How do UH students, faculty, and staff feel about the uplifted restrictions?

Covid illustration

By Alannah Shinde

Covid illustration

On March 26, the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo joined other public, state entities in lifting COVID-19 restrictions, including the requirement to wear face masks in non-educational public settings and the requirement to be vaccinated/submit to weekly testing.

“I think it's good, it brings us back to a sense of normalcy that we had pre-pandemic. I’m all for it as long as it's reasonably justified… I just hope we aren’t jumping the gun and joining everyone else just to cater to some people.”

Scott NicolasScott Nicolas (Computer science major)

Maria dePillis-ShintakuMaria dePillis-Shintaku (Japanese Studies and linguistics major, English and history minor)

“I actually don't even know what the current mask mandate status is, but I know some restrictions were lifted. It doesn't really affect me significantly because I plan to continue wearing a mask on campus regardless of where I am. I have much older family members so I'd like to stay as protected as possible, and I kind of like the privacy it gives me too. Plus, COVID or no COVID, I haven't gotten a cold or the flu in two years.”

“I guess I understand why they lifted the restrictions and the benefits it brings to the college, such as having more freedom, in-person classes, improved classroom experience with face to face learning and being able to have a more consistent foot traffic of students actually being on campus. While all that is great I don’t think it’s the best option at this time because we don’t really have an answer to the problem that we are currently facing. It is more like ignoring the problem and hoping the damages caused by COVID are minimal and containable for the time being. Iʻm hoping that we won’t be forced into another shutdown rather than keeping restrictions, it doesn’t seem like the best move for the college, as well as the students.”

Devyn CapellasDevyn Capellas (Studying pre-nursing)

Kayla OkazakiKayla Okazaki (Computer science major)

“It didn't really affect me because I am going to wear my mask even if it's not required by the university. Sure it's not a required thing but for me personally I would rather be overly cautious. It might be different for people in the dorm but if I catch COVID it could affect my grandparents who have medical conditions…but it's good for some people because they weren't wearing masks anyways before. I feel like the lifted restrictions don't really affect anything too much from before.”

Anonymous biology major

“I’m very excited that the COVID restrictions lifting means that more experiential opportunities are available through UH! Now, more in-person labs are being offered that I am so excited to enroll in, and volunteers are able to return to non-profit work. I think the well-being of students and the involvement of the community will really benefit from the updated restrictions, and I look forward to that.”

Mask illustration

Bottle of soap illustration

gloved hands

Graphics by Naomi Lemieux and Stacy Watkins