Ard Scoil na nDéise

Support for Parents and Students

13-July-20

July 13th 2020

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s),

It is with deep regret that I must inform you that our school community has experienced the sudden and tragic death of Transition Year student, Shauna Hickey. May she Rest in Peace. We are deeply saddened by Shauna’s death and our thoughts are with her family at this time.

Under normal circumstances we would be opening the school at this time to allow staff and students a safe place to come together to remember Shauna and to share our feelings at this very difficult time. We have sought advice from the National Educational Psychological Service whose role it is to support schools through bereavement and they have informed us that, under current public health guidelines, we cannot open the school at this time to facilitate any type of a gathering of students or staff. We deeply regret the fact that we cannot come together at this time but this decision is out of our control as we must comply with the guidelines that are in place at a national level. It feels wrong not to be together at this time but we are still here to offer our support in any way that we can.

It is possible that your daughter may have some feelings and questions she may like to discuss with you. It is important to give factual information that is age appropriate.

You can help your daughter by taking time to listen and by encouraging her to express her feelings. All young people are different and will express their feelings in different ways. It is not uncommon for them to have difficulty concentrating or be fearful, anxious, or irritable. They may become withdrawn, cry, complain of physical aches and pains, have difficulty sleeping or have nightmares. Some may not want to eat. These are generally short term reactions. Over the course of the coming days, please keep an eye on your daughter and allow her to express her feelings in whatever way she may choose to do so.

Young people frequently turn to social media to see what others are saying, or to find out more. At these times it is important that you monitor their use and engage with them about what they read. We urge you to emphasise and reinforce the need to be extremely sensitive and careful about what they post.

In the absence of a normal school routine, and while social distancing is still a requirement, I anticipate that the next few days will be difficult for everyone.

I am attaching some information which you may find useful in helping your daughter through this difficult time.

  • How to cope when something terrible happens is an information sheet for students which gives them guidance on how they can respond to what they are feeling as they begin to cope with their grief and the pain of sudden loss.
  • Ways to help your child through this difficult time is an information sheet for parents who need some guidance on supporting their child through their grief and the pain of sudden loss.

I am in the process of working with the Educational Psychologist to compile a list of Bereavement services and I will post this on the school website tomorrow.

Your daughter’s Year Head will be emailing students this evening or tomorrow to ensure that they are okay. Please encourage your daughter to engage with her Year Head if she is in need of support or a contact person in school. In an ideal world we would all be available in person in the school building but if we can’t do that, we at least want to be available to the girls if they need to talk to us.

Similarly, if you need anything in terms of support for your daughter or some guidance in terms of how best to support her at this time, please feel free to contact the school on 058 41464 and leave a voice message. The main office is closed at the moment but I can access voice messages from home and will return calls as soon as possible. Alternatively, please feel free to email the school at info@ardscoildungarvan.com Again, I can access these emails from home and will respond as soon as possible.

Yours faithfully,

Jennifer O’Keeffe

Principal

How to cope when something terrible happens

Ways to help your child through this difficult time

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Contact
Convent Road,
Dungarvan,
Co. Waterford,
Ireland
X35 RR90


058 41464


Ceist- Catholic Education, an Irish schools trust
Location
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