Student Messages: COVID-19 Updates

Student Messages: COVID-19 Updates

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


December 9, 2020

Aloha HPU Students,

As the Fall term winds down with finals this week, we are checking in regarding return to campus for spring travel and COVID-testing requirements and preparations, knowing that many of you are starting to head home for the holidays. 

To recap the information we emailed on November 24, the following are important highlights.      

Highlights: Travel Guidelines and Testing Information  

  1. Quarantine Exemption: To avoid any type of quarantine, the State requires all Hawaii-bound travelers to receive test results from a state-approved Trusted Provider and upload the negative COVID-19 test result to the Safe Travels Hawaii platform (or print out the negative test result) before the last-leg departure for our state. Please be sure to choose a lab from the state’s list of the eligible Trusted Providers to qualify for this program.  
  2. University Student Travel Exemption Program (starting January 4, 2021): If a negative test result prior to departure from a Trusted Provider is not possible, HPU students are eligible to opt-in to the state-approved University Student Travel Exemption Program (modified quarantine program) following transpacific travel. It requires students to show a negative PCR test (NAAT from a CLIA-certified lab) collected within 72-hours before departure or, for post-travel tests, within 48 hours of arrival in Honolulu. Once a negative test is received and acknowledged by HPU, students will be able to participate in official university activities, such as attending class or visiting the dining hall, for the first 14-days of arrival, assuming they remain free of COVID-related symptoms. (Note: The state may shorten the time required for the modified quarantine program prior to January 4. We will share details with you if/when this becomes official.)
  3. Mandatory Quarantine: The State will require students who do not qualify for either the Quarantine Exemption (Option A) or the University Student Travel Exemption Program (Option B)  to quarantine in their residences upon arrival. (Note: The state may shorten the time required for the mandatory quarantine from 14-days to 10-days. We will share details with you if/when this becomes official.)

HPU advises students to choose A, the State’s pre-travel testing program as their first option. HPU strongly recommends that students also apply for B, the University Student Travel Exemption Program ensuring they have backup clearance if pre-travel testing with a Trusted Provider is no longer available or if the personnel at airport screening do not approve their pre-travel test. For option B, we ask that students submit the Attestation Form by December 31, 2020, so they can receive a participation letter prior to their departure for Hawaii. 

On our COVID-19 Information page, we have posted information about the State of Hawaii’s Safe Travels Program and the University Student Travel Exemption Program. We also have an FAQs page to address commonly asked questions.    

We acknowledge there is a lot of information to navigate. Over the winter break, we will continue to communicate with you via your HPU email address, Hawai‘i Pacific University Instagram (@hawaiipacificuniversity) and Facebook (@hawaiipacific), and the MyHPU portal, For students residing at Aloha Tower Marketplace or Hawaii Loa Campus, the Housing & Residence Life staff will continue to provide additional instructions regarding spring 2021 check-in.   

We look forward to staying connected with you leading up to your return to HPU and Hawaii in advance of the spring term start on January 11. Meanwhile, if you have questions, please feel free to reach out to me and our Student Services team at

I am sure you are excited for some much-needed and well deserved rest and recreation over the winter break, and for many of you, the opportunity to reconnect with family and friends you have not seen in a while. Please stay safe and healthy over the holidays so that you may enjoy all that HPU in our beautiful setting of Hawaii has to offer upon your return for spring. 

Happy holidays, and we can’t wait to welcome you back!


Marites McKee
Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students  


November 24, 2020

Aloha Students, 

The updated State of Hawai‘i pandemic travel requirements are now in effect and, if you are leaving the island for the holidays, you should be sure you understand the requirements for your return.    

Here are the details you must know: 

  • The state’s pre-travel testing program requires all Hawai‘i-bound travelers to receive test results from a Trusted Provider (NAAT PCR) and upload the negative COVID-19 test results to the Safe Travels Hawai‘i platform (or print out the negative test result) before departure for our state. 
  • Any personal travel off the island of Oahu, like going home for the break or visiting off island, must be reported to Bernard Chong, Director of the Office of International Students and Scholars (, 808-450-5173), in advance of departure.    
  • If a student doesn’t meet Hawai‘i-bound pre-travel test requirements (e.g., receives test results after departure, test not from a Trusted Provider, incorrect COVID test), that student may opt-in to HPU’s University Student Exemption Program (modified quarantine program) during OAA-authorized periods of program operation.  This allows students to participate in an “education bubble,” e.g., attending classes and University-sponsored activities, while otherwise quarantining for 14 days. For more information, go to   

Particularly because we have been granted the opportunity for our students to use the “education bubble” option, which should help as we work to ensure a relatively easy return to campus in January, it is even more important that we all comply with sharing our personal and HPU travel plans directly with Bernard Chong, who is on point to coordinate our knowledge of HPU travelers.  It is also critical that, in the event of a student or employee testing positive for COVID-19, that information is reported both to Sam Tong, Director of Safety/Security (, 808-236-3597). 

