Primary 4-7 pupils could be back in classroom next Monday if Stormont gives green light

Education Minister Peter Weir is putting forward a proposal for primary school pupils in years P4 to P7 to return to the classroom on March 22.

Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 10:06 am

Peter Weir will recommend the move when ministers review restrictions later.

In addition he will also propose the return of face-to-face learning for all primary and post primary pupils by April 12.

Schools are expected to be top of the agenda today as ministers review lockdown measures against the latest scientific data.

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P3 children Scarlett Greggan (left) and Madison Lowry playing patty cake during their lunch break in the playground of Springfield Primary School in Belfast

Outdoor sport is also likely to be considered.

Northern Ireland has been living under restrictive lockdown measures since a spike of coronavirus cases in December.

The Executive published its Pathway Out Of Restrictions blueprint earlier this month.

It includes five steps along nine pathways covering home and community, education, work, retail, hospitality, sport, worship and ceremonies, travel and tourism, culture, heritage and entertainment.

An empty classroom

The plan does not include any dates.

BBC are reporting that they understand ministers will also discuss calls to allow up to 10 people from two households to meet for some outdoor activities, such as golf.

If the proposal is agreed, it could see the return of golf from April 1, although golf clubhouses would remain closed.

There is also a plan to allow limited sports training for up to 15 people after Easter.

In retail, there are proposals to allow businesses to open up more click-and-collect services, which would mean greater flexibility for people who run garden centres and plant nurseries.

BBC are also reporting that ministers will also discuss testing international travellers who come into Northern Ireland from a so- called red list of about 40 countries.

Tuesday’s meeting will see the executive’s first formal review of the regulations, which have been in place since December.

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