KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 15 (Bernama) — Schools in three states and two areas in the federal territory which are ordered close today due to the haze will reopen after the Air Pollutant Index (APU) drops to 150.
Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said the schools, in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Negeri Sembilan and Melaka, had to be closed as a health precaution after the API rose from unhealthy to very unhealthy level last night.
He said the closure affected 2,045 schools and involved 1.523 million students.
“The directive for the schools to be closed was made late yesterday because the API rose to 195 and was expected to rise further,” he told reporters at the Teachers Education Institute here today.
Mahdzir said the ministry was also closely monitoring the haze situation in Perak, Pahang and Terengganu which was worsening.
An API reading of 0 to 50 indicates good air quality; 51 to 100, moderate; 101 to 200, unhealthy; 201 to 300, very unhealthy and 300 and above, hazardous.
According to procedures, schools would close when the API reaches 200 as stipulated by the Health Department and the Department of Environment.
As at 9 am today, there was no change in the haze situation with 34 areas nationwide still recording unhealthy air quality level.
The situation was also worsening in neighbouring countries with the Indonesian government declaring a state of emergency in Riau when the air quality there reached the hazardous level, while in Singapore, the air quality remained at unhealthy level.
Mahdzir said the ministry and the District Education Offices (PPD) would monitor the situation and inform from time to time when the schools could reopen.
Although the schools were closed, he said, the regulation required teachers to still go to school
He said the ministry would also discuss whether or not to have replacement classes for the lesson missed due to today’s closure of the school.
When asked whether the ministry would review the API level which required schools to be closed, he said, the ministry would study the matter with the relevant authorities, including the Meteorological Department and the Health Department.
He said all activities outside the classroom would not be allowed when the API reached 150.