Beijing issued a red alert due to heavy pollution beginning today with a forecast until Wednesday. News continues to break about school closings, and beijingkids will do their best to keep you updated about which schools are closing during the red alert.
Thus far we have heard that these schools will close Monday to Wednesday:
Dongcheng District Schools
Haidian District Schools
(Several international schools were already scheduled to close for Christmas.)
**Schools can contact us directly or comment on this post to add their names to this list.
It’s no longer mandatory that schools close during the red alert, but up to each individual district. According to one news report, “Middle or high schools can choose one of three methods: shorten the day and only teach academic courses; two, have a half day; or three, cancel class and rearrange to an upcoming weekend.”
Though ideally the Beijing government would like to strictly enforce these measure, school communities are in a fickle situation. Some schools have better air quality in their buildings than what is available at children’s homes, and parents are not necessarily able to get off from work. If grandparents are not at home, who will watch young children?
Therefore parents, please check with your school in advance to find out if they will be closing during the red alert.
In addition to school closings, vehicles have restrictions during a red alert. According to the Beijing Traffic Bureau:
Fri 16: 8pm to midnight: Odds restricted
Sat 17: 3am to midnight: Evens restricted
Sun 18: 3am to midnight: Odds restricted
Mon 19: 3am to midnight: Evens restricted
Tue 20: 3am to midnight: Odds restricted
Wed 21: 3am to midnight: Evens restricted
If all goes well, restriction ends 22nd and returns to normal (plates ending in 3,8 restricted).
What is a Red Alert?
Here are the Mandatory Measures in more detail:
Red Alert (Level 1)
1. Health Protection Guidance Measures
a) Children; elderly; those with cardiovascular, cerebrovascular or other chronic diseases should endeavor to stay indoors and avoid outdoor activities; others should also reduce outdoor activity.
b) Those working outdoors (可采取) an take protective measures such as wearing masks
c) Kindergartens, Primary and secondary schools to take flexible teaching or suspension and other protective measures
d) Medical and health institutions should offer medical guidance to those with respiratory diseases
2. Suggested Volunteer Measures
a) Use public transportation rather than private vehicles; reduce idling time by shutting off engines in a timely manner when stopping
b) Increase dust control measures at construction sites, bare ground, material supply depots and other places
c) Increase road cleaning to reduce traffic dust pollution
d) Reduce the use of paints, solvents and other volatile organic compounds
e) Enterprises can adjust working hours as they see fit, transfer and remote office and other flexible work
3. Mandatory Requirements
Under the presumption that it allows the city to function normally …
a) Increase the number of daily cleaning operations on major roads by more than 1x per day
b) Stop all outdoor construction sites from spraying paint, slope protection sprays, construction demolition, mechanical cutting and other construction operations
c) The national I and the national II emission standard light gasoline vehicles (including driving school vehicles) are banned from operating at all; National III standard vehicles restricted on an odds/evens basis; Official city vehicles to operate on the odd and even number and additionally reduce vehicle use by 30 percent
d) All construction waste, cement and gravel transport vehicles prohibited from the road (with the exception of clean energy vehicles);
e) Industries appearing on the government’s list of restricted manufacturing enterprises are to be shut
f) Fireworks and outdoor barbecues are banned
g) Arrange to increase energy usage from sources outside the city while reducing usage of power produced locally
Photos: Wayne Ye