Daily temperature checks will be introduced at Melbourne schools as a precautionary coronavirus measure.
More than 14,000 thermometers will be sent to schools in the state’s 32 locked-down local government areas, Education Minister James Merlino announced on Thursday.
If a student has a temperature of 37.5 degrees or above, schools will be required to contact parents or carers to send the pupil home.
Families will then be encouraged to seek testing for COVID-19 or the advice of their healthcare professional.
“Daily temperature checks will help make sure unwell students stay at home and do not risk spreading coronavirus,” Mr Merlino said.
“I understand that this is a stressful time for parents, but we are following the best medical advice and taking every possible precaution to ensure the safety of all Victorians.”
Temperature checks will also be introduced for children from locked-down areas who attend school outside the boundary line.
Only senior secondary students, year 10 students who study VCE subjects, children of essential workers and those attending specialist schools will return to face-to-face learning on Monday.
School holidays for all other students in Victoria’s locked-down areas have been extended for a week while teachers and parents prepare for a return to online learning.
More than 20 schools have been forced to close for cleaning in recent weeks following cases of COVID-19, including Al-Taqwa College in Truganina, which has become one of the state’s biggest clusters.
The first case at the school was identified on June 27, with the cluster growing to 102 by Wednesday.
More than 2000 students and hundreds of staff have been sent into quarantine.
From Thursday, residents in metropolitan Melbourne and the shire of Mitchell, which is just north of the city and includes the towns of Broadford, Kilmore, Pyalong, Seymour, Tallarook and Wallan, re-entered lockdown for six weeks.
People can leave their homes only to get food and supplies, receive or provide care, exercise, and study or work.
Businesses that had recently reopened, including beauty parlours and gyms, have been closed, while cafes and restaurants returned to takeaway and delivery only.
According to Ai Group Economics, about 20 per cent of businesses in Australia are in the locked-down areas – accounting for almost one-fifth of the nation’s economic output.
“Our precinct is hurting this morning, which is a crying shame because our businesses were leading the state with best practices in hygiene control, social distancing protocols and contact tracing check-ins,” Chapel Street Precinct’s Chrissie Maus said.
Victoria recorded another 134 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, the second-highest daily total after a record 191 cases on Tuesday.
Numbers for Thursday had not been released by 2pm.
Among the new cases are two workers at Town Hall station, which is part of the government’s Metro Tunnel project.
The workers are isolating at home and the construction site reopened on Thursday morning following a deep clean.
“As a precautionary measure, all Town Hall site team members have been offered a COVID-19 test,” a Metro Tunnel spokesman said.
Victoria has a total of 2942 COVID-19 cases, with more than 850 remaining active – an increase of nearly 800 in a month.
Seven hundred police officers and 264 Australian Defence Force members will enforce the lockdown, with booze bus-type checks in place.
Police can issue on-the-spot fines of up to $1652 to individuals and $9913 to businesses for flouting the rules.