'Disrespected and disheartened' is how one Cork sixth year student is feeling following the announcement that Leaving Certificate results won’t be released until September 7.
Alicia O'Sullivan, a student at Skibbereen Community School and Education Officer at the Irish Second-Level Students' Union (ISSU), expressed her disappointment that the ISSU was not consulted with before the decision was made.
"We’re on the advisory group that was set up through the Department of Education for this whole leaving cert situation that has unfolded over the last number of months.
"That group is made up of stakeholders, including the ISSU to represent the students and we were never told that that advisory group was not included in any decision making about this and we weren’t even told that this decision was happening, or that it was made," Alicia told.
"From our perspective, it’s obviously very disappointing and it’s quite disrespectful to the students of Ireland that we were just kind of blanked.
"There’s been such a serious lack in terms of a centralised line of communication.
"We’ve gone through Covid-19 by being educated, by being informed by our politicians and by our health experts and I think the students have been properly hard done by in that they haven’t been given the same amount of respect throughout this hard time.
"It is disheartening," she added.
Making the announcement on Thursday, Minister for Education Norma Foley TD, said that the results date will "operate seamlessly with the CAO system and UCAS in the UK".
"All of this means that you have certainty that you will be able to use the grades to move on to the next phase of your life, either in work or further study, in the autumn," she added.
However, Alicia said students looking to study outside of Ireland or the UK have been left with no clear answers.
"I’ve applied to study in the Netherlands and I know that my application needs to be in by August 31 and I’m just one of probably hundreds of students who have applied to go abroad maybe as a first choice, maybe as a second choice.
"It doesn’t really matter, we should be entitled to have the option.
"I’m not sure if any thought has been put into that," she said.
Alicia also highlighted a number of other concerns.
"Another issue which we feel strongly about here is college orientation for the HEAR (Higher Education Access Route) and DARE (Disability Access Route to Education) programmes.
"They usually get a bit of time before college starts for incoming first years and that’s an important time for people.
She also highlighted that there has been no clarity in terms of when second and third round CAO offers will be given.
"There are a lot of unanswered questions which I hope and we hope will be cleared up sooner rather than later," she said.
Alicia said the ISSU has contacted Minister Foley and the group is hoping to communicate with her soon.
Meanwhile, Aaron Wolfe, newly appointed Principal at Coláiste Éamann Rís, said Principals were left "totally in the dark" regarding the announcement.
"It's very disappointing for the students and their families to have to wait so long for the results. Any parent who I have spoken to has been going mad – it’s very inadequate," he told.
Mr Wolfe said teachers adhered to "very tight deadlines" in terms of assigning calculated grades and was critical regarding the delays in releasing the results.