News, Sport and Obituaries on Monday May 24th Twitter Google+ By News Highland – August 7, 2020 Pinterest Twitter Secondary School students and their teachers will have to wear a face covering when schools return in September.The Minister for Education has issued updated guidelines this evening.She says the new rule will apply in cases where the 2 metre social distancing rule cannot be adhered to.102 million euro in funding has been issued to schools so far to cover the cost of minor works to create more space in classrooms and to install handwashing stations.********************Update on Reopening Our Schools: The Roadmap for the Full Return to SchoolThe Minister for Education Norma Foley TD has today provided an update on her Department’s work to realise her Department’s plans to reopen schools fully at the end of the summer. The Minister, along with Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD and Minister for Special Education and Inclusion Josepha Madigan TD, last week published a detailed plan Reopening Our Schools: The Roadmap for The Full Return to School, along with details of a financial package of over €375 million to support its delivery.Commenting today, Minister for Education Norma Foley TD said: “Last week we announced a comprehensive plan that will support our schools to reopen for the new school year. This week I am pleased to announce that a considerable portion of the funding due to schools has been paid, allowing schools to make vital progress in making the changes that are needed to safely reopen.“For example, €102 million in funding has already issued to primary and post-primary schools to carry out minor works to create more space in the classroom or install additional handwashing stations. Funding has already been made available for schools to hire aides to help reconfigure classrooms and install hand sanitising stations. Guidance has also been circulated to schools detailing how they can best access PPE and hand sanitiser supplies.“I wish to thank again all members of school staff and parents for the roles they are playing and will continue to play as schools return at the end of August. We will continue to communicate with schools, education partners, parents and students, as schools reopen, and keep a close eye to ensure that the supports are working as intended.”Updated Guidance around wearing of Face CoveringsThe Minister also confirmed that she had been working with the public health authorities to ensure that the public health advice underpinning the safe reopening of schools is fully up to date. The HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre has confirmed that all recommendations published in the public health advice by the Minister at the beginning of July including physical distancing guidelines as set out in the recently published roadmap still apply in all schools, with the exception of the recommendations on face coverings which has been updated to reflect the latest research and expertise. It is now recommended that teachers and secondary school students wear face coverings, similar to those worn in shops or on public transport, when a physical distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained.Minor Works FundingTo support the full implementation of the Roadmap, the Department brought forward to August the payment of the annual minor works grant to primary schools, totalling approximately €30 million, which is typically paid in either December/January each year. In addition, an enhanced minor work grant, which matches the 2019 payment, has also been issued to directly to schools. This amounts to €60 million which has now been issued directly to primary schools in minor works grants since the publication of the Roadmap.In addition a new minor works grant, totalling approximately €42 million, has issued to post primary schools this week.Support and SupervisionFunding of €4.2m for aide/s to assist with the logistical arrangements in advance of school reopening including physical reconfiguration measures and setting up hand sanitising stations, helping with signage, training and engaging with parents and students.Funding of €40m has been made available for additional supervision at post primary level. Of this €12.3m has already been paid to schools for the first term with the balance payable in 2021.Additional Cleaning and PPESchools have been provided a Covid-19 specific capitation payment will be used as the mechanism to support the implementation of enhanced cleaning regimes in schools. This is intended to allow for an extra 4 to 6 hours cleaning per day in schools.Enhanced Covid-19 rates are payable in respect of students attending special schools and special classes attached to mainstream schools in order to assist with the extra costs arising from the cleaning of classrooms operating specialist provision. Initial funding to schools for cleaning for the first term is now with schools and further payments will issue in early 2021 for cleaning needs for the subsequent terms.Teacher SupplyIn addition, significant additional measures are being adopted to increase the supply of teachers at both primary and post-primary level, including offering additional hours to the 2,800 teachers who are working part-time in post-primary schools, allowing job-sharing teachers to work additional hours and making it more attractive for teachers on career break to provide substitution and supervision cover. Schools have been notified of these changes, allowing them to more easily hire additional teachers.The Teaching Council is also working on a range of measures to increase the supply of registered teachers who may be available to fill posts to support the re-opening of schools for the 2020/21 academic term, including making contact with the 6,000 registered teachers who are not currently active in schools. 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NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — A valuable concrete relief by Cyprus’ most avant-garde artist of the 1960s has been rediscovered after lying hidden in the underground recesses of a nightclub. The club is in the abandoned ghost town of Varosha, which has been under Turkish military control since a 1974 war ethnically cleaved the island nation. The nightclub’s 93-year-old Greek Cypriot former owner, who says he commissioned that artwork and others by artist Christoforos Savva, wants to remove them and transfer them to the country’s internationally recognized southern part. But the family that owns the hotel where the nightclub once operated says the artwork is its private property and objects to its removal, warning of legal action.
