Haze forces 1,484 schools to close, over a million students affected

Kenneth Tee
A student covers her face with a mask outside a school in George Town September 18, 2019. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 18 — The haze disrupted classes for over a million school students nationwide today after their schools were forced to close due to the worsening air pollution.

The Education Ministry said in a statement that 1,484 schools in Sarawak, Selangor, Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur, Perak, Pulau Pinang and Negri Sembilan have shut down, affecting 1,003,310 students as of 1pm today.

“Any updates or new information will be informed from time to time,” it said.

In the statement, the ministry reminded school administrators to adhere to the existing standard operating procedure and prioritise the health of students and teachers alike at all times.

Schools in areas with air pollutant readings (API) over 200 (very unhealthy) are automatically allowed to close.

Selangor recorded the highest closure at 538 schools involving 584,595 students followed by Sarawak at 337 schools involving 138,384 students.

The transboundary haze that has enveloped the country over recent weeks worsened significantly in past days, with 10 areas in the “very unhealthy” band and 35 in the “unhealthy” category.

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