Please share this information with your families, and pass along any questions you have, and please know that I appreciate your assistance in keeping our ‘ohana prepared.


Marites McKee
Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students


October 30, 2020

Aloha Sharks,

We’re officially past the halfway mark of the most memorable and unusual semester in our history. Thanks to your diligence, the number of COVID19 cases in our community remains low and a recent testing of nearly 300 individuals had a positivity rate of less than 2%, well under the City and County of Honolulu‘s positivity rate. We have since conducted two more rounds of HPU testing, a total of 260 individuals, and there were no positive cases.

As we begin to see glimpses of normalcy, we want to remind you to adhere to Honolulu’s Covid-19 Reopening Strategy and HPU’s Covid-19 Safety Guidelines. It is crucial that we continue our momentum and progress toward a safe reopening. 

We are pleased to now be able to reopen our eSports Arena and fitness center at ATM. We do so with precautions, including limits on capacity. Particularly for our newest Sharks, we look forward to seeing you at the arena and having you come to know why ours is ranked among the top eSports arenas in the nation. Hawaiian Airlines’ Hana Hou Magazine ran a feature on HPU eSports earlier this year, and you can check it out here. Across the breezeway from our eSports arena is our fitness center which is now open by appointment only. To book your workout session, visit the scheduling page here

If you’re planning to travel over the winter holiday, please visit the Hawaiʻi Department of Health’s Safe Travels Hawaiʻi site to learn more about the State’s new prearrival testing program that may enable you to avoid the 14-day quarantine. Our friends at Hawaiian Airlines have also extended their Travel Assistance Program for college students and their families, which offers you a 5% discount on transpacific flights, two free checked bags, and a flexible booking policy on all flights. To learn more about the program, visit MyHPU -> Student Services -> More.

As we look ahead to next year, social distancing rules are expected to continue into the spring semester, and we expect to offer classes in a variety of modalities. Accordingly, Spring classes will be designated as either fully in-person, hybrid, fully online with asynchronous instruction, or virtual (synchronous) instruction. These formats are described on the Registrar's homepage and the student registration portal here

Please remember, too, that we have resources available to assist you beyond academics as well, from our Counseling and Behavioral Health Services team to the YOU@HPU app, which is available 24/7. A full listing of available campus resources can be found here.  

You’ve done a great job helping our ‘ohana stay safe and healthy this fall, and it has been exciting to see so many of you begin to enjoy our one-of-a-kind surroundings and even to get more involved in helping and learning activities across our island community. We have watched the accounts of so many universities across the U.S. that have experienced significant challenges, like outbreaks, large unmanaged gatherings, and forced shutdowns of in-person classes. Thank you for weathering this unusual year with us and for your patience and cooperation as we navigate the safest path for you and everyone in our HPU ʻohana and the greater community. 

With aloha,

John Y. Gotanda



October 10, 2020

Aloha HPU Students:

Good news! The State of Hawai’i’s “Safe Travels Pre-Test” program starts next Thursday, October 15, and we expect it to continue into the new calendar year. In advance of that, here are a few important things you need to know:

  • The State of Hawai‘i pre-travel testing program replaces the University Student Travel Exemption program. If you qualify under this new option, you may avoid the 14-day long quarantine upon arrival to the state.  

  • As an alternative to quarantine, travelers from the continental U.S. to Oahu’s Inouye International Airport must produce evidence of a negative FDA-approved NAAT COVID-19 test processed by a CLIA-certified laboratory within 72 hours of the final leg of the trip to Honolulu. If you have a multi-city itinerary, this means the last city before arriving in Honolulu. 
  • Not all COVID-19 tests are accepted, so please review the State of Hawai‘i’s “Trusted Testing and Travel Partners” to see what option is best for you. Travelers should access testing only through these testing vendors approved by the state: posted at the Travel FAQs page.  Trusted Testing and Travel Partners include, among others, CVS Health, Kaiser Permanente, and Walgreens. Some airlines, including Hawaiian and United, are providing pre-travel testing options; please inquire directly with your airline on the status of pre-travel testing programs. 

We hope this information helps you and your families as you plan any transpacific travel to Oahu, especially if you are planning to return home over the winter holiday, or perhaps your family will be visiting you in Honolulu over the Thanksgiving holiday.

