Definition of boosted or fully vaccinated recently also changed for quarantine requirements

The Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) released Tuesday updated guidance for K–12 schools that reflects new recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Shortly after, the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) released updated Return to School/Work Criteria for students and staff.

The major areas that have changed include definitions for being boosted or fully vaccinated recently, for purposes of quarantine requirements, guidance for high-risk activities, and a reduction in the number of days someone would need to quarantine or isolate from 10 to five.

Students and staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who have COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of their vaccination status, must isolate for five days. Students and staff can return to school when all the following conditions are met:

  • Five days have passed since symptoms first appeared or five days after the test was collected, if asymptomatic; and
  • 24 hours with no fever without use of fever-reducing medications; and
  • Symptoms have improved. If symptoms do not improve, the individual (student or staff) must stay home until day 10.

Well-fitting masks must be worn around others at all times in school settings.

If a student or staff member is identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19, there are two categories which could apply before they can return to school/work.

If you are boosted or fully vaccinated recently*, quarantine is NOT required unless symptoms develop.

If you are NOT boosted or fully vaccinated recently*, quarantine for five days after exposure and if continued exposure, five days after the confirmed case is released from isolation. Quarantine is not shortened by a negative COVID-19 test.

*Boosted or fully vaccinated recently: Someone is fully vaccinated two weeks after the second dose in a two-dose series or two weeks after a single dose of the J&J vaccine. Recently is within five months of a two-dose series vaccine or two months of a J&J vaccine. People infected with COVID-19 in the last 90 days are included in this category.

Regardless of vaccination status, the following should occur:

  1. Testing recommended on day five.
  2. Monitor COVID-19-like symptoms for 14 days.
  3. Must continue to adhere to masking requirements.

For high-risk activities that do not allow for masking and distancing (e.g., athletics or choir):

  • Positive students may not participate in high-risk activities until 10 days after symptoms first appeared or test collection date if no symptoms.
  • Student close contacts not up to date with all recommended COVID-19 vaccines and boosters for their age group must remain out of high-risk activities 10 days after the close contact.