Housing's Hullabaloo

How UH Hilo’s Housing and Residence Life is preparing for cases of COVID-19

Staff Writer Holly S. Trowbridge

“Our residents's health and safety remains to be University Housing and Residence Life's number one priority,” states Sherri “Uilani” Akau , housing’s director at UH Hilo, in an email correspondence with Ke Kalahea. “In doing so, we have been keeping up-to-date and informed with the information from credible sources that include CDC guidelines.”

According to Akau, the staff at the University Housing and Residence Life have been proactively sending out informative emails to students, additional signage in all residence communities and community spaces, passive/distant programming, and urging the practice of social distancing.

Housing has also taken measures to practice cleanliness around the dorms, particularly in shared community spaces. There is an inventory of operating supplies such as hand sanitizer dispensers, hand soap, disinfecting agents, and other cleaning supplies. The staff of University Housing and Residence Life have been monitoring the lounge and any shared space. “We are making every effort to get in front of this to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve,” says Akau. One thing that housing has done is put black tape outside of its offices for residents to stand behind.

University Housing and Residence Life remains committed to providing service to their residence at all hours and will continue checking on the well-being of their residents, while upholding support for students in need, according to Akau. Programs will also be adjusted to accommodate smaller groups.

Sodexo Food Service will run as normal for the remainder of the semester. Because University Housing and Residence Life and Sodexo have a close working partnership, they have made adjustments to the food service operation in the Hale Kehau Dining Hall to best meet CDC guidelines while trying not to hinder the student experience in the dining hall as residents living on campus.

Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases and the university’s decision to transition all classes to online classes, many students have checked out of the dormitories and have asked for refunds. In an email from University Housing and Residence Life, it was mentioned that they will be honoring requests for partial refunds.