UH preparing for safe return to campuses in fall

University of Hawaiʻi
Dan Meisenzahl, (808) 348-4936
Spokesperson, UH Communications
Posted: May 4, 2020

Video link: Various campus B-roll https://bit.ly/2Yp7vq5

The University of Hawaiʻi plans to resume in-person instruction for the fall 2020 semester on all 10 campuses. UH will deploy a COVID-19-aware approach to providing a safe, high-quality education for new and returning students, faculty and support staff as the semester begins as scheduled on Monday, August 24.

“We all realize that the fall will absolutely not be a return to business as usual,” said UH President David Lassner in a message to the 10 campuses. “There is still great uncertainty, but plans for the State are now taking shape and we have ourselves learned much over the last two months. Now, more than ever, the people of Hawaiʻi need the opportunity to affordably engage in higher education to advance their careers and their lives.”

Planning has begun, and will continue through the summer, to implement appropriate social distancing and hygienic practices based on the guidance available. The current plans include:

  • Preparing for greater use of online resources and some classes shifting to hybrid modes with a mix of on-campus and online instruction 

  • Review and physical reconfiguration, where necessary, of classrooms, labs, study areas and workspaces to support distances of at least 6 feet between people

  • Provisions and instructions to enable regular hand cleansing and hygiene  

  • Protocols for testing, contact tracing and quarantine as needed in collaboration with public health officials

Student residence hall capacity will be available at UH Mānoa and UH Hilo for those students who choose to live on-campus. Isolation and social distancing protocols will be put in place based on the guidance available.

While planning for a modified on-campus education, UH is also preparing for a significant COVID-19 outbreak that may require one or more campuses to return to the online delivery of all courses. These plans are being informed by the abrupt transition to online instruction in spring 2020 experienced at UH and throughout the country.

Plans include: 

  • Enhancing, upgrading online learning hardware and software 

  • Ensuring the availability of robust support and comprehensive guidance for students and faculty for online learning and teaching

  • Developing a technology safety net for students (loaner laptops and broadband access) 

As COVID-19 pandemic and related policies and guidance continue to evolve at the local, state and national levels, UH will share more detailed and/or updated plans, based on the best data and science available. For example, the university is working on guidance regarding on-campus pedestrian traffic between classes, facial covering rules, athletic events, public events, food and dining services, accessibility to the public and civil rights protections for students and employees.