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DOE: School In-Door Mask Rule to Stay in Place For Now

By Tom Hasslinger
March 28, 2022, 3:19 PM HST
* Updated March 28, 3:20 PM
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Hawai‘i’s in-door mask mandate and Safe Travels program into state ended after March 25, but students are still required to wear masks inside classrooms for the foreseeable future.

A spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Education told Big Island Now on Monday, March 28 that the policy will continue to be in effect until further notice.

Following it allows the schools to bypass conducting individual case investigations, close contact identifications, and quarantining of students when in-school exposures occur, as outlined by the Department of Health’s guidance for K-12 schools. Bypassing those measures is only allowed when an in-door mask policy is followed.

“Universal indoor masking allows us to prioritize in-person learning,” said Nanea Kalani, HIDOE spokeswoman.

Masks must be worn by everyone at a HIDOE school campus or facility when indoors, but waring masks outdoors is optional for students and staff, she explained.

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A parent letter from Superintendent Keith Hayashi explained the latest health and safety guidelines to families before spring break earlier this month.

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A copy of the letter is here.

“Please know that because our goal is to always prioritize in-person learning, we are cautiously adjusting our guidance to ensure as many students as possible can continue to stay in the classroom,” Hayashi wrote in the letter.

Kalani said that the department’s health and safety rules will continue to evolve based on the latest guidance from DOH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Tom Hasslinger
Tom Hasslinger is a journalist who lives in Kailua-Kona. Prior to joining Big Island Now, he worked as the managing editor for West Hawaii Today and deputy editor for The Garden Island newspaper on Kauai. He's worked for over 15 years as a reporter for the Oahu-based Civil Beat news outlet, as well as in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and Douglas Wyoming.
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