Bhubaneswar: As the national capital grapples with intense pollution that has sent the air quality index (AQI) plummeting, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today announced that schools for primary classes would be shut from Saturday, while for secondary and senior secondary classes, outdoor activities and physical education periods would be suspended until further orders.
“Keeping in view the prevailing AQI levels of 450 (Severe Category) in Delhi, all the Heads of Govt., Govt. Aided and Unaided Private Recognized Schools of Directorate of Education are directed to remain closed till 08.11.2022 (Tuesday),” an order by the Delhi government’s Directorate of Education read.
All school activities for the students should be conducted indoors, the order added while directing the heads of schools to communicate the content of the order with parents, students, staff and SMC members.
Dr Randeep Guleria, a former AIIMS director, said that children, elderly & those with weak lungs and hearts should not go to places where the pollution level is high. Calling the air pollution a silent killer, Guleria said, “If you want to go, go during the day when there is sunlight & wear a mask when outside.”
On the other hand, CM Kejriwal said that his government is considering implementing the ‘odd-even’ vehicle rationing scheme. Apart from this, the government has announced work from home for 50% of government employees and staggered timings for its departments.
Kejriwal’s announcements come against the backdrop of the Aam Aadmi Party, which rules both Delhi and Punjab, coming under criticism for its handling of the pollution crisis. Even as Delhi records a series of ‘very poor’ and ‘severe’ air days, farm fires have surged in Punjab, compared to last year.