Janice Chung | The Observer Two tickets announced their candidacy for Saint Mary’s student body president and vice president Tuesday. Juniors McKenzie Johnson and Barbi Prokup hope to deliver “change, communication and community,” according to official campaign materials, while juniors Emma McCarthy and Mary Joy Dingler are campaigning to promote transparency, communication and diversity on campus.The two tickets will deliver speeches today at 5 p.m. in the Noble Family Dining Hall, and elections will be held Thursday. The winning ticket will take office April 1, succeeding current student body president Kaitlyn Baker and vice president Maddie Kohler.McCarthy, a political science major, and Dingler, a humanistic studies major with a concentration in English writing, put a special emphasis on transparency in their campaign.“One thing we really want to work on is publishing office hours [of members of student government],” Dingler said. “Students should be aware of when they can go and talk with every committee chair and the student body president and vice president, to make us more available for students.”The ticket also wants to establish a weekly email to students, similar to the [email protected] emails, McCarthy said. They said they believe the email will help bolster attendance at campus events.“We definitely think we receive too many emails,” McCarthy said. “ … If we send it out every week on a Sunday, students will come to expect it as time goes on. At least once a week, we want to say, ‘Hey, here is what is going on,’ and have each co-chair report their events to the vice president. She will compile it and send it out.”The pair plans to improve the dining experience at the College, Dingler said.“You have to eat,” Dingler said. “Café Spes Unica closes at [3 p.m.] and seeing as there have been more night classes, we think it would be beneficial for it to be open until 5 or 6, just so students have the chance to get dinner, since a lot of times, a lot of education majors do not get a chance to eat because they are so busy every day.”As faculty and staff of the College play a large role in the everyday life of students on campus, the McCarthy-Dingler ticket also hopes to implement a “Thank You Week,” in which students show their appreciation for the work of staff and faculty, McCarthy said.“We have lots of big weeks here on campus, but one that we have neglected is thanking our faculty and staff for everything they do for us,” McCarthy said. “We really want to establish a week where we write cards and show our appreciation for all the work they do to make Saint Mary’s our home away from home.”Similarly, the ticket hopes to continue mental health awareness week and to make online scheduling of counseling services available to students, Dingler said.“We want these resources to be more accessible so that students know that they can go,” Dingler said.Johnson, a business administration major, and Prokup, a finance major, said they will focus on feasible plans in their platform.“We wanted to include things that could actually happen on campus,” Johnson said. “We wanted to be realistic with ourselves — a lot of things on our platform are things we know we can accomplish. They are things that we think are important but also realistic.”The pair plans to address bullying on campus, Prokup said.“There have been girls who have been harassed via door and leaving notes, social media: It has become an excessive problem here on campus,” Prokup said. “We want to create an anti-bullying program that has steps on what we need to do as students to prevent and protect our fellow students.”The program would be run through social media and campus-wide conversations, Prokup said.“We are fully committed to this because it is such a strong problem here that we really want to help combat,” Prokup said. “We would like to hold other events to remind everyone that this is a safe campus where you can be yourself without having to face judgment.”Johnson and Prokup plan to increase attendance at events through a regular email, Johnson said.“Even as someone involved on campus, I never know when sports games are,” Johnson said. “I know I can probably look it up on the website, but if it is not directly presented to me, then I probably will be unaware and not go. … That is something we want to address.”The campaign also wants to promote communication between all aspects of the College, Johnson said.“Communication is such an important things here, especially when it comes to communication between the student body, professors, faculty, the Board of Trustees,” Johnson said. “I think that the position of student body president has really lost that emphasis of being a representative of the student body, someone who has had frequent connections with students, conversations with students.“It is sometimes sad to me that people don’t know who our [student body] president is,” she said. “I really want to address this next year — we want to know everyone, we want everyone to know us.”Tags: saint mary’s, SMC, student body elections, Student Body President
Qui Nguyen(Photo: Caitlin McNaney) Qui Nguyen is a playwright, screenwriter, fight choreographer, co-founder of the theater company Vampire Cowboys and self-professed geek. A Los Angeles-based writer for Marvel Studios, Nguyen won a Daytime Emmy Award for his work on the animated pre-school program Peg+Cat and has a slew of accolades and awards for his writing. His works for the stage include She Kills Monsters, Soul Samurai, The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent G., Alice in Slasherland, Fight Girl Battle World, Men of Steel and Living Dead in Denmark. His play Vietgone is currently being produced by Manhattan Theatre Club and will run at City Center through December 4. Nguyen took time out of his busy schedule to hang out with Broadway.com at New Dramatists, which he considers his home away from home.Was there a specific incident that inspired Vietgone?I’ve always wanted to write a play about my parents. It took a while to do it, though. I went to The University of California, Irvine to do some research on Vietnamese refugees. They had these files of pictures from