School operations

Ventilation and Air Purification

Operation and placement of air purifiers

The department has provided schools with Samsung AX7500 (also known as the AX90T) model air purifiers. This advice relates to this specific model of air purifier (device).

Each device contains a user manualExternal Link , which should be kept in the same room as each unit for reference. A short set-up guide (PDF)External Link can also be found on the Samsung website.

The air purifiers contain high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. HEPA filters can help filter airborne viruses, bacteria, and particulate matter from bushfire or hazard reduction burn smoke.

Air purifiers do not eliminate airborne infectious disease transmission but, combined with other interventions in schools – including vaccination, physical distancing, good hygiene, masks and cleaning, they create a safer school environment.

Each air purifier is designed to filter an area of 90 m2. If a space is larger than 90 m2 multiple air purifiers should be used based on the total area of the space (for example, if a space is 150 m2, 2 air purifiers should be used – if a space is 250 m2, 3 air purifiers should be used).

Advice on placing the air purifiers within a room to maximise efficiency:

Air purifiers draw air in from the front, meaning they can be placed near a wall or in a corner.

  • The air purifiers require at least 20 to 30 cm space around the sides and the back.
  • Place the devices away from open doors and windows.
  • Place the devices in areas of low air movement – this is often the opposite side of the room to open windows or doors.
  • Do not place objects on top of the device.
  • Place the air purifiers away from audio/visual media as they can be affected by video or audio noise.
  • Use one air purifier per 90 m2 space. An additional air purifier should be used with each additional 90 m2.

Recommended advice for using the air purifiers:

  • Turn air purifiers on ‘high’ fan speed throughout the day and ideally 2 hours after a room is occupied.
  • Use timers to manage daily routines.
  • Use air purifiers together with open windows.
  • Continue to promote air movement through available means such as fans and air-conditioners even when the air-purifier is in use.
  • If noise is affecting learning, turn the air purifier fan down from the high setting.
  • Ensure the child lock function on the air purifier is activated when students are in the room.
  • Practice good hand hygiene after touching the device.
  • Refer to the user manual for all information about the safe operation of the air purifiers.
  • Do not leave air purifiers operating at schools overnight. This can result in units setting off school alarm systems.

Location of air purifiers within a school

Schools need to consider how air purifiers can support the unique characteristics of their existing infrastructure and school community. Purifiers are portable and can be moved to accommodate operational changes within the school.

Schools have been provided with a sufficient number of air purifiers to cover all classrooms and other high-risk spaces. Room risk ratings can be found at: Room risk rating and management strategies.

Schools should consider placing air purifiers in rooms that:

  • have limited opportunity for other forms of ventilation (for example, rooms with windows that cannot be opened or rooms where the only openable windows and/or door outside are on one side of the room)
  • have occupants that are unable to maintain physical distancing easily
  • will be used for activities that require higher levels of exertion, no mask-wearing, or increased aerosol projection, such as music, singing, sport, or drama
  • are used by a vulnerable student or staff cohort, including those who are immune compromised or have underlying health conditions, or are not able to utilise other interventions such as masks, physical distancing, and/or vaccination
  • are required to hold a higher number of people for extended periods.

Safe movement of air purifiers

The air purifiers provided to schools are portable and can be moved by staff.

School staff who physically move or lift air purifiers must take steps to manage the associated OHS risks, including when they are delivered and being moved around the school. These steps must include:

A Manual handling awareness training presentation (PPTX)External Link is also available to support staff to familiarise themselves with safe manual handling techniques.

For more general guidance about manual handling refer to the Movement of air purifiers – training and guidance section of the Resources tab.

School purchase of air purifiers

Schools can purchase additional air purifiers. When choosing the type of air purifier, schools should consider the specifications required for an air purifier to be effective in the intended space, including having capacity sufficient for the room size.

Consider the following factors before purchasing and deploying air purifiers:

  • Only air purifiers equipped with a HEPA filter are recommended. Air purifiers with a lower grade filter may not be as efficient in removing airborne viral particles or not remove these at all.
  • The size of the air cleaner device needs to be appropriate to the space it will be used in.
  • Consider the effectiveness of the device in removing particulates in the air. The clean air delivery rate measurements are based on the space and volume of clean air produced.

Air purifiers that use UV or ionisers are not recommended. UV aerosol disinfection can pose potential health risks and the installation of such devices requires extensive professional consultation.

Additional detail on considerations when purchasing air purifiers can be found in Department of Health guidance: COVID-19: Ventilation principles and strategies to reduce aerosol transmission in community and workplace settingsExternal Link .

Includes advice for use, placement and maintenance of air purifiers

Reviewed 18 October 2022

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