THE North’s Education Minister has again dismissed speculation that schools will close early for the Christmas break.
Peter Weir said despite dismissing the possibility of an extended Christmas break earlier this month “there continue to be widespread rumours about this matter”.
He described the ongoing rumours as “disappointing”.
“I will once again stress that there are no plans to extend the Christmas holidays for schools,” Mr Weir said.
Mr Weir first addressed speculation on November 17.
“I believe this would only cause further disruption to children’s education and lead to an increase in levels of stress and anxiety,” he added.
Some schools have brought forward events to be held before December 11 in case the Stormont Executive makes a U-turn and shut schools early.
Mr Weir said an extended Christmas break could lead to a greater spread of the virus.
“I strongly believe that face-to-face teaching is the best form of education and our schools are the best place to provide this in a controlled and safe environment.
“Indeed, large numbers of young people socialising out of school has the potential to create a major public health concern,” he said.
His priority, he added, is to “guard children’s education, mental health and well-being”.
Schools in the North of Ireland are due to be closed between Tuesday, December 22 and Monday, January 4.