During the Thanksgiving long-weekend (Thursday, November 26-Sunday, November 29), your Student Government Association and Campus Activities Board will work with our talented Pier Nine Chefs to plan the annual ‘Ohana Fall Feast. Our Fall Feast event will look a little different this year, but we will nevertheless uphold the time-honored HPU tradition, providing members of the HPU ‘ohana the opportunity to enjoy a meal together (following social distancing rules) and to share in fun and fellowship. For many of you, we realize HPU is your home away from home, and encourage you to join your fellow students and your faculty and staff during this special holiday. Details on the Fall Feast event are forthcoming; please stay tuned!


Marites McKee
Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students         

September 18, 2020

Aloha HPU Students,

As a reminder, Hawai‘i Pacific University will begin transitioning to in-person courses starting next week on Monday, September 21. (Please note that all courses offered through Military Campus Programs will remain fully online for now.) Your faculty will soon provide you directions about the specific return-to-class plan if they have not already done so. 

If you would prefer to remain online, we can accommodate that; please let your faculty know right away. For everyone else, we look forward to seeing you back on campus! And, if you encounter any difficulties with the transition back to in-person instruction, please feel free to email me directly at

If you have not been on campus yet this semester, please remember that the following are the mandatory daily requirements we must all complete if we are on campus:

  • Fill out the required daily health survey, accessing it on your myHPU app or at, before you come to campus.
    • If you answer ‘yes’ to any of the health-screening questions: 
      • Stay home 
      • Inform your professors 
      • Seek healthcare if needed. On-campus student health services are available at Aloha Tower Marketplace Health Clinic: (808) 544-9361, 
  • Take your temperature daily at a campus thermal scanner station and show your daily health pass to security or your faculty.
  • Temperature Scanner Stations are in multiple campus locations; see
  • Daily thermal scanner video tutorial available here 
  • Wear your face covering at all times in public and common areas.
  • Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer frequently.
  • Keep 6 feet of social distancing between yourself and others at all times. 
  • No social gatherings are allowed per the current City & County of Honolulu mandate.
  • Read signage for important health and safety directions such as: 
    • Maximum capacity for a campus space or elevator 
    • The entrance and exit pattern into the classroom, 
    • Fill seats in class from the front row first to the back, and exit beginning with the back
    • No drinking or eating in class
  • Check for sanitization stations in campus spaces and classrooms to clean a shared desk or work-station, supplementing the regular cleaning by custodial staff.

Mahalo nui for your cooperation in following our daily health guidelines and rules, ensuring we all do our part to ensure the safety of ourselves and everyone else in the HPU community and the broader community of Hawai‘i.

Your HPU faculty and staff are committed to supporting you on your Hawai‘i Pacific University journey this academic year.



Jennifer E. Walsh, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President and Provost   

September 8, 2020

Aloha HPU Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Earlier today, Mayor of Honolulu, Kirk Caldwell, extended the temporary work-from-home order for residents of O‘ahu by another two weeks, from this Thursday through September 24, with some easing of the current, temporary restrictions. These new provisions include the opening of parks, public gardens, and beaches for individual activity. 

Both COVID-positive case counts and the percentage of community positive tests are down on O‘ahu and across the state since the current order went into effect and, with federal assistance, a significantly bolstered COVID testing program has been put into place. 

On campus, we will continue to operate our classes in the temporary hybrid mode that we enacted two weeks ago, still with some in-person activity in courses in which it is particularly vital to the student experience. Consistent with our plans and in line with what other education institutions on O‘ahu are doing, we will begin to transition the temporary online and hybrid courses to in-person instruction.  

I appreciate everyone’s patience as we move through this month and I’m so pleased to be able to share that the many protocols and precautions that have been in place this semester have helped us to stay very healthy as a community. At this time, there are four active cases of COVID-19 within the HPU community. All of these individuals are off campus and none has been on campus this semester. There are no active cases within HPU on-campus housing, and on-campus testing and on-campus isolation rooms for anyone not feeling well are in place, and off-campus quarantine rooms are on stand-by.  

Please watch HPU official social media channels for reminders of the activities that are permitted under the City’s new order, as of this Thursday. 

As always, mahalo for everything you are doing, from your daily screenings, the social distancing and mask-wearing and, most of all, for living with aloha during these extraordinary times. 

Mahalo nui loa,

John Y. Gotanda

August 26, 2020

Aloha Students,

You may have heard yesterday that the City and County of Honolulu and State of Hawai‘i would be issuing a stay-home, work-at-home order for O‘ahu for the next two weeks beginning tomorrow, August 27, as the island bolsters testing, contact tracing and quarantine efforts to reduce the number of positive COVID-19 cases and allow for a more widespread reopening in mid-September. The order has now been made official, and so please note that over the next two weeks, all but essential businesses will be closed. However, restaurants (for takeout only), stores like Walmart, Target, Safeway and Longs, as well as health care facilities will remain open. Ocean activities, including surfing, solo paddling, and swimming, are also permitted.

