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Community conditions and updated guidance allow us to pull back three layers of protection safely.

Pulling back layers due to improved conditions, proven data

March 4, 2022

March has arrived, and a well-deserved Spring Break is on the horizon! Mahalo piha to everyone for your ongoing extraordinary care of our haumāna and each other through a challenging start in 2022 that impacted all of our communities.

Fortunately, over the past four weeks, conditions have continued to move in a favorable direction.

  • COVID cases have decreased by 84%.
  • Our on-campus test positivity rate is 0.59%.
  • Our vaccination rate well exceeds county levels, especially in age specific groupings for haumāna.
  • Hawaiʻi County meets the LOW Community Level under CDC’s new guidance regarding mask usage.   

As such, there are three layers of protocols that we believe can be safely removed with a continued commitment from our kauhale to enact personal kuleana for our individual and collective health and well-being.

  1. Daily Wellness Checks will no longer be required effective March 7, 2022.
    Personal Kuleana: If you do not feel well, or you were identified as a close contact and are not up-to-date on vaccinations, you continue to stay home if sick and notify the health room. 
  2. Masking outdoors will be optional effective March 7, 2022.
    Personal Kuleana: Continue to be safe and consider your circumstances. If in a large group where distancing isn’t possible and contact is sustained, it is better to mask. If recently identified as a close contact, masking for 10 days should occur at all times. The indoor masking policy still remains in effect.
  3. Weekly Surveillance Testing will be voluntary for all students and employees effective March 28, 2022, except if mandated for sports participation, as long as required on-time testing is fulfilled over the next two tests.
    Personal Kuleana: Individuals, regardless of vaccination status, can and should utilize on-campus testing resources available as a regular precaution, if they feel like they may have been exposed, or were notified that they were a close contact. 

There are a number of reasons why we are able to take these steps, but number one is the commitment everyone has made to their own health and the health of everyone in our kauhale. You can see additional information below for why each decision was made.


The CDC and DOH had removed the use of wellness checks from school guidance, and the main utility of these checks are to serve as a reminder that the most important thing you can do when you don’t feel well is to stay home. We believe we can reinforce that message through other means, and rely on the personal kuleana of each member of our kauhale to do the right thing for the health of each other. There may still be a need for event or activity specific wellness checks in the future, but as a daily practice, we are confident in letting the checks sunset effective next Monday, March 7.


Masks have not been required outside in Hawaiʻi since May 25, 2021, with a caveat for crowded settings, defined as 10 or more, where a six foot distance wasn’t possible. Then the Delta, and later Omicron variants hit in July and December of 2021 respectively, which further highlighted the need to continue and enhance layers of protection in place, particularly in a school setting where groups frequently exceed 10 people. For that reason, and to keep the guidelines simple and easy to understand, KS continued the requirement for masking at all times when in the presence of others, regardless of vaccination status. However, knowing what we know now, and the science around outdoor transmission being clear, it is time to make this change. Outdoor masking is still recommended if close contact is sustained outdoors (i.e. sitting in the bleachers around a crowd, or gathered in a group without distancing for a while) or if an individual was a close contact of a COVID-19 positive case within the past 10 days, but will be optional or subject to personal kuleana moving forward. The indoor masking policy still remains in effect, and is still subject to review pending any action made on the Governor’s mask mandate later this month.


​​The data specific to our testing program, along with county, state, and CDC guidelines reflecting better community conditions gives Kamehameha Hawaiʻi confidence to suspend the weekly surveillance testing requirement for grade 6-12 students and employees who have been granted a medical or religious accommodation from KS’ vaccine requirement. KS Hawaiʻi will suspend the COVID-19 surveillance testing requirement beginning March 28, 2022 for grade 6-12 students and employees who have been granted a medical or religious accommodation from KS’ vaccine requirement. While the testing requirement is lifted, KS’ vaccine requirement for employment remains in place. For unregistered athletes with an approved religious or medical vaccine exemption to compete in games with an accommodation, testing is still required pending further action from the BIIF and HHSAA.

At this time, we will continue to maintain rapid antigen testing as a resource, though further refinements may be necessary pending demand. Testing may be required for participation in activities in which additional precautions may be needed or are required by a venue or vendor.

The proof of vaccination or test results policy for visitors, vendors, and volunteers is also suspended effective March 28, 2022.   

If public health community conditions in our counties or across the State change, KS may reinstate the COVID surveillance testing requirement, including testing as a reasonable accommodation for those who are exempt from the KS employee vaccine requirement.

Kamehameha Schools continues to encourage all students, ʻohana, and employees to get vaccinated. As reinforced by public health officials, vaccination is the leading public health strategy in managing COVID-19 and is the best safeguard against severe infection. 

While we still have kuleana for contact tracing, our SaferMe badges will continue to be utilized as a tool to allow for more activities, including large group gatherings. Other practices put into place as COVID-19 precautions are subject to review, and as changes are decided, will be announced. We will continue to monitor community conditions and act accordingly should anything shift that would compromise health or safety.

We look forward to bringing back many of the traditions that we miss while continuing to progress as a kula with our learnings from the past two years.

Mālama pono!

We will remain vigilant to preserve and protect in-person learning.

ks hawaii,covid-19

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