KUALA LUMPUR – All schools in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Negri Sembilan and Malacca have been closed today due to the haze.
Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan said minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid conveyed the decision to him.
â€œWe will update when schools need to reopen, first thing in the morning,â€ he said when asked if students need to return to school on Thursday.
The school holidays are set to start this Saturday in all states and a day earlier in Johor, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu.
The announcement was made close to midnight yesterday.
A mother who wished to only be known as Julia said there should be a total ban on activities outside classrooms.
She said she was worried about her son, Juhan, who would be sitting for his SPM examination in November.
â€œI am very concerned as he is an active photographer and also plays basketball,â€ said Julia.
Khalid Mohd Nor, a father of two, also agreed that all non-classroom activities should be stopped.
â€œOur childrenâ€™s health can be affected if they have to be outside,â€ he said.
Serena Lo said the private school in Kuching, which her children go to, has suspended all activities outside the classroom, including physical education and extra-curricular activities.
â€œThe air-conditioner in the classes are also switched on earlier in the morning, before the first lesson instead of after morning recess,â€ she said.
Fauziah Mohd Johar, whose son has just finished sitting for his UPSR last week, suggested that the Education Ministry bring forward the school holidays so that children could avoid going out in the haze.
The holidays are scheduled to start this Saturday for all schools and a day earlier for schools in Johor, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu.
â€œSince my son is not doing anything in school after his exams, I hope the ministry will consider bringing the holidays forward,â€ she said.
The Education Ministry has issued a statement urging schools to stop all activities outside the classrooms when the Air Pollutant Index (API) is more than 150.
It also said that schools in areas with API of more than 200 must be closed.
â€œThe school must inform parents if their children are having health problems at school as a result of the haze.
â€œThey also need to refer to the district health office or the nearest health clinic,â€ the ministry said.
The ministry also advised all school heads and teachers to continually monitor the API readings.
Schools have also been told to refer to the ministryâ€™s Aug 7, 2013 circular on the haze or guidelines on caring for students in hot weather issued on Feb 26, 2014.