Yesterday President Lassner issued an announcement regarding the changes to COVID-19-related restrictions across the State and County and the impacts to our operations taking effect December 1, 2021. For Hawai‘i County, these include increases to social gathering limitations (25 persons for indoor, 100 persons for outdoor) and increasing capacities at food service locations.
The updated State and County orders/rules defer to the CDC guidance for safety, hygiene, and physical distancing. Per the CDC guidance for Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) that are fully-vaccinated, there can be a return to full capacity for in-person learning. Masks must continue to be properly worn while indoors.
We are taking a moderate approach in returning to “normal,” and do so with you in mind. This approach may be different from other campuses, and that is because we are a different institution. We have different resources and needs than Oʻahu. What works on Oʻahu does not necessarily work here, and we feel this approach to reopening and returning to “normal” is the best fit for our community.
At UH Hilo, we are beginning the transition to full capacity in-person learning. For Spring 2022, while we are keeping the 3-foot distance capacities in classrooms, faculty may continue to work with their respective Chairs and Deans to increase in-person class presence or other adjustments informed by enrollment patterns before January. The Spring 2022 transition is with the expectation that schedules for Fall 2022 are developed with full capacity classrooms and learning environments in mind. Intentional, well-designed distance learning options will continue to be a vital component of our offerings as we have seen in the last 20 months that DL meets the needs of a segment of our student population.
Part of the transition includes the return to a form of in-person Commencement on December 18, 2021. We hope that through our continued efforts as a campus and community, that we can continue to provide more events and opportunities for everyone. This takes a campus effort: being safe, following our campus rules and guidelines, and remembering that your individual actions impact a host of individuals. With the emerging new Omicron variant, the selflessness of our actions and behaviors continues to be important.
As we head into the holiday season and anticipate many of our campus community to be traveling to see family and friends or welcoming visitors from off-island, it is important in this season of togetherness that we are also mindful of the ongoing struggle with managing COVID-19. Please take note of guidelines on how we can gather and celebrate safely, locally and abroad.
Please note that campus offices will be minimally staffed this coming Friday, November 26, 2021, the non-instructional day following the Thanksgiving holiday in order to give staff the opportunity to take a vacation day for some well deserved rest. However, phones will still be answered and in-person services will still be available.
Thank you for all you have done to support students and colleagues! UH Hilo has had an extraordinarily low incidence of COVID cases in our campus community, and it is due to our employees and students who have been great about following protocols for safety. It is one of the many signs of our caring community. I am filled with gratitude for everything you have done for our campus. As we all look out for one another and share in this responsibility, we are keeping UH Hilo the safe and welcoming place we want it to be.
As a reminder, please check-in on LumiSight UH prior to arrival on campus. If you feel that you have been exposed to COVID-19, you should contact your doctor immediately and report this to your supervisor and the UH Hilo Campus Security.
Mahalo for all you do, and please enjoy a safe and happy Thanksgiving!
It is with great pleasure that I announce the official launch of UH Hilo’s new brand statements, “Connecting Learning, Life and Aloha” (‘O ka‘imi na‘auao, ke ola a me ke aloha kā kākou e huliāmahi ai), and a student-oriented one, “Your Journey is Our Focus” (‘O kāu huakaʻi ko mākou kuleana), both of which speak to UH Hilo’s mission, values and strengths.
You may also find particularly useful the digital brand toolkit, which encompasses email signatures, Zoom backgrounds, and PowerPoint slide templates infused with our new look and designs for you to use.
Mahalo to all of you for participating in the brand development process, and to UH Hilo’s Marketing and Social Media Advisory Group for leading the way.
I look forward to celebrating our new brand with you as we enter a new era of learning.