Northern Ireland’s First Minister Announces Lockdown is Extended to April 1.
FIRST MINISTER Arlene Foster has announced on Thursday, February 18 that Northern Ireland’s lockdown, which had been due to lapse on March 5, will be extended to April 1, HOWEVER, some children will return to school earlier, according to the PA News Agency.
Mrs Foster said that “a full lifting of the current restrictions is not possible at this point” before adding that Northern Ireland’s Executive had “reluctantly” accepted the advice of scientists that coronavirus measures needed to be in place for longer.
The decision to extend the main lockdown restrictions to April 1 will be subject to a review on March 18.
As reported by Sky News, these are the conditions for the phased return of schools:
- from March 8 pre-school, nursery and primary school pupils in year groups P1 to P3 will return to face-to-face learning
- on March 22, secondary pupils who will be awarded qualifications this summer – year groups 12 to 14 – will return to school
- but pre-school, nursery and P1 to P3 pupils will go back to remote learning for a week on March 22 – for the week prior to the Easter holidays – to minimise the impact on infection rates of years 12-14 returning
- the Executive intends for all other students to return to classrooms as soon as possible after the Easter holidays.
Only vulnerable children and those of key workers have been in classrooms in Northern Ireland since January.
At a meeting on Thursday, the Executive also agreed:
- to relax the rules on outdoor gatherings, with groups of 10 or more from up to two households able to gather in parks or other outdoor public spaces from March 8
- to allow click and collect for shops selling baby equipment, clothing, footwear, and electrical goods from March 8.
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