Education Minister Peter Weir appeared before the Education Committee this morning addressing school closures.
Mr Weir says he is following advice from chief medical officer on school closures.
“The beneficial impact on school closures could be relatively minimal and therefore we are down the pecking order of various things that should be done but also this was not the right time to do it.”
He went onto say that “if you took 340,000 school children and pre-school children out of school that with parental childcare arrangements that would lead to enormous disruption to the health service and take health care workers out of the system just at the time we need them.”
“Alot of childcare arrangements would fall on grandparents who are more vulnerable to the virus.
“The concern is that whatever benefits you would have from moving children from each other, those would be more than offset by the impact at that stage on those two categories,” he added.
Concluding he said “If you are going to take children out of school it will be for a long time- 14 to 16 weeks.
“Realistically when school closures happen you are talking about the rest of this academic year”.