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This message was shared with the students, faculty and staff at the University of Hawaiʻi campuses on Oʻahu on August 26, 2020.

Aloha to our UH Oʻahu ʻOhana,

As you have probably heard, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and Gov. David Ige have announced that starting tomorrow, Thursday, August 27, there will be a stay-at-home/work-from-home order for 14 days on Oʻahu.

The University of Hawaiʻi is exempt from the order and is now entrusted with the responsibility to act responsibly. We take that responsibility very seriously. So despite being exempt, we will take additional steps to comply with provisions of the latest stay-at-home/work-from-home order. Many of you have already received updates in this regard from your campus.

As you are aware, we had started reducing the number of people on our campuses a few weeks ago in response to the rise in COVID-19 cases on Oʻahu. This was after preparing for fall semester that was already predominantly online. The few remaining in-person or hybrid courses that can be moved online, will now be moved online. And while many of our employees have been teleworking under our UH work-from-home policy, we are now asking managers to ensure that everyone who can work from home does so.

While in many ways this is a return to conditions last spring, there is one significant difference today. Last spring we abruptly moved all instruction online and initiated mass telework without much time to prepare. We now have the benefit of the summer adjustments so painstakingly made by teams across our campuses. And we have the benefit of CDC, state and local guidance that is informed by what has been learned about the virus and the disease. So today, our science labs, shops for career and technical education, studios for the arts and clinical training facilities have been reconfigured for safe physical distancing and protocols are now in place for proper cleaning and disinfection. We also have policies in place for mandatory face coverings, daily health checks and protocols for when a positive case occurs.

This latest pandemic setback on Oʻahu is another reminder that the only way we can successfully navigate through this health crisis is with a collective commitment to safe practices. Each of us has a responsibility to all of those around us, as well as to ourselves and our families. UH has been entrusted with this exemption so that we can fulfill our essential mission to educate our students and perform research that helps Hawaiʻi and the world move forward. Please, we must all follow the science-based guidelines in place to keep us safe and prove that the trust put in UH is well-deserved.

E mālama pono,
David Lassner
UH President