Student Messages: COVID-19 Updates

coronavirus

The well-being of the Hawai‘i Pacific University community of students, faculty, and staff is our university’s highest priority. To that end, we have assessed COVID-19 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to implement policies, procedures, as we develop plans to keep our university community members healthy and safe. We continue to monitor government directives regarding COVID-19 and are in consultation with government and accrediting bodies. This page is devoted to ongoing HPU updates on COVID-19 sent to our students.    

COVID-19 Resource Sites:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Hawai‘i State Department of Health
World Health Organization

General Health Services Resource Information is posted here

March 24, 2020

Aloha HPU ʻOhana,

We were informed recently that an individual at HPU tested positive for COVID-19. It has been 12 days since the individual had contact with students and 11 days since contact with faculty or staff. Most people on campus would not be expected to be at risk.  The Hawaiʻi State Department of Health will be reaching out to persons who had close contact with the affected individual (defined as within six feet for a prolonged period of time). 

We are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of our HPU ʻohana. Within minutes of receiving the news of diagnosis, we began working closely with the Department of Health, following all their recommended protocols, including having isolated the impacted areas and retained a company that specializes in sanitizing such areas to CDC guidelines. 

Out of respect for medical privacy rights, we are not at liberty to disclose any personal information of the affected individual, other than the individual is recovering quickly, reporting good spirits and strong improvements. 

We will keep you apprised of developments. In the meantime, please continue to do all you can to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy — observe social distancing, practice thorough hygiene and follow everyday prevention. All of these resources are available to our HPU ʻohana via the university’s website and our state’s informational site at hawaiicovid19.com

Symptoms of COVID-19 may include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing and can appear 2-14 days after exposure. If you develop symptoms and are concerned about COVID-19 infection, call ahead and discuss with your health care provider.  If you have symptoms and were contacted by HDOH regarding exposure to this individual, please inform your healthcare provider of your potential exposure.  

We remain steadfast in our commitment to providing a safe and enriching educational environment and thank you for your ongoing support of and commitment to our HPU ʻohana and entire community. 

Mahalo.

John Y. Gotanda

President

March 22, 2020

Aloha HPU Students,

We are reaching out as a follow-up to today’s announcement by The Mayor of the City and County of Honolulu, Kirk Caldwell, requiring that residents of Honolulu stay in their homes, starting at 4:30 pm on Monday, March 23 and lasting until April 30, in the attempt to combat the transmission of COVID-19 in our city. 

While there are no cases of the coronavirus within the HPU ‘ohana or on our campuses, we wanted to ensure you understood how the new emergency order impacts operations at HPU. 

And, please know that, notwithstanding the new changes, your faculty and staff are here for you as your university ‘ohana. As a reminder, if you are encountering any difficulties or have any questions, please let us know right away.   

HPU is considered an essential business under the City’s new order and may continue to operate. Nevertheless, in order to comply with the order, we have made some operational changes, which are noted below: 

  • Online classes continue.
  • Waterfront Lofts and Hawai’i Loa Residence Halls remain open for student residents, but no visitors will be permitted on the premises.
  • Dining services at Pier Nine and Hawai’i Loa Campus Dining Commons continue for student residents through takeout.
  • The University Health Center remains open.
  • Registration for Fall/Winter terms continues, only online.
  • Advising Center staff are available via online appointment.
  • Center for Academic Success tutoring services are available online.
  • Student Services Center will be temporarily closed starting at 4:30 pm on Monday.
  • The Learning Commons and ETC at HLC remain open with current hours and subject to social distancing restrictions.
  • Waterfront and Atherton Libraries will be temporarily closed starting at 4:30 pm on Monday. Access to online reference tools and periodicals and “Chat with a librarian” services continue to be available.
  • ESports Arena is temporarily closed.
  • The shuttle service between HLC and ATM will continue until 4:30 pm on Monday and we will arrange for limited service thereafter (the new schedule will be posted shortly).
  • Counseling and Behavioral Health Services staff are available via phone appointment and YOU@HPU app is accessible.
  • Career Development Center online toolkit resources for Resume Writing, Cover Letters, and Interviews, remain available.  

Your health and well-being remain our top priorities. We will continue to reach out to you with updates. Mahalo for your patience, flexibility and compassion and care for one another as we address this continuously evolving situation.   

John Y. Gotanda

President

March 19, 2020

Aloha Students, Faculty and Staff,

I am writing with a number of important updates. 

