High dust levels are expected to drop as rain sets in, but schools are not taking a chance on their students' health and are taking measures to minimise outdoor exposure.
Following an unprecedented meeting on Monday at the government level, the Education Ministry announced later that evening that public schools will follow a set of rules to minimise exposure of students to the dusty atmosphere.
Dust reached an unprecedented high level in the atmosphere over the last couple of days, in some places as five times higher. Nicosia had 300 μg/m3 only by morning and levels rose in other cities twice as much during the day. This is by far exceeding the safe limit in any given hour, which is 50 µg/m3, according to the ambient air quality standards for particulate matter, which is the maximum amount of airborne particles that can be present outdoors without threatening the public's health.
According to the new guidelines, students will be allowed to leave the classroom only for necessary trips, such as going to the bathroom, getting some water, or having something to eat during the break. They will have to return to class after their short trip.
Students will be allowed to leave the classroom only for necessary trips, such as going to the bathroom or getting some water
Gym class will also be suspended in schools without indoor facilities and outdoor excursions or events that take too long outside will also be put on hold.
Persons with respiratory problems will have to use appropriate gear, such as filtered face masks, while parents are asked to inform the school if a child has such a condition.
On Tuesday, weather will remain mostly clear with temperatures reaching 28° Celsius inland, 24°C on the west and southern coasts, 22° in the rest of the coastal areas and 19° on the mountains. Overnight temperatures inland and on the northern coast will drop to 10° Celsius, 12°C in the rest of the coastal areas, and 8° on the mountains.
On Wednesday it will be partly cloudy with rain showers expected in the afternoon and temperatures are expected to take a dip.
Thursday will be mostly cloudy with rain showers and a chance of thunderstorms. A dip in temperature will remain in effect.
But Friday, despite starting early with mostly cloudy skies and isolated rain showers, temperatures are expected to rise again and it will be mostly clear for the day.