Malaysia: Schools in Kedah and Perlis closed due to heatwave

The Star 22 Mar 16;

PETALING JAYA: With the mercury rising, more than 400,000 students in government schools in Kedah and Perlis – the two hottest states in the country – have been ordered to stay home today and tomorrow.

Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said the ministry would decide tomorrow if the schools would remain closed because of the scorching weather.

“Schools are to close if temperatures exceed 39°C for three consecutive days,” Mahdzir told reporters after being presented with an honorary doctorate in education by Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences.

The ministry, he said, had been closely monitoring the weather and on Saturday, it was found that Kedah and Perlis had recorded temperatures as high as 39.2°C.

According to a statement from the ministry yesterday, the closure in Kedah and Perlis will involve a total of 232 secondary and 621 primary schools.

In all, 413,786 government school students, including preschoolers, are affected.

The two days need not be replaced, it said.

Teachers and staff, however, will have to report for duty as usual.

“All teachers and staff must be in schools to carry out their duties such as meetings, planning their teaching and learning activities and other routine work which does not involve students,” the statement said.

The ministry added that the state and district Education Departments would monitor the situation.

Students come prepared with plenty of water
The Star 22 Mar 16;

PETALING JAYA: As classes resu­med after a week-long break, many schools suspended outdoor activities and students came prepared with plenty of water to stay hydrated during the hot weather.

Sarruesh Gunandran, a Form Three student of SMK Sri Permata here, said he now finished up to two litres of water in school while trying to minimise rigorous activities.

“I try not to sweat too much, so I keep myself out of the sun. It’s good that it has been a bit cloudy these days so it’s not too hot,” said the 15-year-old.

His Form Four schoolmate Crista Anora Roche said to withstand the heat she had been eating more fruits and vitamins in addition to bringing her 1.5-litre water bottle to school.

“Besides constantly drinking water, I now take a lot of apples, oranges and vitamins to make sure I don’t fall sick,” said Crista, 16.

School principal Jamilah Yusop said all the students returned to school yesterday but one needed to go home after feeling dizzy.

“Apart from that, none of the parents have been overly worried by the heatwave nor kept their children at home,” she said, adding that all outdoor activities had been postponed.

She said the school had advised students to drink more water.

Over at SK Sri Kelana here, principal Musa Mohd Walid said attendance was good and no pupil had fallen ill because of the hot weather.

“It was 28°C early in the morning and there has been no complaint of extreme heat,” he said.

The school, he added, had put off activities under the sun.

Musa said reminders were sent out to parents advising them to make sure that their children brought sufficient water to school.

Two girls in Kulim collapse in searing equinox weather
The Star 22 Mar 16;

ALOR SETAR: The equinox “knocked out” two girls, one in Form Three and another, a 19-year-old undergraduate, in Kulim.

The 15-year-old girl fainted after school and was rushed to a clinic on Sunday.

“She went to the playground near her home and fainted while playing with friends.

“The undergraduate collapsed at home,” said state Health director Datuk Dr Norhizan Ismail, adding that both cases were diagnosed as heat exhaustion.

“The older girl’s kampung house has zinc roof sheets and that could have caused the heat to build up inside her house.

“By late afternoon, it was too much for her and family members rushed her the Kulim hospital,” Dr Norhizan said.

He advised Kedahans to stay out of the sun and drink lots of water.

Meanwhile, some parents here have already stopped sending their children to school, ahead of the government order to close schools in Kedah and Perlis.

Grandfather Ang Choon Hai was concerned over the heat as he waited for his grandson to come out of school.

“We didn’t let him go to school on Sunday because he was having the sniffles.

“But he pleaded to us that he wanted to go to school today,” said the 72-year-old yesterday as he waited outside his grandson’s school – SJK (C) Keat Hwa Cawangan K in Jalan Keat Hwa.

State Education Committee chairman Datuk Tajul Urus Mat Zain said many schools reported a slight decline in attendance.

“The Education Ministry made the right move in closing all schools and urging parents to keep their children indoors.

“It’s sports season for most local schools but they have been told to postpone all their sporting events.

“The schools have also been advised to stop all their other outdoor activities,” he said.

Keat Hwa Cawangan K senior assistant Lim Poh Ee said 34 students were absent on Sunday and 23 yesterday.

Malaysian Meteorological Department’s weather stations in Alor Setar recorded a temperature of 36ºC at 4pm yesterday while Chuping in Perlis was still sweltering at 37ºC. By 6pm, however, Alor Setar’s temperature reading had dropped to 33ºC and Chuping 36ºC.

A 48-year-old teacher from SK Lubuk Buntar in Serdang, Kedah, collapsed and died while delivering her speech during the school assembly.

Suzana Ishak was speaking at the assembly when she suddenly complained of dizziness and asked her colleagues to help her finish her speech.

Moments later, she collapsed, and was immediately sent to the Parit Buntar hospital, where she was pronounced dead on Sunday.

A post-mortem, however, found that she had died of heart attack and not from heatstroke as reported on social media.

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