COVID-19 – University of Hawaiʻi System News https://www.hawaii.edu/news News from the University of Hawaii Thu, 03 Dec 2020 18:27:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://www.hawaii.edu/news/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/cropped-UHNews512-1-32x32.jpg COVID-19 – University of Hawaiʻi System News https://www.hawaii.edu/news 32 32 $1.2M for UHERO COVID-19 economic recovery research https://www.hawaii.edu/news/2020/12/03/uhero-covid19-economic-research/ Thu, 03 Dec 2020 18:00:59 +0000 https://www.hawaii.edu/news/?p=131680 The private support will fund economic research and help Hawaiʻi on its path to recovery.

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image of buildings and ocean near Honolulu

Critical University of Hawaiʻi Economic Research Organization (UHERO) research to help Hawaiʻi on its path to economic recovery has received a $1.2-million boost in private support.

UH President David Lassner said, “We are deeply grateful to our community partners for their robust support of UHERO and the critical economic research that takes place every day. UH expertise is absolutely essential to our pandemic recovery, and these philanthropic investments will help Hawaiʻi craft a sustainable and thriving path forward for our people across the islands.”

Donors include: Hawaiʻi Community Foundation, Bank of Hawaii Foundation, Kamehameha Schools, First Hawaiian Bank Foundation, DGM Group, Hawaiian Electric Industries, Hawaii Medical Service Association, Hawaiʻi Pacific Health, American Savings Bank, Stanford Carr Development, HPM Building Supply Foundation, First Insurance Charitable Foundation, HGEA and Hawaii State AFLCIO, Island Insurance Foundation and the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation.

Hawaiʻi Community Foundation CEO and President Micah Kāne said, “As Hawaiʻi straddles crisis response and recovery planning, the state needs reliable, timely and accurate economic analysis to guide decision-making and our way forward. By supporting UHERO’s research, we can ensure that our leaders, stakeholders and communities across the state have the complex data they need to make the decisions that will shape our future.”

The $1.2 million will enable UHERO, in UH Mānoa’s College of Social Sciences, to hire two full-time faculty and build capacity for applied research on the most pressing issues facing Hawaiʻi.

UHERO Executive Director Carl Bonham said, “Throughout the pandemic, businesses, nonprofits and public sector decision-makers have relied on us for our trusted and independent analysis of the Hawaiʻi economy. With the addition of these new team members, we will be able to sustain and grow our research efforts, and continue to help our state navigate through the current economic upheaval and the nascent recovery.”

UHERO’s role in Hawaiʻi’s economic recovery

business open sign

  • Responds to questions from decision-makers, the press and the community regarding the immediate economic crisis.
  • Conducts long-term economic recovery analysis, using cutting-edge models to forecast Hawaiʻi’s economy, even as we navigate unprecedented changes in the state and around the world.
  • Integrates emerging information on testing and epidemiological models to inform local decision-making to safely restart the economy.
  • Updates and expands existing analytics tools and visualizations, including new high frequency economic data for every county in the state.

Bank of Hawaii Chairman, President and CEO Peter Ho said, “It is becoming increasingly evident that Hawaiʻi’s battle with the novel coronavirus and its aftermath will not be a sprint, but a marathon. Together, through innovative public-private partnerships, we will be able to meet the economic uncertainty armed with the best information to guide us to sustainable economic revival.”

UHERO was co-founded in the 1990s by four UH Mānoa economics faculty members—Bonham, Byron Gangnes, Sumner La Croix and Denise Eby Konan, current dean of the College of Social Sciences.

“We are thankful to our community partners for their support of UHERO during the pandemic and into the future,” said Konan. “The primary goal of the College of Social Sciences and its units, such as UHERO, has always been to provide evidence-based social sciences research that brings to light important data and analysis, so it can assist Hawaiʻi’s leaders in making informed policy and business decisions.”

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‘Mental health matters!’ say UH Hilo student-athletes https://www.hawaii.edu/news/2020/12/02/uh-hilo-mental-health-matters/ Wed, 02 Dec 2020 21:48:05 +0000 https://www.hawaii.edu/news/?p=131631 The Vulcans joined their UH Hilo ʻohana to raise awareness for mental health through the Anti-Stigma Project.

