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Remote learning ‘only as good as the internet allows’

THE extension of remote learning in schools has been welcomed by West Tyrone  principals.

The latest set of Covid-19 restrictions will see the extension of remote learning in schools until the mid-term break in February.

Teachers will provide students with classwork that they can do at home via online programmes or home school packs.

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It is expected that special schools will remain open, while vulnerable children and children of key workers will have access to schools for supervised learning.

James Warnock, principal of Dean Maguirc College in Carrickmore, said, “It is a very worrying time for everyone due to the alarming increase of positive cases related to Covid-19.

“Suppressing the virus has to be the priority and therefore decisions have to be made to enable such to happen.

“Unfortunately, decisive decisions have not always been made and we have certainly witnessed this in the education sector.

“Last Thursday, we were given guidance with regard to the re–opening of schools and less than a week later we get new guidance.

“We now know that schools are required to provide remote learning at home for all their pupils and at least we are clear of what is happening for the next six weeks.”

Education Minister, Peter Weir, said the removal of face-to-face learning has been contemplated as a “last resort” and should be maintained for a period no longer than is necessary.

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Jill Funston, of Omagh County Primary School, said the teachers started the remote learning on Tuesday, but added that it “can only be as good as the internet allows”.

Ms Funston said, “We are running with the same format as we did in March, and we are doing it through the website.

“But we live in a part of Northern Ireland where remote learning is only as good as the internet connection allows.

“With the Covid cases the way they are, something has to be done.

“We have to be very respectful and ensure that we are following the rules to try and contain the virus as much as possible.”

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