Haze forces temporary closure of schools in Pekanbaru

Haze forces temporary closure of schools in Pekanbaru

(ANTARA/Topan Ali)

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA News) - The Pekanbaru education office has temporary closed kindergartens and elementary schools partly in the city, which have been hit by haze.

Kindergarten, first, second and third grade students are prone to haze-induced respiratory problems, and therefore, they are spared from going to schools, said Head of the Pekanbaru Education Office Zulfadil on Thursday.

Students from the fourth to 12th grades still have to go to school despite the haze problem, he added.

The Riau provincial health office has warned that the air condition in Pekanbaru, the province`s capital, is categorised as dangerous.

Dewani, the head of the Riau health office, said the pollutant standard index in the city hit 320 PSI on Wednesday but it decreased to 100 PSI on Thursday morning.

The office, therefore, recommended the closures of schools for kindergarten until third grade students.

On Wednesday, three students fell unconscious while joining outdoor sport activities.

Last Tuesday, a state Islamic Junior High School (MTsN) in Pekanbaru was temporarily closed as a result of the haze covering the city following the reemergence of hotspots from forest and plantation fires.

"We have decided to send the students back home because the conditions created by the haze are quite worrying," Sofyan, a teacher at MTsN Andalan, said.

Initially, the students had taken classes as usual in the morning, but as the day progressed, the haze had entered the classrooms, and most of the students had started to complain of eye irritation and respiratory problems due to the fog, he stated.

After getting permission from the city`s religious affairs office, the school discontinued teaching and sent approximately 600 students home.

The haze reduced visibility in Pekanbaru to around 500 meters on Tuesday morning.

According to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), Riau`s 10 districts and cities had a total of 264 hotspots earlier this week.