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volleyball team
Vulcan volleyball team

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a mental toll on many people in Hawaiʻi, and University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo student-athletes are encouraging the community to prioritize their mental well being through the Anti-Stigma Project.

The Anti-Stigma Project was developed by the UH Hilo Suicide Prevention Program to help get students to talk about mental health without fear or judgment. The project was supported through the national government organization Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Alongside their UH Hilo ʻohana, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) got involved to help bring the message back to their own teams. UH Hilo students created videos, photos and posters designed to encourage others to reach out for help if needed.

“I was ecstatic that SAAC took the initiative to help break the stigma of mental health on our campus,” said UH Hilo SAAC advisor Jamison Montgomery. “Positive mental health is something that we are all challenged with, and we should not be ashamed or discouraged to talk about these things. I am truly fortunate to work with such aware and strong student athletes.”

Vulcans teams that got involved included the men’s and women’s golf teams, the volleyball squad, the men’s basketball team and the women’s cross country team.

“We hope that the stigma of talking with a friend, roommate or teammate about mental health becomes a thing of the past,” Montgomery added. “Mental health matters, and it is important that we feel free to check in with each other.”

—From UH Hilo Athletics

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UH Hilo’s men’s golf team

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New online teaching studio motivates students, teachers https://www.hawaii.edu/news/2020/12/02/uh-west-oahu-synchronous-online-studio/ Wed, 02 Dec 2020 20:52:52 +0000 https://www.hawaii.edu/news/?p=131605 UH West Oʻahu’s new Synchronous Online Studio provides a positive learning experience for students in the shift to online instruction.

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teacher with virtual class
Assistant Professor in Accounting Katie Landgraf and her students during class in the new SOS.

An online teaching investment by the University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu comes with heartfelt gratitude from students and teachers alike. Through UH West Oʻahu’s new Synchronous Online Studio (SOS), online classes feel as though they are being held in-person, providing a positive learning experience during the shift to online instruction because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Accounting Professor Franklin T. Kudo and Assistant Accounting Professor Katie Landgraf came up with the idea for SOS during the summer, and created it with the help of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Information Technology (IT) Director Therese Nakadomari.

“We both not only enjoy in-person classes, but felt we needed to do more to engage and motivate our online students,” Kudo said.

Located in the Administration and Health Sciences building, SOS is designed for IT-assisted broadcasting. The studio has lighting and a camera manned by an IT technician, who can record faculty as they move around the room, and adjust sound levels as needed. In the studio, there is a side whiteboard with a Kaptivo, a whiteboard capture device that allows faculty to record and save what they write on the board, and a 75-inch monitor so faculty can see their students while they teach.

“I miss being in the classroom, so this studio really gives me and the students the in-person feel we all long for,” said Landgraf.

In addition to SOS, there is a second studio designed for instructor-driven broadcasting. The room has a Meeting Owl Pro (a 360-degree smart conferencing camera) so faculty can broadcast their class, as well as a whiteboard with a Kaptivo.

The UH West Oʻahu IT Help Desk handles reservations for the two rooms on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations can be made online.

A support system for students

In difficult courses, students need to engage with other students to see that they are not the only ones struggling, and they also need to surround themselves with a support system, Landgraf emphasized. Through the SOS, students can engage with their peers and teachers easily to better grasp complex concepts.

“Each student has a different background and knowledge on the subject of accounting and they ask intelligent questions that the professor can expand on,” said Julie Treece, a student of Landgraf’s intermediate financial accounting course. “The interaction and questioning environment is important for students because it widens our scope of knowledge and is not subjected to just the text.”

Both Kudo and Landgraf recently surveyed their accounting students regarding their learning experience with the synchronous course lectures taught from SOS.

“From what I gathered from the data, the majority of students—meaning those who strongly agree and agree—‘learned more,’ are ‘more engaged,’ ‘more motivated,’ and ‘increased their desire to continue their education with UH West Oʻahu’ because of this synchronous environment,” said Landgraf.

Read the full story at Ka Puna O Kaloʻi.

