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Parents want pollution break in schools, shows survey

Unplanned vacations create a problem for schools, which have only 220 planned working days as per the government rules.

education Updated: Nov 15, 2017 11:26 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
delhi,delhi news,delhi pollution
A worker sprinking water on trees to clean the dust particles that adds to pollution at DPS Mathura Road in New Delh.(Sanchit Khanna/HT PHOTO)

To shield schoolchildren from air pollution, more than half of the people in Delhi-NCR want scheduled holidays between November 1 and 20 every year, a survey has found.

The survey comes two days after all schools in the national capital reopened after being shut for four days. Last Tuesday, when city’s air quality had hit 448 mark on an index of 500, the government ordered primary sections of all schools to be shut. It extended the break till November 12, and for all classes when pollution levels remained the severe category.

The survey, conducted by LocalCircles, a community social media platform, received 13,000 votes from Delhi-NCR. At least 55% respondents agreed to shutting schools between November 1 and 20 while 38% did not agree and 7% were unsure of it should be done or not, the survey stated.

However, unplanned vacations create a problem for schools, which have only 220 planned working days as per the government rules.

Most school authorities Hindustan Times spoke to said they will be holding classes on Saturdays to make up for the lost time during the recent breaks. Some schools even said they will plan their next year’s calendar in a way to keep extra working days that can compensate for sudden closing of schools due to pollution.

“We will hold classes on Saturdays to complete the syllabus. We have 220 working days but next year we are planning to keep buffer days by reducing a day or two from other planned vacations such as autumn break,” said Ashok K Pandey, principal, Ahlcon International School, Mayur Vihar.

Holding classes on Saturdays is among a host of other measures schools are taking to deal with the different problems arising due to high pollution levels.

Some schools have advised students to wear an anti-pollution mask, some are keeping air purifying plants in classrooms, and some are regularly washing trees and plants on campus to keep them clean and settle dust for cleaner air.

“We have to take different measures to deal with the various problems arising out of pollution. Our school campus has many trees so we recently bought a machine to wash the trees and plants by showering water on them. It also helps in settling dust in the air,” said Manohar Lal, principal of Delhi Public School, Mathura Road.

Anuradha Joshi, principal of Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, said she has spoken to the students and told them that they should wear an anti-pollution mask if their parents want them. She said the school regularly washes all trees and plants in the campus to wash off the dust.

At Tagore International School, Vasant Vihar, principal Madhulika Sen has ensured that each class has at least three air purifying plants.

“We are doing things at our level even if it means small changes. The plants will naturally purify air in classrooms. We have also issued a circular to encourage students to wear a face mask to prevent them from exposure to harmful air,” she said.

First Published: Nov 15, 2017 00:28 IST