UH Manoa housing crunch to leave 1,000 students looking off-campus

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The University of Hawaii at Manoa will be facing a housing crunch for the fall 2020 semester, and possibly further into the future depending on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Usually, the Manoa campus can host 3,000 students in on-campus dormitories, but social distancing guidelines have forced UH to cut that number down to 2,000.

“We really have no choice per the CDC and state, city and county guidelines we need to reduce the density of students in our student residence hall,” UH Provost Michael Bruno said.

The University has multiple dorms including the Hale Aloha freshman towers that have double occupant rooms. Social distancing in many isn’t possible.

“That room will convert to a single. We will still charge the room at double occupancy rate, we don’t want to penalize families,” Bruno said.

Rent varies depending on how many occupants and rooms there are in a dorm, but most double occupancy UH Manoa dorms are $6,253 a year or roughly $700 a month.

For now, the University is encouraging students to seek off-campus housing accomidations.

“We are in an urban environment so there are houses and apartments,” Bruno said.

“We have many of our students, in particular, the upper classmen routinely opt out of on-campus housing and look to the community.”

The University typically has less housing supply than the demand, but is now exploring ways to use social media to connect students seeking out roommates.

Manoa did get some good news today with Governor David Ige’s announcement that the state’s 14-day travel quarantine will be waived to those who get a negative COVID-19 test 72-hours prior to travel starting August 1.

“You could probably hear a collective sigh of relief from everyone who works at the University. That’s a game changer for us,” Bruno said.

Students were encouraged to apply for housing by May 1 to receive priority, and Bruno says that the University is currently conducting the housing lottery with room assignments going out next week.

UH officials are also finalizing plans on protocols should a student residing on campus test positive for COVID-19, but it has been decided that they won’t be quarantined on campus.

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