Beginning Friday,  we will move our social-distancing measures to the next level in two very important facilities: 

  • Pier Nine and the Hawaii Loa Dining Commons will shift to take-out only service. It will remain open to our students, closed to the public, and Pier Nine will close at 9 p.m. each night, HLC dining at 8:30 p.m. most nights. 
  • The eSports Arena is now closed until April 3.

Our Student Services Center at Waterfront Plaza remains open, and we will limit the number of people in the common area. Through signage and personal directions, students may need to wait in the outdoor seating areas before entering the center.

HPU’s military base classes have also shifted to online. Our base offices remain open with social distancing.

Our Library and Learning Commons continue to be open to the HPU community, but not the public generally, and they are subject to social distancing measures.

Finally, with our ATM business neighbors temporarily closed, we want to proactively increase the security services that we provide. Beginning next week, we will temporarily close off some of the areas around ATM to the general public. These areas will remain accessible to the HPU community.

Your health and safety are of paramount importance. We will continue to keep you informed of developments. Thank you again for all that you are doing to make this week’s transition to online instruction and effective social distancing come about as smoothly as possible.

Mahalo,

John Gotanda
President

March 18, 2020

Aloha Students,

We know that the past several days have been challenging for you, and we commend you for your perseverance.  As we resume instruction today in an online environment, please check Blackboard regularly, along with your HPU email account so that you can receive regular updates from your professors. 

As you are seeing, we have restructured many common areas throughout our facilities to promote social distancing. We have modified some hours of operation, and you may notice that some of our staff members have begun to telework. 

As we celebrated this first year of our expanded downtown campus back in August, we could not have imagined that we would be where we are at this moment. And we won’t forget these days, but they will pass. 

We want to encourage you to look ahead to a more certain future, so we have opened registration early. You may begin selecting courses for next Fall and Winter now. Advising Center staff are ready to assist students with either an in-person or online appointment, and faculty advisors are also available electronically to meet with juniors, seniors, and graduate students. 

In addition, our Center for Academic Success remains open for in-person and online sessions. Please contact the staff there directly to make an appointment for testing and tutoring services. 

The Learning Commons, Waterfront, and Atherton Libraries remain open for students, although please note that in some campus areas, capacity at any one time may be limited to accommodate appropriate social (physical) distancing requirements. 

Despite the unfolding pandemic, our commitment to your education remains strong. Our faculty are ready to help you successfully finish the term, counselors are available to talk, and the rest of the student services team is also on stand-by, ready to assist. To that end, if you encounter any difficulties during or after the transition to online instruction, please let us know right away.  Please also encourage your family to stay in touch and to consult our COVID-19 resource page so that we can answer questions about conditions on campus or in the state of Hawaii. 

Your well-being remains our highest priority, and we look forward to staying in touch in the coming weeks.

Aloha,

John Gotanda
President 

March 12, 2020
9:00 pm update 

Aloha Students,

As you are aware, the COVID-19 situation is developing very quickly. While at this time there is no confirmed case of COVID-19 within the HPU ‘ohana or on our campuses, in light of evolving events, heightened anxiety and tremendous uncertainty, starting on March 18, 2020, we will be moving all classes to an on-line format for the duration of the semester. With this on-line format, you will have an option to remain on campus or return home and finish the term.

The faculty have been thoughtfully preparing for this scenario, and these proactive measures will enable you to complete the semester in a timely manner and ensure that you remain on track for graduation.

Classes on Monday and Tuesday will be suspended to facilitate the transition and will resume on Wednesday in an on-line format.  Faculty will communicate to students their revised course expectations and details for online delivery by Wednesday.  

In addition to the on-line instruction, faculty will be available online during regularly scheduled class times and office hours to answer questions and provide advising and guidance.  Learning accommodations will continue to apply and faculty are prepared to assist students in that implementation. 

Our faculty are deeply committed to student learning and are looking forward to acknowledging and celebrating student successes at the end of the term.

Military campus programs will remain operational as scheduled until further notice.

HPU is not closing for the remainder of the spring semester. You may continue to live in the residence halls and utilize our facilities and services:

  • All university services, including residences, dining services, academic support services (library, learning commons, computer resources), counseling, and other campus services, including the health clinics, will remain open.  
  • Student employment in work study programs may continue if students wish to do so.
  • IT support will continue to be available with extended hours to assist you.

Travel and extra-curricular activities.  We have previously announced restrictions on University-sponsored travel, including a prohibition on international travel.  In addition, all athletics and co- and extra-curricular activities are suspended for the remainder of the academic year.

