Over the last number of weeks, we have been challenged personally and professionally to adapt to the new reality brought about by Covid-19. As school leaders we play a vital role in the National effort to maintain a sense of normality, albeit a new normal.
We have been challenged to support our teachers to move from the classroom to the living room, to assist our parents to enable their children to engage in remote learning as best they can, and to enable schools to meet the needs of our most vulnerable students as best we can. The achievement of schools to provide for the continuity of learning and for connectivity to our school communities has been nothing short of miraculous. In a few short weeks we have achieved so much, even if the transition has been extremely challenging.
As President, I am grateful for the support we in the education community have received from the staff of Emmet House who have worked tirelessly to represent us and support us in our efforts to meet the national challenge of this crisis. If we have learned anything in the last few weeks, it is that school community is not confined to the school environs and buildings but resides in authentic school relationships and our commitment to support each other and our students and their families.
The foresight of the DES to invest in ICT infrastructure over the past number of years has left schools in a better position to respond to this crisis than would have been possible a decade ago. It is also heartening to see the information technology industry supporting the education community. Only this morning I attended a very helpful webinar for JMB members on the use of Cisco’s Webex platform to support remote learning. There will be a further webinar available on Wednesday next at 3.00pm, which I would encourage you to attend.
As we begin our preparations for Easter, I know that we have all had our agony in the garden moments since March 12th. Please know however, that there will be an Easter experience at the other end of this crisis. I commend all in the education community for the strength of your leadership, and the sympathy and empathy that I know you are showing to those in our communities who are struggling. My prayer for all of us is that we will be imbued with the confidence and courage we will need in the weeks and months ahead.
3rd April 2020