In a recent announcement, the Delhi government has issued an order for the reopening of all schools in the capital from Monday, November 20. This decision comes as a result of the improved Air Quality Index (AQI) and the absence of any anticipated sharp degradation in the near future.
Improved Air Quality Prompts Reopening
The government’s order cites the improved AQI and forecasts from the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) and the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM). The Sub-Committee on Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) has lifted their previous order invoking Stage IV actions due to the positive developments in air quality.
Resumption of Physical Classes
According to the order, all government, government-aided, and private recognized schools in Delhi are instructed to resume all classes, from pre-school to Std XII, starting from November 20, 2013 (Monday). However, outdoor sports activities and morning assemblies will not be held for the next week from the issuance of this order. Parents are urged to be informed accordingly.
GRAP 4 Restrictions Lifted
The Commission for Air Quality Management has officially revoked Stage IV of the Graded Response Action Plan in Delhi, allowing the entry of medium and heavy goods vehicles into the capital.
Previous School Suspensions
Delhi schools were initially directed to suspend physical classes from November 3 to 10. On November 8, schools were further instructed to announce an early winter break from November 9 to November 18. The government is yet to announce the remaining part of the winter break.
Consideration of Air Quality Measures
Prior to the reopening decision, the government had considered implementing measures such as the odd-even scheme and artificial rain to combat air quality issues. Despite a brief respite ahead of Diwali due to rain, air quality deteriorated post the festival, mainly influenced by weather conditions, including low wind speed.