2 coronavirus cases reported at UH-Manoa as campuses begin fall semester

Updated: Aug. 24, 2020 at 12:09 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - As the University of Hawaii at Manoa gets ready to start the fall semester Monday, two more coronavirus cases have been reported on campus.

On Sunday, the university sent out a notice saying that both of the infected individuals worked in the same building at the school but on different floors. The cases are not considered related.

The areas involved are being cleaned and disinfected. Officials say those who were in close contact on campus are being tested and monitored in self-quarantine.

The new cases come as all UH campuses begin the fall semester. A school spokesperson says 86 percent of classes happening entirely online, with the remaining courses either requiring in-person instruction ― like labs ― or a mix of the two.

“It’s definitely different. We’re used to seeing a lot more people, a lot more students interacting,” said Alexis Matias, a student who was on campus Monday morning. “As seniors, we were kind of deprived of time to get new friends. Now, it’s just like socially-distanced. It’s kind of weird because you can’t get real interaction.”

Everyone who comes to the campus must wear a face mask. And students will be required to complete mandatory health check-ins daily on a university app.

Still, that hasn’t been enough to quell the fears of some who feel that in-person instruction during the pandemic is still too risky.

“My mom was like, ‘What can I do to keep you here?’ She didn’t want me to come,” said Crystel Janela Yagyagan. “I have an assigned lab in person. I didn’t want to graduate not on time, it’s like, I have to go.”

As an added precaution, everyone coming to campus also has to download a tracing app, developed by the school, that asks some simple health screening questions in an attempt to identify possible infected individuals.

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