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Empty classroom that has been adjusted to be socially distant when students eventually come back to in-person instruction.

Faculty should prepare to welcome back most students to campus this spring as COVID-19 restrictions ease in the state, announced President Lassner in an email on Oct. 11.

The email was sent to all University of Hawai‘i department chairs and faculty, where Lassner instructed them to begin making adjustments to their modes of instruction to provide students across the UH system with the “on-campus educational experience” they missed out on during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting January 2022, all UH campuses will require students who are registering for in-person classes or working on campus to show proof of vaccination. The student will only be allowed to opt for weekly negative tests if they have an approved medical or religious exemption. 

Face masks will continue to be required while students are indoors on all UH campuses, even though the CDC does not require indoor masking on fully vaccinated campuses.

Last March, UH Mānoa Provost Michael Bruno announced that classes would be 62% online and 38% fully or partially in person. The percentage breakdown for the spring semester has not yet been announced.

Since mid-September, the average number of daily COVID-19 cases has decreased in the state, according to the State of Hawai‘i Department of Health. All UH system campuses plan to return to the full use of classrooms and to follow the CDC guidelines.

“Our students’ success depends in part on our commitment to teach and support them in-person as well as online,” Lassner said in the email. “On a number of our campuses, retention of students dropped notably, including when the Delta surge prevented us from returning to as much in-person instruction and support this fall as we had planned.”

If COVID-19 case numbers increase, Lassner said they “will respond and pivot as [they] have in the past to protect the health and well-being of our campus and island community, including full compliance with federal, state and county orders.”