This message was shared with the students, faculty, and staff of the 10-campus University of Hawaiʻi system on March 22, 2020.
I hope you and your loved ones remain well!
I am appreciative of and inspired by the incredible work of our faculty and staff who have worked tirelessly in these unprecedented times so that we can be ready for the return of our students from spring break tomorrow.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and Maui Mayor Michael Victorino issued emergency orders today instructing Oʻahu and Maui residents to stay home, following a similar order from Kauaʻi Mayor Derek Kawakami. The governor has indicated his support for these actions and his intent to issue a similar statewide order.
These orders do not directly impact the University of Hawaiʻi’s move to the online delivery of courses or our continuing drive to reduce the number of people on our campuses and increase social distancing.
Our highest priority is to ensure the health and safety of our students and employees as we help our students complete the semester and enable our graduates to move on to their futures. In doing so, it is our intent to move even more quickly to an environment in which everyone who can work or learn at home does so.
Our plans for moving to online learning after spring break wherever possible have been in place for several weeks. We will have more information for employees by the close of business tomorrow regarding the acceleration of the shift to working from home. UH employees should continue to submit and process the work-at-home request/agreement form provided last week.
Student housing on the UH Mānoa and UH Hilo campuses remains open for students residents who are unable to return home. Those students will be provided to-go meals that follow the advice of health officials. Our student housing programs will also arrange for any necessary quarantine in place for returning student residents so they can continue their learning.
We expect many UH students to complete their semester from home. And we recognize that many of our students, especially those for whom UH is their path to economic and social mobility, will require more from us. We must continue to provide the campus-based services necessary for all of our students to succeed. We will move every service online that we can, while ensuring the safety net that many will require. All of our campus leaders are committed to doing so in a manner consistent with their mission, resources and capacity.
As announced last week, UH campuses are now closed to the general public. And everyone who needs to be on a campus must practice proper social distancing and hygiene in accord with guidance from state and federal public health officials.
I want to thank everyone again for all of their great work during this unprecedented and turbulent time. The situation changes every day, but I know we can all come through this together if we continue to work with and support one another.
E mālama pono,
University of Hawaiʻi President