Importantly, Hawai‘i Pacific University is considered an “essential business” and may continue to operate over the next two weeks, with restrictions, according to the plan shared late last week. According to State and City officials, we can continue our virtual instruction, and limited in-person learning opportunities for those classes that require physical presence or focused in person faculty instruction. We can also continue with other essential functions, provided that social distancing of six-feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible. We appreciate Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s comment to us that HPU’s programs, protections, and protocols are excellent and well thought out.

We will thus continue the plan we have in place for the next two weeks, reducing our campus density through the courses that have temporarily moved to virtual environments while maintaining limited in-person instruction for specialized courses announced late last week.

To be clear, 

  • Essential university services, including student residences, the Student Services Center at Waterfront Plaza, academic support services (library, learning commons, computer resources), counseling, and other campus services, including the health clinic, will remain open.  
  • Our dining services will remain open, but for takeout only.   
  • Student employment in work study programs may continue uninterrupted with on-site supervision, or by telecommuting to the extent the work can be effectively performed remotely.   

For those of you who come to campus, and for those who reside on campus, please continue to do your daily thermal scanning, complete your daily health questionnaire and follow all required steps if you have symptoms. You also must continue to wear masks and practice social distancing. These are among the measures that will help us all stay safe and respond quickly and appropriately in the event of anyone developing symptoms. There are no current cases of COVID-19 within our student residences and we are working with SGA on a dashboard to provide information to our community. 

Military campus programs will remain operational as scheduled.

I am confident that we will get through these next two weeks and resume the semester we all have envisioned. Please do not hesitate to reach out to university staff and faculty with any questions or concerns. I deeply appreciate all that you and our HPU ‘Ohana are doing to care for one another during this challenging time. Let’s continue to lean on one another and do our part to keep Hawai‘i safe and healthy. 


John Y. Gotanda

August 24, 2020

Aloha HPU Students,

As we embark on the academic year, I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the daily required health procedures Hawai‘i Pacific University has put in place to keep our entire university ‘ohana healthy and safe. You also received an email today that clarifies the daily thermal scanning process, along with the need to complete the required daily health-screening questionnaire. 

I want to emphasize that if you answer ‘yes’ to any of the six daily questions, you must stay at home and follow directions for your next steps. It is imperative you carefully and accurately review and answer:

  1. If you feel ill and have any of the symptoms noted
  2. Have taken medicine to reduce a fever
  3. Are subject to quarantine (not including the modified quarantine procedures for university students)
  4. Have had contact with anyone whose lab test confirmed COVID-19 within 14 days of symptom onset
  5. Are awaiting the results of a COVID-19 lab test ordered by a physician in response to symptoms
  6. Have a member of your household awaiting the results of a COVID-19 lab test ordered by a physician in response to the household member’s symptoms   

Again, if someone in your household has been tested for the coronavirus and is awaiting the result of the test or has tested positive, do not come to campus. Please contact our Director of Security and Safety, or 808-236-3597 for assistance.

Follow the daily student checklist below. 

  • Fill out the required daily health survey, accessing it on your myHPU app or at, before you come to campus
  • If you answer ‘yes’ to any of the health-screening questions: 
    • Stay home 
    • Inform your professors 
    • Seek healthcare if needed. On-campus student health services are available at Aloha Tower Marketplace Health Clinic: (808) 544-9361, 
  • Take your temperature daily at a campus thermal scanner station and show your daily health pass to security or your faculty
  • Wear your face covering at all times in public and common areas
  • Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer frequently
  • Keep 6 feet of social distancing between yourself and others at all times 
  • Limit any social gatherings to five or fewer people
  • Read signage for important health and safety directions such as: 
    • Maximum capacity for a campus space or elevator 
    • The entrance and exit pattern into the classroom 
    • Fill seats in class from the front row first to the back, and exit beginning with the back
    • No drinking or eating in class
  • Check for sanitization stations in campus spaces and classrooms to clean shared desk or work-station, supplementing the regular cleaning by custodial staff
  • Seek support if you need it: 
    • Counseling and Behavioral Health Services staff for free, and confidential services by phone: (808) 687-7076, 
    • University Chaplain services offered: (808) 687-7031 
    • portal connects students to well-being and self-awareness resources

Mahalo to all of you for diligently adjusting to our new daily procedures. By doing so, you are making a statement, showing respect for yourself and for your fellow HPU ‘ohana members. By adhering to the daily health protocols HPU instituted, we are also making a powerful statement that we care about our fellow citizens in the larger community of Hawai‘i.          


