THE Principal of a North Belfast school says he is in “disbelief” at Education Minister Peter Weir who has stated there must be no remote learning during the two-week lockdown closure.

On Wednesday, the Executive announced that schools would close for two weeks from Monday, October 19.

This afternoon, Mr Weir stated that remote learning “will not be required” during the extended closure.

Minister Weir called the closure an “extension” of the half-term break and said it is “not intended to be used for remote learning.”

Jim McKeever, Principal of Blessed Trinity in North Belfast said staff were “lost for words” at the decision.

“We, at Blessed Trinity are in disbelief about the nature of the announcement.

“Minister Weir told us all to get students back into school early and he has now given them an extended break

“I have been in a lot of classes today, including GCSE and A Level who are asking me what is going on.

“The students were under the impression they were off for remote learning but his letter clearly states it is not intended to be used for remote learning.

“We have the staff and students trained in remote learning but that it not going to happen now.

“It is strange to tell young people who have missed so much learning to come back early (in August) and then give them an extended break.

“I can understand the physical school buildings being closed but I don’t know why remote learning cannot take place.

“I am lost for words really. Staff are shaking their heads. I can’t second-guess a decision a Minister has made which I fundamentally do not understand. It must be very confusing to be a young person at the minute. I know that our students would rather be engaged in learning. We will still be giving them more work to do over their break but there will be no remote learning.”