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Ghaziabad, Noida schools reopen today

Classes to start at 9am for all schools in Ghaziabad district; schools in Gautam Budh Nagar to follow same schedule. Decision taken to avoid disruption of academic calendar

noida Updated: Nov 12, 2017 23:52 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Health warning by doctors against indulging in sports and fitness activities early in the mornings seems to have had little effect on Noida residents who filled city parks on Sunday when the AQI value stood at 492.
Health warning by doctors against indulging in sports and fitness activities early in the mornings seems to have had little effect on Noida residents who filled city parks on Sunday when the AQI value stood at 492. (Sunil Ghosh /HT Photo)

After a premature winter break because of severe air pollution in the National Capital Region (NCR) over the past week, schools in Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar will reopen on Monday.

The decision was taken by the Ghaziabad district administration and the Gautam Budh Nagar authorities to avoid disrupting the academic calendar.

While schools in Ghaziabad were instructed to reschedule their classes starting Monday, no such directive was given by the authorities in Gautam Budh Nagar, which covers Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway areas.

Gautam Budh Nagar district magistrate BN Singh meanwhile said all schools will reopen at their normal time. “Some school principals are of the view that schools should not close. If the situation does not change in a day or two, we will call a meeting to decide on our future course of action,” he said.

In Ghaziabad, schools were directed to start classes at 9am to avoid the ill-effects of heavy smog in the early hours of the day.

“All schools whether affiliated to ICSE, CBSE or UP Board, will reopen on November 12 and change their opening time to 9am. The timings will be applicable for all classes and will remain in place till further directions,” Ghaziabad district information officer RB Singh said.

Recently, the Ghaziabad administration had directed all schools to shut classes up to standard 8 in all schools till November 12. Earlier, the directions were for primary classes up to standard 5, but the decision was revised in view of the ‘severe’ pollution in the region.

The decision has worried parents who are wary of sending their children out because of the prevailing smog.

“There is smog all around which results in poor visibility throughout the day. The shift in school timings may not be of much help given the existing conditions. Instead, it may become more troubling for parents who generally drop children to school before leaving for work,” Preeti Sinha, a Kavi Nagar resident, said.

However, some residents said that since there is no decline in pollution levels even after the district adopted measures under the GRAP, the timings should have remained the same.

“Parents will have to reschedule their office timings if schools open at 9am. If after a host of measures the pollution has not come down, there is no point in opening schools at 9am. The previous timings should be restored,” Alok Kumar, a resident of Arihant Harmony, said.

Health experts have said smog is the heaviest in the early morning hours and cautioned against all morning outdoor sports and recreational activities.

The decision to reopen schools comes even as Ghaziabad continued to top the list of most-polluted cities across the country on Sunday.

The air quality index (AQI) value for Ghaziabad, as shared by the Central Pollution Control Board, was 498 on Sunday, just two points shy of the ‘severe-plus’ category, with primary pollutant being PM2.5. Sunday was the sixth day since October 30 when the city topped the list of most-polluted cities in the country.

The AQI value in Noida also remained in the severe category at 492; here too the major pollutant was PM2.5.

The sudden dip in the quality of air was attributed to local weather factors like low wind speed and change in temperature by some experts. But, many others have blamed the rampant burning of paddy stubble by farmers in the neighbouring states as they clear the land for sowing wheat.

The “health crisis” forced governments across Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to adopt measures suggested under the Graded Response Action Plan to bring relief to citizens. From banning all construction till the situation improves, to closing brick kilns, industries and sprinkling water on dusty roads, the affected districts have adopted some extreme measures.