#OurKuleana: Wear a mask!

A social media campaign was launched this morning on Hawaiʻi Island to help normalize wearing masks. Using the hash tag #OurKuleana, the campaign encourages people to post a black and white selfie wearing a face mask.

By Susan Enright. Video by Kirsten Aoyagi.

A social media campaign was launched this morning on Hawaiʻi Island with the hash tag #ourkuleana (responsibility) encouraging people to post a black and white selfie of themselves wearing a face mask. The nonprofit Community First helped kick start the campaign and the Our Kuleana community initiative to foster a social norm of wearing face masks.

Bonnie Irwin, chancellor at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, and the three vice chancellors Farrah-Marie Gomes, Kris Roney, and Kalei Rapoza, plus many others from the UH Hilo ʻohana are participating. Photos of the chancellor and the three vice chancellors, all in masks, were posted to UH Hilo’s Facebook page with the message: “It’s #ourkuleana to keep each other safe! Wear a mask to protect yourself and our #UHHilo ʻOhana!

And on Instagram, members of the UH Hilo ʻohana:

Several selfies of people in masks.
#ourkuleana posted to UH Hilo on Instagram.

Mask guidelines on campus

Regarding masks, UH Hilo requires the following personal safety practices for all employees, students and invited visitors (from the Interim UH Hilo COVID-19 Guidelines, Section II:C, Face Coverings):

Face coverings (cloth face coverings at a minimum) are required in public settings where physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain, including outdoor spaces in densely populated areas (lanai, walkway, lobbies, etc.).

Face coverings shall be worn indoors (classrooms, laboratories, computer labs, public office spaces, meeting rooms, restrooms, etc., not to include individual office spaces or non-public office areas).

Face coverings are not required for employees if you are working in isolation and are able to practice safe physical distancing.

Face coverings must be worn correctly:

  • Ensure the nose and mouth are fully covered;
  • Covering must fit snugly against the sides of the face; and
  • Ensure face covering is secured to prevent slipping.

Where face coverings are required, face shields are not permitted to be worn as the only face covering, and must be used in combination with correctly worn face coverings.

  • Residents of UH Hilo University Housing and Residence Life are required to wear face coverings in common spaces of all residential buildings, including but not limited to lobbies, hallways, lounges, eating spaces, etc. Residents are not required to wear a face covering when in their own living space, including bedrooms, suites, or apartments. However, if residents are feeling ill, they should wear face coverings at all times.
  • The university recognizes that there are certain instances where wearing a face covering may not be feasible or, if you have a medical condition or disability, where wearing a face covering poses a health or safety risk. Reasonable accommodations will be made in those instances. Children under the age of 5 are not required to wear face masks.
  • Faculty who teach in person and employees providing direct service to customers (in which physical distancing is not easy to manage, such as at a customer service window) will be provided face shields. Face Shields should only be used in combination with and not as a substitute for face coverings. The CDC does not recommend use of face shields for normal everyday activities in place of cloth or disposable face coverings. For those using a face shield as an accommodation, additional measures should be in place, such as increased distancing.

Note: Face coverings, masks, or respirators with exhalation valves should be avoided as they do not protect others from expelled respiratory droplets and aerosols.

Learn more

Read the complete UH Hilo COVID-19 Guidelines (Interim)

Visit the UH Hilo COVID-19 information webpage

This post was updated on Oct. 1, 2020, to add the #OurKuleana video. Video is by Kirsten Aoyagi, who is earning a bachelor of arts in communication at UH Hilo.

Story by Susan Enright, a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories. She received her bachelor of arts in English and certificate in women’s studies from UH Hilo.

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