Hawaii DOE announces updated COVID-19 school guidelines

K-12 students in Hawaii will no longer be required to quarantine if exposed to COVID-19 in or out of school as of this week. The change is part of a new set of guidelines from the Hawaii Department of Education (DOE), in accordance with federal and local public health authorities, DOE superintendent Keith Hayashi announced Tuesday. 

 

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Other changes to school COVID-19 guidelines include the following: 

  • Notifications of exposure are only required if students and staff stay in the same space throughout the day. All COVID-19 cases at schools will continue to be reported on the Department’s dashboard.
  • Screening and testing is recommended for high-risk activities, events, and following school breaks. 
  • No vaccination or testing is required for participation in school sports.

Hayashi previously sent a letter to parents on July 25th, prior to the start of the school year. At the time, DOE guidance said both indoor and outdoor masking was optional, but strongly encouraged. Quarantine was not required for in-school exposures, but did apply to non-school and household exposures if the individual was not up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations for their age group. At the time of the July guidance, COVID-19 community levels in all Hawaii counties were determined to be “medium” or “high,” according to the CDC. 

As of Thursday, CDC data determined community spread to be “medium” in Honolulu, Kalawao, and Maui counties. Kauai and Hawaii counties had “low” community spread. 

The letter clarifies that anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 or has symptoms must isolate for at least 5 days, regardless of vaccination status. Additionally, indoor masking is still highly recommended for 10 days following exposure to COVID-19.