A huge vote of thanks must go out to the school principals, teachers, other staff members and all who have helped to get Kildare’s schools open once more.
It has been a Trojan task for them all, and it is not over yet. It will be an autumn as we have never seen it before in living memory, as pupils and students, plus their parents, try to get used to masks in the classroom; learning and playing in pods and a new way of interaction in the educational sphere.
The hard work and dedication which has gone into each school reopening has shone through when we have talked to school staff and principals over the last number of weeks.
It has not been an easy August for those responsible for making sure that adequate hand sanitation is now in place, that correct policies and procedures are being laid down and that adequate PPE is in place as required.
Add to that the real and genuine worries being expressed by some parents and staff, especially those with, or by those who are living in a household wit, medical vulnerabilities.
The return to education is both the toughest and the most emotive part of our release from lockdown.
Juggling working from home and the return to the office or shop brings its own challenges and fears, of course. And we have long dealt with the frustrations of having our social lives curtailed due to restrictions on pubs, restaurants, gyms, sports clubs and the likes.
But schools must both care for and educate the children and teenagers in our society, which makes their reopening harder and more important at the same time.
School principal after school principal has repeated that the most important thing is to create a positive atmosphere for the youngsters in their care, so that the long-term effects, both on their mental health and their education, due to this world crisis, into which they have been flung are mitigated.
They have an important task ahead and must be supported by the rest of society as a whole.