Coronavirus: Principal warns sixth form pupils against parties

By Robbie Meredith
BBC News NI Education Correspondent

  • Published
Secondary school pupils walk past social distancing signImage source, Pacemaker
Image caption,
School pupils have been reminded that is it illegal to visit other people's houses under Covid-19 restrictions

A school principal in County Armagh has warned parents of sixth form pupils that some are planning to go to house parties in the area this weekend.

Fiona Kane, of St Ronan's College in Lurgan, said it was causing "a great deal of concern" in the school.

In a letter to parents, she appealed to them to stop their children engaging in "risk-taking behaviours".

Many schools in Northern Ireland have sent pupils or staff home to self-isolate after positive Covid-19 cases.

St Ronan's College is a large school with more than 1,500 pupils, about 330 of whom are in sixth form.

In a letter to parents, Ms Kane said she had been made aware of plans for a number of parties involving pupils this weekend.

Image source, Google Maps
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St Ronan's College is an "all ability grammar school" which opened in 2015

"We have been informed of a number of planned parties, including indoor house parties and other social gatherings over this coming weekend involving a number of our sixth form pupils," she wrote.

She said that pupils had a right to life outside school and that some of the restrictions were difficult for young people and everyone else.

"However, their health and safety and that of our entire college community is of paramount importance to us, particularly whilst we are still working and living through this pandemic," she continued.

"Such gatherings, as described above, are in breach of current guidance and legislation. Participants in these activities are also subject to fines.

"However, the potential negative impact on the health and safety of members of our school community supersedes all of that.

"I am sincerely appealing to all parents and carers of Year 13 and Year 14 students, to support us in keeping everyone safe and well.

"We do not want to have any outbreak of the coronavirus in the college."

Image caption,
Principal Fiona Kane warned party-goers they would be in breach of Covid legislation and could face fines

Ms Kane said the limited number of positive cases already in the school had been the result of transmission in the community.

She asked parents to ensure their children were following public health guidance out of school.

"Please dissuade them from any and all risk-taking behaviours," she added.

Ms Kane said she would keep parents and pupils informed of any developments.

On Wednesday, Education Minister Peter Weir told assembly members on Stormont's education committee that the Department of Education was working with the Public Health Agency to give accurate information about the number of schools affected by coronavirus cases.