Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said previously, schools in areas affected by the haze would only be closed if the air pollutant index (API) readings reached 200, which were very unhealthy.
"I have discussed with the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry yesterday and decided that besides the API, visibility can also be taken into account in determining the closure of schools.
"This means, even if the API is still between 100 and 120, but the visibility in the area is below 500 metres, we allow the PPD and headmaster to close the affected school," he told a press conference here Sunday.
All schools in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Tanjung Malim, Sri Aman, Kuching and Samarahan in Sarawak have been ordered closed following a deterioration in the API reading.
Mahdzir said the ministry had also decided that announcement on whether schools would be closed or operated as usual the next day would be made at 2pm every day.
On parents' request that schools should be closed in three or four consecutive days, he said the proposal was logical but the ministry must take into account various factors, including the possibility of changes in the API reading.
More importantly, parents need to know that every decision made by the ministry is based on what will happen tomorrow, he said.