Purpose and Scope
As the sole provider of public higher education in Hawaiʻi, the University of Hawaiʻi 10 campus system is committed to improving the social, economic, and environmental well-being of current and future generations. University programming and opportunities include learning, working, and living (for some) in settings deemed higher risk for becoming infected with and/or transmitting the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. Because university activities themselves involve higher risk situations including student housing (congregate living), athletics, space-constrained classrooms, and certain types of learning and work settings, UH along with the other institutions of higher education closed campuses in Spring 2020. After more than a year in isolation and quarantine, we look forward to resuming the in-person learning, working, cultural, and social activities, including sporting events, for our students, employees, and our community.
The university continues to be proactive and agile in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic across programs, schools, and campuses. Currently available vaccines in the United States are very effective at protecting vaccinated people against severe COVID-19, hospitalizations, and death from COVID-19. With the implementation of the university’s mandatory vaccination policy for students and employees effective January 3, 2022, the university is considered a “fully vaccinated campus” by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as “all students, faculty, and staff have completed their vaccination series to protect against COVID-19 prior to returning to campus except those people who are unable to get the COVID-19 vaccine due to medical or other reasons.” These guidelines will help ensure healthier and safer campuses as we return to a more “normal” Spring 2022 semester.
Please note: these Guidelines are interim only and are subject to revision
These Guidelines apply to all university operations (except where noted), activities on the university’s campuses and at off-campus facilities (“onsite” or “facility/ies”), and all students, employees, and visitors to university facilities. External parties that are granted permission to share or use University facilities shall also follow these guidelines. Based on these Guidelines, each campus will develop its own operational plan that takes into consideration its unique location, facilities, program needs, and available resources.
All campuses will closely monitor their local conditions and surroundings. They will be prepared to alter operations and services in a timely and appropriate manner in response to COVID-related situations or circumstances. Additionally, UH continues to work closely with county and state officials to operate in accordance with government orders, recommendations from the Hawaiʻi Department of Health (HDOH), and CDC Guidelines.
These guidelines are based on a few key assumptions and will continue to be updated as conditions change throughout the 2022.
- COVID-19 will not be eliminated and there will always be cases in our communities.
- COVID-19 variants will continue to evolve in Hawaiʻi (PDF). Almost all persons now being hospitalized are those unvaccinated. As more trans-Pacific travel occurs, we will likely see more variants that are highly contagious, including the Omicron variant.
- Every COVID-19 case cannot be prevented; thus, the focus is on mitigating risk, managing the spread of the disease, and mitigating the risk of hospitalizations overloading our health care systems.
- The CDC has stated that currently authorized vaccines in the United States are highly effective at protecting vaccinated people against severe COVID-19 and cites a growing body of evidence that fully vaccinated people are less likely to have an asymptomatic infection or transmit SARS-CoV-2 to others. Additionally, the vaccines currently in use in the United States are effective in reducing transmission, hospitalization, and severe illness from COVID-19 caused by the common circulating and the more contagious Delta variant strain and the Omicron variant strains.
- Recent CDC recommendations state that all individuals, including fully vaccinated individuals need to be wearing masks and physical distancing in indoor and crowded outdoor settings in an area of high or substantial transmission, in addition to where required by Federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance (i.e., healthcare or very crowded settings or venues). Local regulations will change based on the burden of COVID-19 in the community and the number of persons vaccinated in a community.
- Mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for students and employees (with exemptions made for medical or religious reasons) will allow students and employees to return to learning and work in a much safer environment, and will greatly reduce the incidence and spread of the disease in our island communities.
- A booster dose is strongly recommended 6 months after completion of your final dose in the initial series (5 months after the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna series, and 2 months after a Johnson & Johnson/Janssen dose), as emerging evidence shows that boosters are effective in preventing serious illness and hospitalization from the circulating variants.
- Given the emergence of the Omicron variant, we recommend that anyone traveling (regardless of vaccination status), obtain two negative COVID-19 test results post travel: the first should be obtained upon return to Honolulu and before returning to campus, and the second should be obtained within three-to-five days of returning from travel.
- UH continues to participate in President Biden’s COVID-19 College Vaccination challenge to get as many people on campus fully vaccinated