For sixth class pupils, lockdown means that the usual rites of passage at the end of primary school are lost and new ways of marking what is a major milestone in the lives of children must be found.
Last September, Áine Byrne was full of enthusiasm for the year ahead. Sixth class pupils at Fr Cullen Memorial NS, Tinryland, Co Carlow, are assigned 'buddies' in the junior end of the school to look out for in the yard and, for Áine (12), this was going to be one of the pinnacles of the school experience. But the lockdown has disrupted that.
Now, with the year running out and uncertainty about a return before the end of June, Áine and her peers around the country may not get to finish primary in the usual way.
Her mother Jane is not overly concerned about Áine missing out from an educational point of view - she has been keeping up with her schoolwork - but she is sorry that she may not be back with the same group of friends in sixth class again.
Her daughter is fretting that the last day she spent in school before the lockdown will be her last day in primary.
The class was also planning an end-of-year dance in which Áine had a solo part. But events such as this, that she and her friends were excited about, cannot now take place.
Jane remembers her own last day of primary school when they climbed out the windows. "It was the most rebellious thing we ever did. I keep saying to Áine that she is living through history, but she won't necessarily look back on this with the same eyes as we adults do. She's been really building up to this year in school. These are small things to adults but they're colossal in her world," she says.
Sixth-class pupils are uppermost on the minds of school leaders too. In a survey last month by Dr Jolanta Burke and Dr Majella Dempsey, of Maynooth University, more than half of 2,808 principals who responded referred to sixth-class pupils missing out on the important social aspects of class trips, end-of-year celebrations, sport, school competitions and other events that mark the transition from primary to secondary school.
Many talked about how the pupils themselves were very sad and concerned that they would not get to be together in class again.
Parents are talking to one another about how best to mark the end of primary school for their children.
At her home in Dublin, Deirdre O'Rourke Sullivan is planning to make a DVD as a souvenir for all the girls in her daughter Cara's class at St Pius Girls NS, Templeogue.
She has put out a call to parents for photos taken at various school events and birthday parties over the years.
Another parent is ordering souvenir sweatshirts that are usually given out on the day of 'graduation'.
"Even things like preparing to go into secondary school and talking about that and organising their books - they're missing out on all that.
"From an education point of view they're all in the same boat going into first year and they'll adapt. But they're going from being the eldest to being the babies again. It's a huge transition," she says.
Mum to Lee (11) and Dean (8), Sharyn Hagan, from Naas, Co Kildare, says her elder son is missing the contact with his friends at Killashee Multi-Denominational NS. She says the responsibilities that sixth-class pupils are given go a long way to preparing them to step up to second level.
"These responsibilities were giving them a sense of maturity. Lee was coming home from school saying 'we were in charge today'," she says.
Because Lee is younger than a lot of fellow pupils she is worried about the loss of preparation for second level, in his case, into a very big school.
"If the children don't go back before September, he'll go straight into secondary school. At least if you have your graduation you have mentally left primary school," she says.
Áine Lynch, CEO of the National Parents Council Primary and Early Years, says there are concrete things parents can do. While there will be limitations, she believes parents' associations and principals can come up with solutions. "Schools are very creative places. There are opportunities to have things happen that wouldn't happen in other years. It's important that parents' associations attempt to mark it," she says.
"It doesn't have to be a one-off event - it could be a number of events online. The activities for sixth class should be different from what's being done for the rest of the school. I think it's important, rather than postponing it, to work together to find activities for sixth class that allows them a recognition."
There is, according to Ms Lynch, also a place for the pupils themselves to be involved. "Quite often it's the children who come up with the most important ideas. It should be a partnership between the schools, the parents and the children to come up with the ideas," she adds.
"As much as we're not going to have the normal rite of passage this year we could create something very memorable for these children, something that would have it's own specialness because of what's happening.
"These children could get an opportunity that other children won't have because of the circumstances we are in."