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I cannot thank all of you enough for your commitment, collaboration and strength through these difficult times. No one is personally untouched by this crisis, yet you persevere with compassion. Our UH ‘ohana has risen to the challenge as our faculty continue to teach, our students continue to learn and our support staff continue to serve both and care for our campuses.

As challenging as it is right now, we must also plan for the future. There is still great uncertainty, but plans for the State are now taking shape and we have ourselves learned much over the last two months.

So I am happy to announce today that the University of Hawaiʻi plans to resume in-person classes on all 10 campuses beginning August 24, 2020, as scheduled.

We all realize that the fall will absolutely not be a return to business as usual. Rather, UH will deploy a COVID19-aware safe approach to providing high-quality education throughout the state for new and returning students at this very time when they and our State need higher education more than ever.

Planning is now beginning for the necessary changes across our UH campuses to support appropriate social distancing and hygienic practices based on the guidance available. While the fall semester is being planned to ensure safe instruction on campus, we are also preparing for greater use of online resources and some classes shifting to hybrid modes with a mix of on-campus and online instruction.

Plans for safe in-person instruction will include review of and any necessary physical reconfiguration of classrooms, labs, common areas and workspaces to support safe distances between people. Provisions and instructions will be provided to enable regular hand cleansing and hygiene. And UH will support protocols for testing, contact tracing and quarantine as needed, in collaboration with public health officials.

Student residence hall capacity will be available at UH Mānoa and UH Hilo for those students who need a place to live. Isolation and social distancing measures will be prepared consistent with applicable public health guidance.

UH also recognizes the uncertainty around local and global conditions in the fall. While planning for modified on-campus education, we will also thoroughly prepare for the possibility of a significant COVID-19 outbreak that may require one or more of our campuses to return to fully online instruction. These plans for high-quality online instruction will be informed by the experience and lessons learned from the abrupt transition to online instruction in spring 2020 experienced at UH and throughout the country.

The State of Hawaiʻi cannot thrive without its great public higher education system serving students and communities across our islands. Now, more than ever, the people of Hawaiʻi need the opportunity to affordably engage in higher education to advance their careers and their lives.

Thank you once again for your hard work, your patience, your resilience and your compassion for one another.

E mālama pono,
David Lassner
UH President

For more information, please go to UHNews.