—By Zenaida Serrano Arvman

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IT specialist Jarrett Lucero and Landgraf in the new SOS.

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COVID-19 forces UH football game from California to Oʻahu https://www.hawaii.edu/news/2020/12/01/uh-sjsu-game-site-change/ Wed, 02 Dec 2020 03:09:56 +0000 https://www.hawaii.edu/news/?p=131566 The University of Hawaiʻi football team will get to play one extra game at home because of COVID-19 restrictions in California.

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UH football

The University of Hawaiʻi football team (3-3) will now host San Jose State University (SJSU) (4-0) at Aloha Stadium on Saturday, December 5. The game was originally scheduled to be played at San Jose, but new COVID-19 guidelines in Santa Clara County prompted a change in location.

The change was announced Tuesday afternoon. Santa Clara County, where SJSU plays its games, declared a temporary ban on contact sports. California is currently seeing its worst outbreak of COVID-19. San Francisco and San Mateo also initiated similar measures.

“We explored many venue and date options for this game over the last 48 hours. Moving the game from San Jose to Honolulu became the best option based on our county and the state’s current public health directives. We want to thank many people who were involved in the decision-making process and there were many—our university administration, the Mountain West office and the conference schools that offered their support,” said SJSU Athletics Director Marie Tuite.

While the SJSU Spartans remain the “home” team, it gives the Warriors an extra game at Aloha Stadium.

Kick off is TBD and will be broadcast by Spectrum Sports. Fans outside Hawaiʻi can watch the game for free on the Team1 Sports app while in-state viewers may watch it on Spectrum Sports Pay-Per-View (Spectrum Ch. 255/HD 1255 and Hawaiian Telcom Ch. 969).

Read more about the matchup between the Warriors and Spartans.

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UH boosts support for students, campuses on Giving Tuesday https://www.hawaii.edu/news/2020/11/27/uh-giving-tuesday-2020/ Fri, 27 Nov 2020 18:00:13 +0000 https://www.hawaii.edu/news/?p=131342 All funds will be used for scholarships and financial aid for students across the 10 UH campuses.

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man jumping

Join the University of Hawaiʻi in its first UH Giving Tuesday, an online event that brings the UH community together to support the 10-campus system and its students.

The event will be held in conjunction with the national day of giving movement—Giving Tuesday—on Tuesday, December 1. The event will run for 24 hours and feature targeted digital appeals, social media posts and call center outreach.

UH Giving Tuesday is focused on raising funds for scholarships and financial aid for students on all campuses. Gifts of any size made on December 1 will be counted.

Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. It began as an American day of philanthropy and giving in response to the consumerism of Black Friday and the holidays. Over the past eight years, this idea has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate and celebrate generosity.

For more information, visit the UH Foundation website.

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UH team leads analysis of Safe Travels COVID-19 testing https://www.hawaii.edu/news/2020/11/25/safe-travels-covid-analysis/ Thu, 26 Nov 2020 02:32:16 +0000 https://www.hawaii.edu/news/?p=131389 The assessment phase is being led by UH epidemiologist DeWolfe Miller.

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coronavirus

The Safe Travels Hawaiʻi COVID-19 Evaluation Testing Program found 45 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases as of November 24, out of 20,253 tests conducted (or 2.2 per 1,000) since the program’s launch on October 19. The data collection phase of this program concludes with this update, and the assessment phase begins.

The assessment phase is being led by DeWolfe Miller, an epidemiologist from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine. He and his team will spend the coming weeks assessing the data collected, and will provide a report to assist state leadership and policy makers in making informed decisions regarding the Safe Travels Hawaiʻi pre-travel testing program.

“At this point, we have more than enough data to draw conclusions from the first phase of this surveillance study,” Miller said. “Our preliminary analysis of the data has left us with early takeaways, but we look forward to further evaluations.”

As the study finishes the assessment phase, a small amount of data may be included in the report over the coming weeks as post-arrival testing partners and counties share information under the current program. Final numbers and analysis will be provided in Miller’s report.

