A small gang of pupils spilled out into the schoolyard shortly after three o'clock.
Some linked arms, laughing and chatting, others walked in clusters before drifting off separately into waiting cars.
Yesterday was a normal school day in Newry High School, and as teachers and pupils made their way home, there was little to suggest anything out of the ordinary.
"It's a normal school day," school receptionist Cathy said yesterday.
"We are taking our advice of the public health agency, that's all we are being told at the moment."
As countries across the world battle a pandemic, chief medical officers in Northern Ireland and England, and the UK's Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage) all advised against closing schools. A similar approach has applied to bars and restaurants, which for the most part in Newry yesterday, remained open.
There has been no directive to ban mass gatherings and by all accounts, the message coming from the top is 'business as usual'.
Meanwhile, a short 14-minute drive across the Border, schools and childcare facilities in nearby Dundalk were closed.
Bars were closed as well as most restaurants. Streets and playgrounds deserted.
Two jurisdictions, with two opposing views on how to deal with one of the biggest societal challenges of our time and a sense of growing fear over how one will affect the other.
Speaking on RTÉ radio yesterday morning, public health expert Dr Gabriel Scally said the UK position on how to deal with the virus was the "one threat to how things are being handled in the south".
In Newry, a thriving city just eight kilometres from the Border, there is a sense of growing anger over the lack of action from the UK authorities.
Ciaran Mackin, principal of St Patrick's Primary School, said many parents "voted with their feet" last Thursday when schools in the Republic closed.
"They just came and took their kids home," he said.
"Word had trickled through about what was being done across the Border and they were citing the advice being given by the health authorities there.
"I couldn't argue with that because 10 minutes across the Border the schools were being closed."
Mr Mackin, who has been a principal for more than 30 years, said his own school was closed yesterday and today for the St Patrick's Day break, and that he would be making a "difficult decision" about what would happen tomorrow.
Several schools in the Newry area have already told parents and pupils that they will close for the week.
"In the absence of proper leadership people are just doing their own thing," he said.
"I'm very conscious of the fact that 387 people died in Italy on Sunday.
"We live four to five miles from the Border and in some incidences, schools are a mile apart in two different jurisdictions.
"That makes it very difficult to police any decision unless we have a uniform approach."
Declan Murray, principal of St Joseph's Secondary school on the Armagh road in Newry, said some of his 22 staff members had informed him that they had taken a personal decision to self-isolate.
"I have no direction on what to do," he said.
"I really don't know how that's going to play out. At what point of staff absenteeism can I not function anymore?
"The conflicting advice between the North and the South has caused a lot of anxiety.
"We are based in Newry, we have staff who cross the Border, we have people who cross the Border to come to school. It's just a complete disaster," he said.
In Newry, panic-buyers have targeted the same products as those being hoarded here, mainly hand sanitiser, toilet roll and pasta.
Some of the other mass-buy products include baby formula and nappies.
Michael Nugent, a local businessman who runs Nugelato, an Italian ice-cream parlour in the town, said there was a palpable sense of panic in the community.
"The atmosphere is fairly tense," he said.
"We have absolutely no guidance or instruction. It's a case of carry on regardless, as if we are not facing an impending catastrophe.
"Yet we see that the Republic has taken measures to support businesses and with regard to employees there is at least some sort of an idea about how people are going to get paid."
Mr Nugent, who owns three other Nugelato outlets across Northern Ireland, said that he has taken matters into his own hands in terms of protecting his staff and customers by implementing a take-out only policy.
"We just can't run the risk of having large crowds in the stores," he said.
"It just seems beyond reason that one part of the country is on virtual lockdown and we are carrying on regardless. It's just reckless."