Marites McKee
Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students 


August 7, 2020

Dear Students and Families,

The HPU ‘ohana is enthusiastically awaiting the arrival of our students for the new academic year. As we get closer to the start of the Fall term, beginning with orientation activities the week of August 17 and the start of classes on August 24, I am reaching out to you today with an update video,, focusing on the many pandemic precautions and protocols established for our university.        

I recorded the presentation just prior to the Governor’s and Mayor’s announcement on the new directives to address the large, uncontrolled gatherings that have been tied to the recent rise in COVID-positive cases in the state. As you view our video now, I hope that you will sense, as I do, that the numerous steps our campus community has taken to keep HPU safe and healthy make us a model among institutions and organizations of any kind.

These are difficult days. To be living through this pandemic with the worry that it brings to our family lives, and coming at a time when our outside world is so divided, is understandably wearing us down. My hope is that this Talk Story will make clearer that we are following science and that we have implemented a plan based on guidance from the CDC, the Hawaii Department of Health, and others. Our work as a university has never been more important, and we are looking forward to welcoming our students to campus.


John Y. Gotanda

July 17, 2020

Aloha HPU Students and Families,

Today, Governor David Ige signed the State of Hawai‘i’s proclamation for the University Student Travel Exemption program. Students enrolled to attend Hawai‘i Pacific University for Fall 2020 are eligible to apply to participate in the program, providing an exemption from the 14-day mandatory quarantine following trans-pacific travel to our islands. 

The guidelines of the university student travel exemption program are detailed here. 

In the coming days, HPU staff will follow up with the necessary forms and information to indicate participation in the University Student Travel Exemption program.  

Over the past several weeks, HPU has been working with other universities and government officials on this special exemption for students enrolled at a Hawai‘i university. We are pleased the State and the City & County of Honolulu is granting this opportunity for HPU and our students to start our in-person, on-campus Fall semester on August 24, and for incoming students, to participate in new student orientation activities.

Our Student Services Center Manager Kelly Lucero,, will continue to serve as the point of contact to address student and family questions.   

The HPU faculty and staff ‘ohana and I are looking forward to welcoming you to campus soon.

John Y. Gotanda



July 7, 2020

Aloha Sharks,

I’m writing to follow up on a couple of important recent announcements.

First, please be sure that you complete the HPU campus arrival questionnaire by this Friday.  Even if your flight is not confirmed yet, it would help us to know your tentative arrival date. We need to know your plans for getting to campus on time for the start of classes in August.

And, to help many of you in that planning, please visit the My HPU portal to see the new special travel discount program from Hawaiian Airlines. Hawaiian is offering reduced fares plus two complimentary bags and changes to your travel dates at no charge. The program is good through December.

I hope you are safe and well and that you will enjoy your summer under these most unusual circumstances.  We are still doing well here on campus and are looking forward to being in person for Fall semester, here in one of the healthiest places to be during the pandemic.

Please reach out with any questions as we move closer to Fall.


Marites McKee

Dean of Students

July 2, 2020

Aloha HPU ‘Ohana,

Included with this message is a brief questionnaire that all students must complete before July 10. 

We appreciate your patience as opportunities continue to arise that will help bring about the start of the HPU Fall 2020 semester. Hawai‘i’s COVID situation remains mild. We continue to believe that once our students are all here, they will be in a very safe place as we move together through the fall, and beyond. 

As we shared in our most recent message, students and any accompanying family members who will travel to Honolulu from outside of Hawai‘i may now obtain negative PCR test results three days before arrival in Hawai‘i and avoid the state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine.  We are working diligently with government officials to create an alternative option, and will let you know as soon as we have any additional details to share. 

Please remember that if no COVID-19 test is taken, and with a negative result, students and their accompanying family members must follow the same 14-day quarantine period and protocol as other visitors and local residents. This means you would need to arrive in Hawai‘i by August 10, with arrangements to quarantine, in order to be cleared by the first day of classes on August 24. 

In the meantime, we expect to have news to share with you, perhaps as early as next week, about a special discount program specifically for university students traveling to and from Hawai‘i that will be in place through the end of the year. 

Campus-wide preparations for a safe and socially distanced experience are nearly complete. We have shared a good bit about our classrooms and study areas, but I also want to emphasize that our campus housing will meet all CDC, State of Hawai‘i and City and County of Honolulu guidelines.  

Among the modifications we’ve put into place at both our Aloha Tower Marketplace and Hawai‘i Loa Campus are: 

  • reduced density in the dorms,
  • reconfigured rooms and furniture,
  • plexiglass shields where appropriate, such as in some of our bathroom counters, and
  • other measures to comply with CDC and government guidelines.

We are also instituting enhanced cleaning and sanitization measures in our dorms and common areas, as well as across all of our facilities. In addition, we will be instituting daily temperature checks and health screenings for students, faculty and staff. 

We will approach fall with our Hawaiian value, pono, with each of us promising to follow the directives and guidelines that are all aimed at helping us ride out the pandemic together. 

We will continue to update you as we prepare for the start of the semester and, as always, we welcome your questions. 


John Y. Gotanda


June 26, 2020

Aloha HPU Students, 

We have been busy preparing for the Fall semester, and we can’t wait to welcome you back to our beautiful campus! For those of you who are returning, our classrooms will look a little bit different as we adjust our in-person activities to meet new health and safety standards. For example, individual desks have been spread out to ensure appropriate social distancing; faculty will be meeting with fewer students at a time to provide intentional and meaningful in-person instruction; and, in some cases, the scheduling of individual courses has been adjusted to accommodate a more flexible class schedule. 

Along those lines, classes that were originally scheduled for Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, will now meet on Mondays and Wednesdays for a slightly longer time period. In addition, we have lengthened the time between classes from 15 minutes to 30 minutes to give you more time to get to your next location, and we have added a few additional sections of classes at our downtown and Hawai’i Loa campus locations.

Starting Tuesday, June 30, you will able to see these changes in your MyHPU portal. We will also soon post a print version of the master fall schedule on the HPU website to assist you if you would like an easier way to explore additional course options. 

In addition, our advising staff and College faculty and administrators will be on standby ready to assist you if you have questions about the new schedule or if you need to make additions or other changes to accommodate your specific needs:

· New students (first-year and transfer) should contact our advising office to make an appointment. You can also email or call 808.544.1198 with any questions. Please note: First-year students who have been placed in MATH 1105, WRI 1000, or WRI 1050 should be sure to complete placement testing as soon as possible to ensure accurate placement in required Math and Writing courses.

· Current and returning students should contact their regular Faculty Advisor or their College administrator identified below:

o College of Business: Asoke Datta, Assistant Dean
o College of Health and Society: Jayne Smitten, Associate Dean
o College of Liberal Arts: Laurie Leach, Associate Dean
o College of Natural and Computational Sciences: Carolyn Jones, Associate Dean
o College of Professional Studies: Yvonne Vance, Assistant Dean 

Also, further details about travel options for new and returning students are just about finalized, and we are excited to share those details with you early next week. Please stay tuned!

With warm regards, 

Jennifer E. Walsh, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President and Provost

June 24, 2020

Aloha HPU ‘Ohana,

We have some good news that should begin to ease many minds about travel to campus in August.

Governor David Ige today announced a pre-travel, COVID-19 testing protocol that will enable our out of state students and their family members wishing to accompany them to avoid the strict 14-day quarantine that has been in effect since March 26. Under this new program, starting August 1, travelers who obtain a negative FDA-approved PCR test for COVID-19 from a CLIA-certified laboratory before arriving in Hawaii will be able to avoid the mandatory quarantine.

This development, in and of itself, is a major step in the ongoing efforts to facilitate our return to our in-person, on-campus Fall 2020 semester. We also hope to announce some other steps that could provide additional options for those students and their families who are unable to obtain a test prior to arriving in Hawai‘i.

HPU is additionally looking at a discounted testing partnership with a nationwide pharmacy or testing lab, as well as other ways to offset any expense our students and families may incur in obtaining COVID-19 tests. We will continue to share any and all updates with you as our state and local governments continue in their efforts to manage the response to the pandemic.

Our local students here in Hawai‘i should continue with their plans to arrive on campus for the start of the semester.

For our mainland and international students, the state’s new advance-test program will reduce the risk of introducing more COVID-19 cases in Hawai‘i, as well as transmission during travel. In addition, it will ease one’s transition upon arrival in the islands. The vigilance here in Hawai‘i has helped to keep the COVID-19 rates of incidence, hospitalization, and deaths the lowest in the entire nation. We can truly say that Hawai‘i is the safest place in the nation during this pandemic, and we will work together to ensure that our campus culture is in step with the statewide commitments to staying safe and healthy.

We will continue to share with you the many steps we have taken to provide social distancing and hygienic sanitization across campus. Furthermore, we are working on a program to test at the outset all students and staff living on campus. And, we will be announcing soon our new orientation program and fall activities schedule. We are excited to create an excellent university experience together.

Please watch for more messages in the coming days and weeks and, again, I hope today’s development helps many of you in your planning.




John Y. Gotanda




June 19, 2020

Aloha HPU ‘Ohana,

Here in Hawai‘i, we have experienced a steady progression of reopenings, signaling a careful return to normal activities. Beaches, parks, restaurants, shopping, and now inter-island travel, are all open again. Hawai‘i’s COVID-19 infection numbers are the lowest in the country, and we expect the strong, statewide management to continue. Importantly, we met with City and County of Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and he approved our resumption of in-person instruction, paving the way for our fall semester to begin on August 24.

We are very much aware that you have many questions, particularly those of you who must arrange travel to Hawai‘i.

I want you to know that State of Hawai‘i officials have been working on guidelines that will allow for the lifting of or exemptions to the 14-day mandatory quarantine for out-of-state travelers. At the same time, we have joined with other universities in Hawai‘i in asking Governor David Ige for modified requirements for university students should the travel quarantine, which is set to expire at the end of July, be further extended. We hope to receive word from state officials next week, and we will reach out to you immediately.

We also will be following up with regular communications from now until the start of Fall semester to help you to prepare for the new features of the HPU experience as we continue our journey, together, through the pandemic. Coming messages will include details of facilities modifications like socially distanced classrooms, dining, residential and study spaces; our updated class schedule; new health screening protocols and new requirements, like the use of face coverings; plus details of some of the ways we will modify student life activities to provide the opportunities that enrich the HPU experience.

The health and safety of our entire ‘ohana is our top priority. It’s still beautiful, peaceful, and sunny here in Honolulu, and we can’t wait for the start of Fall.


John Y. Gotanda

May 20, 2020

Aloha Students,

We are moving forward with preparations for an in-person, on-campus 2020-21 academic year, beginning this August.  HPU employees began their gradual return from telework this week, and we continue to receive encouraging updates from local and state governments as public activities are being phased back in. Of course, social distancing is going to be with us, but there may be no better place on earth to experience year-round sunshine and a wonderful breeze than right here in Honolulu.

I want to give you an update on some of the ways we will be ready for you in August. We will continue to communicate with you in the coming weeks, and I would ask that you share these updates with family members, especially parents.

Campus Spaces will be Safe

             The university has conducted a space study and will implement a plan for fall semester that ensures social distancing within our classes and labs, with at least six feet between people.  

•             We will also modify some large meeting areas to create additional, open classroom space.  Our Facilities team is already working on preparing our class and study spaces with amply distanced seating.   

•             We will continue the social distancing measures in our dining, housing, and other common-space facilities, and we are repurposing other spaces for additional dining, recreational and student uses.  

•             The university has also put in place personal hygiene and facilities-disinfecting protocols, and cloth masks are required in public.   

•             We expect campus will become much more active over the coming month. HPU is considered an essential business by the city and state. 

Hawai’i is Relatively Healthy

             We are pleased that Hawaii is considered one of the healthiest states in the nation, with only 640 COVID-19 cases. As a result, we are now seeing a gradual lifting of stay-at-home restrictions, and fully anticipate the resumption of in-person instruction on August 24.  

Travel—When to Arrive

•             We do anticipate that travel restrictions will also be relaxed, particularly if there is not a significant jump in COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks.  While we expect the eventual removal of the current State of Hawai‘i 14-day quarantine period for anyone traveling to Oahu, we are making arrangements, just in case, to comply with any orders that may be in place in August.  

•             Details will be finalized and shared in upcoming messages as we work to make our dorms and other residential facilities available for student move-in as early as August 10, if they choose to do so.  HPU will not charge any additional fees for early occupancy prior to the start of classes.  

•             While Hawai‘i’s continued positive health reports and government actions to reopen the State’s economy point to the lifting of the quarantine by August, it also may be possible to be exempted from the full duration of any quarantine that may exist if we can arrange for voluntary COVID-19 testing immediately upon arrival.  We are working with government officials and medical providers on bringing that program to fruition. 

We are so excited to see a return to normal on the horizon, and we are very much looking forward to seeing you on campus.  Lots of details are still coming together and, again, we will keep you updated and hope you will stay in touch and let us help you with any other questions.   


John Y. Gotanda


May 5, 2020

Aloha HPU Students,

We’ve made it through a semester no one could have imagined, and I want to tell you, once again, that I am proud of you and the entire HPU ‘Ohana for the many ways we’ve stuck together and prevailed under very challenging circumstances.


