HONOLULU — While classes will be largely online because of the coronavirus pandemic, Brigham Young University-Hawaii said it will test all staff and students who are on campus every week when the semester starts Jan. 6.
The university would be the first in the state to implement such a program, Hawaii Public Radio reported Tuesday.
BYU-Hawaii President John Kauwe said the school plans on testing almost 2,000 people per week.
“To us, it’s worth it, for us in the circumstances we’re in here, and the university, and the important role that we play in the community,” he said.
The university has been mostly teaching online, with a handful of in-person classes planned for the upcoming semester. About 700 international students still live on campus because they cannot return home amid coronavirus travel restrictions.
The university will pay Nomi Health, a private health care company, to run the testing program.
Kauwe said he hopes the program and the rollout of coronavirus vaccines mean the university can resume all of its in-person classes soon.
The university’s testing program will continue through at least April 2021.
As of Tuesday, Hawaii has reported 21,103 infections and 285 deaths since the pandemic began, according to data from the state Department of Health.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.