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Pupils in all primary and post-primary schools will return to school after the Easter holidays.

This follows a review during today’s Executive meeting when it was agreed that the remaining students in years 8 to 11 could resume face-to-face teaching from 12 April.

Education Minister Peter Weir said: “A major milestone has been reached today with the Executive agreeing to move ahead as planned to allow pupils in year 8 to 11 to return to school after Easter.

“All of our pupils will now be back in school, engaging with teachers and socialising with their friends. We must all keep playing our part in ensuring our schools are safe and remain open.

“It is important that staff and students ensure they follow the Department’s guidance including social distancing, good hand hygiene and wearing face coverings where required.

“The message remains that parents and guardians should wear a mask when they are picking up or dropping off their child and not congregate around the school gates.”

The Department will write to schools with any updates or clarifications to the guidance.

Concluding the Minister said that he would continue to support education settings to help them manage the impact of the pandemic.

He said: “It is important that schools, students and parents are confident that our schools are safe. The introduction of testing, which will continue to be rolled out for pupils over the coming months, will help provide significant reassurance.

“I will also continue to invest in resources to help pupils who have faced disruption to their learning.”