Due to alarming pollution levels in the city, primary schools will remain closed on Wednesday, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said. Also, all outdoor activities in schools, including morning and afternoon assemblies, have been suspended.

The National Capital Region on Tuesday saw its worst air quality of the year – which was even worse than a day after Diwali – as a yellow blanket of smog hung heavily in the sky. The average Air Quality Index in Delhi-NCR combined was recorded 412, considered “severe”, while PM2.5 volume was 400 as reported by the Central Pollution Control Board at 1 pm.

The decision to close schools was taken in a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with officials of Education, Health, and Environment Departments. Government, municipal corporation, and private schools till Class 5 will remain closed on Wednesday and this closure might be extended after reviewing the situation, Sisodia said.

Earlier in the day, Kejriwal said that he has requested Sisodia “to consider closing schools for a few days considering high level of pollution”.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) had also requested the Delhi government to shut the schools for a few days as a preventive measure. “The air quality began to worsen on Monday evening as moisture and pollutants covered the city. The situation is expected to remain the same for 3-4 days more,” IMA wrote in a letter to Delhi govt.

The IMA had also appealed to the government to cancel the decade-old Airtel Delhi Half Marathon citing extremely worrying levels of pollution that could potentially harm the participants who will be exposed to the air for a long time.