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March 12 Message from Chancellor Rachel Solemsaas

Aloha Kauhale,

Mahalo for your patience and understanding during this time as we respond to the challenges presented by COVID-19. 

By now you may have seen that the University of Hawaii has announced that we will be moving classes online.

I encourage you to view UH President David Lassner’s entire message and also encourage you to stay up to date with the UH COVID-19 resource page.Here are some highlights from his announcement and some information specific to Hawaii CC: 

Campuses Will Remain Open

While instruction will move online, our campuses will remain open, and most services will continue to be provided. Regardless of modality, UH and Hawaii CC are committed to completing the academic semester and enabling students to graduate on schedule.

University employees will continue to perform their duties, Mookini and Pālamanui libraries,  Hale Kea, The Learning Center, I Ola Haloa, The Children’s Center and all Student Services will maintain regular hours. UH Hilo student housing will remain open for current residents who have nowhere else to go. All student employees will continue their duties as normal and will be paid accordingly.

Hawaii CC’s Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Joni Onishi and Deans Melanie Wilson and Jessica Yamamoto are developing plans to have faculty trained and supported in order to move to online instruction. This includes identifying spaces and resources for faculty who may not have the capacity to host online. Please work closely with your division chairs and administrators throughout this process and stay tuned for updates coming from Joni Onishi. 

In addition, the UH Online Innovation Center (UHOIC) has created the Teaching During an Emergency website to assist during this transition. This website includes a Teaching During an Emergency Checklist for Faculty. You may request more assistance by completing the UHOIC request assistance form. Check the site daily for updated and additional resources and tools, and for opportunities to receive training via videos and workshops. 

We are also working to ensure that students who may not have the capacity to participate online  – such as computer or internet access – will have the support they need on campus so that they can participate in class. 

As of now, in-person courses are scheduled to resume on Monday, April 13. In the hope that we can return to normal classroom practices, the in-person start date will continue to be reevaluated, and updates will be provided as needed. 

Campus Hosted Events

We highly discourage hosting campus events that are expected to draw 25 or more people between now and April 17. For events that do go on, please consider closely the Centers for Disease Control recommendations for preventing the spread of COVID-19 and take precautions to protect yourself and others. This includes ensuring the necessary spatial distance between participants and that the appropriate sanitation measures are in place. For more information on sanitation measures, please contact VCAS Ken Kaleiwahea at For events after April 17, we will keep you updated as the situation evolves.

Public Events and Rentals

To protect faculty, staff, students and the public, Hawaii CC is cancelling public events and public use of our facilities by external parties effective March 16 through April 17. Regarding events scheduled for after April 17, please stay tuned for information and updates as the situation evolves.

Stay Informed, Stay Safe 

Please use reliable resources for information, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Hawaii State Department of Health. There are active steps you can take to protect yourself and others, and I encourage you to follow them to the extent possible. 

Given the extreme fluidity of the COVID-19 situation, all guidance provided is subject to change as the situation evolves. 

We are indeed living in unprecedented times. More than ever, we need to support each other and our community. COVID-19 will be affecting our colleagues, neighbors and community in many ways. We are already hearing the difficulties of closures and travel restrictions to peopleʻs livelihood and access to services. These are kauhale moments of thinking creatively to employ “how can'' solutions to ensure the safety and well-being of our Island community.  


Chancellor Rachel Solemsaas