UH unveils new safety guidelines for fall semester


HONOLULU (KHON2) — University of Hawaii President David Lassner announced its new interim COVID-19 guidelines as they prepare for the fall semester.

Each of the 10 campuses will follow the general safety guidelines but are developing their own operational plans.

With the upcoming semester just eight weeks away, and cases of COVID-19 increasing every day, many wonder whether UH plans to hold face-to-face classes? The short answer is, yes, they do.

The interim guidelines are put in place to protect the health and safety of everyone, but may change depending on the number of COVID-19 cases. While Lassner admitted they will likely see cases of COVID-19 on campus, they are doing everything in their power to prevent it from happening.

“We are working hard while we’re preparing for COVID-19 on all of our campuses.”

Things will look different at the 10 University of Hawaii campuses come August 24 when classes resume.

Signage is already in place demonstrating safe practices. Masks will be required on campus and in class unless you are working or studying in isolation and where safe physical distancing can be practiced.

Lassner said that faculty will be provided clear shields to wear in class so students can watch their lips and hear them better.

Anyone who plans to be on a UH campus will be required to fill out a health check form.

“We will be deploying an app, coupled with a website, and every person who comes on to one of our campuses will be expected to conduct a daily health check. That self health check will ask if they had any symptoms, if they traveled out of state, if they had close contact with anyone with COVID-19. We need those people to stay home,” said Lassner.

Class sizes will be smaller, social distancing measures will be put in place and modes of instruction will also be modified.

“There will be some face-to-face classes. There will be some fully online classes, and many, many more of our classes will be what we call hybrid, involving some face-to-face interaction in safe physically distanced ways. But also much more online activity as well,” Lassner explained.

Lassner said they are adjusting on campus food options as well, promoting more grab and go options and removing any buffet style service.

They are also enhancing their cleaning protocols.

“Guidelines cover regular cleaning and disinfecting of buildings, classrooms and work spaces. And we’ll be paying special attention to those shared spaces that are used by more than one person.”

The flow of foot-traffic through buildings will change to prevent passing face to face in hallways.

Another big change, they are reducing the number of students in dorms by 30 percent.

“We already have concerns from students and parents about the limited number of dorm rooms. We are very apologetic. We also feel it’s in the best interest to promote the safety of the students who are living in our residence halls.”

Yet, even with all the extra precautions, Lassner said there will be cases of coronavirus at UH.

“We do believe there will be COVID-19 cases on our campus during the fall. That’s almost inevitable. Our students, our faculty, are part of this community. This community has COVID-19 cases with community spread.”

Lassner said they are making arrangements for quarantining if necessary and are offering mental health support to help students, faculty and staff deal with the stresses brought on by the pandemic.

Here is a look at the complete UH interim COVID-19 guidelines.

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