DOE stands by COVID vaccine mandate for student-athletes

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 10:02 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Despite pushback over the COVID-19 vaccine, the Department of Education is standing by their policy of mandatory vaccines for public school athletes.

DOE Interim Superintendent Keith Hayashi said extracurricular activities like sports are important -- but are secondary to educating students in the classroom.

Health experts initially recommended that the fall season be cancelled.

While Hayashi said they considered weekly COVID testing, they decided to have players be fully vaccinated.

“We made a decision to add a strategy to leverage vaccinations for our students to ensure their safety as well as ensuring that they can participate with your teams and have a productive season,” said Hayashi.

“The safety data looks to be incredibly favorable in terms of being able to safely administer the vaccines to adolescents at this time,” said Family Medical Physician, Dr. Rob Carlisle.

The mandate for Hawaii’s student-athletes allows exemptions for religious or medical reasons.

But even with exemptions, they will still need to get tested.

All student athletes will need to be vaccinated by Sept. 24.

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