Coronavirus: No guarantee NI schools will reopen in September says Education Minister Peter Weir

Minister for Education, Peter Weir, MLA, has said there is "no planned date for the reopening of schools" in Northern Ireland.

Wednesday, 6th May 2020, 5:39 pm

Minister Weir made the comment during the Northern Ireland daily Coronavirus briefing in Belfast on Wednesday afternoon.

Many involved in education in Northern Ireland had suggested the timing of the reopening of schools would coincide with the beginning of a new academic year in September.

"Let me say clearly no planned date for reopening of schools for normal business - any decision guided by science and health advice, will not be date driven," said Minister Weir.

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There is no fixed date for the reopening of schools in Northern Ireland. (Photo: PA Wire)

Minister Weir said the return of schools would be done on a phased basis with remote learning continuing.

“This is probably the most crucial decision that this Executive will ever make so it is critical that all the details are got right," he said.

“We will work together collectively and intensively to reach a successful conclusion on this.”

The Executive took the decision to close schools because of the COVID-19 pandemic on March 23, 2020.

Some schools have remained open for the children of essential workers and vulnerable pupils.

Minister Weir's comments comes one day after a group representing teachers in the UK and Ireland wrote to education ministers warning them not to reopen schools prematurely.

The group, British Irish Group of Teacher Unions (BIGTU), sent the letter as governments begin to discuss how they intend to emerge from the Coronavirus lockdown.