different refugee camps, and I saw one of those files was for Fort Chaffee, where my parents were. I just got obsessed with looking through that file in hopes I would see a picture of them somewhere. I didn’t, but that’s what made me decide to write about it. I was obsessed with that thought: Who were they in 1975 when they were new in America? What percentage of this play really happened?I can’t give you a percentage, but I can tell you most of the events are real. Like how they escaped Vietnam, my dad did have a wife and two kids, my mom had a boyfriend—all those things were real. They don’t speak like 2016 teenagers, and they also don’t rap, so that’s totally fake. It’s my parents love story, which is about two refugees who lost their families and loved ones in Vietnam and how they had to rebuild their lives in a refugee camp in Fort Chaffee, Arkansas in 1975. Which writers have inspired you?What time of day do you get your best work done?The morning. It’s shifted throughout my life. When I was in my 20s, I was a night owl. I wrote from like midnight to five in the morning. Now that I have kids that seems stupid, so I write during the day. I have a day job where I write, so it’s definitely as soon as I get my first cup of coffee in me. I’m good to go from nine to at least one. At that point, I start to edit. My creative brain starts to go away and then my editorial brain starts to show up.What’s the first thing you do when you sit down to write? If it’s a piece that is in progress, I tend to look over what I’ve written already to get the momentum of where I was going to go next. If it’s a brand new piece and I haven’t written anything, then I go to my white board. I actually pull out my dry-erase marker and kernel. I write images and ideas and create graphs; I’m a very visual writer. I like to know the world—who’s related to who—stuff that may not ever show up in the play or the screenplay. I like to have it all mapped out in a nice visual way because then I can look up at that board anytime I get lost. I’m definitely a person who like finds newspaper clippings or pictures and pin them onto my cork board. I look at those and get inspired. I’m a really regimented writer. I outline everything from top to bottom. I do all my beats and stuff like that. I’ve always thought of my plays as Hollywood popcorn movies. If you ever watch one of my plays, you can almost take out a clock and every seven minutes some big theatrical event will happen. Vietgone’s a prime example of it—seven minutes, a musical piece; seven minutes, a kung fu fight; seven minutes, a big movement sequence. I think of those big movie places, and how to get to them. What do you geek out over? I geek out over a lot. I am, after all, a self-professed geek. I’m a big cinephile: I love old flicks. I’m also a big comic book fan. I also just geek out over fellow writers; I love all the writers I’ve become friends with throughout the years through New Dramatist and May-Yi Theater Company.I just love seeing their work, and I’m more inspired by living playwrights than by dead ones. I love seeing what my peers are doing and watching their work. I’ve never felt like I was a theater geek—my wife can tell you all about the history of Broadway and her favorite musicals; I couldn’t tell you any of that stuff, but I can tell you what all our friends are doing and how they’ve evolved and what I can steal and use in my own work and things like that. That’s what I really geek out over, the craft of writing.What play changed your life?What obsesses you as a writer?It feels like the themes have changed throughout the years, I think right now because of the political climate that we’re in, I really want to show the humanity behind people who end up becoming political tropes. The Vietnamese are definitely a political trope—a prop for speeches and things. I always want to find the humanity in that. Right now, it’s Syria and the Middle East. These are people with loves, passions, desires. They’re not just an easy carbon copy picture that politicians want to put out there to win an argument. How does being a fight choreographer inform your work as a writer? I think that’s why I think of my play in set pieces—that’s how it all started. Because I’m such a fan of kung fu movies , and [in them] fights happen every few minutes. You watch kung fu movies to watch people fight and not for the intricate plots. I try to I keep that momentum and excitement—to get the audience pumped up watching my plays and to always have that kind of visceral connection. It also just allowed me to do the fights I’ve always wanted to see on stage. When you’re being hired to do fights for theater, it’s Shakespeare most of the time or very realistic—like the people get slapped or pushed off a couch or something. You rarely get to use crazy Eastern swords and weapons. You don’t just see that in the middle of a Sam Shepard play. What’s the hard work of being a playwright no one ever told you? Time management. I think I was prepped for all the romanticism of being a playwright, including being a starving artist. I was prepped for staying up late, getting rejected,doing readings, grubby bars—all those things. I was excited for all of that. What I was not prepped for was the time management. As my career’s progressed, I’m getting pulled in five different directions and yet I also need to be home because I have a family and kids. To be able to make time for all of those things is the hardest thing for me. I feel like it’s heartbreaking on every level. I want to be here in New York working on my play, but I also want to be in L.A. working on the TV shows or movies I’m working on, and I also just want to be home to play with my kids on the weekend. Since I’m flung all over the place, I never get to dive into any one thing anymore. That’s something I didn’t expect to see in my career, and it’s probably the hardest thing. I’ve missed a lot of birthdays and weddings and funerals because of it. I miss some important events.What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring playwrights?Be you. That’s as short as I can get it: Be you. What’s your favorite line in Vietgone? View Comments