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Island schools will not return on Monday

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Given the continued growth in numbers of COVID-19 cases on the Island, hub schools, nurseries and childminders will not reopen tomorrow (Monday 8 March).

The Council of Ministers have reviewed the situation this morning, and have made the decision to extend the firebreak closure of schools, nurseries and childminders to help stop the spread of the virus, particularly amongst the Island's young people.

There will be a follow up announcement this afternoon detailing a new provision that will be put in place for those workers whose roles are critical to the protection of life and national infrastructure.

The Chief Minister, Howard Quayle MHK, said:

'We wanted to provide as much notice to the public as possible of our decision not to re-open to the schools on Monday. We are still working through the detail, but we will be putting in place a service for essential workers, whose roles are critical to the protection of life or infrastructure, which we will have in place for Tuesday.

The Minister for Education Sport and Culture, Dr Alex Allinson MHK, said:

'This new school provision should only be used if your children cannot be at home, as we know that home is the safest place for our children during this time. The Council of Ministers will continue working on the detail of this today, to ensure that our schools will remain a safe place for those that need to use them.'

For essential workers only, other family members may provide childcare and children of separated households are able to travel between parents' homes for the provision of childcare. Wherever possible we would ask that children from different households do not mix.