HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Department of Health modified its interim COVID-19 isolation and quarantine guidance for K through 12 schools.
According to DOH, the updated guidance is closely aligned with new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for schools.
Schools have the tools they need to help keep students safe from COVID-19. Vaccines, boosters, masks, and cohorting all contribute to a safe environment,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble.
The Department of Education (DOE) Superintendent agrees with the updated guidance and he said it supports DOE’s efforts.
“The reduced isolation and quarantine guidance support our efforts to continue to prioritize in-person learning while upholding safety protocols in our schools,” interim Superintendent Keith Hayashi said. “The revisions also recognize the protection that vaccinations provide for staff and students, and the added protection boosters provide for eligible staff. More than 90% of HIDOE employees are vaccinated and we continue to support efforts to make vaccinations accessible in our schools along with COVID testing opportunities.”
Hayashi touches briefly on the shortage of teachers statewide. He said DOE continues to monitor teacher absence and 12% of the teacher workforce are out. According to Hayashi, half is sick, the other is taking a vacation or on personal leave.
In a virtual meeting held on Tuesday, Kemble said DOH will plan to meet with school partners in the coming weeks to look at mitigation strategies as a whole and to issue updated full recommendations for schools.
Students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 or have COVID-19 symptoms should isolate for five days regardless of their vaccination status. They can return to school when all the following conditions are met:
- Five full days have passed since symptoms first appeared or since test was conducted.
- No fever for 24 hours.
- Symptoms have improved.
Students and staff who have been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19 should quarantine for five days after the last contact if:
- They have not completed their primary vaccine series – 2 shots Pfizer or Moderna, 1 shot J&J.
- They are 18 or older and have completed their primary vaccine series but have not received a recommended booster when eligible.
Students and staff should get tested on day five of quarantine, even if they do not have symptoms.
Students and staff are not required to quarantine if:
- They are ages 5-17 and have completed their primary series of COVID-19 vaccines – 2 shots Pfizer or Moderna.
- They are 18 and older and have received all recommended vaccine doses including boosters.