As of March 26, the University of Hawaiʻi 10-campus system is indefinitely suspending the UH COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination Policies for students and employees. Regular testing for COVID-19 will no longer be required of students and employees with approved vaccine exemptions. Testing will continue in the student residence halls until the end of the semester. A March 23 mail to the 10-campus system notified students, faculty and staff of the policy updates.
“The UH Officers made the decision to suspend the policies based on guidance provided by the UH COVID-19 Health and Wellbeing Working Group, a team of UH medical and public health experts,” stated the email signed by the UH Officers, the leadership team with representation from the 10 campuses led by UH President David Lassner. “The move reflects the latest COVID-19 guidance from the state and federal government.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccines have proven to be highly effective at protecting vaccinated people against severe illness caused by the COVID-19 virus. The combination of vaccinations, boosters and exposure to the virus has built up immunity locally and nationally, resulting in fewer COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths. The CDC strongly recommends everyone to get vaccinated, and to stay up to date with their vaccination.
Updated UH COVID-19 Guidelines take effect March 26
The latest update to the UH COVID-19 Guidelines also take effect on March 26 and include the following requirements:
- Face masks indoors in classrooms, shared laboratories, other instructional spaces and tightly confined educational spaces. This includes advising offices and campus venues when the number of attendees is close to maximum capacity or if it is anticipated that high numbers of higher-risk persons will be attending (required until May 13, the end of the spring 2022 semester). Instructors or presenters may remove their masks while teaching, provided that they maintain 6 feet distance from others.
- Campus officials may further specify areas where face masks are required to enhance safety.
- For those returning to campus after quarantine or isolation, face masks must be worn around others in all settings, for the remainder of the 10-day period.
- If you test positive for COVID-19, stay home and isolate for at least 5 days (until you are fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your symptoms are improving).
- Full or Up-to-date vaccination for employees and students in specific UH programs or courses (i.e., medical, nursing, social work, dental hygiene, allied health, etc.) where they are embedded within partner institutions that require vaccination. Officers will determine which programs may require student, faculty, or patient vaccination status.
We strongly recommend that you stay home when feeling ill, whether with COVID-19 or not, to recover and prevent community spread.
No longer required
The following are no longer required as of March 26:
- The daily COVID-19 health screening via the LumiSight UH health app.
- Face masks indoors (except as identified above)
- Face masks outdoors, including outdoor campus events.
- Visitors providing proof of vaccination or negative test results to access campus events.
- Uploading of negative tests for those students and employees with approved vaccine exemptions.
- Campuswide notification of positive COVID-19 cases reported on a UH campus
“As we transition to personal responsibility for managing COVID-19 infections and exposures, individuals are strongly urged to report their cases/exposures to their designated campus official,” said the email.
UH COVID-19 Guidelines and related policies are subject to change depending on the status of the pandemic. UH will continue to monitor the conditions in Hawaiʻi and implement mitigation measures, as needed. Those measures may include vaccination or testing, expanded requirements for mask wearing, etc. More information can be found on the UH COVID-19 Dashboards and the UH COVID-19 Response Based on CDC Community Level website.