Chancellor’s weekly update on countdown to open for fall semester: Course offerings, athletics, budget, testing and tracing

July 27, 2020 Update

Countdown to Fall 2020: 29 days remaining until fall semester begins

Bonnie Irwin
Bonnie Irwin

Aloha Kākou,

I hope everyone continues to be well, and feeling relieved and thankful that Hurricane Douglas spared Hawai‘i and didn’t do any damage.

We have fewer updates this week, but the work continues. A lot of our efforts have been directed toward arranging for quarantining any students incoming from out of state and addressing the myriad of questions from their families. Work on course offerings also continues, as faculty choose the modality in which they want to offer their courses and we concentrate our resources on the high demand offerings. Work also continues on the budget as we try to stretch our limited resources ever thinner.

Many of you have been wondering about our athletic events. The Pacific West Conference Executive Board voted unanimously last week to postpone intercollegiate competition in PacWest fall sports until after January 1, 2021, due to challenges surrounding COVID-10. This decision affects our men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball.

I also share the recording of our Brown Bag with University Leadership held last Tuesday for students and parents. It was a great session with the majority of questions relating to quarantine.

Testing and Tracing (Carolyn Ma, convener)

Screening: The COVID-19 Screening App is in its second round of testing. Specific functionality requests for UH Hilo/Hawai‘i Community College include real-time notification via email of a “red” or positive symptom submission. Requests for specific daily reports have been submitted. Estimated “Go Live” is Aug. 17 but may be earlier.

Testing: Per Hawai‘i County, all non-resident students will quarantine for 14 days prior to returning for instruction. The committee will continue to arrange scheduled testing on campus for students, faculty and staff and as a community service to our East Hawai‘i citizens. Discussion continues with the State Department of Health (DoH) and on a national level of surveillance testing for campus populations as the semester progresses.

Contact Tracing: The UH Hilo COVID-19 coordinator’s position is being finalized. This person will serve as the point of contact for DoH, Hawai‘i County Health Office, UH Hilo/HawCC administration, students and employees with responsibilities to monitor the screening app information, contact trace on behalf of DoH, provide education for UH Hilo/HawCC, coordinate with campus housing and facilities for cleaning and quarantine. The position is supported by the CARES funding.

Strategic Doing

In June, Strategic Doing Committee members were tasked to connect with their networks to bring more voices to our efforts. At committee meetings last week, members reported having reached out to hundreds of people in their networks—educators, students in our local school district, current UH Hilo students, recent UH Hilo graduates, community members from service organizations, booster club members, nonprofit and foundation partners who work in our community, business people in many industries, former faculty and staff, and more.

The committees will now begin envisioning ideal outcomes and begin planning how we will work toward those outcomes. Notes from last week’s meetings will be available on the Strategic Doing webpage after committee members have had time for review. Please check for meeting notes for both Relationships and Importance of Place Doing Committees (scroll down and click on Read more about this committee’s work for each doing committee).

Next Brown Bag

As a reminder, our next Brown Bag is this Wednesday, July 29, from noon to 1:30 p.m. via Zoom. We extended this session to 90 minutes to accommodate your questions and concerns. I hope to see many of you for our live Q&A. Connection information is:; Meeting ID: 970 1174 8887; Passcode: 703560.

Take care, and have a great week!

Bonnie D. Irwin
Chancellor, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo

UH Hilo’s COVID-19 information webpage

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