COVID-19 Information

Quarantine FAQ

Students Traveling (Back) to Hilo for Spring 2021

Added November 3, 2020.

Effective October 15, Governor Ige has authorized a pre-travel program for the State of Hawaiʻi and Hawaiʻi Island Mayor Kim has authorized four options for travel to Hawaiʻi Island. Details may change over time, therefore the links below are provided to assist travelers with getting information directly from the designated sources. The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo will not be imposing any additional requirements or restrictions on students traveling to Hilo.

We cannot predict whether or what types of quarantine requirements may be required in January. Please note that UH Hilo will not be providing quarantine assistance for Spring 2021. Therefore, we advise students to plan accordingly when selecting Spring 2021 courses and planning any travel to Hilo.

Quarantine Update, September 28, 2020

The quarantine assistance that UH Hilo has been providing will be ending for new arrivals effective 9:00pm on Wednesday, October 14, 2020. Students who begin quarantine by this time will be allowed to complete their 14-day duration of stay.

This deadline coincides with the day before the start of Governor Ige’s pre-travel program. Please note that any students arriving back in Hilo on or before this date and who need assistance with meeting the State’s mandatory quarantine requirements must still request assistance in advance.

If you have yet to return for the semester and need a place to complete your quarantine before this deadline, please share your information with us in this short form.

UH Hilo will not have quarantine assistance available starting October 15, 2020. Students should plan accordingly for any future returns to Hilo, this semester and next. We cannot predict whether quarantine will still be required in January, therefore, we advise you to plan accordingly when selecting your Spring 2021 courses in a few short week.

Please contact us for more information.

Quarantine Update, August 26, 2020

We are approaching the end of our out-of-state quarantine program. Many of the out-of-state students who arrived when the program first began are now done with their 14 days of quarantine. We are proud to share that all of the students so far have been compliant with the State’s quarantine instructions. We thank our students for being accountable and showing that they are responsible members of our community here in Hilo.

Out-of-state students who completed the request for quarantine assistance prior to the deadline will still be accommodated. All out-of-state students requiring assistance and arriving after August 31 will be quarantined in a residence hall room on campus. Details will be shared directly with students by their assigned points of contacts.

The inter-island quarantine program was announced on August 19 and accommodations started on Sunday, August 23, 2020. Based on the August 19 announcement by Chancellor Irwin that most UH Hilo classes will be conducted completely online for the semester, UH Hilo will be giving priority for inter-island quarantine assistance to students who must return to Hilo for reasons that include:

  • Enrollment in the UH Hilo Pharmacy or Nursing program
  • Enrollment in a UH Hilo class being taught in face-to-face format
  • Enrollment in an internship
  • Confirmed with employment
  • Participating in a UH Hilo sponsored leadership activity

Students who would like to be considered for inter-island quarantine assistance are encouraged to complete this short form as soon as possible.

Students are encouraged to refer to the August 19 email sent by Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs for more information about the inter-island quarantine program. You may also email, call (808) 932-7445 or text (808) 209-1365.

Quarantine Update, August 17, 2020

Many of you have contacted our offices in the last month with questions regarding travel and quarantine. Details continue to change frequently, so this update is intended to provide info on where we are as of today in regards to quarantine questions and concerns.

Should I Travel Back To Hilo?

Based on President Lassner’s email last Monday and Chancellor Irwin’s email last Wednesday, we continue to encourage those of you who are able to delay your return to do so. All faculty have been asked to adjust instruction for the first two weeks to allow students to join remotely.

Why Should I Consider a Delay of My Return To Campus?

Among some of the top reasons to consider delaying your return to campus are:

  • You risk possible exposure to the virus when you are in confined spaces like the airport and airplane.
  • We are not yet aware if Governor Ige plans to extend the quarantine orders for trans-Pacific and/or inter-island travel. If quarantine orders are not extended, you will be able to return to Hilo after August 31 without having to do any quarantining.
  • We continue to monitor the number of cases on our island and across the state. While the majority of classes have already gone online for the first two weeks, it is uncertain whether the online format will be extended for a longer period of time.
  • Since all students returning to Hilo from other islands and locations outside of the state of Hawaiʻi are now required to complete quarantine, the inventory of hotel rooms in Hilo is extremely low.

Out-of-State Quarantine

The deadline to request assistance with quarantine for students returning from out-of-state was Friday, August 7, 2020. We have been able to accommodate all requests that were received by that date. Due to the resources available to support this initiative, no new requests are being accepted at this time.

