All schools in Delhi will be shut from Friday till further orders on account of high pollution levels, the government’s Environment Minister Gopal Rai said on Thursday, ANI reported.
Schools had reopened for all classes just four days ago on November 29. They had been shut since November 13 due to air pollution crisis after Diwali.
“We had reopened schools considering the forecast that air quality would improve,” Rai said, according to The Times of India. “However, the air pollution levels have increased again and we have decided to shut schools from Friday till further orders.”
The decision came soon after the Supreme Court questioned why schools were open despite the high levels of pollution. The court said that “three-year-olds and four-year-olds are going to schools but adults are working from home”, NDTV reported.
Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the Delhi government, said that it had reopened schools while allowing online classes to continue. “On schools, there is a lot of debate on ‘learning loss’,” Singhvi noted.
The court, however, said that it will “take strict action” if the government does not act.
All schools in Delhi were allowed to reopen for classes from November 1. However, schools were also required to continue online classes for students who were not willing to attend physical classes.
Earlier, primary schools in Delhi had been closed since March 12, 2020, on account of the Covid-19 pandemic. In January this year, schools were reopened for Classes 9 to 12, but were closed again on April 9 because of the second wave of the coronavirus. From September 1, schools had reopened in Delhi for Classes 9 to 12.