HONOLULU (KHON2) — The University of Hawaii (UH) students and staff will still be required to wear masks in the classrooms, even after the statewide mandate is lifted. But other restrictions are coming to an end.

The university’s COVID-19 guidelines for its 10 campuses will go into effect on March 26.

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UH President David Lassner made the announcement, saying conditions are right to drop some restrictions. But he still wants to play it safe when people are in tight spaces.

“We will be continuing to require masks in classrooms, shared lab spaces and other kinds of tightly confined spaces such as advising officers around our campuses,” said Lassner.

COVID health screening on the Lumisight UH health app on the other hand will no longer be required. Beginning March 26, visitors will also not be required to provide proof of COVID vaccination or a negative test to access campus events.

However, there are still those on campus who feel that it’s a little too soon to lift some restrictions.

“I worry about a lot of the older students and faculty and staff and people who are here that have different conditions,” said Francis Camuso, who works on campus.

The changes are consistent with what the Hawaii Department of Health has recommended for public schools. The department points out that even after the mandate is dropped, there are people who should still keep wearing a mask indoors when around others.

“That includes the immunocompromised, people with underlying health conditions, people over the age of 65, people who care for people who are in an elevated risk of severe illness, and the unvaccinated,” said Brooks Baehr, DOH spokesman.

There will likely still be people who prefer to keep wearing masks after the mandate is lifted. Baehr added that there’s no good reason to question or “mask shame” them.

“Please know that there are people who, for whatever reason, are gonna want to continue to wear masks and we’ve got to respect that decision. They might have underlying conditions that we’re not aware of, maybe that’s why they’re wearing the mask,” said Baehr.

UH updated its guidelines to state that masks may be encouraged but not required for the following situations or settings as of March 26:

  • Common areas (hallways, stairwells, lobbies, bathrooms), offices, eateries, libraries, bookstores
  • Indoor events (commencement, athetic and performing arts events, campus tours, field trips)
    • UH added that event organizers can request continued masking if the number of attendees gets close to the venue’s maximum capacity or based on “anticipated high numbers of higher-risk persons attending.”
  • Instructors teaching if they maintain a six feet distance from others.
  • Outoors and outdoor events

At hospitals, visitors will also be required to wear a mask which will be provided for them if needed.

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UH’s COVID-19 guidelines are subject to change depending on the pandemic’s status.