PETALING JAYA: All schools in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Negri Sembilan, Pahang and some in Sarawak and Perak will be closed today due to the worsening haze.
The affected schools in Perak are in Tanjung Malim while those in Sarawak are in Sri Aman, Kuching and Samarahan.
The Education Ministry said the decision was made because the Air Pollutant Index (API) readings in the areas reached unhealthy levels of between 101 and 200 and very unhealthy levels of between 201 and 300.
The ministry’s statement was posted on its website and Facebook page, as well as on the Facebook and Twitter sites of Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid and Deputy Education Minister P. Kamanalathan.
Parent Sandra Lee welcomed the early announcement as it gave her enough time to make arrangements for someone to take care of her two school-going children.
“This is much better than what happened two weeks ago when the ministry made the announcement at close to midnight that schools would be closed the next day,” said the 45-year-old Petaling Jaya resident.
Another parent, John Raj, 39, felt that schools should remain open, as students would still have to breathe the same polluted air, whether at home or at school.
“They can just remain indoors and not go out for outdoor activities.
“It’s better to have them occupied at school, whether in class or at the library, than just sitting around at home,” said the father of three.
In Kuching, parents welcomed the ministry’s announcement.
Retail service manager Nancy Nais said it was the right move as the unhealthy air quality was not good for children, especially those with health problems.
“Although my daughter has not had any health issues with the haze so far, why wait for something to happen.
“The only problem for me is that she is going to get bored at home,” she said.
The state Education Department said the closure affected 265 schools in Kuching, 198 in Samarahan and 70 in Sri Aman.
Of the 533 schools in all three divisions, 462 are primary schools and 71 secondary schools involving a total of 199,167 students and 16,841 teachers.
At 2pm yesterday, the API was 133 in Kuching, 145 in Samarahan and 186 in Sri Aman.