Fern frond in the sunlight

This message was shared with the students, faculty and staff of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa on January 11, 2022.

Aloha mai kākou,

I hope this message finds you and your ʻohana safe and well as we all endure the current setbacks due to the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

As you know, the first two weeks of school will proceed online, but soon we hope to return to campus with a majority of classes back in person. As we transition, I’m reminded how important it will be that we do so with aloha, lokomaikaʻi (kindness), and mutual respect.

We are an incredibly diverse community, and with diversity comes strength and the opportunity to create a robust learning community that values difference. More often than not, our differences teach us about one another and reveal not just what separates us but also our shared values and responsibilities. For example, while many were quick to get the vaccine, some were hesitant. Others went through the process to receive a religious or medical exemption. There are important reasons and stories behind these different choices.

Ultimately, our goal is that each member of our community is healthy and safe and that we each maintain our health for ourselves and to protect each other. Please remember, it’s okay that we have different strategies and approaches to doing that.

Let’s listen to each other and treat different perspectives with respect, even when we disagree. Please be mindful of the comfort level of others for physical distancing as we return to campus. For many, these coming weeks will be the first time they are on our campus in nearly two years. We are all one ʻohana, and we need to lead with compassion and aloha for one another, now more than ever.

We are able to fully reopen our campus due to the overwhelming support of, and compliance with, the mandates required of our employees and students, the established LumiSight UH daily health check app, and other COVID-19 guidelines. Everyone must be cleared by LumiSight UH each day they are on campus. We ask that you wear a mask at all times indoors and when around large crowds outdoors. The overwhelming consensus in the medical and public health fields is that these measures will help protect our community.

If you see someone not wearing a face mask indoors or not complying with other guidelines, please do not feel like you have to confront them. Instead, allow for the possibility that there may be a reason for the apparent lack of compliance and consider contacting a department supervisor or Public Safety, if necessary.

Our students are here to learn and earn their degrees. Since the start of this pandemic nearly two years ago, our faculty and staff have continued to ensure that our educational mission continues uninterrupted. That is something all of us can be very proud of. Let’s remember that as we continue to move forward.

Upon returning to our Mānoa campus, let’s show the world we can do so with heartfelt aloha, lokomaikaʻi, and mutual respect.

E mālama pono,
Provost Michael Bruno