Haze: Schools to close if API hits 300

The Star, 25 June 2013

PETALING JAYA: Schools in areas where the Air Pollution Index (API) is above 300 must be closed.

This means schools in Selangor, Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur will reopen today. Schools in Port Klang, which recorded an API reading of 391 yesterday, remain closed.

Education director-general Tan Sri Abd Ghafar Mahmud said this was decided following a meeting at the National Security Council under the Prime Minister’s Department.

“However, if the haze in an area has an adverse effect on students, or if the API reading is between 250 and 300, the respective state education departments should refer to the ministry on whether schools in that area should be closed.

“All schools previously closed should be reopened if the API reading is below 250,” he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said parents had the discretion not to send their children to school as long they inform the relevant school authorities.

Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, added that all state education departments and district education offices had been instructed to monitor news on the air quality in their areas.

Education deputy director-general Datuk Sufaat Tumin said schools would have replacement classes after the haze had subsided, adding that according to guidelines issued last week, schools should stop all outdoor and co-curricular activities if the API in the area was more than 250.

“Students deemed high risk’, such as those with respiratory problems, should be excused from any activity outside the classroom if the API is over 150.

Schools in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Malacca as well as several districts in Pahang, Johor and Negri Sembilan had been ordered closed yesterday due to the worsening haze.

Meanwhile, schools in Johor will reopen today as the API reading is no longer in the unhealthy zone.

In Kuantan, schools will also reopen today because the haze has receded.

Pahang education department acting director Rosdi Ismail said they had, however, advised the 128 primary and secondary schools not to hold any outdoor activity for now.

In Port Dickson, schools would also be reopened after API readings dropped.