HONOLULU (KHON2) — Monday is the beginning of the fall semester for the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.
Students will need to upload their vaccination cards to the UH LumiSight app, which is part of a mixture of new rules designed to keep the campus safe as the state erupts with COVID-19 cases.
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Among the rules: masks are required indoors, physical distancing is set to three feet and guests are not allowed into buildings.
“The COVID-19 vaccination has been added to the student’s health requirement clearance, and that’s been around for decades for, you know, immunizations and vaccines of that sort,” UH Spokesperson Dan Meisenzahl said.
For those who opt-out of getting the vaccine, they will need to get tested weekly, which UH is offering for free.
That option will likely only last until the end of the semester.
“That requirement will go away,” Meisenzahl said. “Once one of the vaccines are approved by the FDA, but that wouldn’t take effect of spring 2022. We’re not going to change things midstream for our students.”
A UH survey found 90% of students are vaccinated against COVID-19. Students who were interviewed Sunday said they feel safe living on campus.
“Honestly, since they made vaccines required it makes me feel a bit more safe being on campus,” UH Manoa sophomore student Amber Chu said.
“10 out of 10,” is the rating sophomore Brooklyn Hardin gave UH’s safety procedures. “I get lots of emails every day explaining what we should be doing, what we should not be doing, so it’s really good.”
Parents, on the other hand, are a little more anxious. Maui resident Wendy Sheveland’s daughter is a freshman who has a medical exemption from the vaccine but still got a single dose.
“Right now, actually, COVID is probably my biggest concern, which is kind of a little bit freaking me out,” Sheveland said.
We’re told not everything has been smoothed out just yet.
“There should be two cafeterias open but at the moment there’s only one for over 2000 students, and it’s only, I feel like gonna hurt us in the end because it could just lead to more exposure of COVID on campus,” resident assistant Reynaldo Delgado said.
If a student or faculty member does catch COVID, there are places on campus to quarantine.
“We do have one area in student housing which is for students to be held in just in case and then, though it’s a little rougher now because Waikiki hotels are a lot busier, but we also have arrangements with hotels, if we need to relocate students there to be quarantined,” Meisenzahl said.
Students hope they can still have the college experience they dreamed of.
“I really wanted my senior year to be normal, considering like ever since my sophomore year it was kind of weird,” senior Alexis Matias said.
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“But I just hope like towards the end of the year will be normal.”