trees on U H Manoa campus

This message was shared with the students, faculty and staff of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa on July 22, 2020.

Aloha UH Mānoa ʻohana,

I hope this message finds you well. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we prepare for an unprecedented fall semester. Our top priorities continue to be the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff, and our commitment to provide the best possible learning, teaching, and research experience for our campus community.

Eight campus working groups have developed plans for the fall 2020 semester that, along with the UH System COVID-19 guidance, cover every aspect of campus operations. These plans are based on existing county, state and federal COVID-19 guidance, current science and data, and best practices from around the world.

You can find the reports on the UH Mānoa Moving Forward website.

Our plans call for significant changes in operations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It will take a collective effort, and we all have a role to play as we protect and support each other.

Protocols for positive cases and suspected exposure
UH Mānoa students and employees are instructed to self-report to University Health Services Mānoa (808) 956-8965 or when they are symptomatic or have tested positive for COVID-19. The Hawaiʻi Department of Health will also report positive and suspected cases connected to UH Mānoa to University Health Services Mānoa (UHSM).

Protocols have been adopted outlining measures (PDF) that the university will take promptly upon notification that include quarantine or isolation, contact tracing, communication and facility disinfection.

A UHSM COVID-19 Resource Team will assist students and employees in the protocols and will be responsible for clearing an individualʻs return to campus. The team will also coordinate communication with health officials and the campus community.

Daily Check-Ins
All students, employees and visitors will be required to check in daily on a UH app or web form that monitors COVID-19 symptoms and report any positive or suspected cases to the University Health Services. This is critical for our test-trace-isolate strategy–test suspected cases, isolate those who test positive, contact everyone who had exposure to the infected person, and continue to test and isolate.

Facial Coverings Required
All employees, students and visitors are expected to wear facial coverings when indoors (e.g., classrooms, laboratories, shops, and common spaces such as hallways and elevators) and where physical distancing is not possible. We must wash our hands, regularly and thoroughly, or use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available. There will be hand sanitizer stations at the entrance of every building and every classroom and teaching laboratory.

Physical Distancing
We must all practice safe physical distancing, maintaining a distance of at least six feet from each other. It will be easier this fall semester as there will be fewer people on campus. There will be far more online courses than usual, and our work to reconfigure classrooms and labs for physical distancing has reduced capacity by more than 50 percent. The same physical distancing concerns have also reduced student housing capacity by more than 30 percent. Many employees will continue to telework while some offices may adopt work rotations.

More Online and Hybrid Courses
The mode of instruction for more than 70 percent of the courses offered in the fall semester were adjusted to help adhere to the physical distancing requirements. The affected courses were either moved entirely online or to a hybrid combination of online and in-person instruction.

Utilizing 167 general use classrooms, 3,344 courses were scheduled into the following formats for the fall 2020 semester:

Updated August 17, 2020

  • 81.6 percent online, 2,711 courses (asynchronous, synchronous, or a combination of asynchronous and synchronous)
  • 5.5 percent in-person, 184 courses (physically present in a classroom or other education space)
  • 12.9 percent hybrid, 429 courses (combination of in-person and online instruction)

We remain committed to providing the high quality education that UH Mānoa is known for and have provided resources to our faculty to help with this transition to online learning. I commend our world-class faculty and students for persevering through this difficult time.

Campus Services
Dining and food services will be modified as seating will be limited and self-serve drink stations will no longer be available. Study areas like the Hamilton Library and the Sinclair Student Success Center will be open but all of the COVID-19 requirements must be followed including wearing face masks and safe physical distancing.

Warrior Recreation Center
The Warrior Recreation Center (WRC) is scheduled to reopen in the fall semester for mandatory fee paying students and current opt-in members with modified programs and services. COVID-19 requirements will be implemented including social distancing, facial coverings, and a reduction in maximum capacity for the facility at any given time. For more information as the semester approaches, please check the WRCʻs Instagram page. You do not need an Instagram account to view the page.

Student Residents
Residents living in our housing communities have unique concerns that we are committed to addressing. Bed spaces have been reduced by approximately 30 percent to adhere to safe physical distancing. Arrangements are being made for a suitable off-campus location for residents to self isolate if they test positive for COVID-19. The university will pay for any costs for the off-campus location that will include meals, regular check ins, and staff support.

Daily Cleaning and Disinfecting
Our custodial staff will provide daily cleaning and disinfection of public spaces including classrooms, restrooms, lobbies and elevators. They will clean high-touch surfaces in public areas three times a day including door handles, elevator buttons, faucets and paper towel dispensers.

We have developed a comprehensive guide for the safe conduct of our critical research. Many of the guidelines, in particular those developed for laboratory operations, should be consulted by anyone working in a teaching or research environment.

These are just some of the adjustments being made for the health and safety of all, as guided by the plans developed by the campus working groups. Thank you to all group members who provided their insight and time to conduct research on best practices and more.

We will soon be launching an updated website with FAQs for students, faculty and staff, and campus visitors. Please keep an eye out for that announcement.

We will continue to monitor the status of the pandemic and as more information becomes available, we will adjust our plans accordingly. County, state and federal guidance may also require us to change our operations. I promise that we will continue to engage our community and continue to provide the most up-to-date information as it becomes available.

Thank you for your patience and your resilience. We still have a ways to go, but together we will get through this and we will be a stronger community and a finer university as a result.

Me ke aloha,
Michael Bruno
UH Mānoa Provost