Victoria is racing to deliver the lion’s share of 51,000 air purifiers promised to schools before the start of term one, as transport issues hinder distribution.
In September, the government announced it had signed a contract with South Korean tech company Samsung to deliver 51,000 air purification devices to every government and low-fee independent school in the state.
Education Minister James Merlino said more than 20,000 of the devices – which are to be placed in high-risk settings such as sick bays, canteens, staff rooms and music rooms – had been delivered to schools thus far.
“Even if I need to get in a truck and deliver them myself, we’ll get those air purifiers delivered,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
“We’ve got the next three weeks where we will deliver the remaining component of that 51,000.”
He said the rollout was facing supply chain “challenges”, but authorities are liaising with more transport companies to ensure staff shortages don’t affect deliveries.
It comes as Victoria works with NSW and other jurisdictions to develop a nationally consistent framework for schools returning, after Queensland postponed its restart date by two weeks to allow more students to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Mr Merlino said the state government had committed to moving beyond remote learning and lockdowns once vaccination levels were high enough.
“I want every child back at school on day one, term one and we’ll be making sure that’s the case,” he said.
National cabinet is expected to discuss health advice on schools returning during Thursday’s meeting.