Airplane wing over the ocean

Exemption procedures were announced today for out-of-state university students registered at major accredited Hawaiʻi college or university for the fall 2020 semester. As many as 8,000 out-of-state students are anticipated to be attending the University of Hawaiʻi, Chaminade University and Hawaiʻi Pacific University during the fall semester. The new procedures cover the City and County of Honolulu and the County of Kauaʻi only and include strict testing and health monitoring requirements agreed to by the schools and the state and county governments.

“We are very happy to have come to this agreement with our state and two counties, and are looking forward to welcoming our students from out-of-state back to Hawaiʻi and our UH campuses,” said UH President David Lassner.

Currently, anyone can arrive in Hawaiʻi, without testing, as long as they quarantine for 14 days. For university students participating in the modified quarantine procedures, all of them will be tested for COVID-19, and will be subject to daily health checks. Only after obtaining a negative state-approved COVID-19 test result, as well as meeting other health and safety-oriented requirements, will out-of-state students be able to qualify for a “modified quarantine bubble” where they will be allowed to attend only official university activities, such as classes, for the 14 days following arrival.

The schools are responsible for requiring students to conduct daily wellness checks that include temperature checks and symptom questionnaires, and to report to a medical provider if symptoms develop or a negative test result is obtained; the universities will connect students with health care providers for testing, with results being sent to the State Department of Health.

To qualify for the “modified quarantine bubble,” students must show proof upon arrival of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of their departure or within 48 hours after arrival. Regardless of where the student has been tested, until the negative test results are received, the students must follow Hawaiʻi’s current mandatory 14-day quarantine for travelers. Students can transition to the modified quarantine once they show proof of a negative test and compliance with the other requirements.

Students who violate the terms of this exemption will be subject to sanctions for violation of the universities’ student conduct codes. Violations should be reported to and they will be forwarded to designated officials at the respective campuses. Violations of the COVID-19 related emergency government orders are punishable by a fine up to $5,000 and/or up to a year in prison.

Other requirements include:

  • Every student must provide the university with a written statement indicating they had no fever, symptoms or exposure to any known cases of COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to travel.
  • While traveling, students must wear cloth face coverings to the greatest extent possible on the plane and especially in and on the way to and from airports. They must follow all state and county orders regarding face coverings after they arrive in Hawaiʻi
  • After arrival, students are not allowed to use public transportation from the airport to their residence. They are allowed to use a rideshare service (non-pooled) or shuttle provided by the university.
  • For students in university residence halls and university-arranged, off-campus housing sites, the university will be assisting with options for meals for purchase by the students during the 14-day quarantine period.
  • Every student who qualifies for the exemption must carry a copy of an official email from the university that explains their exemption status.

“This is a win-win for the State of Hawaiʻi and all our institutions of higher education, public and private,” said Lassner. “Out-of-state students support the economy of our island and enhance the overall educational experience for all of our students. The people of Hawaiʻi should know that UH as well as our colleagues at Chaminade and HPU are taking extraordinary steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on our campuses and across the state.”

The new procedures only apply to students and not their family members, who will be subject to the full 14-day quarantine. The procedures can be downloaded in its entirety (PDF) and view the state announcement.