Parents of children who normally get free school meals will again receive vouchers to spend on essential groceries during the circuit break lockdown.
Schools and nurseries are now closed to the majority of students although the most vulnerable and children of essential workers can still attend.
The Free School Meal Voucher Scheme will provide eligible parents with three weekly vouchers, each equivalent to five school meals, which they will receive next week.
The vouchers will provide £11.75 a week for primary and £14.75 a week secondary school pupils that that their parents can spend at any Shoprite store before 28 March.
Dr Alex Allinson MHK, Minister for the Department of Education, Sport and Culture said:
‘This Government remains committed to providing free school meals to all eligible children.’
‘We understand that a second 21 day circuit breaker starting so soon after the last will add to any financial pressures families might be facing, but we hope this scheme will help. I would also like to thank Shoprite for their support in enabling us to offer this scheme.’
Parents should receive their vouchers through the post this week and can use them to buy groceries, but not alcohol, lottery tickets, tobacco or any other non-food products.