The Hawaii Department of Education announced a decision today that is sure to ruffle some feathers.
The State Board of Education announced the pushing back o all fall sports to late September in order to implement a COVID vaccine mandate for all involved in public school athletics.
By September 24th, all Hawaii athletes and coaches will be required to be fully vaccinated (two weeks after the individual's final shot) in order to participate in sports this fall.
Until then, all public school practices have been canceled, and will remain that way until further notice.
The state of Hawaii is currently seeing a surge in positive COVID cases as schools opened this week.
The announcement, with the quote below from DOE superintendent Keith Hayashi, read, in part:
“We opened the new school year this week with in-person learning and our highest priority is to ensure all students, including your child, can continue to attend school safely. In the meantime, due to the state’s high positivity rate, the Department is delaying the start of the fall athletic season until Sept. 24 to allow for anyone unvaccinated or not yet fully vaccinated to get inoculated.”
“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. The alternative is cancelling the season outright, which we do not want to have to do. We are implementing this layered plan that prioritizes vaccination as the best way to protect against and reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.”
One has to wonder if Hawaii will be the only, or simply the first, to require vaccinations to play sports this fall...and moving forward.
Hawaii's preseason games were scheduled to take place tomorrow with the official start of games next week.
Last year Hawaii was one of just three states to not have football, because o the pandemic, meaning there has not been a high school football game in Hawaii since 2019.