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Vaccine mandates have officially reached the high school sports scene in Hawaii where athletes will be required to get the COVID vaccine before they’ll be allowed to play sports, the state education leaders announced Wednesday.
Those students who want to play high school sports must show they’re fully vaccinated by September 24 in order to participate. When teams take the field again, it will be for the first time since 2019 as sports were wiped out in 2020 after the COVID-era began, according to Hawaii News Now.
“This decision was not made lightly because we know the important role athletics play in a well-rounded education, but we cannot jeopardize the health and safety of our students and communities,” Superintendent Keith Hayashi told the news channel.
It was announced Wednesday that the start of the Hawaii high school football season, which was to begin August 13, would be delayed until September 24. Alaska and Utah are also set to start August 13. Sixteen states will start their seasons from Aug. 19-21, including California which delayed its 2020 football season to the spring.
It’s not just Hawaii high school athletes that will be required to take the vaccine. The University of Hawaii has mandated the vaccine, joining the University of New Mexico as two Mountain West programs that will have such rules heading into the football season.
While many states are starting to require public employees to be vaccinated, the actions in Hawaii appear to be the next vaxx stage in blue states. In Marin, California, the school system has one-upped the Hawaii plan by not only requiring students 12 and up to be vaccinated, but then the school system will make students wear masks indoors and aren’t ruling out issuing an outdoor masking rule.
While those two school systems go the ultra-vaxxed route, in the lib hotbed of San Francisco, the school system won’t require teachers and staff to be vaccinated.