Schools in the national capital will reopen for primary classes from Wednesday and outdoor activities will be resumed for all classes as the air pollution in Delhi-NCR ameliorated over the last three days.

The Delhi government on Monday decided to reopen schools which were closed for primary classes since Saturday even as environmentalists have warned against “knee jerk” reaction. However, plying of BS-III petrol and BS-IV diesel four-wheelers in the national capital will remain banned under stage 3 of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai had told a press conference.

High pollution levels had prompted the Delhi government to announce additional measures on Friday, including the closure of primary schools from Saturday and work from home for 50 per cent of its staff.

Schools have taken several measures to protect children, including introduction of breathing exercises in classes and mental and emotional wellbeing sessions.

Anshu Mital, Principal, MRG School, Rohini said they are planning to distribute a manual or written guide to teach students what types of foods, drinks and behaviour they should do adopt to ameliorate the situation we are living in.

“It serves both purposes. First, it ensures a proper continuity in their education without any interruption, and it also channelises a conducive environment in which there are no possibilities of health hazards.

“We have a proper medical treatment facility to take care of children if they face any discomfort or pain,” she said.

Sangeeta Hajela, Principal, DPS Indirapuram, said,”We have administered many steps to safeguard students. Teachers encourage students to have a balanced diet with nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables to increase the stability and viability of the lungs and liver.” “Anti-pollution masks are being distributed to students. Air purifiers have been placed at strategic locations to purify the environment. These steps will surely ensure a good attendance and safeguard the health of our students,” she added.

The air quality index (AQI) of Delhi was recorded in the ‘very poor’ category for the fourth consecutive day on Tuesday morning, even as the weatherman has forecast light rain or drizzle later in the day.

An AQI between zero and 50 is considered “good”, 51 and 100 “satisfactory”, 101 and 200 “moderate”, 201 and 300 “poor”, 301 and 400 “very poor”, and 401 and 500 “severe”.

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