Schools to reopen, 24-hour PSI forecast to be in unhealthy range on Monday

The haze situation in Bishan at around 6.50pm on Sept 27, 2015.
The haze situation in Bishan at around 6.50pm on Sept 27, 2015.ST PHOTO: YEO KAI WEN
The haze situation in Punggol at around 2pm on Sept 27, 2015.
The haze situation in Punggol at around 2pm on Sept 27, 2015. ST PHOTO: YEO KAI WEN
The haze situation in Punggol at around 2pm on Sept 27, 2015.
The haze situation in Punggol at around 2pm on Sept 27, 2015. ST PHOTO: YEO KAI WEN

SINGAPORE - All primary and secondary schools - including Ministry of Education (MOE)-run kindergartens and special education schools - will reopen on Monday (Sept 28), said the MOE in a statement Sunday evening. 

A separate press release by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore stated that its six full-time primary and seconday madrasahs, as well as 35 mosque part-time madrasahs and 18 mosque kindergartens, will also reopen on Monday. 

The announcements came after the National Environment Agency's (NEA) advisory at 5pm on Sunday, which forecast that air quality in Singapore will be in the low to mid-sections of the unhealthy range on Monday. 

At 10 pm, the 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) entered the unhealthy range for the first time on Sunday with a reading of between 91 and 103.  Most of Sunday, the 24-hour PSI was at the upper end of the moderate range. The three-hour PSI, having crept upwards throughout the day, was at 154 at 7pm.  As of 10pm, the three-hour PSI  was at 131. At 11pm, the 24-hour PSI was 95-108 and the three-hour reading was at 140.

MOE had said on Friday that all schools would reopen on Mondayunless the 24-hour PSI forecast indicated a hazardous level of haze.

"The well-being of all students remains a key priority. Schools have in place a set of haze management plans and are ready to implement the appropriate haze management measures," said MOE on Sunday. 

 

It added that schools are equipped with air purifiers and there are sufficient enclosed spaces to cater to their student populations. Measures to be taken include minimising outdoor activities and making sure students who are unwell or have pre-existing lung or heart conditions are exempt from all physical exercise. 

"Moderate to dense haze is still persisting in central and southern Sumatra, and some haze has spread to the sea areas west and south of Singapore," said NEA in its advisory.

"The 24-hr PSI for the next 24 hours is expected to be in the low to mid-sections of the unhealthy range, with a possibility of entering the high-section of the unhealthy range if denser haze is blown in by unfavourable winds."

In another advisory close to 8pm, NEA said 61 hotspots were detected in Sumatra on Sunday. "The low count was due to cloud cover over parts of Sumatra. Most of the hotspots detected were in southern Sumatra," it said.

After air quality reached hazardous levels on Thursday evening,  MOE made the unprecedented decision to close all primary and secondary schools - including kindergartens run by MOE and special education schools - on Friday.

 

The haze situation improved markedly over the weekend, with Singaporeans enjoying a much-needed reprieve as the 24-hour PSI fell into the moderate range.

But with conditions expected to worsen, healthy persons should reduce prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion. The elderly, pregnant women and children should minimise prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion, while those with chronic lung or heart disease should avoid prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion.

Those with chronic heart or lung conditions should seek medical attention if they are feeling unwell.

For updates, visit the NEA website and the haze microsite, and follow NEA's Facebook page or Twitter account, or download the myEnv app.