Schools reopen in challenging times

Primary and second-level schools are reopening this week after more than five months of closure due to Covid-19, and though there is a certain amount of nervousness on the part of teachers, pupils and parents, the feeling is that getting children back in the classroom is very important after being closed for such a long time. Schools throughout North Cork and South Limerick have been a hive of activity in recent days as principals and teachers follow Covid-19 protocols, with increased signage, sanitisation stations, separate entrances and exits, staggered drop-off times and breaks, rearranged timetables, social distancing, mask protocols and other initiatives to ensure that everyone is as safe as possible.
Bishop Brendan Leahy has urged people to be supportive and patient, and to adhere to HSE guidelines. “It will be a challenging time, so we need to be patient and we need to encourage,” he said, adding that it is inevitable that there will be moments of irritation, but “we cannot let them take over”.
“I want to commend school principals for going way beyond the call of duty in working out the practical arrangements for schools re-opening. I am mindful too of pupils, teachers and members of management boards who will have to re-adjust to all kinds of new ways,” he said. “The schools re-opening calls on all of us to do our part by encouraging all concerned. It is good for the children and young people to be resuming a structure that facilitates their personal growth. It is important that we promote all the advice given by the health authorities, especially about hand-washing and social distancing,” he said.