School communities celebrated for keeping students safe and schools open during “Go raibh maith agaibh” (GRMA) day.

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Primary and post primary classrooms across Ireland will pause today, Friday, 11 December 2020 to air a video of collective acknowledgement from Ireland’s political leaders, media, and sports personalities as part of national “Go raibh maith agaibh” (GRMA) day.

JAI are proud to have been part of the organising committee for GRMA Day, which offers a moment to pause and celebrate the incredible efforts of school communities to ensure students are safe and to keep our classrooms open during the pandemic.

President Michael D. Higgins leads the tributes which include contributions from Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Simon Coveney, Ryan Tubridy, Katie Harrington, Paul O’Connell, Keith Barry, Henry Shefflin, Evanne Ní Chuilinn, James Ryan and students from around the country

School leaders, teachers, SNAs, ancillary staff, school transport services, custodial services, student leaders and mentors, have gone above and beyond to implement and adhere to public health measures to curtail the spread of Covid-19.

President Higgins, a long-standing advocate for inclusive education and independent thought, leads the tributes to school communities with a message of thanks to all those who have helped make possible the re-opening of schools. In his message, the President acknowledges the dedication and sacrifices of all those involved in the education system, thanking them for their efforts which enabled schools, vital to the healthy functioning of our society, to adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Alongside the video of acknowledgement, the Irish Second Level Students Union, National Parents’ Council, student councils and parent bodies around the country have prepared local actions and messages of appreciation for the efforts of their respective school communities during the pandemic. 

Parents and local community leaders have also been encouraged to express their appreciation for the efforts of all involved in maintaining the safety and wellbeing of our young people, even when the rest of Irish business and society closed under Level 5 restrictions.

Commenting on the events of GRMA day, Helen Raftery, CEO of JAI and NAPD advisory board member, said:

“School communities have gone above and beyond to overcome the challenges brought about by Covid-19. GRMA day offers a moment for Ireland to pause and acknowledge that effort.

“The pandemic has brought about unprecedented challenges for our primary and post primary schools. As we approach the Christmas period in this year like no other, it so important to acknowledge the huge effort by all involved: school teachers, secretaries, cleaners, bus drivers, SNAs, school leaders and indeed students, for curtailing the spread of Covid-19 and enabling a continuation of the hugely important role that schools play in all our lives.

“We owe a great debt of gratitude to our school communities and I congratulate all those who’ve contributed to this national day of celebration.”

Reflecting on a year like no other, Clive Byrne, Director, NAPD, said:

“The spirit of collective good will and a willingness to get on with the task at hand in our school communities this year has been an honour to behold.

“Colleagues in all fields central to providing an enjoyable and meaningful education for our students have gone above and beyond to ensure and maintain a return to traditional classroom education in recent months.

“I’d like to especially acknowledge the reserve of our students who have adapted and adhered to school public health measures with a maturity beyond that expected of them.

“I look forward to celebrating all that work as part of GRMA day as we pause to take note.”