Hawai‘i Universities Will Resume In-Person Classes This Fall

Students will find new social distancing practices and other modifications when they return to campus.


All 10 University of Hawai‘i campuses, Hawai‘i Pacific and Chaminade universities will return to in-person instruction in the fall. The first day of the fall semester is Aug. 24.


UH officials are moving forward with plans that call for social distancing and other hygienic practices. Modifications include: shifting some classes, such as those held in large lecture halls, to a mix of on-campus and online instruction; setting up lab, work and study areas to be at least 6 feet apart; and coming up with protocols for testing and quarantine.


Dorms at UH Mānoa and UH Hilo will be open in the fall but with certain protocols in place. UH President David Lassner did say there would be a quarantine mandate, based on state regulations, for students coming from out of state and the Neighbor Islands. Officials don’t have a plan yet for fall athletics.


“This will not be business as usual,” Lassner said at today’s state COVID-19 news conference. “We are not going back to the way it was.”


To prepare for a potential outbreak on campus, UH officials are also working on upgrading online hardware and software, creating guidance for online learning and teaching, and providing loaner laptops and broadband access.


The university announced it would transition to online classes on March 18 and then closed its 10 campuses to the public two days later. Both Chaminade and UH have extended admissions deadlines for the fall semester to Aug. 1.


Lassner’s announcement comes as Hawai‘i continues to see daily single-digit COVID-19 cases. Today, one new case was reported on the Big Island. But officials warned the public to remain vigilant and continue social distancing.