CONFIRMED: All schools to close from Monday March 23

First Minister Arlene Foster has just confirmed all schools will close from Monday March 23 after intense pressure from parents and schools to follow the examples of the Republic and other European countries combating coronavirus.

Wednesday, 18th March 2020, 5:46 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th March 2020, 2:41 pm

The announcement has just been made in conjunction with Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill, who has been advocating for the closure of all schools and colleges since last week.

The schools are expected to stay closed through into the summer.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced last Thursday that schools would close south of the border with immediate effect to help halt the spread of coronavirus. Such a move has been replicated across Europe.

Arlene Foster and Michelle O'Neill

The UK government’s stance however that it would not close schools yet was endorsed by some senior figures within the Northern Ireland Executive, despite widespread concern and many parents refusing to send their children to school.

Wales and Scotland announced earlier today they will be shutting schools this week.

Mrs. Foster said measures have been put in place to ensure children can still learn at home, as both Ministers spoke to the media on Wednesday evening.

It was one of a range of measures announced by the Ministers as they grapple with the evolving COVID-19 crisis.