It was originally proposed that pre-school, nursery and primary schools pupils in P1 to P3 who went back to class on Monday would go back to remote learning from March 22 until Easter in order to facilitate the return to school of pupils from Years 12 to 14 who are preparing for exams.
However, this afternoon the Executive agreed that the youngest pupils will continue with face-to-face teaching for the remainder of this term.
Decisions on the timing for the return of other primary and post-primary pupils will be considered next Tuesday as part of an overall review of the current restrictions.
Students in years 12 to 14, who will be awarded qualification results this summer, will return to full time face-to face teaching with effect from March 22, 2021.
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Education Minister Peter Weir said: “I welcome the decision by the Executive today to allow the youngest pupils to continue with face-to-face teaching until the start of the Easter holidays.
“I know that many schools, parents and other pupils want clarity on when more year groups will be returning. I will continue to make the case for all pupils to return as soon as practicably possible and in line with public health advice and scientific evidence.
“It is clear that long periods away from the classroom has a significant impact on the mental health and well-being of our children and young people. Remote learning, no matter how well provided and delivered, is no replacement for face-to-face learning and educational experience. I am particularly conscious of the disproportionate impact that this has on disadvantaged groups and vulnerable children.”