Sunday 30 June 2013

Schools to reopen on 1 July 2013; haze measures in place

By Stacey Chia And Amelia Teng, The Straits Times, 29 Jun 2013

SCHOOLS will reopen on Monday as scheduled, but the Education Ministry has drawn up plans to cope should the haze worsen.

All primary and secondary schools may close if the Pollutant Standards Index reading hits "hazardous" levels of 300 and above. Should that happen, schools will inform parents via phone or SMS at about 6pm the day before closure, Senior Minister of State for Education and Law Indranee Rajah said yesterday.

The O-level and N-level oral examinations next month will also be rescheduled if schools are closed.

Childcare centres will follow suit if primary and secondary schools close, but universities, polytechnics, junior colleges and the Institute of Technical Education may not, as they have more enclosed indoor spaces and their students are older, so they should be able to cope better.

If the closure is prolonged, such as for two days or more, schools will carry out e-learning for their students. Ms Indranee urged parents to make advance care arrangements, such as having someone who would be able to take care of their children.

For now, school activities will be guided by the health advisory for the day.

Schools will also maximise the use of existing air-conditioned spaces.

Should the air pollution reach "hazardous" levels when classes are already in session, all classroom windows and doors will be closed, and students will be spread out across all available enclosed spaces.

Schools contacted said that they are ready to "activate" e-learning in the event they have to close.

Mrs Marie Hwang, 42, who has three children in primary and secondary schools, said that she approved of the measures put in place. "I think the school will err on the side of caution, so I am quite reassured," she said.


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