Haze and Heat Policy

Haze Policy

Due to the recent haze in the air, we want to inform the community of Dalat International School’s haze policy. We are monitoring the air quality numbers and will make adjustments to activities based on the readings.

The air in Penang is generally clean and clear. Periodically the Air Pollution Index (API) does creep up into unhealthy levels, usually in September and October. When that happens Dalat uses these Malaysian Ministry of Education guidelines and input from other local schools and agencies including the Department of Environment, local media, etc. An important indicator will be the Air Pollution Index (API) and action will be taken according to the API levels with the following guidelines:

The school uses the API readings provided by the closest API reading station to the school. The API readings measure five different pollutants in the air that can be harmful to humans. Four of them are carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide. The fifth one is a measuring of particulate matter (what you see) in the air. The API is calculated using averages for some of the pollutants but not for others. The API is not an average of these five pollutants, but instead is a reading that indicates the highest pollutant at that time. This means you can have a high API reading and possibly minimal haze (particulate matter) or the other way around. It also means that there may be a delay from the time the haze levels rise or fall to the time when the readings indicate the need to take action. For this reason, decisions must also include the head of school’s best judgment and common sense as current conditions in Penang may not be fully represented by the API index published in the media.

Dalat has put into place the following policies:

  • When school is cancelled, we will not require students to make up the attendance later in the semester or the year. We have a fixed graduation date and a full activities calendar that create difficulties in allowing for make-up days.
  • To make sure that the curriculum does not completely stop on haze days, students may be asked to do work or assignments while at home.
  • Because weather conditions may change dramatically in 24 hours, we will not decide to close for more than one day at a time.
  • The MOE directives are part of the decision to close, but are not the only aspect of the decision made by Dalat. The MOE must consider the fact that many of their schools have open air classrooms when making their decision. We, like most international schools, have air conditioned classrooms. For this reason, some international schools will decide to continue school even when there is an MOE directive to close.

If Dalat decides to have classes, and parents feel that the conditions are just not suitable for their child, they may choose to keep their child home that day. We understand that parents have different comfort levels with the haze and want to respect all parents in doing what they feel is best for their child.

When we do close school, Dalat has put into place the following procedures:

  • Dalat will communicate to parents via email and SMS by 7:00 pm regarding school closing the next day. We understand that parents need to make arrangements regarding child care for the next day and so the decision will be made based on the information we have prior to 7:00 pm.
  • An email will be sent by 9:00 am on the “haze day” to students (in MS and HS) by their teachers with any assignments or activities to do for the missed school day. HS and MS students are therefore required to check their emails by 9:00 am on a “haze day.” ES students will have an email sent to their parents explaining any possible activities they should do during the day.
  • Any assignments given earlier in the week (prior to the haze day) and due on the day(s) following the “haze day,” can still be required by the teachers. If there is any doubt, students should clarify with their teachers via email and not make other assumptions.
  • The students will not be asked, or required, to come to campus for any assignment or to collect textbooks.

Here are some links about API and API readings in Malaysia:

Other Information

Heat Illness Prevention

The heat illness policy is intended to provide general guidelines for preventing, assessing and dealing with heat-related illness in athletes.

Heat Index

Heat index is a statistic that combines temperature and humidity. It is intended to show what conditions “feel like” for the body. With the high humidity levels in Malaysia, the heat index is a more comprehensive number for addressing heat illness.

Procedure

  • Coaches should follow procedure for preventing, identifying and dealing with heat illness in athletes.
  • Check the heat index level on Dalat’s Intranet page before practice or games.
  • Based on heat conditions, take into consideration two factors 1) danger levels 2) significance of practice/game
  • Significance of practice/game: Major sporting events like soccer tournaments cannot be cancelled due to heat under normal circumstances. Coaches and the tournament director should be aware of heat conditions and make changes to the format to account for it like shorter halves, periodic water breaks, fewer games, etc. Minor sporting events like a practice or friendly matches can be delayed, postponed or cancelled if conditions warrant it.
  • Coaches are responsible for monitoring heat index levels and responding according to procedure. The Athletic Director has the ability to make an overriding decision for each sports team.
  • Coaches must remember all athletes respond differently to heat. Weight, fitness level, acclimatization and general fitness are factors to consider.
  • Practicing or playing in direct sunlight will receive the maximum level of heat index levels. Tennis courts and cement can increase temperatures by 10-15 degrees.

32-40 Degrees

Heat exhaustion, heat cramps & sunstroke possible with prolonged exposure and/or physical activity. Provide unlimited fluids and monitor athletes for signs & symptoms of heat illness.

40-51 Degrees

Heat exhaustion, heat cramps & sunstroke likely, and heatstroke possible. Provide unlimited fluids & take more breaks, consider altering practice so it is less strenuous, doing indoor work or practice in the shade.

51 Degrees & above

Sunstroke & heatstroke highly likely, practice in the shade, indoors and heavily reduce strenuous activity. Be on high alert for signs of heat illness and address them immediately.

Symptoms and Treatment

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