Arlene Foster: Education at schools at an end due to coronavirus

Educational work at Northern Ireland’s schools has come to an end due to Covid-19, Arlene Foster said.

They are being “repurposed” to provide online planning and resource packs, Stormont’s First Minister said.

A list of key workers whose children will need to be provided for while they are working includes: healthcare, nursery and teaching staff, members of the police, fire and prison services and those keeping public transport and the electric network operating.

Children whose parents work in food distribution are also a priority, according to a document published on the education department’s website.

Mrs Foster said schools were being repurposed and “unfortunately the educational work that goes on has come to an end”.

She added: “They will provide online planning and resource packs.”

Teachers, principals and parents have called for clarity around school closures from Monday.

Education Minister Peter Weir has said the schools are only being opened to key workers who cannot find alternative childcare arrangements.

GCSE and A-level exams will not go ahead as planned this summer due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Instead, teachers will use measures such as past performance to come to a fair assessment of ability, Mr Weir said.

Teachers will continue to be working throughout this period and remote learning will be provided, the minister added.