Schools will close for “at least 16 weeks” in response to the coronavirus pandemic across Northern Ireland, when they do close.
On Saturday, first minister 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.
“Then of course you are into the summer period, so they will be off school for a very long time.”
Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald said, the UK government response to coronavirus “should be rejected” and is “totally unacceptable in the north of Ireland.”
Deputy first minister Michelle O’Neill repeated her call for Northern Ireland schools to “shut immediately.”
O’Neill said, “In my opinion schools should close now. 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.”
This week the Irish prime minister has announced that all schools, colleges and other public facilities are to close in the Republic of Ireland.
Leo Varadkar made a live statement to the nation from Washington DC, where he is due to meet President Donald Trump, he said the emergency measures will take place from 18:00 on Thursday until the 29 March.
The Times newspaper reported the new law will give police and immigration officers power to detain anyone that is suspected of having the virus, the law could remain in place for two years.
The legislation also will prevent schools from closing, unless otherwise directed to do so which includes Northern Ireland.
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