According to Miller, the Safe Travels Hawaiʻi COVID-19 Evaluation Testing Program’s preliminary findings indicate the following:

  • Screening and pre-polymerase chain reaction (PCRM) testing will greatly improve sensitivity of the PCR pre-travel test.
  • COVID-19 case numbers are increasing at U.S. mainland departure locations. This may impact previous results.
  • Very preliminary data analysis revealed a very strong risk for COVID-19 infection in returning residents relative to visitors.

The State of Hawaiʻi will evaluate how the surveillance program needs to operate in the future.

Read the full news release on the HI-EMA website.

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ʻImiloa to host Christmas shopping event https://www.hawaii.edu/news/2020/11/25/imiloa-shopping-event/ Thu, 26 Nov 2020 02:09:08 +0000 https://www.hawaii.edu/news/?p=131384 ʻImiloa Astronomy Center hosts a special holiday season shopping event for present seekers.

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products for sale at Imiloa Center

The COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping the way we celebrate the holiday season this year, including shopping for Christmas presents.

With that in mind, ʻImiloa Astronomy Center is hosting a unique experience for shoppers with its Kūʻai Hele Kalikimaka: Virtual Christmas Shopping Experience from December 7 to 10. Each shopper gets a 30-minute, one-on-one curated shopping session via Zoom. Members and the general public are invited to participate.

The ʻImiloa Astronomy Center has been closed since March 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns. The center created an online shopping platform in late September that allows the purchase of items such as books, educational kits and games, apparel and a variety of items by local artists.

To reserve a shopping date and time and learn more about the event, visit ʻImiloa Virtual Shopping Experience.

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Leeward CC culinary partnership helps feed Oʻahu’s hungry https://www.hawaii.edu/news/2020/11/25/leeward-cc-aloha-harvest-partnership/ Wed, 25 Nov 2020 18:28:41 +0000 https://www.hawaii.edu/news/?p=131314 The Fundamentals of Cookery II class prepared and donated 300 meals to local non-profit Aloha Harvest over the course of the fall 2020 semester.

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Students learn essential grilling techniques for short-order cooks.

During the 2020 fall semester, a Leeward Community College culinary class cooked, packed and donated 30 meals a day for local non-profit Aloha Harvest to deliver to Oʻahu’s hungry.

Leeward CC’s Fundamentals of Cookery II class normally teaches students how to open and run a “short-order” restaurant and the food they make is sold to faculty, staff, students and the general public. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, most students are taking classes online and the campus is closed to the public. Without the normal amount of business, Culinary Arts Assistant Professor Matthew Egami found other ways for students to practice these skills.

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Fish tacos with fries
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Chicken and waffles with maple syrup

“We usually have a sufficient amount of repetitions for my students,” said Egami. “Due to the closure of the campus to the public, I am using Aloha Harvest to replicate the number of orders I would normally take and instead of wasting the food, making sure that it goes to those in need.”

Aloha Harvest has picked up approximately 300 meals from the culinary class over the course of the fall semester. The menu items consisted of burgers, sandwiches, breakfast items and local favorites. These meals were delivered directly to Child and Family Service, a non-profit organization whose mission is to strengthen families and foster the healthy development of children.

“This is a great example of a win-win-win situation where everyone involved benefits greatly from this unique partnership,” said Phil Acosta, executive director of Aloha Harvest. “The students gain valuable experience in the kitchen, the non-profit organizations get some much-needed help, and Aloha Harvest is able to connect the food recipients with the freshly-prepared meals. We are extremely grateful for this opportunity, especially at this time when so many in the community are in need of assistance.”

The partnership with Aloha Harvest continues through the end of the fall 2020 semester, with the hopes of extending into the spring.

Learn more about Leeward CC’s culinary arts program online and follow them on Instagram.

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Culinary students preparing pizza

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Nobel prize winning UN food program partners with UH Pacific Disaster Center https://www.hawaii.edu/news/2020/11/24/un-food-program-partners-with-pdc/ Tue, 24 Nov 2020 18:57:43 +0000 https://www.hawaii.edu/news/?p=131139 The collaboration will focus on disaster planning and preparedness, and risk and vulnerability assessment.

