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Definitive decision to be made soon on schools reopening

Peter Weir added he would not want to wait more than a week before making a decision.

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Definitive decisions may be made on Thursday on reopening schools in Northern Ireland, the education minister said (Rebecca Black/PA).

Definitive decisions may be made on Thursday on reopening schools in Northern Ireland, the education minister said (Rebecca Black/PA).

Definitive decisions may be made on Thursday on reopening schools in Northern Ireland, the education minister said (Rebecca Black/PA).

Definitive decisions may be made on Thursday on reopening schools in Northern Ireland, the education minister said.

Peter Weir added he would not want to wait more than a week before making a decision.

The Stormont Executive has already said it will be March 8 at the earliest before schools can open their gates to more pupils.

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The Stormont Executive has already said it will be March 8 at the earliest before schools can open their gates to more pupils (Niall Carson/PA)

The Stormont Executive has already said it will be March 8 at the earliest before schools can open their gates to more pupils (Niall Carson/PA)

PA

The Stormont Executive has already said it will be March 8 at the earliest before schools can open their gates to more pupils (Niall Carson/PA)

Mr Weir told BBC Evening Extra: “If it is not something definitive on Thursday it would need to be something fairly soon after that.”

Current arrangements only allow vulnerable children and those of key workers to attend class, until Friday March 5.

Whether or not schools will open fully on Monday March 8 remains in doubt and will depend on the public health situation.

If the current remote learning arrangements are altered on March 8, all pupils may not be able to get back into classroom immediately.

Mr Weir has previously raised the potential of a phased return, with those in key exam years returning first.

On Tuesday, he said: “It is important that people are given notice but we have also got to bear in mind that there has got to be decisions…looking at where things are in terms of the public health situation.”

A further 341 more people tested positive for Covid-19 over the last 24 hours.

Another nine people have died.

A total of 438,708 vaccines have been administered, the Department of Health said.

That includes 94% of over 80-year-olds – 67,824 people.

A significant number of the remaining 6% will be people who are confined to their homes or in hospital.

The rollout update included jabs delivered to:

– 88% of 75-79 age group – 54,730 people.
– 75% of 70-74 age group – 60,827 people.
– 62% of 65-69 age group – 55,688 people.
– 23% of the clinically extremely vulnerable – 21,821 people.

Health Minister Robin Swann said: “I want to thank everyone involved in our vaccination programme at all levels.

“Yet again, our health service is stepping up to the mark for us all. Thanks to this work, hundreds of thousands of people now have better protection against Covid-19.

“We must maintain the good progress we have made – and that means people continuing to come forward when it’s their turn.

“Like many others, I’m patiently waiting my turn and when it comes, I won’t have to be asked twice.”

PA


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