UH West Oʻahu updated and posted revisions to its interim guidelines on January 20, 2022. Edits include updated vaccination and booster guidance and minor edits for clarification.
The University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu has enacted these Guidelines to protect the safety, health and welfare of its students, employees and visitors as it reopens during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Note that these guidelines are interim. We anticipate regular updates as we learn more about the impact of COVID-19 on our campus community and as we are directed by UH System, and our local and state government.
These guidelines are based on a few key assumptions and will continue to be updated as conditions change throughout the 2022.
- COVID-19 will not be eliminated and there will always be cases in our communities.
- COVID-19 variants will continue to evolve in Hawaiʻi (PDF). Almost all persons now being hospitalized are those unvaccinated. As more trans-Pacific travel occurs, we will likely see more variants that are highly contagious, including the Omicron variant.
- Every COVID-19 case cannot be prevented; thus, the focus is on mitigating risk, managing the spread of the disease, and mitigating the risk of hospitalizations overloading our health care systems.
- The CDC has stated that currently authorized vaccines in the United States are highly effective at protecting vaccinated people against severe COVID-19 and cites a growing body of evidence that fully vaccinated people are less likely to have an asymptomatic infection or transmit SARS-CoV-2 to others. Additionally, the vaccines currently in use in the United States are effective in reducing transmission, hospitalization, and severe illness from COVID-19 caused by the common circulating and the more contagious Delta variant strain and the Omicron variant strains.
- Recent CDC recommendations state that all individuals, including fully vaccinated individuals need to be wearing masks and physical distancing in indoor and crowded outdoor settings in an area of high or substantial transmission, in addition to where required by Federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance (i.e., healthcare or very crowded settings or venues). Local regulations will change based on the burden of COVID-19 in the community and the number of persons vaccinated in a community.
- Mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for students and employees (with exemptions made for medical or religious reasons) will allow students and employees to return to learning and work in a much safer environment, and will greatly reduce the incidence and spread of the disease in our island communities.
- A booster dose is strongly recommended 6 months after completion of your final dose in the initial series (5 months after the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna series, and 2 months after a Johnson & Johnson/Janssen dose), as emerging evidence shows that boosters are effective in preventing serious illness and hospitalization from the circulating variants.
- Given the emergence of the Omicron variant, we recommend that anyone traveling (regardless of vaccination status), obtain two negative COVID-19 test results post travel: the first should be obtained upon return to Honolulu and before returning to campus, and the second should be obtained within three-to-five days of returning from travel.
- UH continues to participate in President Biden’s COVID-19 College Vaccination challenge to get as many people on campus fully vaccinated
I. Personal Safety Practices
We acknowledge that this is a difficult time that has impacted our university and our lives in unanticipated and unimagined ways. In the end, when the pandemic is controlled our students, and community will remember how we responded and treated one another. This is our time, to be PUEO STRONG, to build a legacy of empathy and grace.
II. Reporting, Monitoring, Screening
UH West O‘ahu is implementing the following guidelines to screen for sick individuals and manage and prepare for a confirmed positive COVID-19 case on campus.
If students, employees, and visitors test positive for or are suspected of having COVID-19 based on, among other things, their symptoms, travel history, or history of prolonged contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19, they should contact the COVID Response Team Hotline* (808) 689-2525 or email email@example.com. The hotline will be monitored from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. during business days, and messages will be checked and returned in the morning. If you have tested positive for or are suspected of having COVID-19, you will be denied entry into University facilities.
III. Facilities and Spaces
UH West Oʻahu is implementing practices such as cleaning and disinfecting, providing adequate supplies, ensuring ventilation systems, modifying classroom floor plans, and installing physical barriers, guides, and signage to maintain healthy and safe facilities and spaces on its campuses.
IV. Students and Classes
UH West Oʻahu is modifying scheduling of classes, instructional methods of delivery, and planning for online and hybrid instruction to ensure the continuity of education and research and allow the University to continue to meet its critical mission to deliver high-quality education in a safe manner.
V. Services & Events
Consistent with the University of Hawaiʻi System and UH West Oʻahu commitment to access, the services provided to students will be accessible to the greatest extent possible whether students are on campus or are studying remotely. This section outlines activities regarding food service, event planning, gatherings, activities, use of facilities by external parties, the Student Fitness Center, outdoor classrooms, and the Student Organic Garden and Hale.
VI. Staffing, Training, Work Schedules & Office Spaces
UH West O‘ahu is implementing the following staffing measures to reduce the onsite density/population in order to meet physical distancing guidelines. These staffing measures follow federal, state, and county guidance, and take into account the following factors
- The unit’s operational needs;
- The employee’s job functions and role in completing critical and time-sensitive projects;
- The employee’s need to be physically present onsite;
- The employee’s ability to telework;
- Whether the employee will be able to work onsite in accordance with physical distancing guidelines;
- The availability of appropriate personal protective equipment (“PPEs”).
VII. Promoting Wellness and Health
UH West Oʻahu offers services and resources to help individuals deal with elevated stress and anxiety due to COVID-19.
VIII. Enforcement of Guidelines
Enforcement cannot be heavy-handed. Rather, the focus should be on practices that promote compliance at both the individual level and campus-wide generating a social norm or care.
IX. Safe O‘ahu Response Plan
Closure of campus. Consideration for closing the campus, moving all classes online and remote work due to a significant surge in COVID-19 is dependent on a number of factors to include city and county, state, and local public health mandates such as the City & County of Honolulu’s Reopening Strategy.
Procedure to Handle a Positive COVID-19 Case On Campus
If a Individual (employee, student, or visitor), who is on campus, has a confirmed/presumptive case of COVID-19:
- Step #1: Take immediate action
- Step #2: Minimize spread through sanitizing work/class/other spaces
- Step #3: Offer support
Cleaning and Disinfecting Procedures
UH West O‘ahu is guided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for Community, Work, and School “Cleaning and Disinfecting: Plan, Prepare and Respond”.
Cloth mask includes manufactured or homemade masks that tightly cover the nose and mouth with multiple layers of tightly woven, breathable fabric, a nose wire, blocks light when held up to a bright light source and does not have an exhalation valve (raised plastic cylinder meant for easy exhalation). Cloth masks should be made from washable materials and should be laundered regularly. In support of sustainability efforts, the University encourages the use of reusable masks.
Disposable masks include non-surgical, surgical or dust masks that cover the nose and mouth, are made from multiple layers of non-woven material, and have a nose wire. Disposable masks do not include masks with exhalation valves (raised plastic cylinders meant for easy exhalation).
Face Mask refers to cloth masks and disposable masks.
Use and Care of Face Masks
CDC recommends face masks regardless of whether a person has symptoms or not. Face masks assist the wearer from spreading respiratory droplets when talking, sneezing, or coughing. Personal protective equipment (PPE) distributed by the UH West O‘ahu campus are to assist in the prevention of disease spread and are not meant to provide 100% protection from COVID.