All government and private schools up till Class 12 in Ghaziabad, Noida and Greater Noida will remain closed on November 4 and 5 in the wake of spike in the pollution level, officials said on Sunday.
The administrations of Gautam Buddh Nagar and Ghaziabad said the decision has been taken as the levels of particulate matter 2.5 and 10 have been excessive in the air since Diwali, resulting in a major dip in the overall air quality.
"Transport vehicles like buses and minibuses, which a lot of schools use to ferry children, are a major contributor of PM 2.5 and PM 10. The movement of such vehicles in the city now could aggravate the situation," District Magistrate B N Singh said in a written order.
"Hence, it is ordered that all schools up till Class 12 in Gautam Buddh Nagar will remain closed on November 4 and 5," he added.
A similar order was passed by Ghaziabad District Magistrate Ajay Shankar Pandey, noting that the pollution was impacting the health of children.
At 10.35 a.m. on Sunday, the air quality index (AQI) of Noida was 487, while that of Greater Noida was 470, both in the "severe" category, which means it affects healthy people and seriously impacts those with existing diseases.
At 1.35 p.m., the AQI in Ghaziabad's Indirapuram was recorded at 492 and in Raj Nagar at 480, according to Central Pollution Control Board data.
The Haryana government on Sunday ordered closure of all schools in Guugaon and Faridabad districts on November 4 and 5 amid the smog enveloping major parts of the national capital region.
The schools in Gurgaon and Faridabad districts will stay shut on November 4 and 5 owing to the air pollution in the two districts, a state government spokesperson said.
The timing for the schools in Sirsa districts too have been changed and they would hold classes between 10 am and 3 pm till November 6, he said.
The state government has also asked deputy commissioners of other districts in the NCR region to keep monitoring the pollution level in their respective areas and "take appropriate calls" on closing schools for students up to class 12 or change their school timing in the interest of children's health, the spokesperson added.
The state government issued the directive amid a blanket of smog engulfing several districts of an agrarian Haryana, partly due to stubble burning by its own farmers as well as those in Punjab.
Various districts of the state have reported air quality index in the “severe" and “very poor" category.
Schools in Delhi had already announced on Friday that they will remain closed till November 5 in the wake of rising pollution in the national capital.