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Despite new CDC guidance, masks still required in Hawaii’s public schools

While some parents and students support the policy masking in classrooms, others prefer having an option.
Published: Mar. 27, 2022 at 5:40 PM HST|Updated: Mar. 28, 2022 at 11:26 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - While some parents and students support the policy masking in classrooms, others prefer having an option.

It’s been a month since the CDC updated its guidelines and said they no longer recommend universal indoor masking in education settings with low or medium COVID levels.

DOH continues to recommend indoor masking and released the following statement.

Masks work. A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health found that mandatory masking policies in schools reduced COVID-19 transmission by approximately 72%.

“I really don’t feel that we’re absolutely over,” said Kristen Savea of Pearl City.

“It’s turned from a pandemic to an endemic, but still, for my peace of mind and for my children’s safety, I’m perfectly fine with them having to wear it when they’re indoors.”

Savea is a mother of six kids ranging from high school to elementary and said she’s all for the mask requirement.

“And we have a rather large family, so we do have the opportunity to converse when we’re at home,” said Savea. “I haven’t seen any deficiencies.”

It’s been a different experience for Natalie Muensterman of Kona who is a mom of two elementary kids.

“My husband and I have witnessed with our own children, we’ve seen the impact of the masks on their social and emotional health,” said Muensterman. “And so where we are today is that we feel that because the risk is low, it’s time for parental choice and really, it comes down to my kid my choice.”

Psychiatrist Thomas Cook cites a study out of Brown University that found IQ points dropped by 20 over the last two years.

“And so, I think that data should give us pause about some of the effects both of masking and lockdowns,” said Cook. “Those two things haven’t been teased out, but I think we need to wonder.”

The Hawaii State Teachers Association said since students and educators sit shoulder to shoulder in rooms for up to seven hours a day together, they support masking in classrooms.

Hawaii News Now reached out to DOE and is yet to hear back.

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