Alarm bells in schools, some shut as pollution levels rise in NCR

Amity School has planned to ask all students to wear masks till the pollution levels come down.

Written by Mallica Joshi | New Delhi | Updated: November 4, 2016 7:48 am
delhi, delhi pollution, delhi air pollution, air pollution, delhi smog, ncr schools closed, pollution schools, particulate matter delhi, delhi pollution diwali, delhi diwali after effects, india news Most schools in the city have cancelled sports hours and other outdoor activities. (Source: Express Archive)

Several schools decided to remain closed on Friday, while some others cancelled physical education classes, outdoor activities and issued special advisories for students with respiratory disorders in view of the steep rise in pollution levels in the national capital region (NCR). The Shri Ram School (Delhi, Gurgaon and Greater Noida) will remain closed from Friday to Monday. The Heritage School, Vasant Kunj and Gurgaon, and Modern School, Vasant Vihar, will remain shut on Friday because of the high concentration of pollutants and smog in the air.

Shri Ram School authorities told parents in a message, “This is to inform you that on account of high pollution levels in the city, the school will remain closed on Friday, 4th November and Monday, 7th November 2016. To keep the children gainfully occupied at home, academic-related worksheets will be uploaded on academic resources on the parent portal.” Students of Classes X and XII, however, will have to attend school.

The Heritage School said the air indoors is cleaner and it was better to shut school till conditions improve. “As facts stand today, the outdoor PM 2.5 count in the school is 1,000 micrograms per cubic metre and the indoor air quality is between 700 and 900 micrograms per cubic metre. We’re probably the least affected, being in a far more open and less inhabited area, compared to the more interior parts of Gurgaon, which would be much worse,” said a message for parents sent by The Heritage School, Gurgaon.

Apart from closing down on Friday, the school has also proposed that there be no outdoor sports till the air quality improves. Ridge Valley School in Gurgaon has postponed a students’ trip to the Rail Museum as “air pollution has touched hazardous levels, in and around Delhi”. “We are not closing down the schools as it will be a problem for parents. We have already issued advisories for students and cancelled any outdoor activities in the morning hours,” said Ameeta Wattal, principal, Springdales School, Pusa Road.

Amity School has planned to ask all students to wear masks till the pollution levels come down. The Delhi government, however, has no plans to shut schools yet. Health and home minister Satyendar Jain said the pollution is highest at night and shutting schools was not a solution. Beijing, whose pollution levels are often compared with Delhi’s, shuts schools when the air quality dips. It also issues orders for closure of industries, starts road rationing and a slew of other measures to bring down pollution levels.