Spring commencement ceremony.  We look forward to celebrating with our graduating students at a meaningful ceremony this coming May; those details will be provided at a later time.

We recognize that this message will not answer everyone’s questions.  We will be holding small group sessions tomorrow afternoon to answer individual questions and concerns at the previously scheduled times.  Additional clarification will be provided in the days to come.

While we very much regret the disruption this situation causes you and your families, your safety and well being are our highest priority.  We are honored that you have chosen to be a part of the HPU community. We are grateful for each of you, and all that you do to make this a special ‘ohana. 

 

Mahalo,

John Gotanda
President

March 12, 2020
4:15 pm update 

Aloha Students,

I want to follow up on my message to you yesterday with an invitation to get together, in person, Friday afternoon (March 13). I’d like to discuss where we stand in our university-wide response to the coronavirus and, most importantly, hear what’s on your mind.

Your health and safety are our greatest concerns as we work through this situation. I’ve also been hearing from a number of your parents and other family members. I want to continue to encourage you to keep in touch and to share with your families the official university information that you receive.

For our discussion tomorrow, we will hold sessions of 45 minutes each, and ask that you sign up in advance for one of the times that fits your schedule. We will limit the number of students in each session to help us keep appropriate social distance as one of our now-ongoing precautions. We will alternate rooms so that after each session, the room that we just used can be cleaned. 

Joining me for each discussion will be Provost Jennifer Walsh and Dean of Students Marites McKee.  We will go over our current guidance to campus and talk about various scenarios. 

The meetings will alternate between MPR #2 and MPR #3.  Please use the links below to register and attend a discussion tomorrow.

1 p.m. MPR #2                     

2 p.m. MPR #3

3 p.m. MPR #2                     

4 p.m. MPR #3

 

Mahalo,

John Y. Gotanda

President

 

March 11, 2020

 

Aloha Students,

Mahalo for all of your hard work and for helping to make this a memorable year, particularly with our new facilities at Waterfront Plaza.

Of course, these past weeks have brought challenges as we are all working to understand the spread of COVID-19. Your health—your physical and mental well-being—is our highest priority. We continue to monitor the virus-related directives from the federal, state and local governments. We’ve restricted university-sponsored travel, and we’ve asked you to let us know if and when you plan to travel. We’ve taken many other steps to help you stay healthy, including more frequent cleaning and disinfecting schedules in all of our public places, limited access to our Pier 9 dining facility to students only, making sanitizer readily available across our campus, to name a few. 

Within our HPU campus community of students, faculty and staff members, there are no cases of COVID-19, nor has there been any report of symptoms that have warranted testing for the coronavirus.  If you have a fever, a cough, or feel sick in any other way, please let your professor know and stay in your room or at home until you feel better. Don’t go to class sick. 

We’ve observed other universities take differing approaches as they’ve addressed the threat of the illness. Here at HPU, the administration, faculty, and staff have been working to plan for many possible scenarios related to the virus.  If we determine that it’s necessary to move to online-only classes, we will be able to do this very quickly. This will not mean that HPU is closed and, in fact, it will likely be the case that the best thing you can do is to stay in your current housing and dine on campus. In addition, even if we move to online-only classes for a short time, we will keep essential student services open, including:

  • Housing and Dining Services
  • Registrar and Financial Aid
  • Advising
  • Counseling Services and Health Center
  • Library and Learning Commons
  • Career Development Center
  • College and Department Offices

Some of you have expressed concern that HPU might one day surprise you and send you packing. We will not do that.  While no one knows how long it will take before the spread of COVID-19 subsides, it will subside and there will be an end to the current outbreak. So, you can count on the university making it as smooth as possible for you to complete this semester, and then we will look forward to welcoming you back to campus for summer or fall. 

The university will be taking some further preventative measures.  There will be no university group travel for the rest of this semester unless there is a change in the recommendation from the Hawai‘i Department of Health.  We will also forego events that involve large gatherings of 100 or more people. We will continue, at this point, to plan on a traditional commencement ceremony in May at Aloha Tower.  If our plans are forced to change, we will work together to develop a meaningful alternative way to celebrate. And, unfortunately, the NCAA announced today that all of its basketball tournaments will be played with a very limited number of fans in attendance.  This week brings our first chance to host the regional NCAA Women’s Basketball tournament with our #1-seed Sharks in the Shark Tank. I hope we all will find many other ways to let our great student athletes know that we are cheering them on toward a national championship. 

