Counter haze with creative indoor activities, teachers told

KUALA LUMPUR: Teachers in schools in areas with unhealthy Air Pollution Index (API 101–200) readings are advised to be more creative in implementing activities to replace co-curricular activities outside the classroom.

National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Fouzi Singon said schools need to think of alternatives that teachers and students can do to avoid being exposed to health risks due to the current haze.

“Co-curricular activities do not necessarily need to be carried out outside the classroom.

“During the pandemic, the ministry taught all parties to be more creative with co-curricular activities that do not require teachers and students to be outside,” he told Bernama.

As such, Fouzi suggested that schools reapply activities that were carried out during the Covid-19 pandemic to safeguard the students’ health.

Competitions through video recording or YouTube, writing exercises and scrapbooking were among the activities implemented for students during the pandemic that can be repeated in the current haze situation.

Universiti Putra Malaysia’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences lecturer Assoc Prof Dr Malina Osman also reminded schools located in unhealthy API areas not to organise outdoor activities.

“Those who organise outdoor activities need to monitor the API reading and cancel the activities immediately if the reading exceeds 100 (unhealthy).

“The haze that is happening now can cause respiratory problems, notably for children whose lung function and immune system are not mature enough,” she said.

Dr Malina also advised students in areas with poor air quality to wear face masks while at school, especially outside the classroom.

Prior to this, Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek said the home-based teaching and learning (PdPR) session will only be implemented if schools are closed when the API reading exceeds 200 (very unhealthy).

She said schools are asked to constantly monitor the API reading.

As at Monday, the Malaysian Air Pollution Index Management System website, operated by the Department of Environment, recorded seven areas with API readings at unhealthy levels, with Nilai in Negri Sembilan still the worst affected with an API reading of 157 (unhealthy: 101–200), while Cheras in the capital recorded an API of 155.

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