Coronavirus Northern Ireland: Schools “could close for 16 weeks”

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Saturday, March 14th, 2020
Community, Coronavirus, News

Schools in Northern Ireland could close for at least 16 weeks due to the Coronavirus / Covid-19 Pandemic, Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster has said.

She was speaking after attending a meeting between senior ministers from the North and South governments today, while Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill again repeated her call for all Northern Ireland schools to close immediately in line with yesterday’s announcement from the Irish government.

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the only difference between the response from both governments was over timing.



According to Varadkar, both governments “shared the same objective” with the aim of slowing down the advance of Covid-19.

Speaking after today’s meeting in Armagh, Arlene Foster said, “At some stage in the future, when we are advised on the medical evidence, they will have to close the schools.

“Children will be at home for quite a considerable period of time, given that when we do close the schools they will be closed for at least 16 weeks.



She added, “Then, of course, you are into the summer period, so they will be off school for a very long time.”

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said all parties agreed with the 16 week assertion, saying it was “a matter of timing”.

“In my opinion schools should close now,” she insisted.



“I think we need to be consistent across this island.

“I think the fact that you can have two schools a mile apart and one school’s open and one school’s closed that’s a very confusing picture and a very confusing message for the public,” O’Neill added.



Keep up to date with all the latest Northern Ireland Coronavirus / Covid-19 news HERE


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