principal, Carmel Honan, said that, 55% of the Leaving Cert group attained 500 plus points and that the school had a “greater % of H1 and H2 grades than the national average”.

“We offer 20 Leaving Cert subjects here, and in 19 out of our 20 subjects offered, we had a higher percentage of H1s than the national average,” Ms Honan added.

“The boys are very happy here with their results, we had a lot of beaming faces, which was nice. They have worked hard, it’s been a difficult two years for everybody nationally, but they are pleased and hopefully they will be rewarded for their efforts.”

“I’m very pleased for them. On the morning of the Leaving Cert results you would always have concerns, you’re hoping everyone is happy, and we are very pleased and proud of them, they certainly demonstrated great resilience in coping with COVID,” she said.

PCR TESTING

“We actually took the decision here at the school, after Christmas, with PCR testing, to invite our Leaving Cert students to come back and board. They were together as a group, but obviously they were taught remotely, and that worked really well for them.”

“The vast majority of them came back, they had the entire boarding school to themselves. They were obviously socially distanced, we had all the steps in place during meal times. They were not sitting in class groups, the best way I can put it to you is that all health guidelines were observed.”

“They were in individual rooms and they eventually formed a pod. We looked for PCR test results and took it from there, and we were exceptionally lucky because we didn’t have any Covid outbreak either among staff or the boys.”

“We asked for (PCR testing) and everybody understood the spirit of what we were trying to achieve for the boys.”

“The boys were taught remotely via Google Classroom, it’s just that they were here together and taught remotely by their teachers who were teaching from home during the lockdown period.”

“They were so cooperative in terms of observing socially distancing and they understood that they needed to keep it that way to care for everybody in the school community and they were the only students on site, until we reopened as did everybody else did.”

Ms Honan agreed the atmosphere of having the final year students together in the school, despite the threat of COVID-19, helped bond them on their Leaving Cert journey: “Yes, I think it certainly did help them, in terms of collaborative learning and supporting one another and being together, it certainly did.”