For the time being, we will email you regular updates so that you can begin each day with the latest information. In addition, we are working on a plan to talk with you and your parents and families by video, sometime in the coming week.  I’ll announce details shortly and ask that you please help spread the word back home and let your folks know that we want to answer any questions that they may have. In the meantime, we will update you regularly.

HPU is a great university, and that’s in larger part thanks to each of you. Again, there will be an end to the virus outbreak. We will work together to handle the challenges of today, and we won’t lose sight of all the great tomorrows that lie ahead.

 

John Y. Gotanda
President

 

March 8, 2020

 

Aloha Students,

Since our last email on Wednesday, March 4, our Campus Emergency Response Team (CERT) continues to meet and monitor government directives regarding COVID-19. We want to reassure you that our number one priority is your well-being. To that end, we are in consultation with government and accrediting bodies, and we assessed data related to COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to implement policies, procedures and plans to keep you healthy and safe.

 

We want to reiterate that if you have visited (within the last 14 days) or are planning on visiting any country with a CDC level 2 or higher travel advisory for COVID-19 transmission, you must advise Director of the Office of International Student and Scholars, Bernard Chong, iss@hpu.edu or 808-544-1480, of your recently completed travel prior to returning to campus, and you may not return to campus unless approved to do so by the University. These countries and regions currently include China (level 3), Japan (level 2), Italy (level 3), South Korea (level 3), and Iran (level 3). 

 

We have suspended all University-sponsored travel, as well as study abroad, exchange and visiting programs with partnering universities and parties to and from those affected countries. 

 

HPU has instituted a new procedure in the event a member of the HPU community, student, faculty, or staff, tests positive for COVID-19: the individual should immediately contact our Director of Security and Safety Joseph Tillotson, 808-236-3597. Of importance to note: There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on any HPU campus, and there are no HPU students, faculty, or staff members under quarantine for coronavirus symptoms.        

 

On-campus, we have instituted increased cleaning of our facilities and placed additional sickness prevention signs and hand sanitizing stations throughout our spaces. We also encourage you to follow standard health precautions to avoid the spread of illness, including:

 

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
  • Using household cleaners to regularly wipe down commonly touched surfaces;
  • Using cleaners approved for electronic devices to regularly wipe down phones and other equipment;  
  • If you do not have a digital thermometer, consider purchasing one;
  • Staying home from school or work if you have a fever or cough.   

 

In addition to concerns for our physical health, we recognize COVID-19 has created psychological and emotional distress for many of us. The HPU Counseling and Behavioral Health Center staff is available to help and support you with trained and licensed psychologists and therapists. Please call 808-687-7076 for an appointment.

 

We want to assure you that we are doing everything we can to maintain the safety of our dynamic and vibrant campus. We also thank you for your cooperation as we monitor this evolving situation and request you to adhere to changes, which are in the best interest of everyone in the HPU ‘ohana.  

 

March 4, 2020

 

Dear Students,

Because of the increasing reports of confirmed COVID-19 cases in several foreign countries, HPU has instituted a new requirement for all faculty, staff, and students who have visited (within the last 14 days) or are planning to visit any country with a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) level 2 or higher travel advisory for COVID-19 transmission: you must advise the University of your travel prior to returning to campus, and may not return to campus unless approved to do so by the University. These countries and regions currently include China (level 3), Japan (level 2), Italy (level 3), South Korea (level 3), and Iran (level 3). HPU’s decision to require this notification follows the CDC workplace-related exposure guidelines. Please contact our Director of the Office of International Student and Scholars Bernard Chong, iss@hpu.edu or 808-544-1480, in advance of returning to HPU, informing him of your recent past travel or future travel plans.

While it is important to note there are no cases of COVID-19 in Hawai‘i and the state does have testing capabilities, HPU continues to monitor federal-level reports on COVID-19. HPU also follows the latest directives and updates from key state and local sources and the WASC Senior College and University Commission, our accrediting body. We will carefully consider the Hawai‘i Department of Health guidance for schools and universities to determine any operational changes for HPU. Over the past several weeks, teams of faculty and staff have developed policies, procedures, and plans to ensure the health and safety of our community.

Please practice the simple steps we can all follow to help minimize the spread of germs and sickness, including colds and the flu:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the restroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, and if your hands are visibly dirty. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

• Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily e.g., tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles, using cleaning agents normally used in these areas.

