Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister has said reopening schools after their extended break this mid-term will be her priority.
Schools in the North will close for two weeks instead of one this mid-term as the six counties enter a four-week ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown.
The lockdown, announced following a late-night session in Stormont yesterday, will see people asked to work from home and only travel for essential purposes.
Bars and restaurants will only be allowed to offer take-away services and shops and off-licences will not be allowed sell alcohol after 8pm.
On Lunchtime Live this afternoon, Stormont’s Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said the school closure could end up lasting longer than two weeks.
“It is our priority to keep schools open,” she said. “I am really concerned about the long-term implications for our schools.
“Because of the changing nature of the situation, we have built in a review after that two-week period where perhaps we have to be open to looking at all the other options – including online learning and blended learning.”
She said the situation has thrown up tremendous challenges for teachers and principals and insisted politicians would do everything they can to get children back to school.
“My priority will always be having children in schools in the traditional setting but I must also be very honest with people and say there are very tough decision to be made in dealing with this pandemic,” she said.
“You have to be honest with people and say everything is always on the table but people can be assured that my priority will be, above all else, to keep children in school.”
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