Par­ents want pol­lu­tion break in schools

SUR­VEY 55% of the 13,000 re­spon­dents de­mand a break be­tween November 1 and 20

Hindustan Times (Gurgaon) - - Metro - HT Cor­re­spon­dent htre­porters@hin­dus­tan­ n

NEW DELHI : To shield school­child­ren from air pol­lu­tion, more than half of the peo­ple in Del­hiNCR want sched­uled hol­i­days be­tween November 1 and 20 ev­ery year, a sur­vey has found.

The sur­vey comes two days af­ter all schools in the na­tional cap­i­tal re­opened af­ter be­ing shut for four days. Last Tues­day, when city’s air qual­ity had hit 448 mark on an in­dex of 500, the gov­ern­ment or­dered pri­mary sec­tions of all schools to be shut. It ex­tended the break till November 12, and for all classes when pol­lu­tion lev­els re­mained the se­vere cat­e­gory.

The sur­vey, con­ducted by Lo­calCir­cles, a com­mu­nity so­cial me­dia plat­form, re­ceived 13,000 votes from Delhi-NCR. At least 55% re­spon­dents agreed to shut­ting schools be­tween November 1 and 20 while 38% did not agree and 7% were un­sure of it should be done or not, the sur­vey stated.

How­ever, un­planned va­ca­tions cre­ate a prob­lem for schools, which have only 220 planned work­ing days as per the gov­ern­ment rules.

Most school au­thor­i­ties Hin­dus­tan Times spoke to said they will be hold­ing classes on Satur­days to make up for the lost time dur­ing the re­cent breaks. Some schools said they will plan their next year’s cal­en­dar in a way to keep ex­tra work­ing days that can com­pen­sate for sud­den clos­ing of schools due to pol­lu­tion.

“We will hold classes on Satur­days to com­plete the syl­labus. We have 220 work­ing days but next year we are plan­ning to keep buf­fer days by re­duc­ing a day or two from other va­ca­tions such as au­tumn break,” said Ashok K Pandey, prin­ci­pal, Ahlcon In­ter­na­tional School, Mayur Vi­har.

Hold­ing classes on Satur­days is among a host of other mea­sures schools are tak­ing to deal with the dif­fer­ent prob­lems aris­ing due to high pol­lu­tion lev­els.

Some schools have ad­vised stu­dents to wear an anti-pol­lu­tion mask, some are keep­ing air pu­ri­fy­ing plants in class­rooms, and some are reg­u­larly wash­ing trees and plants on cam­pus to keep them clean and set­tle dust for cleaner air.

“We have to take dif­fer­ent mea­sures to deal with the var­i­ous prob­lems aris­ing out of pol­lu­tion. Our school cam­pus has many trees so we re­cently bought a ma­chine to wash the trees and plants by show­er­ing wa­ter on them. It also helps in set­tling dust in the air,” said Manohar Lal, prin­ci­pal of Delhi Pub­lic School, Mathura Road.

Anu­radha Joshi, prin­ci­pal of Sar­dar Pa­tel Vidyalaya, said she has told stu­dents that they should wear an anti-pol­lu­tion mask if their par­ents want them. She said the school reg­u­larly washes all trees and plants in the cam­pus to wash off the dust.

At Tagore In­ter­na­tional School, Vas­ant Vi­har, prin­ci­pal Mad­hu­lika Sen has en­sured that each class has at least three air pu­ri­fy­ing plants.

“We are do­ing things at our level even if it means small changes. The plants will nat­u­rally pu­rify air in class­rooms. We have also is­sued a cir­cu­lar to en­cour­age stu­dents to wear a face mask to pre­vent them from ex­po­sure to harm­ful air,” she said.


n A school staff sprin­kles wa­ter on a tree at DPS, Mathura Road, to con­trol dust pol­lu­tion.

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