September 26, 2022

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Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! Question: When will the Department of...

Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story!

Question: When will the Department of Human Services be issuing an updated policy regarding COVID-19 isolation and quarantine for preschool-­age kids? The policy requiring entire classrooms to shut down if there is a positive case was written before children below the age of 5 were eligible for vaccinations. Now that these children can receive vaccinations, shouldn’t the policy be updated to allow vaccinated children to remain in the classroom even when another child tests positive? Such a change would mirror the Department of Education’s updated policy for K-12 classes, which follows Department of Health guidance. My child has missed several weeks of preschool this year because of DHS’s policy even though he is fully vaccinated.
Answer: DHS updated its COVID-19 mandates and guidelines for child care facilities on Aug. 4, according to a notice on its website at Isolation and quarantine rules were among those updated; they now focus on isolating children or staff who test positive for COVID-19 or who have symptoms of the disease, regardless of vaccination status, not on quarantining the whole preschool class based on exposure alone. Among the updates:
>> Children or staff who test positive or develop COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of age or vaccination status, “shall isolate by staying home for five days.” They may return on the sixth day if they do not have a fever in a 24-hour period without using fever-­reducing medication, other symptoms of COVID-19 have improved and they are able to wear a well-fitting mask from day six to 10 after symptoms began or they tested positive.
>> “A well-fitting mask should be worn at all times while in care (except during mealtimes or when sleeping) by a child or staff member returning from home isolation on days six through 10 after isolating for five days.”
>> “Quarantine protocols previously used to prevent the transmission of COVID- 19 by keeping people in close contact with someone with COVID-19 apart from others for in-school exposures have changed. Closing classrooms and implementing quarantine for in-school exposures are no longer necessary when universal indoor masking is implemented.”
>> “When a child or staff member is identified as being positive for COVID-19, notification should be provided to all staff and parents in the group that were exposed to that person. The exposed children and staff have the option to quarantine by remaining home, or if they choose to return to class, all children over the age of 2, who can correctly and consistently wear masks, should do so for 10 days.”
The updated guidelines also have new information about masking, physical distancing, field trips and special events at child-care centers under DHS oversight. Read the full guidelines at, or via the department’s homepage,
DHS says the guidelines align with updates the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued Thursday about safely supporting in-person learning at K-12 schools (which are overseen by the DOE) and at early care and education programs (which are overseen by DHS). For more information, see human child-care-resources.
Q: Do you have to make the monkeypox vaccination appointment online from Oahu? I would prefer to speak to someone over the phone.
A: No. Oahu residents who are eligible to make an appointment can call 808-586-4462 Monday through Friday from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or they may use the online scheduler anytime at
Q: Does an emergency rule let unlicensed nurses practice in Hawaii?
A: They don’t have to be licensed in Hawaii, but they must hold an active, unencumbered nursing license from another state. Read the emergency rules at

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Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 7-500, Honolulu, HI 96813; call 808-529-4773; or email [email protected]

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