HPU to welcome students back with new health and safety measures

State's largest private college unveils bundle of new safety tech to keep students safe

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii Pacific University implemented new safety measures and technology so Hawaii and out-of-state students feel confident as they return to classes this fall.

“When students walk in, there is a temperature screening device and they would walk up to it, there’s facial recognition with it,” said HPU’s President, John Gotanda.

“It will instantly take their temperature and send them a link to a health screening form.”

Gotanda adds that students will then get a digital badge which will allow them to roam through the campus.

As part of the new normal at HPU, there are also disinfectant stations, enhanced cleaning procedures and all furnishings socially distanced including learning commons and classrooms.

“We are requiring for everyone to wear masks, we also are giving faculty face shields, but they will also find Plexiglass shields in the classroom and particularly in the Aloha Tower Marketplace, there is enhanced filtration devices,” said Gotanda.

The pandemic renovation extends into the dorms that even the beds and the desks are 6 feet apart.

If one of its students feel ill, HPU has isolation rooms ready.

HPU’s president said they’re seeing an increase in enrollment from both local and out-of-state students as a result of the pandemic. But for anyone living in the dorms or flying into Hawaii, they will have to undergo a COVID-19 test and follow quarantine rules for incoming college students.

“We’re helping students arrange for the tests, we have a local on island provider and actually we’re looking into and very close to possibly securing a mainland testing lab too to help us possibly pre-test students before they come to Hawaii,” said Gotanda.

Students, meanwhile, say they’re happy to be returning to class.

“A little nervous but I am excited,” said Xiao Yi Wang-Beckvall, a junior at HPU. “I feel like I haven’t been in a traditional learning setting in a long time because we have been implementing things such as Zoom and Google Meets to do our online learning but I’m definitely looking forward to being in a classroom setting once again.”

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