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Updated Hawaii health guidance a week before new school year

July 26, 2021 GMT

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii’s Department of Health has updated it guidance to schools a week before the start of another school year during the pandemic.

The department’s guidance announced Monday includes recommendations for wearing masks in all indoor settings and maintaining at least 3 feet (1 meter) of physical distance between students in classrooms, when possible.

Masks are recommended outdoors when there’s crowding or prolonged close contact, said acting State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble.

The department said schools should consider screening testing for all teachers and staff who have not been fully vaccinated regardless of the level of community transmission.

The guidance also includes screening testing for those who are not fully vaccinated to facilitate participation in sports and other activities with a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Promoting vaccines against COVID-19 for all eligible children and adults is the top strategy for safe in-person learning, Kemble said.

Last week, the state Department of Education posted a list of about 100 schools that will offer limited options for remote learning amid concerns about a rise in Hawaii’s new cases of the virus.

Hawaii’s public school students return to classes Aug. 3.