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Aerial view of U H Manoa campus

This message was shared with international students enrolled for the first time at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa on June 2, 2021.

Aloha UH Mānoa international students,

We look forward to having all of you on the University of Hawaiʻi (UH) at Mānoa campus this fall semester as the COVID-19 pandemic is under much better control here in Hawaiʻi.

The COVID-19 requirements to travel to Hawaiʻi and attend UH Mānoa are also transitioning, but please know the university is committed to supporting you through the entire process. We fully understand that vaccine rollouts are delayed in various countries, but all students are strongly encouraged to get a vaccine approved on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) emergency use listing (EUL)—i.e., any vaccine listed on the WHO EUL/PQ list with assessment status “finalized.” If that is not possible before you arrive in Hawaiʻi, there will be opportunities to get the vaccine after you have arrived.

More detailed information will be provided soon as State of Hawaiʻi and UH Mānoa guidelines are updated and as the situation continues to improve. Please check your MyUH account regularly for updates and know that we are always here to assist you. Email if you have any questions.

Here is what we know as of June 1.

Traveling to Hawaiʻi

The current travel requirements to Hawaiʻi are expected to change leading up to the start of the fall semester. Currently, all travelers to Hawaiʻi must clear the state’s SafeTravels program and be symptom free upon arrival to avoid the mandatory 10-day quarantine. The program requires a negative COVID-19 test result 72 hours prior to arrival in Hawaiʻi from Trusted Testing and Travel Partners, currently limited to facilities in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Canada. Also, certain airlines have specific guidelines to board flights destined for Honolulu, so please be sure to abide by these guidelines prior to your departure.

The expectation is that the SafeTravels program will continue to expand, and the hope is that it will cover travelers from most, if not all, Asian and Pacific Rim countries. The program will likely be less restrictive for travelers who can show they have been vaccinated. We anticipate possible testing upon arrival and/or reduced quarantine time for those not yet vaccinated, though this is not yet certain. Downloading the SafeTravels Hawaiʻi app prior to your departure is necessary, so please make sure you complete the survey and upload all COVID-19-related test results. Upon arrival at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (Honolulu), Department of Health officials will require you to show the QR code created by your SafeTravels Hawaiʻi app, after you pass Immigration and Customs.

We will send you more information as the details are finalized. In the meantime, international students are encouraged to begin making their travel arrangements as soon as possible. If you know you will be unable to receive a vaccine before arrival, try to arrive as early as possible (but no earlier than 30 days before the program start date on your I-20 or DS-2019, as per F1 and J1 visa policy) so you can receive the vaccine in Hawaiʻi before the start of classes. If you have to quarantine, you will be responsible for arranging and paying for your own accommodations.

COVID-19 vaccination requirement

UH announced on May 17 that being fully vaccinated for COVID-19 will be part of the student health clearance requirement once, as expected this summer, at least one COVID-19 vaccine has been fully licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As of June 1, both Pfizer and Moderna have submitted applications for full licensure.

You are considered to be “fully vaccinated” two weeks after the completion of the required vaccine. Currently the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses several weeks apart, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is one dose. Health clearance also includes a tuberculosis (TB) clearance and three different immunizations. A student has to meet all health clearance requirements to be on the UH Mānoa campus.

More information on the student COVID-19 vaccination requirement.

Student Housing, being on campus before fully vaccinated

If and when the vaccine requirement takes effect, students will not be allowed in student housing or on campus until they are fully vaccinated, which is two weeks after the final dose. Students will be responsible for the cost of their alternative accommodations until they are cleared. UH will also work with instructors to make sure students are not penalized as they wait to be cleared. Fortunately, about 50% to 60% of courses in the fall semester are online. Students who receive their first dose may be allowed to be on campus with restrictions. More information will be provided as soon as it is available.

Patience is greatly appreciated

There are many details that have yet to be finalized, but please know that tremendous progress is being made against the pandemic in Hawaiʻi and the United States. As things improve, restrictions will be lessened and updated as life at UH Mānoa returns to normal.

Please watch for updates and email if you have any questions.

Soon your journey will begin or continue at UH Mānoa, one of the best universities in the world, where we are proud to have you as part of our ʻohana (family).

Mahalo (thank you), and we look forward to seeing all of you on campus,
Michael Bruno
UH Mānoa Provost

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