HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - All classes at the University of Hawaii will be moved online after spring break amid growing concerns about the coronavirus.
UH President David Lassner said online classes will start March 23 and continue through April 15.
He said that may need to be extended if the virus still presents a threat at the point.
He also said that there’s contingency planning underway in case graduation needs to be held virtually.
Despite classes going online, Lassner said the system’s 10 campuses ― including libraries, computer labs and eateries ― will remain open and students will be allowed to remain in the dorms.
“We want to maximize the safety of our students as well as our faculty and staff,” Lassner said.
“We believe we’re looking at a pretty dark time as a nation and globe, but we do believe we can come through this stronger.”
Meanwhile, Chaminade University is also moving classes fully online March 30 through April 10. Students are on spring break from March 23 to 27.
“This decision was not made lightly,” said Chaminade President Lynn Babington.
“We are confident that in adopting these proactive measures, we can reduce the potential transmission and spread of the virus through social distancing and other recommended measures.”
Since January, University of Hawaii have been working with faculty to make sure they have the resources they’ll need to hold classes online.
The UH system includes three universities and seven community colleges, and has more than 60,000 students, faculty and staff.
UH officials said that if a class needs to be taught face-to-face to “meet learning objectives," such as a culinary class, programs will need to seek special approvals from the administration.
A number of students HNN talked to on Wednesday weren’t thrilled with the news, expressing concern that some classes might not be possible online.
“The labs don’t translate online,” said senior Megan Johnson.
Student John Sadorra added, “I don’t like it at all. I think learning should be in a classroom.”
But the consensus seemed to be if it’s necessary it should be done.
“We can’t have everyone getting infected by the coronavirus,” said student Christian Edwards.