Inter-Island Quarantine

Since Governor Ige reinstated inter-island quarantine on August 6, UH Hilo has been working to secure quarantine options for our neighbor island students. There are two possibilities that are close to being final. This includes an option for hotel similar to the accommodations made for out-of-state students and an option for student residents to quarantine in their assigned space if they are living on-campus.

Brown Bag Session

We plan to have decisions made about possible inter-island quarantine options in the next few days. Chancellor Irwin and Vice Chancellor Gomes will be announcing the options at a Brown Bag session via Zoom this Wednesday. Connection info for the Brown Bag session was emailed to all students.

In the meantime, if you are able to delay your return at least through the middle of this week when we will have more information available for you, we may be able to assist you with a room accommodation. We will not be able to assist with reimbursements for students who decide to return earlier than we are able to announce our options. If you must return prior to our assistance being available, you will need to ensure quarantine compliance on your own.

If you have questions about needing to return, please contact the faculty or advisor of the course or program that you are engaged with to discuss your options.

Quarantine Update, August 4, 2020

As of yesterday afternoon, the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo has an executed contract with one of our local hotels. UH Hilo is covering the cost of lodging at the hotel for students from out-of-state who need to complete the State-mandated 14 day quarantine. Students will be responsible for their own meals and incidental costs.

Any students who still require assistance should complete this survey that provides us with arrival locations, dates and times. This should be completed no later than Friday, August 7, 2020. A point of contact is assigned to each student so that we can be best prepared to welcome students on their arrival.

UH Hilo is only able to guarantee assistance to students who respond by the August 7, 2020 deadline. If students are in doubt about the details of their return, they are encouraged to complete the form before the deadline and work with their point of contact about changes to details.

For more information, email, call (808) 932-7445 or text (808) 209-1365.

Quarantine Update, August 3, 2020

The first of our students from out-of-state needing assistance with quarantine arrived yesterday. Since our hotel contract isn’t yet finalized, those students have been provided with rooms in our residence halls on campus. We are working this morning to finalize the contract before our next group of students arrives this afternoon.

At this time, the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo is committed to covering 100% of the lodging costs for students who have completed our survey and provided us with arrival locations, dates and times. Points of contacts have been in touch with all students on this list. Please be sure to response to phone calls or emails requesting additional information so we can be best prepared to welcome you on arrival.

A list of delivery options has been finalized and is being shared with students via email prior to departure. A hard copy of this information is also being provided upon check-in. Please see the updated questions and answers below. For more information, email or text (808) 209-1365.

Quarantine Update, July 28, 2020

Effective today, phone calls are being made to all students who have expressed interest or need in quarantine and have responded to our Quarantine follow-up survey. Each student has been assigned a staff member who will serve as the point of contact for quarantine-related questions. Each staff member is part of a larger quarantine team that we have assembled on campus to help address the individualized situations of our students.

We invite you to join Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Farrah-Marie Gomes, in a Brown Bag session on Thursday, July 30 at noon HST. This session will be specifically about quarantine. On Wednesday, we will send the Zoom link info out to students who have responded to the above survey.

Until then, here are a few updates that we can share. While we continue to work on finalizing a contract with our local hotels, we are moving forward with all plans because we are confident that the contract will be signed by the end of this week. If for some reason that does not happen, we will provide rooms in the residence halls at no cost for students arriving as early as this Saturday.

At this time, we are making every effort to cover 100% of the costs. We will not be able to share whether that is guaranteed until our contract with the hotel is signed. Here are other details about costs:

  • Students will be required to provide a valid credit card upon check-in at the hotel. The hotel will authorize a hold on the credit care for incidental charges.
  • Students will be required to cover the cost of their own meals. A list of delivery options and whether food service in the hotel is available will be provided prior to arrival.
  • Students arriving into the Hilo airport (ITO) will be required to pay for their own transportation from ITO to the hotel.

As we get ready for some students to start arriving in a few days, here is information about transportation:

  • From airports to hotel:
    • For students arriving into the Hilo airport (ITO), we will provide a few options prior to arrival. The estimate for a taxi is $15-$20. The estimate for an Uber or Lyft is $10-$15. We are looking into the possibility of a hotel shuttle and will share that information when available.
    • The University will be providing transportation for students arriving into Kona (KOA). That shuttle will go directly from KOA to the hotel in Hilo. There will be no stops, except for a restroom break if needed. Details about this transportation will be shared before arrival.
  • From hotel to permanent place of lodging after quarantine is completed:
    • Upon completion of the 14-day quarantine period, the University will provide transportation from the hotel to the residence halls for those who have an assignment in a residence hall.
    • Students with an off-campus residence will be responsible for coordinating their own transportation.

