409 schools in haze-hit areas across Sarawak closed

SK Kenyalang pupils sitting for their UPSR examination.

By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, Sept 10: A total of 409 primary and secondary schools in Sarawak’s haze-hit areas were closed today, affecting 157,479 students, as the air pollutant index (API) levels exceeded the “very unhealthy” range of over 200 yesterday.

According to a statement from the state Education Ministry, as at 10am, it registered 62 primary schools and 347 secondary schools that notify its closure.

The schools affected were in Kuching (87), Samarahan (3), Padawan (101), Serian (20), Sri Aman (41), Lundu (30), Lubok Antu (30), Bau (44) and Betong (53).

State Disaster Management Committee secretariat Major Ismail Mahedin from the Malaysian Civil Defence Force said based on the Ministry of Education’s circular dated Sept 9, schools must close if API exceeded 200 due to health and safety of students.

Closure of schools when API readings hit 200 was one of the measures announced on Jan 15 this year. The schools can reopen when the API is below 200.

One of the primary schools in Kuching closed due to haze.
Students from Lodge National school sitting for their UPSR examination attending school wearing face mask.

However, students who are sitting for UPSR public examinations in affected areas will proceed as scheduled. The Education Ministry will only postpone the examination if API exceeds 300.

The API reading as at 11am today has improved in several areas including Kuching (144), Sri Aman (192) and Samarahan (121). — DayakDaily