SCHOOLS across Northern Ireland are to close to pupils from Monday, it has been confirmed.
The closure is expected to last until the Summer.
All schools in the UK are to close with those in England, Scotland and Wales closing from Friday.
Some schools had decided to close before the announcement, while teaching unions had called on First Minister, Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister, Michelle O'Neill to set a date for school closures.
Libraries NI are also closing all public libraries and out of hours access from 5pm on Friday until further notice.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Mrs Foster said it was the right time to close schools.
"We have agreed that all schools will close to pupils from Monday 23 March," Mrs Foster said.
"The societal and economic impact of this measure will be enormous as parents have to adjust their routine to deal with this unplanned long-term closure."