Starting Thursday, all schools in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Putrajaya will be closed for two days due to the ongoing haze problem.
The directives were separately issued by the Selangor state secretariat, as well as the Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Penang state education directors.
In Selangor alone, more than half a million students are affected by the school closures which have been enforced in certain areas where the Air Pollutant Index (API) reading has reached above 200, which is considered “very unhealthy”.
With the latest directive, all 939 schools in Selangor will be closed, affecting 911,874 students.
In a statement, the state secretariat said the two-day closure was enforced after taking into account a Malaysian Meteorological Department forecast that the haze will continue until next week.
“The temporary closure of schools due to haze is to ensure that students’ health is not compromised,” it said.
All the 296 schools in Kuala Lumpur involving 328,004 students will also be closed on Thursday and Friday.
Bernama quoted Putrajaya education director Farizah Ahmad as saying that all 25 schools were ordered to close after the API reading reached 200. Tomorrow will be the third consecutive day of school closures in Putrajaya.
According to Penang environment, welfare and caring society committee chairman Phee Boon Poh, there is a strong Southwest monsoon wind blowing from Sumatra.
“There is a possibility that the haze will worsen tonight so all schools in the state will be closed tomorrow.
“No rain is indicated for the next 10 days,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Kedah State Education Department announced that a total of 119 schools in Kulim and Bandar Baharu will be closed tomorrow, reported Bernama.
The closure would affect 90 schools in Kulim involving 49,598 students and 29 schools in Bandar Baharu involving 7,276 students.
“The closure would also involve afternoon religious classes.
“The schools have been reminded to abide by the standard operating procedures and the health of students and teachers must be given priority at all times,” the statement said.
As of 4pm today, Kulim recorded an API reading of 211 compared to 205 at 3pm.
API readings are categorised as good for between 0 and 50, moderate for between 51 and 100, unhealthy for between 101 and 200, very unhealthy between 201 and 300 and hazardous if more than 301.