All schools in Selangor, Penang, Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur will be closed on Thursday (Sept 19) and Friday (Sept 20).
The Selangor Disaster Management and Relief Committee said extended exposure to the haze will increase health risks to high risk groups, particularly children, senior citizens, heart and lung patients, and pregnant women.
Based on a statement by the Malaysian Meteorology Department on Tuesday (Sept 17), the haze is expected to continue until next week and the monitoring of air quality at all stations showed unhealthy and very unhealthy readings.
“The Selangor state education department and district education offices must inform schools and parents on the closure immediately.
“The temporary closure of the schools is to ensure the health of students is not affected, ” said the Selangor Disaster Management and Relief Committee in a statement Wednesday (Sept 18).
The Education Ministry, in a separate statement, said that 939 schools involving 911,874 students in Selangor, will be closed for two days.
These are 52 schools in Sepang, 129 in Hulu Langat, 72 in Kuala Langat, 104 in Gombak, 139 in Petaling Perdana, 86 in Petaling Utama, 68 in Hulu Selangor, 92 in Kuala Selangor, 64 in Sabak Bernam and 133 in Klang.
The ministry said these include all private kindergartens registered in Selangor.
The classes don’t have to be replaced as it’s considered “cuti bencana” or disaster leave.
New SOPs for schools from the ministry regarding haze
The Education Ministry has spelled out new standard operating procedures (SOPs) amid the haze crisis, which includes giving principals and headmasters autonomy to declare school closures and letting teachers work from home.
Under the new SOPs, school closures must be announced latest by 6pm daily and principals and headmasters can decide whether a school should close based on the day’s Air Pollutant Index (API) reading, with the District Education department also informed of the closure.
“For schools that were declared closed but pupils already in school, the pupils can still stay in school and lessons should go on as usual until the school session ends for the day, unless there are requests by parents to take their children home.
“Teachers are also given the choice to work from home if their schools are closed. Principals and headmasters must ensure that this is done by taking everyone’s welfare into account, ” said the Ministry in a statement Wednesday (Sept 18).
It also reiterated its initial announcement that all schools including kindergartens in Selangor, Pulau Pinang, Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur will be closed for two days from Thursday (Sept 19) to Friday (Sept 20).
“All the schools involved need not replace the missed school days as the school closure was categorised as emergency holiday (cuti bencana), ” said the Ministry, urging school administrators to adhere to the SOPs at all times.
Pupils and teachers are also reminded to prioritise their health, drink lots of water and decrease outdoor activities.
Meanwhile, for higher learning institutes, it is up to their respective administrations to decide on the closures.