We are receiving more information each day. Another update will be posted by the end of this week. Students who still have questions should reach out to their assigned point of contact. If you have not received a phone call and you submitted a response to the above survey, email or text (808) 209-1365.

Quarantine FAQ

On Monday, July 6, 2020, Governor Ige extended the 14-day quarantine for all out-of-state travelers coming to Hawaiʻi through August 31, 2020. In that announcement, there is an exemption that allows for a shortened quarantine period for college students returning to higher education institutions on Oʻahu and Kauaʻi only. Some are referring to this as a “modified bubble” because after testing negative upon arrival, students would be allowed out of quarantine to participate in college activities and events. At this time, the modified bubble or shortened quarantine period option is not available to UH Hilo students.

General Questions

What is quarantine and how do I comply?

The State of Hawaiʻi Department of Health provides the following information about what it means to quarantine. Specifically, stay in your home/visitor lodging and do not:

  • Go to public places such as work, school, shopping centers, childcare, or local attractions
  • Let visitors in - only people who usually live with you should be with you
  • Use shared facilities such as restrooms, kitchens, pools, spas, gyms, or bars - if you live with others and share common areas (kitchen, restroom, etc.), we encourage you to consider a different location to do your quarantine.

You should ask someone to drop off food and other necessities at your door or order room service. For additional information about quarantine, please refer to:

Will the cost of quarantine be subsidized by UH Hilo? Will there be adjusted room rates for students in quarantine?

At this time, the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo is committed to covering 100% of the lodging costs for students who have completed our survey and provided us with arrival locations, dates and times. Students will be responsible for their own meal and incidental costs.

What is the plan for first-year students who are traveling to Hawaiʻi Island from out-of-state without a parent/guardian/family member? What is UH Hilo doing to assure me that my son/daughter will be in good hands once they arrive in Hilo/Kona? How can I be assured that my son/daughter will be cared for while in quarantine? Will there be someone monitoring students in quarantine?

UH Hilo will be surveying all out-of-state students to determine what assistance may be needed to ensure a smooth transition to Hilo in light of quarantine requirements. As necessary, we will develop programming and deploy additional services to ensure students remain engaged with UH Hilo and are prepared for the start of the semester. Specific student services may begin in virtual format while students are in quarantine. Our goal is to connect with all students and conduct routine checks on their health and wellness in addition to preparing for the start of the semester. We are in the process of hiring a COVID coordinator whose role will include some level of monitoring of students in quarantine.

Who is responsible for monitoring compliance with quarantine rules, especially for students who live off-campus? The University and/or a State agency?

It is the State’s responsibility to monitor compliance with quarantine requirements.

What is the penalty for violating the quarantine?

Violating the quarantine is punishable by a $5,000 fine and up to a year in prison.

How will information about quarantine rules be disseminated once it’s available?

Up-to-date information about quarantine requirements will be emailed to all students and made available on:

Travel Questions

Do students need to quarantine on Hawaiʻi Island or is it okay that they quarantine on another island before coming to Hilo?

Individuals must quarantine upon entry to the State of Hawaiʻi, and may quarantine on any island of their choice. The full 14-day quarantine must be completed on the same selected island. Flying to another island prior to completing the full 14-day quarantine is not allowed.

If my flight connects through Oʻahu or Maui, do I need to quarantine on that island before flying to Hawaiʻi Island?

No, you are only required to quarantine on the island of your final destination. You are advised not to exit the airport of your connecting flights to avoid not being allowed back into the airport.

Does the 14-day quarantine extension mean I have to get to Hilo two weeks before orientation, housing check-in, or the first day of classes?

If you have signed up to participate in orientation, then you must arrive by August 4 to complete the 14-day quarantine before the August 19 orientation start date.

If you are checking into one of the residence halls, you may arrive as early as August 3 to complete the 14-day quarantine by the first day of check-ins on August 18. Quarantine will not be available in the residence halls, so an alternative location will need to be secured.

If you are required to or would like to join an in-person class on the first day of instruction, then you must return to Hilo by August 9 to complete the 14-day quarantine before classes begin on August 24.

If I decide to wait to come to Hawaiʻi until after quarantine restrictions are lifted and I’m able to go there with a negative COVID test in September or later, will they hold my room in the residence hall for me?

We caution about any future planning around quarantine requirements as we are not certain when quarantine will be lifted. UH Hilo will hold a student’s room in University Housing if the student is paying for the room rental.

What is the quarantine plan for out-of-state students returning to Hilo? Where will out-of-state students be able to quarantine?

