Children in primary one to primary three (aged four to seven) and those in nursery and pre-school are going back to class.
Only special schools have remained open to all pupils since the start of term in January.
Vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers have also been able to attend school and can keep doing so.
That has meant about 90% of Northern Ireland’s 350,000 children have been learning remotely for more than two months.
The executive has decided that the youngest pupils should return to school first.
It is then planned that they will resume remote learning on 22 March to enable the return of post-primary pupils in years 12 to 14 until the start of the Easter holidays.
However, that has been criticised by some primary school principals and the executive is expected to decide this week whether children in primaries one to three can remain in school until the Easter break.
Pupils in primaries four to seven and years eight to 11 in post-primaries do not yet know when they will return to school.
The executive has yet to decide if they can go back to school after Easter (12 April), meaning many pupils will only have been in class for four months over a calendar year.
Schools have also been told that breakfast clubs, education visits, inter-school sports and after-school activities should not take place until at least after Easter.
The Department of Education (DE) has previously advised teachers to avoid using terms like “catch up” when children return to school.
“The vision is for a balanced day where children are able to play, are ready to learn and feel able to re-connect,” the DE guidance said.
The Public Health Agency (PHA) has previously said that schools – including special schools – are not a major source of transmission of coronavirus.
However, schools are expected to continue to keep pupils in class ‘bubbles’ to limit children from different classes mixing.
Some pupils in Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland have already gone back to the classroom as part of a phased return to school.
Schools in England are reopening to all pupils on Monday.
That will be accompanied by mass rapid Covid testing in post-primary schools, although the tests for pupils are voluntary and need parents’ permission.Tags: