University giving dorm priority to non-Oahu freshmen

HONOLULU — Hawaii’s public university system is giving student housing priority at its main campus to freshmen who don’t live on Oahu, a spokesman said Wednesday.

Because of social distancing and other guidelines to keep people safe amid the coronavirus pandemic, the University of Hawaii lost 30% of its student housing capacity at the Manoa campus, said spokesman Dan Meisenzahl.

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There will be exemptions for students with medical needs and for athletes.

After non-Oahu freshmen including international students, priority will go to all other students from neighbor islands and then all other applicants in the order that they were selected in the normal lottery system. “Mainland students who are not freshmen are in the last group,” Meisenzahl said.

Difficult decisions had to be made for health and safety, he said.

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The university also offers student housing at its Hilo campus, where priority is going first to all freshmen, then to neighbor island students and then out-of-state students, Meisenzahl said.

The university on Wednesday announced other COVID-19 guidelines for when the fall semester begins on Aug. 24, including wearing facial coverings when with others indoors and in common areas where physical distancing isn’t possible. The university is also reducing in-person courses by using online and hybrid options.

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