No masking the smiles and a few tears on pupils' first day at school
From canteens turned into classrooms to teachers kitted out in personal protective equipment, students are returning to school buildings which are very different to the ones they left.
But despite some nerves and anxiety, the feedback from parents and pupils has been largely positive.
In Presentation Secondary School, Kilkenny, principal Shane Hallahan welcomed first-years on Tuesday.
The sixth-year leaders yesterday met with the students to help them settle into their new surroundings, and the principal said "it's all hands on deck" as they adapt to the new normal.
"It's strange with the masks, but you can still tell that the kids are smiling behind them," Mr Hallahan said.
"We're in line for a brand-new build, so our space is tight; so we've made use of the canteen, turned it into two classrooms, and turned the gym, stage and library into classrooms just to make sure we could put the proper numbers into each classroom."
They usually have five classes of first-years, but increased this to six to limit the numbers. The number of children enrolling hasn't been affected by Covid-19, but Mr Hallahan said there are fewer transition-year students arriving from overseas.
"Every year we have a number of students that come from Spain, Germany and Austria in transition year and some of them have fallen back, but some are still coming. They're cocooning for 14 days and will then hopefully be starting school," he said.
While he knows there may be further challenges ahead, Mr Hallahan praised his "brilliant" staff and said everyone is "delighted to be back".
Meanwhile, at Citywest and Saggart Community National School in Dublin, careful planning allowed parents to still get that memorable first-day experience with their junior infants.
Principal Michael Byrne said the first day "couldn't have gone better" as they welcomed 54 beginners.
"It was actually surprising how well they coped. They came in the door and sanitised their hands and it was no problem to them at all," he said.
"We allowed one adult in with them in groups of six. As this is the first day of school, it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we didn't want anyone to miss out on that.
"Our building is new, so we've got nice, spacious classrooms where we can break them into smaller pods. We know there are schools who aren't as lucky."
Mr Byrne said that wearing PPE will take "some getting used to".
"I had my mask on at 8.45am to greet people and just sat down at my desk at 12pm to take it off.
"The staff understand we need to keep ourselves and the children safe."
In Co Cavan, there were a "few tears" at Scoil Naomh Bríd, Ballyconnell, as parents waved goodbye to their junior infants.
Principal Terence Reynolds said parents are allowed to come into the classroom with their children for the first three days as they get used to their new environment.
The school brought students in last Friday to help them get used to the layout and so far, the pod system has been working well.
"They're still getting to play football at break and all have their allotted seats. We've ample space and a metre between each pod, the teachers are dressed in PPE, and we have a number of smaller classes.
"We've been able to create that bit of extra space. Thankfully, we didn't have to throw out too much furniture."