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Mask mandate for public school classrooms to remain in place through academic year

After two years of masking in class, the Department of Education isn't ready to give it up.
Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 10:23 PM HST|Updated: Apr. 19, 2022 at 4:54 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - After two years of masking in class, the state Department of Education isn’t ready to give it up.

The DOE says students will still have to wear masks in the classroom through May 27. That takes them through the academic year but means that summer school classes will be mask-optional.

Natalie Muensterman, mom of two elementary kids, said the change needs to happen sooner. She says children need the opportunity to start normalizing.

“There’s a lot of children who are apprehensive to take their masks off out of fear that they’re going to let down the adults in their life,” Muensterman said. “And there’s going to be a grace period needed for these children to get comfortable taking off their masks and so we need to do that now.”

Masks are optional at all outdoor graduation events next month.

But at Leilehua High School, a letter was recently sent home advising families that lei, gifts and signs are not allowed at the May 20 ceremony.

Masks will also be required for most Merrie Monarch Festival events later this week.

And proof of vaccination must be shown by everyone over 5.

Hawaii County Communications Director Cyrus Johnasen said the rules were developed months ago. He added safety is paramount.

“Even though we don’t have a mask mandate in the county now, I think the Merrie Monarch Festival, wants to make sure that this is an event ... that creates more harm than good,” Johnasen said.

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