Delhi schools, closed due to air pollution, likely to reopen on Wednesday
Schools in Delhi are likely to reopen on Wednesday as air quality in the national capital moved from ‘severe’ to the ‘very poor’ zone on Tuesday morning. The Delhi government had announced closure of schools till November 5 after pollution levels dipped to ‘severe plus’ category on Friday.
“An extension of holidays is unlikely since the weather seems to be better than what it was. However, we will take the final call later today,” a Delhi government official said.
The average air quality index (AQI) was recorded 370 at 7.30 am on Tuesday. On Monday, the overall AQI as per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), was 407, seven notches into the ‘severe’ category. This was a considerable improvement from Sunday’s 494 AQI reading, which was the worst air day in Delhi since 2016.
On November 1, Delhi’s deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia issued a notice saying, “In the interest of the health and safety of our children, it has been decided to keep all the schools — government, government-aided, private schools in the National Capital Territory of Delhi- closed till November 5.”
On the same day, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also distributed anti-pollution N95 masks to schoolchildren from government and private schools.
Principals of several schools said they would continue with suspension of outdoor activities as mandated by Directorate of Education. “As per the advisory, we will ensure no outdoor activities are conducted if schools reopen tomorrow,” said Rajpal Singh, principal of RPVV, Dwarka Sector 10.
Directorate of Education had also issued a circular on October 30 suspending all outdoor activities and instructed heads of government, government-aided and unaided-recognised schools to sensitise parents of the students on the air quality situation.
“They have been asked to ensure that no outdoor activities are organised in schools till severe pollution condition persists,” a DoE official said. Schools had also been asked to rope in members of the school management committees (SMC) to disseminate information on adopting a preventive approach, including the use of masks.
Schools in Noida, Gurugram and Faridabad were also ordered shut till November 5 due to extremely high pollution levels in these cities neighbouring Delhi.