Schools advised to minimise sustained outdoor activities

Samantha Boh, The Straits Times AsiaOne 19 Mar 16;

While the National Environment Agency (NEA) has debunked social media rumours that Singapore could experience scorching temperatures of 40 deg C in the coming days, government agencies like the Ministry of Education are keeping close tabs on the situation.

The ministry has sent a circular reminding schools to be mindful of the well-being of their teachers and students, as they engage in outdoor physical activities.

"Teachers and students are encouraged to drink appropriate amount of fluids to prevent heat injuries, with appropriate rest and water breaks considered," said a spokesman for the Education Ministry.

She added that the schools have been told that sustained outdoor activities should be minimised during the hotter period of the day, and the intensity of these activities should be moderated.

The Ministry of Health has also issued an advisory, on what people can do to minimise the risk of heat-induced illnesses during warm weather. This includes wearing loose-fitting, heat-permeable and light-coloured clothing, and taking more breaks between activities.

While a heatwave has been declared in several cities in the north of Malaysia, Singapore is not in the midst of one yet.

According to the NEA, a heatwave occurs when the daily maximum temperature is at least 35 deg C on three consecutive days, and the daily mean temperature throughout the period is at least 29 deg C.

On Tuesday, the NEA said the next fortnight was expected to be drier and warmer. During this period, the daily maximum temperature could hit 36 deg C on some days. But on most days, the daily maximum temperatures are expected to between 33 deg C and 34 deg C.

So far, the highest daily maximum temperature recorded in Singapore is 37 deg C on April 17, 1983.

Meanwhile, national water agency PUB said Singapore's reservoir stocks are at a healthy level, despite below-average rainfall across almost all parts of the island over the last two weeks.

A PUB spokesman said the agency tops up the reservoirs with Newater during dry months.

She added that the water level at the Linggiu Reservoir in Johor - a major supply source to Singapore - remains low at less than half full. The PUB will provide further updates on it next week.

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