Hawaii to require high school athletes to be vaccinated

High school students who want to play sports in 2021-22 will need to vaccinated for COVID-19, the Hawaii Department of Education announced Wednesday.

The first high school football games in Hawaii were set to start this week. Now, all fall sports in the state had their season start date pushed back to Sept. 24 to allow students and staff time be fully vaccinated.

The decision was made after the state has seen a sudden spike in the 7-day average of daily new cases just as schools in the state were opening for full in-person instruction.

“We opened the new school year this week with in-person learning and our highest priority is to ensure all students can continue to attend school safely,” interim Superintendent Keith Hayashi said. “This decision was not made lightly because we know the important role athletics play in a well-rounded education, but we cannot jeopardize the health and safety of our students and communities. We saw over the weekend the impact that just one potential case can have on sports teams, students and families. The alternative is canceling the season outright, which we don’t want to have to do; so we are implementing this layered plan that prioritizes vaccinations as the best way to protect against and reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.”

Students and staff who receive the first vaccination does by Aug. 20 can be fully immunized by Sept. 24, given the three-week window for the second dose, then another 14 days for the vaccination to take full effect.

According to the CDC, Hawaii has a COVID 7-day case rate of 193.7 per 100,000 residents. By comparison, Washington’s case rate is 156.3. But those numbers dwarf compared to those of southern states of Louisiana (653.2) Florida (590.6), Arkansas (488.3) and Mississippi (476.9).

COVID-19 case rate in Hawaii

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