UH Hilo's chancellor addresses student fears about ongoing erupt - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

UH Hilo's chancellor addresses student fears about ongoing eruptions

The chancellor at UH Hilo sent out a note to new and returning students for the upcoming school year. (Image: Hawaii News Now/file) The chancellor at UH Hilo sent out a note to new and returning students for the upcoming school year. (Image: Hawaii News Now/file)
UH Hilo's interim chancellor Marcia Sakai sent out a note on Tuesday to address students fears concerning the ongoing eruptions in lower Puna. (Image: University of Hawaii at Hilo) UH Hilo's interim chancellor Marcia Sakai sent out a note on Tuesday to address students fears concerning the ongoing eruptions in lower Puna. (Image: University of Hawaii at Hilo)
The University of Hawaii at Hilo opened its doors to HVO researchers so they could continue monitoring volcanic activity. (Image: UH Hilo) The University of Hawaii at Hilo opened its doors to HVO researchers so they could continue monitoring volcanic activity. (Image: UH Hilo)
HILO, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The chancellor of the University of Hawaii at Hilo sent out a message on Tuesday telling students that the school will go the extra mile to make sure they aren't adversely affected by the ongoing volcanic activity.

In the past month, lava flows have decimated communities in lower Puna, taking out hundreds of homes, acres of farm land, and causing thousands to evacuate.

While class isn't back in session for two months, faculty and staff wanted to assuage students' fears concerning the lava flows as soon as possible:

"I want to reassure everyone that operations are normal at the University of Hawaii at Hilo," said Interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai, in the note.  

"The closest area affected by the eruption is 20 miles from Hilo, and the volcanic activity has had no direct impact on the town of Hilo and most of Hawaii Island. That includes our airports, harbors and the majority of roads. It is  absolutely safe to travel to and around Hawaii Island."

The note comes at a time when the Big Island is seeing a substantial drop in its tourism industry due to public fears, as well as misinformation about where eruptions are taking place. Several Big Island businesses both close to, and far from lava flows have suffered decreased hours and layoffs.

"Many members of our island community, including some of your peers have been impacted, and they remain in our minds, hearts, and prayers," Sakai continued. 

"We remain committed to the success of all our students and continue to work with those in need during this difficult time, whether that is through issuance of incomplete grades to allow extra time for course completion or emergency housing due to evacuation," Sakai said. "We encourage all students who are impacted, directly or indirectly, to keep reaching out to us."

Those wishing to read the full note can do so here

New or returning UH Hilo students with questions or concerns can also direct them to Farrah-Marie Gomes, UH Hilo's vice chancellor of Student Affairs, at 808-932-7445.

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