Schools in Northern Ireland will not reopen until September because ministers believe parents will not send their children back before the summer holidays.
As speculation mounts that schools could reopen in June in Britain, a Stormont source told Sunday Life that fears over coronavirus would mean fewer than 10% of pupils here would return to full-time education if they were to reopen in the coming weeks.
"Detailed estimates show people are too afraid to send their children back so reopening schools before September would be pointless," the source insisted.
In recent days there have been indications that schools elsewhere in the UK may reopen in late May or early June.
Cabinet minister Michael Gove has said that English schools will not reopen on May 11 as some media outlets reported, though there are plans in the works.
But modelling showed an extremely low uptake of pupils if they were to reopen here soon.
The insider said: "It is highly, highly unlikely that schools will reopen before September. If they were to reopen soon, there would hardly be a child in attendance.
"Estimates we have is that there would be less than 10% take-up because people are afraid of children bringing Covid-19 back into their homes."
Schools and colleges across the UK closed to the majority of pupils apart from the children of key workers and vulnerable youngsters from March 23. The Government put the Covid-19 lockdown in place later that day.