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Sim Thuon, centre, in wheelchair, of Bakan, Pursat Province, Cambodia, lost all his rice crop just days before harvest when flashfloods hit his village in October 2020. (©WFP/Cesar Lopez)

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC), a research and technology organization under the University of Hawaiʻi, have joined forces to advance disaster preparedness and emergency response in the Asia and the Pacific region. By combining expertise and their common humanitarian purpose, the two organizations hope to increase capacity to save lives and reduce suffering for the world’s most vulnerable populations.

“We are pleased to support the widely recognized work of WFP in fighting hunger everywhere. Together, we will become more forward-leaning in our capabilities and programs to help national governments and communities respond to shocks, such as those brought by climate change and COVID-19,” said PDC Executive Director Ray Shirkhodai.

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Nearly a month after her village in Umerkot, Sindh Province, Pakistan, was devastated by floods, Chandni is getting food assistance from WFP. (©WFP/Saiyna Bashir)

WFP won the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize “for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.” Under the partnership, activities will focus on disaster planning and preparedness, risk and vulnerability assessment methodologies and applications, all-hazards monitoring, early warning and notification systems and partner capacity strengthening, and a cadre of tools and products developed to facilitate these activities.

“Asia and the Pacific is the most disaster-prone region in the world. Countries need our continued support to help them prepare, respond and recover when disasters strike. The research and tools will greatly enhance national governments’ ability to withstand multiple shocks and contribute to the resilience-building of families and communities,” said WFP Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific John Aylieff.

Prior to the signing of the MoU, the two organizations had collaborated on analytical products such as the Joint Analysis of Disaster Exposure, which has been used by humanitarian partners and national governments worldwide in disaster risk reduction.

PDC is a small but proud global partner in disaster risk reduction. It has a proven record of developing successful partnerships and cutting-edge science and technologies over the last two decades that are in operational use around the world,” said UH President David Lassner. “The World Food Programme made a great decision to partner with PDC and we are excited and eager to see how these two highly impactful organizations can do even more for humanity together.”

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Give thanks, not COVID-19 https://www.hawaii.edu/news/2020/11/23/give-thanks-not-covid-19/ Mon, 23 Nov 2020 19:33:18 +0000 https://www.hawaii.edu/news/?p=131090 President Lassner wishes the UH ʻohana an extra safe Thanksgiving holiday.

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Thanksgiving

This message was shared with the students, faculty and staff of the 10-campus University of Hawaiʻi system on November 23, 2020.

Aloha UH ʻohana,

Thanksgiving is typically a time when we gather with family and friends. But the COVID-19 pandemic makes this year very different. Protecting loved ones and ourselves takes a collective effort, and the Hawai‘i Department of Health is seeing that a significant number of our new COVID-19 cases are arising from social gatherings—even small ones with close friends and family.

COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing throughout the continent, and the Centers for Disease Control have implored everyone to refrain from travel over the Thanksgiving weekend. Our numbers in Hawaiʻi are the best in the country, but we still show significant rates of community transmission. And celebrations over holiday weekends have been the source of many of our outbreaks.

Governor Ige has asked everyone to celebrate Thanksgiving within their household bubbles only. I know that this is a tough request, especially during a time in which we need family and friends more than ever. But we all need to do our part to get and keep COVID-19 under control in Hawaiʻi—for the benefit of all.

Here are some tips on how to safely celebrate Thanksgiving this year:

  • Don’t travel over the holiday weekend
  • Avoid hosting or attending gatherings with people outside of your immediate household
  • Use digital platforms to celebrate virtually
  • If you must have a small gathering, do it outdoors, limit the number of people, wear face coverings whenever not eating, do not share serving utensils, shorten visit times and keep everyone 6 feet apart
  • Avoid crowds by doing your holiday shopping online. You can support local vendors on sites like Pop-up Makeke, Made in Hawaii Festival or the Buy Hawaii, Give Aloha websites

As I reflect on the challenges of 2020, I give thanks for the privilege of being a part of this remarkable University of Hawaiʻi community. Our students, faculty, staff and leaders have risen to face every challenge the year has thrown at us, and as a result, our 10 UH campuses are among the safest in the country. You make me incredibly proud.

Mahalo for all you do, and please enjoy a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

E mālama pono,
David Lassner
UH President

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