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After SC's Ire, Delhi Schools to Shut Physical Classes till Further Orders

Delhi schools to close again from December 3 (Representational Image)

Delhi schools to close again from December 3 (Representational Image)

The SC asked Delhi government "when the government implemented work from home for adults then why children are being forced to go to school?"

After the Supreme Court pulled up the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government, the National Capital will once again close its schools in physical mode. Schools had reopened from November 29 in Delhi after being shut first due to coronavirus and then due to air pollution. After the air pollution condition improved, Delhi had announced to reopen schools amid strict precautions citing learning losses among kids.

Now, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai has said that all schools in Delhi will remain closed from tomorrow till further orders, “due to current air pollution levels in the city."

Read Delhi Schools Closed 4 Days After Reopening: What Ails Delhi’s Fight Against Pollution?

“We had reopened schools considering the forecast that air quality would improve. However, the air pollution levels have increased again and we have decided to shut schools from Friday till further orders," Rai said. After remaining shut since November 13, physical classes in schools, colleges and other educational institutions had resumed from Monday.

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The Supreme Court had pulled up the Delhi government for opening the schools amid the rising air pollution levels in the city. The SC asked Delhi government “when the government implemented work from home for adults then why children are being forced to go to school?"

Stating that nothing is happening on the ground to control the deteriorating air quality in Delhi-NCR, the Supreme Court directed the Centre and Delhi government to come out with suggestions to control the pollution within 24 hours, observing, “you cannot fire bullets from our shoulders". Stating that “we cannot…infuse creativity in your bureaucracy", the apex court warned it will have to “do something extraordinary" if the authorities failed to control pollution.

Earlier, a group of 140 parents in the national capital had written to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal seeking his intervention for the reopening of schools. “While recognising the enormity of the pollution crisis and the risk it poses to our children’s health, we strongly urge the Delhi government to reconsider this decision and reopen schools," the letter had said.

Not just Delhi but schools across the country are closing again. Shools in Haryana which were set to reopen today, December 1, will continue to remain shut over scare due to the new variant of Covid-19 called Omicron. Mumbai too has deferred the reopening of schools till December 15. Madhya Pradesh schools which were allowed to reopen at 100 per cent capacity, are now allowed to function only at 50 per cent capacity.

Delhi’s air quality this November was the worst for the month in seven years with the city witnessing severe pollution on 11 days and not a single day of “moderate" or “better" air quality, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data. Experts said though stubble burning remains a major factor behind the spike in the air pollution levels in the early phase of winter, local sources of emissions are the primary reason for highly polluted air in the city in the post-farm fire period.

According to an analysis by the Ministry of Earth Sciences’ air quality forecast agency SAFAR, local sources accounted for 78 per cent of the air pollution in Delhi from November 22 to 26.

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first published:December 02, 2021, 13:28 IST