The Department of Education has said it will consult education partners as to how to communicate the results of calculated Leaving Certificate grades to students next month.

No date for the publication of results has been announced as yet, but schools are expressing concern this year about following the traditional practice of schools distributing grades directly to students.

Their misgivings do not just centre on social distancing.

A number of school principals have said they are worried about handing out results directly to students when teachers have been so closely involved this year in arriving at those results.

Under the calculated grades process, teachers have calculated marks and rankings for their own students. That data is now being combined with national statistics on individual school and student performance to arrive at actual grades.

School principals and teachers are concerned that some students, or their parents, may feel that teachers or the school are directly to blame for disappointing results, and some feel that teachers may be vulnerable to personal confrontations on the day.

One school principal said that principals were "terrified" of this.

The Leaving Certificate results are normally available to students at their schools from 9am and online from midday, and it is traditional for many students to go to their school to receive them.

But many school principals want the results emailed directly to students in the morning instead this year.

The matter is not straightforward because schools are also conscious of the pastoral and guidance role that they play on the day.

"I want students to come in because we haven't seen them in so long, but it is a really difficult one this year," said one principal.

"Traditionally, if a student is disappointed, you can blame the State Examinations Commission. But now we are into a different arena," another principal said.

"You have your standard responses", said another. "You tell them they can appeal it, they can view their script. But it's a different conversation this year."

However, one principal of a disadvantaged school said they want students to come in.

"We have a really strong tradition of students coming in. The first milestone this year - the graduation - was online, and it wasn't the same. We want them to feel that sense of accomplishment, and closure."

Another said: "We would normally have a lot of teachers in on the day because they have built up such strong relationships with students over the years, but this year they are saying 'I want to go in but I don’t want to go in’."

The Department of Education has said that "in light of ongoing public health concerns, arrangements regarding the way in which Leaving Certificate results will be issued are under consideration".

In a statement, it said the matter would be "discussed with education stakeholders, including representatives of students and parents, in the near future".

Separately, school principal and management bodies have requested that students receive CAO offers this year on the same day as their Leaving Certificate results.

It is not the first time that they have made this request, but the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals, as well as the Joint Managerial Body, believe that getting both outcomes simultaneously this year could help alleviate what may be heightened levels of stress among students this summer.

However, State education authorities have in the past outlined logistical difficulties with publishing both on the same day, as well as pointing to the fact that many Leaving Cert students do not apply to attend college.

Some school principals said they believe publishing both on the same day will lessen stress on students, and also potentially reduce dissatisfaction with Leaving Certificate grades received.

The Department of Education has said it anticipates that "as per usual", CAO offers will follow several days after the Leaving Certificate results have issued.

In June, the department said the date of publishing the Leaving Cert results would be "as close as possible" to the traditional mid-August date.

It is expected that the date will be announced before the end of this month.