She also told parents that opening windows was the most effective way of helping ventilation in classrooms and added that she had encouraged schools to be flexible with their uniform policies.
She also said that contingency arrangements are in place for qualifications to be awarded on teacher assessments if exams have to be cancelled this summer.
Ms McIlveen’s letter said: “Case numbers in children and staff are likely to continue to reflect those in the community and we can expect some disruption in the coming weeks. My focus has been, and remains, on the continuing provision of education within our schools for all our children. I want to reassure you that the NI Executive continues to have a shared objective to keep schools safe and open, because the best place for children and young people is in school.”
Ms Ilveen said there had been much discussion on the importance of ventilation in reducing Covid risks. She added: “I have been advised by health colleagues that natural ventilation, by opening windows, is the single most effective measure.”
The minister said the intention is for GCSEs and A-levels to go ahead this summer, but that students would have to take “fewer examinations”. She said ‘contingency arrangements’ had been established.