KOTA BELUD, April 5 – All the 83 schools closed in Papar, Beaufort and Kuala Penyu will re-open tomorrow following the improvement in the haze situation, said Sabah Education Department deputy director Maimunah Suhaibul. Maimunah said based on monitoring of the Air Pollutant Index (API) over the past two days, the haze level had shown a downward trend with Beaufort’s subdistrict of Membakut registering an API of 95 as of 10 am today.
“The haze in all three affected districts (Beaufort, Papar and Kuala Penyu) has fallen below our school closure API cut-off mark of 200, which means the haze won’t be posing any serious problems. Schools can resume classes starting tomorrow as visibility is much clearer now. We have notified the education ministry about this. I urge parents to send their children back to school as soon as possible to ensure they can continue their classes as usual,” she said.
Maimunah was speaking to Bernama after launching the Kota Belud southern zone-level’s Language Carvinal cum Competition at SK Tamu Darat on Tuesday. The three-day event is being participated by 510 pupils from 17 primary schools in the southern zone and is aimed at strengthening the Kadazandusun, Malay and English languages through arts and performance.
The Kadazandusun language contest is being held at SK Tamu Darat, English contest at SK Lasau Tintapon on Wednesday and Bahasa Melayu section at SK Rangalau on Thursday. Maimunah said in the event of haze caused by nearby fires affecting a school, the school administration could notify the State Education Department and respective district education officers for the school to be closed.
“I would discourage school activities outside classes including in the fields to prevent children from getting heatstroke, and try to hold activities in shaded areas wherever possible. Parents should limit children’s movement outside their home and keep them away from areas exposed to haze,” she said.
Maimunah said members of the public could still undertake outside activities with an API of between 150 and 200 which was considered unhealthy but should wear a face mask for protection. She added that the Education Department advises school children and the public to refrain from open burning which can contribute to air pollution and may cause fires to spread to other areas.