Assembly Written Question 10949/17-22
Question: To ask the Minister for the Economy what oversight role her Department is undertaking in regards to COVID-19 risk assessments and testing at Northern Ireland universities.
Answer: The Department for Health has lead responsibility for engaging directly with the Higher Education Institutes on the issues identified. There are a number of cross-cutting issues related to student travel and welfare and the Executive Office has been asked to co-ordinate these plans, with a Task and Finish Group established to do so, which my officials have been involved in, alongside a variety of other Departments. The various Departments are working collectively with other partners to develop and communicate a package of advice and support to help students stay safe, and to travel home safely at Christmas. This includes engaging with the local HE providers to agree a phased end to the semester and the facilitation of a move to online learning. The measures also involve testing for students, overseen by public health authorities.