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Local students face strict COVID rules for year-end events

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HONOLULU — Hawaiʻi public schools are enforcing pandemic restrictions that go beyond recommendations from state and federal health officials.

Hawaiʻi is the only state in the nation that still requires universal indoor masks for all public school students and staff.

Despite coronavirus rules lifting across the state and nation, some schools are going even further for end-of-year gatherings and celebrations.

Principals have the flexibility to add restrictions for proms and graduations

For example, when Oʻahu's Kaiser High School holds its prom in Waikīkī this weekend, students will be required to wear masks, show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test, and comply with a “no physical contact while dancing” rule. Only a handful of students will be allowed on the dance floor at a time.

All attendees were required to sign a contract that says failure to comply with the rules could cause the event to be shut down.

“We are committed to protecting our school community,” Kaiser Principal Justin Mew said. “We don’t want to be the cause for having it spread into our community."

Indoor mask rules for the general public in Hawaiʻi ended in March along with quarantine, testing and vaccination rules for travelers.

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