Primary 6 students take PSLE with haze in unhealthy band

CHIJ Toa Payoh pupils wearing masks as they head to school at 7.30am on Thursday (Oct 1).
CHIJ Toa Payoh pupils wearing masks as they head to school at 7.30am on Thursday (Oct 1).ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

SINGAPORE - With the haze hovering in the high end of the unhealthy range, Primary 6 students across the country went to school on Thursday (Oct 1) morning to take their national examinations.

The first day of the Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) went ahead as usual, with the 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) at 152-195 at 7am. The 24-hour PSI was 158 - 201 as of 12pm.

On Wednesday (Sept 30) night, the Education Ministry had said schools would remain open, and that all national examinations will be conducted in enclosed spaces.

Earlier, there were concerns that the PSLE could be postponed due to the worsening haze. The Education Ministry closed schools last Friday (Sept 25) as a precaution, as 24-hour PSI levels were near hazardous levels.

Parents had told the Straits Times that they would rather the PSLE go ahead as planned.

On Thursday morning, homemaker Christina Chan, 52, walked her daughter to Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus Primary for the PSLE.

She said both of them were nervous - haze or not. "But it's good that they're taking the PSLE in air-con rooms and we do take precautions like providing her with a mask," said Ms Chan.

The only difference for hospital worker Soc, 40, and his daughter was that they arrived at school 25 minutes earlier. "She's going to the school chapel before her paper," he said.

The 24-hr PSI for the next 24 hours is expected to be in the high end of the Unhealthy range and low end of the Very Unhealthy range, and may deteriorate to the mid-section of the Very Unhealthy range if denser haze is blown in.

kxinghui@sph.com.sg