SCHOOLS across Northern Ireland are to close to pupils from Monday due to the coronavirus pandemic, First Minister Arlene Foster has said.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Mrs Foster, standing alongside Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill, said now was the right time to shut schools.
“We have agreed that all schools will close to pupils from Monday 23 March,” Mrs Foster said.
“The societal and economic impact of this measure will be enormous as parents have to adjust their routine to deal with this unplanned long-term closure.”
She added it was a time of “unprecedented challenge” and that the closure would last into the summer.
Mrs O’Neill said there was one priority at this time “to save lives and to mind people”.
“We are going to launch a communities response plan, where the voluntary and community sector’s emergency leadership group come together to deal with issues such as tackling poverty, food poverty, free school meals, those self-isolating and those people that are connecting with communities.”