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Schools in areas with unsafe air quality allowed to close for up to seven days

Jan 21. 2020
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Schools located in areas with high air pollution caused by particulate matter not more than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5) are allowed to close temporarily for seven days, Amnat Wichayanuwat, secretary-general at the Office of Basic Education Commission (Obec), said on Monday (January 20).

“I have ordered the Student Protection Centre, an affiliate of Obec, to coordinate with regional education offices and schools in risky areas to monitor the PM2.5 situation closely, especially in Bangkok and its perimeter,” he said. “If the air quality in these areas dips below the recommended standard, the schools should reduce or halt outdoor activities for students, or consider closing entirely until the situation improves.”

Amnat, however, said schools should not close for more than seven days so that students’ learning is not disrupted, especially now that the ONET [Ordinary National Education Test] and the final exams of the second semester are coming close.

“Schools may consider opening on weekends, if necessary, to make up classes missed due to any closure,” he added.

“Furthermore, Obec has given surgical masks to all students in schools in risky areas for free, and also ordered schools to follow regulations to reduce PM2.5 problems in educational institutions as stated by the Ministry of Education since last year,” the Obec chief said.

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