SINGAPORE – Schools will reopen on Monday (Sept 16) after the one-week school holiday, but are ready to respond and take appropriate haze management measures, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said on Sunday.
The air quality improved slightly on Sunday evening, with the 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) reading dipping to between 99 in the east and 107 in the south of Singapore at 6pm, down from the 8am reading of between 107 in the east and 124 in the west.
The MOE added that the well-being of students remains a priority, and that all classrooms of primary and secondary schools, MOE kindergartens and special education schools have been equipped with air purifiers. The schools have had these on hand since the last bad haze in 2015 for such situations.
Teachers will also be on the lookout for students who are unwell or have pre-existing lung or heart conditions.
The ministry said it will consider closing schools when the air quality forecast for the next day is “hazardous” – when the 24-hour PSI rises above 300.
However, it has other management measures in place should the PSI level fall in the “unhealthy” and “very unhealthy” ranges of 101 to 300. Should school closures coincide with national examinations, the affected exam papers will be rescheduled and the exam period extended.
Other public agencies also intend to continue with business as usual, but have plans in place in case of worsening conditions.
The People’s Association said that its activities would carry on as long as the air quality remained within the healthy range, and that it had prepared air-conditioned rooms in its residents’ committees centres and community clubs for members of the public seeking respite from the haze should the hourly PM2.5 index cross into the unhealthy range.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said that the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has a set of guidelines in place, and that the SAF’s training will “proceed as much as possible, to ensure (soldiers) are well-trained and ready for any eventuality”.
The spokesman added that SAF units will adjust their outdoor and training activities accordingly if the 24-hour PSI readings go above 100.
He said: “Regardless of the haze conditions, the SAF stands ready to safeguard Singapore’s peace and security.”