“Schools are very much woven into the life of our society. They are part of the weave that gives great energy to us all. It is perhaps only when they are closed that we truly appreciate their worth. They are places where information is imparted, friendships are built and communities are created. School communities transform lives and they build present and future citizenship. We have missed schools greatly.
“Students, teachers, staff and parents all form part of their school community. For almost six months all the members of school communities have had to find new ways of working and being together. Children and parents alike have had no option but to take the work of schooling into their homes, on to their kitchen tables, up into their spare rooms, while we have all been locked down.
“Now, as schools are reopening, students can look forward to seeing their friends once again and to getting back into their academic routine. Teachers will once again be able to teach their students face to face and parents, many of whom may still be working from home, can shed the mantle of teacher.
“Schools strive to be places of safety. In September 2020 the word safety takes on greater importance than ever. We are very aware that lockdown has not gone away and that it can come back in specific geographical areas for particular public health reasons instantly. The impact that daily uncertainty and inevitable anxiety has had on everyone is a good enough argument in itself for a return to school. By the same token, we all know that returning to school safely is essential at all times but it is especially so in the new and ever-changing circumstances of the coronavirus that has rocked our world and continues to do so for the foreseeable future.
“I want to thank everyone associated with getting schools ready for the return to school 2020. This has been a mammoth task and will continue to be such. The message we have heard repeatedly of late – ‘We are all in this together’ – holds very true of schools. I want to congratulate you on everything you have already done in preparation for the return and for your willingness to face together challenges as yet unseen and unknown. I want to thank you for the ways in which you have worked together to make your school as safe an environment as possible.
“In the coming weeks and months I want to encourage students, teachers, staff and parents to grasp the opportunities that the reopening of schools presents. Take each day as it comes and take pride in your achievements every single day.
“In wishing you good fortune and good faith in the times ahead, I offer you a few words from St Paul’s Letter to The Galatians: Therefore, as opportunity offers, let us work for the good of all … (Galatians 6.10). I have every confidence that you are doing so and will continue to do so.”
Dublin & Glendalough