Chancellor’s weekly update on countdown to open for fall semester: Testing, tracing, student services, new vice chancellor for academic affairs

August 3, 2020 Update. Countdown to Fall 2020: 22 days remaining until fall semester begins.

Aloha Kākou,

Bonnie Irwin
Bonnie Irwin

I hope everyone’s preparations for fall are proceeding well, and that everyone is staying safe and healthy.

We plan to post our reopening guidelines on Friday, and you will see some sections up already, with others to be posted soon. I recommend both the campus and UH System guidelines to you for reading. They outline institutional responsibility but also personal responsibility during this time. The basic guidelines remain the same: wash your hands, wear a mask, avoid touching your face, and keep a 6-foot physical distance between you and others. We are seeing across the country that when these basics are ignored, the virus spreads.

Here are the following updates:

Testing and Tracing (Carolyn Ma, convener)

Screening: The UH System IT department continues to beta test and de-bug the app, NOVID Campus. Students and employees will be required to submit their information prior to coming to campus. Your patience is appreciated as the app is being finalized. NOVID Campus FAQs are forthcoming.

Testing: Proposed testing on campus testing days will range from weekly to monthly and will depend upon the current situation of positive cases in the State and the availability of testing resources.

The UH Hilo/Hawai‘i Community College COVID-19 Information Page will list the most updated sites available for testing in East Hawai‘i. The list is provided and also accessible on the County of Hawai‘i and Civil Defense websites.

The CARES Act-funded UH Hilo/HawCC COVID-19 campus coordinator position details are finalized.

Final recommendations for UH Hilo Guidelines have been submitted to Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs Kalei Rapoza and will be made available on August 10. Guidelines and information will be updated on a regular basis depending upon information provided by the County of Hawai’i Health Office, the State Department of Health, UH Systems, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Academic and Student Support (Farrah-Marie Gomes, convener)                                        

While additional testing platforms have not yet been secured, a professional development opportunity on reducing cheating in the classroom was identified for faculty to participate in. The distance learning group will be sharing this information with those who are interested.

Apple TVs have been added to two rooms in the Student Services Center to provide alternative spaces for staff to meet with students with safe physical distance between them. Testing of this technology is underway. A process for signing up to use the rooms is in progress and will be shared shortly. Dual monitor set-ups have been installed at three work stations on the first floor of the Student Services Center. Similar to the Apple TV set-up, this arrangement will allow staff to meet with students with safe physical distance between them. Additional work stations will be customized upon request and as equipment is made available.

Physical Distancing (Kalei Rapoza, convener)

This working group continues to work with units on requests for plexiglass, personal protective equipment (PPE) and additional cleaning supplies. Orders have been submitted and are pending delivery. Mahalo for your patience as we await delivery on these supplies.


The Long Range Budget and Planning Committee held its first meeting last Friday. The meeting was dedicated to an overview of the current budget situation. Subsequent meetings will be focused on ideas for cost cutting and revenue development.

Strategic Doing

The Strategic Doing Committees continue to reach into their broad networks and are beginning to envision ideal outcomes and plan how we will work toward those outcomes. Notes from the most recent committee meetings are now available on the Strategic Doing webpage. Please take a look at the notes for Relationships and Importance of Place Doing Committees (scroll down and click on Read more about this committee’s work for both).

Office of Academic Affairs

Our new Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Kris Roney arrived on island Saturday and is quarantining at home. She will begin on August 17. Special thanks to Ken Hon for his service to UH Hilo for so many years and for finishing up numerous activities during his last week in the office. I will be filling in this week and next in Academic Affairs.

This is a time of lots of change and uncertainty, and I appreciate all your efforts to step up and support our students in your various roles.

Mahalo and take care.

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

UH Hilo’s COVID-19 information webpage