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Photo of Chancellor Rachel Solemsaas

Chancellor's Column: Preparing for a safe and successful return to campuses for Fall 2020



As Hawai‘i Community College looks forward to re-opening campuses this fall, the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and community is our top priority. Without that, we cannot deliver the high-quality academic programs and services that will help students advance their lives through higher education and in turn contribute to the economic renewal we so badly need. 

This fall, Hawai‘i CC will offer both online and in-person classes, as well as certain hybrid classes that are a combination of both. Though we will be delivering some instruction and services in-person, it will not be a return to business as usual. Hawai‘i CC will deploy a COVID-19-aware approach to providing a safe, high-quality education for new and returning students.

We will be aligning our practices with University of Hawai'i COVID-19 Guidelines, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines, and following federal, state, county, and university directives designed to keep our community safe and stop the spread of COVID-19.

Preparing for fall is a big task, and all areas of our college are involved. We have established a Steering Committee and Working Groups focused on the central coordination of key planning areas.

So, what are some of the specific things Hawai‘i CC is doing to get ready for a safe and successful return to campus?

Here are a few examples:

  • Developing guidelines and information for the campus community in order to stay safe. 
  • Reconfiguring classrooms, labs and service areas to follow 6-foot social distancing guidelines. 
  • Converting classes and services to allow for more delivery through technology rather than in-person instruction and meetings. 
  • Purchasing equipment and supplies to facilitate socially distanced delivery of instruction and services. 
  • Supporting professional development for faculty to ensure successful delivery of online and hybrid classes.
  • Procuring sanitation equipment and supplies that will allow us to implement extra sanitation measures to maintain a safe campus environment. 
  • Procuring personal protective equipment (PPE). 

As a college that engages in so much hands-on learning, it’s important to continue providing that kind of instruction. There are many creative ways, both large and small, to deliver hands-on instruction that keep our campus ‘ohana safe. Not sharing equipment, extra sanitation, hand-washing and social distancing are examples of how we can do this. One specific example can be found in the Automotive Mechanics program, which will offer on-site instruction this fall. To increase social distancing, the program plans to provide individual kits for some lessons to students to allow them to work hands-on at safe distances.

Though we aren’t able to simply go back to the way things were before, we can and will remain true to our core principles and our commitment to safely delivering a high-quality education with pride and aloha.

If you know of someone who would benefit from attending college, tell them we’re ready to have them enroll. They can start by applying online at The application deadline is August 1.

I look forward to sharing more information as we progress toward fall. You may also find updated information at our COVID-19 webpage.


Chancellor Rachel Solemsaas