SEREMBAN: Schools are to halt all outdoor and sports activities whenever the air pollutant index (API) reading in their respective districts breaches the 100 mark, says the Education Ministry.
Previously, these activities were to be stopped only when the API reading exceeds 150.
Education deputy director-general Shaari Osman said the new ruling was made following amendments to the National Haze Action Plan by the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry.
“With the change, schools are to stop all outdoor activities involving gatherings and sports involving all students in the event there is haze and the API reading exceeds 100,” he said in a directive.
“Air quality with API readings of 0-50 is categorised as good, 51-100 (moderate), 101-200 (unhealthy), 201-300 (very unhealthy) and 301 and above (hazardous).
Shaari said the previous rule requiring schools to close when the API reading exceeded 200 remains unchanged.
“Schools are to re-open only if there is a trend indicating that the API reading has been below 200.
“Under these circumstances, students should be advised to put on nasal masks and to drink water more frequently,” he said.
Shaari said parents who felt their children were still at risk would be allowed to keep them at home even if the API falls to below 200.
However, if there are national and school exams during this period, these will have to continue.
He said if the API exceeds 500 or emergency level, teachers and other staff need not come to school.
NUTP president Kamarozaman Abd Razak said headmasters should be given the discretion to stop all out-of-class activities even if the API reading showed 80 or 90.