Pupils turn up for school despite closure; sports facilities closed due to worsening haze

Students from Si Ling Primary School being housed at the library due to the haze situation on Sept 25, 2015. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
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Primary and secondary schools were closed today due to the worsening haze situation, with the Pollutant Standards Index reaching a high of 324 as of 8am this morning. But some students, including primary school pupils, still turned up for school because their parents had not been informed. Childcare and pre-schools remain open for but have scaled down their activities.
Pupils at De La Salle Primary School playing games such as Scrabble and Bingo. ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
A parent sending his child to student care at Kong Hwa School. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Air purifiers have been installed in Queenstown Primary School's library for pupils who have been placed under the care of their school. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Pupils in Queenstown Primary School's library. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - Some pupils still turned up for school on Friday (Sept 25) morning despite Thursday's announcement of a school closure due to the worsening haze situation.

As at 11pm, the 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) was 182-228 which is in the Very Unhealthy range.

At Queenstown Primary School, two pupils arrived in school as they did not receive the notification about the school cancellation but have since returned home.

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Principal Grace Chua said that 35 pupils have signed up for the school's student care service which will last till 6.30pm on Friday. About 15 pupils have already arrived as at 8am.

Another four pupils are housed in the school library as their parents were unable to make last minute arrangements to look after them.

Mrs Chua said the school has been equipped with air purifiers and there are 23 air-conditioned rooms to house pupils.

Housewife Raquel Mahendran said she did not know about the school closure as she does not have Internet connection at home, but has since picked up her son from school.

She said she is worried about her 13-year-old son's upcoming Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE), but will get him to do practice papers in the meantime.

Pupils who turned up at Si Ling Primary School on Friday morning were also housed at the library, supervised by two teachers.

"We told parents, if you need help just send them here," Si Ling Primary School principal, Mr Richard Lim, said.

Students at home today are able to access a school online portal where they can download worksheets or watch educational videos among other things.

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At Kong Hwa School, a parent who sent his child to student care said that the announcement came too late and he did not have time to make arrangements for his child to be taken care of at home.

Branch director of preschool and early development centre Cherie Hearts at Bedok Central, Miss Yong Pueh Teng, said that attendance is only about half on Friday morning.

Teacher Ms Rab'ahtul Adawiyah Mohamed Isa teaching K2 children at Cherie Hearts @ Bedok Central about the haze. ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

Miss Yong said that they would usually take the children out to look at the community garden or walk around the shops for exercise.

"But today we are trying to minimise strenuous activities, even indoors," she said.

At Queenstown Lutheran Church Kindergarten, only eight children showed up for the morning session compared to the usual 50, said teacher Mrs Kendes Toh.

Eight out of 50 children turned up for the morning session at Queenstown Lutheran Church Kindergarten. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Outdoor activities for the children have been suspended and the school has also prepared N95 masks for the kids. Mrs Toh said the children are doing more craft and music activities indoors instead of going to the playground.

The children will also have their meals in an air-conditioned room instead of the usual open air canteen, she added.

Other places in Singapore were also affected by the haze.

Signages have been put up at Bedok Swimming Complex notifying the public about temporary pool closure due to bad weather conditions.

Signages put up at Bedok Swimming Complex notifying the public about temporary pool closure due to the haze. ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

Around 10 people who were jogging at Bedok Stadium on Friday morning were asked to leave as the stadium closed at about 8am because of the haze.

Retiree Guay Teck Seng, 68, said he usually wakes up for a brisk walk five times a week.

"Old people like me, we need to get out and keep active," he added.

Mr RP Verma, 65, who was brisk walking at the stadium before it closed, had a handkerchief tied around his face.

Mr RP Verma (left) was brisk walking at the stadium before it closed. ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

"I heard that the air pollution was quite bad so at least this gives some basic protection," he said.

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