• Stay home if you are sick with flu-like symptoms, such as a fever and a cough and notify your professors and workplace supervisor of your status.

In addition to concerns for our physical health, we recognize COVID-19 has created psychological and emotional distress for many of us. The HPU Counseling and Behavioral Health Center staff is available to help and support you with trained and licensed psychologists and therapists. Please call 808-687-7076 for an appointment.

We ask for your cooperation to stay alert of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation but to avoid over-alarm. We will continue to keep you updated about ongoing efforts to provide a healthy and safe environment for our HPU ‘ohana.

Feb. 26, 2020

Aloha Students,

While there are no reported cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Hawai‘i, the University continues to monitor government health agencies’ directives about the spread of the virus and potential impacts on University operations.  

As you prepare for spring break and then the rest of the semester, please keep in mind the following if you are traveling: 

  • You should not travel to mainland China.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a Level 3 warning to avoid all nonessential travel to mainland China. See all government travel advisories at this website
  • The countries or regions you might be planning to visit could implement restrictions with no notice, even while you are outside of the U.S. Flight cancellations, quarantine, and restricted re-entry into the U.S. are all possibilities that you should consider if you travel to one of these countries or regions. 
  • Restrictions may escalate from current advisories. The other countries or regions on the government list of advisories and warnings include Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. 
  • Consider purchasing travel insurance in case of a disruption to your plans. 

If you have any questions about foreign travel, please feel free to contact the HPU Office of International Students and Scholars (808-356-5299 or iss@hpu.edu)  Our staff there will help you, even with concerns about personal travel, and it’s a good idea to let them know of your plans in case the University can help with any problems you might encounter while traveling. 

Our residence halls and dining will remain open during spring break. 

And, one final bit of advice: talk with your families about the daily news, be sure they know how you’re doing, and continue to let us know of your questions and concerns.

 

Jan. 31, 2020

Summary of an update to Students, Faculty, Staff

While there are no reported cases of the coronavirus in Hawai‘i, the University continues to monitor government health agencies’ directives about the spread of this novel (new) respiratory virus.  

Earlier today, the United States declared the coronavirus a public health emergency, while noting that the risk of infection for Americans is currently low and this and other actions are designed to keep that risk low. The State Department has issued a Level 4 alert, warning not to travel to China. The World Health Organization and the Hawai‘i Department of Health websites provide public health information and guidance.   

As it is flu season, individuals are asked to follow standard health precautions to avoid the spread of illness, including the washing of hands regularly. If people are sick with flu-like symptoms such as fever or a cough, please do not come to work or school, and if needed, a doctor’s note will validate absences.   

As a health-care resource for students, the University offers a third-party provider health clinic on campus at Aloha Tower Marketplace. The campus health clinic does administer the flu vaccination, charging a fee for this service. HPU will be scheduling a day in the coming weeks where we administer the flu shots without charge for students living in university housing.  Further details on this will be forthcoming. For details and hours of operation of the student health clinic, and additional health-care resources, click here. HPU will likewise host an on-site flu shot clinic for full-time faculty and staff in a Downtown campus location. More details will be forwarded on a later date.       

Key facts to consider:

  • There are no cases of the coronavirus in Hawai‘i.
  • There are no HPU study abroad or other university-sponsored programs in China.
  • HPU has suspended university-sponsored travel to China. 
  • Honolulu is 5,356 miles away from Wuhan, China; comparatively, New York is 4,957 miles from Honolulu.
  • As a precaution, the Honolulu airport is among the 20 large international airports nationwide with CDC coronavirus screening on site. 

 

Jan. 27, 2020

Summary of an update to Students, Faculty, Staff

With news each day of the spread of the new respiratory virus, coronavirus, the University is monitoring the situation and will continue to stay on top of advice and directives from the federal, state, and local levels. Among the sites HPU is watching for updates are the State Department, CDC, and the Hawai‘i Department of Health

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control have issued a Level 3 alert, meaning travel directly to Wuhan is to be avoided. Also, the U.S. State Department has issued a Level 2 alert, meaning increased caution should be exercised with any consideration of travel to China.

There are no reported cases of coronavirus in Hawai‘i. Still, HPU remains diligent and proactive as it watches the spread of this illness.

There are no HPU study abroad programs in China or other university-sponsored travel programs in China at this time. University-sponsored travel to Wuhan is prohibited, and HPU will approve limited travel to other regions of China on a case-by-case basis.