Delhi Smog: Primary schools to remain shut today, no outdoor activities for older studentshttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/delhi-smog-primary-schools-to-remain-shut-today-no-outdoor-activities-for-older-students-4927338/

Delhi Smog: Primary schools to remain shut today, no outdoor activities for older students

The schools that had already suspended outdoor activities for students a few days ago, meanwhile, maintained they are now taking more measures.

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A foggy morning after temperature dipped in Delhi and NCR over the last few days. Gajendra Yadav

With the Delhi government asking primary schools to remain shut on Wednesday, several institutions said they were following the order and also taking extra precautions for the senior class students. The schools that had already suspended outdoor activities for students a few days ago, meanwhile, maintained they are now taking more measures.

Amity International, Mayur Vihar, which had already suspended early morning activities, has now taken further steps. “I think it is a good move that the government called for a suspension of classes I to V. For senior sections, we have terminated outdoor activities completely, because the air pollution has reached alarming levels. Now we have shifted sports indoors. We’re now engaging students in chess, carrom, ludo and scrabble, etc,” said principal Priyanka Mehta.

“We’re also thinking of putting to use our auditorium for yoga and meditation classes. We have also given an advisory to parents to encourage children to wear masks, especially while commuting. We were talking about installing air purifiers but nothing has come of it as of now,” she added.

On Tuesday, Sanskriti School issued a notice to parents: “Due to the present weather condition, school will remain shut tomorrow for students up to Class V. We urge parents to send older students with masks and keep them home if they are suffering from any respiratory ailment.”

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Manohar Lal, principal of DPS Mathura Road, said, “We’re trying to keep our local environment as clean as possible. We wash the plants regularly and have made sure there is no loose soil. We’ve also started all the fountains in the school so that solubles in the air can get dissolved. Other than that, it is not possible for us to do anything.” He added that air purifiers could not be used as theirs was an open school.

Springdales Pusa Road Principal Ameeta Wattal said, “Our annual day practice is going on, but it anyway happens indoors. Children who have respiratory issues are either coming late to school or not coming at all. That’s all we can do as a conventional school. We can’t have air purifiers in the school. It is problem that the city should address.”

Schools such as DPS, Vasant Kunj, which had said they would wait and monitor the situation earlier this week, have now taken steps to deal with the situation. “We will stop outdoor activities altogether for now. No physical education or any other activity will take place outside; students will stay inside the classrooms,” the principal of the school, Bindu Sehgal, said.

In Ghaziabad, the air quality index, as per CPCB, was 441 on Monday and 475 on Tuesday — making it the most polluted city in NCR. In response, Ghaziabad district magistrate Ritu Maheshwari on Monday directed that all schools be shut down Wednesday and Thursday.

Meanwhile, even as the Director of School Education, Panchkula, issued an order on Tuesday limiting school hours in Haryana to 9 am-3.30 pm, schools in Gurgaon maintained they had already started executing their own measures to help students.