AS THOUSANDS of pupils return to the 'new normal' classroom experience amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy is urging people to be supportive and patient.
Speaking ahead of the reopening of schools, Bishop Leahy spoke of the importance of schools to our communities and paid tribute to all involved in the process, not least principals for their leadership during the summer months.
He said that we must stick with the HSE guidelines in preventing the spread of disease.
“While there is a natural quiver of nervousness around what lies ahead, we should all strive to create an atmosphere of mutual support,” he said.
“That will mean an extra supplement of patience, understanding and forbearance. It will be a challenging time, so we need to be patient and we need to encourage.
He said that while it is "inevitable" there will be moments of irritation, "we cannot let them take over".
“The daily vaccine of patience, understanding and a gentle approach will go a long way to ensure the re-opening of schools will be as positive an experience as possible for all.
“We all need to be grateful for those who have risen to the challenge to get the schools ready to meet the Covid-19 disruption. In particular, I want to commend school principals for going way beyond the call of duty in working out the practical arrangements for school 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.
“The school 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 added: “As schools re-open, I want to assure the pupils, teachers and staff of my prayers and the prayers of the Diocese of Limerick. We appreciate this is both a wonderful time and a challenging time for all concerned.
“It is wonderful the schools are re-opening. Schools are the heartbeat of communities across the Diocese. Life thrives when they are up and running. Perhaps we don’t always appreciate it, but, along with the pupils, we all benefit from the community life that schools generate.”