Schools get new COVID-19 guidance from DOH

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald Students from Waiakea High School cross Kawili Street on Tuesday after leaving school.

Students will be permitted to return to school more quickly after being sick with COVID-19, according to the state Department of Health.

The DOH on Tuesday released new guidelines for students and staff at K-12 schools, reducing quarantine times from 10 days to five.

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Under the new guidelines, which follow recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms should isolate for five days.

They will be able to return to school as long as five full days have passed since the test was first conducted or since symptoms first appeared, and as long as the subject has had no fever for 24 hours.

Similarly, students and staff who have been in close contact with a COVID-positive person should quarantine for five days after last contact if they have not been fully vaccinated or if they have completed their initial vaccine series but have not received a booster.

Even if they are not symptomatic, those quarantining should be tested on the fifth day of quarantine, according to the DOH.

However, students and staff do not have to quarantine after contact with a COVID-positive person if those students or staff are between 5-17 years old and have completed their primary vaccine series, or if they are 18 or older and have received their primary vaccination and a booster.

“We’re ecstatic to have this new guidance,” said Chad Farias, Keaau-Ka‘u-Pahoa Complex Area superintendent. “It’s always better to have things black-and-white on paper. It makes it easy to set a rule for people.”

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“When someone is left to make the decision to come back on their own — if they got COVID, and for two years they’re used to waiting 10 days to come back — then if they decide to come back after just five days, they feel guilty,” Farias continued. “This rule takes that personal responsibility off of them.”

Email Michael Brestovansky at mbrestovansky@hawaiitribune-herald.com

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