Some NI pupils may return to school in late August with a phased return for the remainder, the education minister Peter Weir has said.
Mr Weir was speaking during a meeting of a Stormont committee on Thursday.
He said: “Subject to medical guidance and safety, it would be my aim to see a phased reopening of schools.”
Schools in Northern Ireland have been closed since March during the coronavirus crisis.
Mr Weir said the reopening of schools would begin with “limited provision for key cohort years in August, followed by a phased provision for all pupils at the beginning of September”.
He added: “This will not be a return to school as it was prior to Covid, but rather a new normal reflective of social distancing and a medically safe regime.
“For all pupils it will involve a mixture of scheduled school attendance and learning at home.
“In line with the executive’s strategy contingent upon medically sound advice and susceptibility of the transmission of the virus, consideration may be given to a return of younger cohorts.”