The much-anticipated Hawaii high school football season will have to wait at least another six weeks. According to Hawaii News Now
, the state's Department of Education announced Wednesday it will delay all high school sports until late September while implementing a mandate to require student-athletes and coaches to get vaccinated.
Hawaii was one of three states that didn't play tackle football in 2020-21 due to the pandemic but seemed on schedule to begin games as early as this weekend.
Due to a recent rise in COVID-19 cases, two Oahu Interscholastic Association non-league football games scheduled Friday were canceled, prompting the DOE to take a closer look at athletics in general.
Athletes and coaches will now be required to get vaccinated by Sept. 24 in order to practice or play sports in the fall.
The announcement may set off alarm bells for the rest of the country after laboring to complete athletic seasons in all sports during the 2020-21 academic/athletic year. Thirty-five states
completed football seasons during the fall of 2020 and 12 managed some sort of competition in the spring of 2021, with only three of those holding playoffs.
The majority of football games scheduled to kick off the season in Hawaii were on Aug. 13, the same date Alaska and Utah are set to start. The following week — Aug. 19-21 — 16 more states plan to kick off the season,
including California, Nevada, New Mexico and North Carolina, which all
postponed 2020 football seasons until the spring to combat COVID-19.