I write today to confirm our plan to be in-person, on-campus when we open our fall semester on August 24.  Hawaii continues to prove itself to be one of the healthiest places in the world, with only a little over 600 COVID-19 cases to date and nearly the lowest per capita rate of COVID-19 in the United States. At HPU, our highest priorities are the health and safety of our students and our community. To that end, we will have in place for the fall enhanced social distancing in our facilities, including in all of our classrooms, reduced density in our dorms, new health screenings, and enhanced cleaning protocols.


We recognize that, in light of the pandemic, the financial situations of many students and families may have changed. If that is the case, please submit your updated FAFSA applications, and submit your CARES Act - Economic Impact Survey if you haven’t done so yet. Our financial aid office is standing by to help address any questions or concerns you may have.  Please contact them at

We will keep you updated in the coming weeks. We are planning a great 2020-21 academic year in one of the most beautiful and safest places on earth. I look forward to welcoming you back to campus soon.


John Gotanda


April 24, 2020

Aloha HPU Students,

Mahalo for the many ways you have shown your commitment to your studies and to finishing the semester under these unprecedented circumstances. To our graduating students, congratulations!  We will be sending you off with incredible pride, some sadness over the modified ways we must celebrate your commencement, and with great confidence that you will make your marks on the world in the wake of this unexpected experience.

For the rest of our undergraduate and graduate students, we look forward to the big aloha that will greet you on your return to campus in August—or to your continued online studies this summer—and we want to assure you that we will keep communication open as a return to a more normal campus continues to take shape.

You may have heard that Mayor of the City and County of Honolulu, Kirk Caldwell, has extended through May the order that residents stay in their homes, as we continue to turn the tide on the spread of COVID-19. I fully expect that we will steadily return to many of our daily routines, beginning with this weekend’s reopening of our parks.

Over the summer, whether you are off until fall or enrolled in courses, please know that your faculty and staff are here for you as your university ‘ohana. If you are encountering any difficulties or have any questions, please let us know right away.   

The same operational changes, which are noted below, will continue into the summer terms or until further notice:

  • Online classes continue;
  • Waterfront Lofts  remain open for student residents, but no visitors will be permitted on the premises; Hawaii Loa Residence Halls and Dining Commons close for summer on  May 4.
  • Dining services at Pier Nine continue for student residents through takeout;
  • The Health Center services close for the summer on May 4;
  • Advising Center staff are available via online appointment;
  • Center for Academic Success tutoring services are available online;
  • Learning Commons remains open, but social distancing measures limiting the total number students admitted at any one time are in effect;
  • 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 ends for summer on May 1; 
  • Counseling and Behavioral Health Services staff are available via phone appointment and YOU@HPU app is accessible;
  • Career Development Center staff are available for online career counseling appointments, and online toolkit resources for Resume Writing, Cover Letters, and Interviews, remain available.

I want to close by once again thanking all of you for your focus on your studies and your dedication to making our campus community such a great place to be.  We will continue to update you through your HPU email, so please be looking for announcements and information as we move through summer and get ready for a great fall and a great new year at HPU.


John Y. Gotanda


April 7, 2020

Dear HPU Students, 

I hope that this note finds you and your families and friends well, as we all do our part to help combat the spread of COVID-19 through sheltering-in-place. Additionally, I trust you are adjusting to the shift to online instruction well. If you are experiencing challenges, your HPU faculty and staff ‘ohana are here for you. We provide services including counseling and behavioral health services via a phone appointment, free virtual tutoring and academic coaching, and online academic advisingAnd if you have not had a chance to check out some of the “Virtual HPU” activities, encourage you to do so.   

As it is still unclear about the timing of returning to our normal routines and environment, HPU has decided to go ahead with delivering the full 14-week summer semester and the shorter summer 7A and 7B terms online, of the COVID-19 pandemic; VA students will still be certified as resident status.   

If you are planning to stay in the residence halls over the summer, we have put together a summer housing/meal plan/tuition package for current students. It represents a significant discount and would replace any institutional aid already awarded to you. The Pell Grant and other federal financial aid would still apply.   

There are various rooming options – loft single (first-come, first-served basis), loft double, and loft quad -- and included is a 7- or 10-meal plan with flex dollars.  

We posted the details of the special offer at   

If you have questions about this special housing, meal plan, and tuition package, feel free to reach out to us at The Housing and Residence Life staff and I are happy to assist you.    

My faculty and staff colleagues and I are committed to you and your academic journey at HPU and in Hawai‘i. We wish you nothing but success.      

Best regards,  

Marites McKee 
Dean of Students 

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

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. 


John Y. Gotanda


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


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.


John Gotanda

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.


John Gotanda

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. 



John Gotanda

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



John Y. Gotanda



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


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, 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 at 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, 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  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.