Students who have living arrangements off-campus may quarantine where they live. UH Hilo is working with local lodging entities to provide quarantine rooms for students who do not want to risk exposure to others they live with or who have a room assignment on campus. We hope to have a block of rooms available at no or low cost to students. Students will be responsible for their own meal and incidental costs.

I have to fly into Kona and one of the stipulations is that I cannot rent a car. How will I get to Hilo?

Please check back for additional information. UH Hilo administration continues to work with our Governor and Mayor on this restriction.

COVID Testing Questions

Can I show proof of a negative COVID-19 test and not have to be in quarantine?

No, at this time, showing a negative COVID-19 test to avoid having to do quarantine is not an option on Hawaiʻi Island.

If a student is quarantined, do they need to take the COVID test?

No, at this time, no COVID test is being required of students if they go through the full 14-day quarantine and do not exhibit symptoms of COVID-19.

Quarantine Locations Questions

Will students be allowed to quarantine in their residence hall?

For the health and safety of all residents in the halls, no quarantine will be taking place on campus prior to the start of the semester. After the semester begins, if there are students who need to travel out-of-state or if a student has COVID-like symptoms, there will be rooms reserved on campus where students will be able to self-isolate at no additional cost.

What type of security will be on site while students are in quarantine to assure their safety?

Specific details about security services and how to access those services will be shared with students as soon as contracts are secured with the lodging locations.

What places will I be able to go to if quarantined in the residence hall?

No students will be quarantined in the residence halls on campus prior to the start of the semester.

Will quarantine rooms still be available on September 1?

At this time, the Governor’s quarantine order is in place through August 31. The University does not currently have plans to extend quarantine rooms beyond August 31. If the quarantine order is extended, the University will make an announcement if we can extend our offer further.

What types of housing options are allowable for quarantine?

Quarantine guidelines are those of the State of Hawaii, not UH. Please refer to the following websites for information about the requirements.

Will there be any cleaning or room service?

There will be no in-room service of any kind. Students may call the front desk for clean linen and towels, trash removal, new trash bags, ice, etc. Staff will coordinate delivery to the door.

Can a parent call in credit card if a student only has a debit card?

Yes, parents are able to call in credit card information directly to the hotel.

How late can a student cancel a request for a quarantine room?

We encourage students to let us know at least 24 hours in advance if they will not be checking into their quarantine room.

What appliances will be available in the quarantine rooms?

Quarantine rooms in the hotels will have a mini-fridge, microwave and coffee maker.

Shared Quarantining Questions

Can friends quarantine together if both are UH Hilo students?

For health and safety reasons, quarantine rooms are being provided for individual students to isolate from others. For this reason, we are not allowing friends to quarantine in the same room together.

Are parents able to quarantine with their children?

Yes, parents will be able to quarantine with their children if they make their own lodging arrangements. The University is providing lodging assistance for students only. Please refer to the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Health guidance on quarantine (PDF) for more information.

Questions about Classes

With the quarantine in place, can I take classes from home then travel to UH Hilo when the quarantine lifts?

Yes, please refer to the email message from Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Ken Hon on July 15 that explains what types of classes you can enroll in that will allow you to take classes online from home.

Will I be able to take my classes online for the first two weeks if I have to be in quarantine?

If a student is enrolled in any combination of completely online courses or hybrid courses that do not require face-to-face attendance during that time period, then yes, that student is able to attend classes remotely to complete the full 14-day quarantine. Students are encouraged to contact their faculty to discuss these details.

Food and Deliveries Questions

How will I get food during quarantine?

Students will be required to cover the cost of their meals. We are in discussions with the lodging facilities. Room service may be available at some of the lodging entities. At others, students will need to order food and have it delivered to their location for lodging staff to assist with delivery to specific rooms. A list of delivery options will be provided to students when they check-in for quarantine.

Can friends or family drop off food to students in quarantine?

For liability purposes, only delivery vendors will be allowed to drop off food for students in quarantine.

Can Target/Walmart deliver groceries to students in quarantine?

Yes, grocery delivery is available via Instacart. Information about this service is included in the handout that students will be provided via email in advance and upon arrival.

Will meal plans be prorated for students who cannot check into the residence halls until after their quarantine is completed?

We are working with our food service provider to offer delivery of meals from the meal plan. We will provide an update as soon as we have updated information.

If I still have questions about quarantine, who can I contact?

You may email your questions to:
You may text your questions to: (808) 209-1365.
You may call the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at: (808) 932-7445. Emails, texts and phone calls will be returned within 24 hours on business days.