Delhi schools reopen despite smog, record low attendance

New Delhi: Schools in Delhi reopened on Monday after a four-day closure forced by severe pollution levels that, however, continued unabated and many schools recorded low attendance.
Teachers suggested that schools be shut for a few more days till pollution decreased in the National Capital Region, including Delhi.
Ranju Sehrawat, a schoolteacher at Amar Shaheed Major Sehrawat School in Mahipalpur, said the attendance was around 50 per cent in her class on Monday.
“The government should keep schools closed for a few more days. No point in asking children to attend classes in this weather,” she told IANS.
A Principal of another government school said she observed around 60 per cent attendance in a number of classes she inspected during her daily round.
“Only about half of the students were present in the classes I visited. In one class, 29 of the 40 students were present,” said Seema Anand, Principal of Ghitorni Government School that functions under the Municipal Corporation.
She also pointed to ill-affects of pollution on children and said schools should remain shut for a few more days.
A student of a senior class in a private school said older students were present in her institution, but children from pre-primary classes were present in numbers lower than usual.
On November 8, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia announced that all schools and colleges in Delhi will remain shut till Sunday due to alarming pollution levels.
On Monday, pollution in Delhi and neighbouring areas remained at severe level. Delhi recorded an air quality index (AQI) of 463 till 4 p.m., with PM2.5 particles recorded at “severe” 460 microgrammes per cubic metres, about 19 times more than the permissible level globally. The AQI in National Capital Region was 463.
The permissible level for PM2.5 is 60 as per Indian standards and 25 globally.
The situation in neighbouring Ghaziabad was worse, with PM2.5 concentration of 846 microgrammes per cubic metres.