Best for the Nest


Please see the general FAQs below as well as information and resources within this Best for the Nest website for the latest COVID-19 guidance from UNCW. If you have specific questions that are not addressed in recent communications, please email Additional COVID-19 Fall 2021 Campus Operations Information FAQs also are presented below.

Frequently Asked Questions

I already had COVID-19. Do I still need to be vaccinated?

Students, faculty and staff who have previously had COVID-19 are still encouraged to get a vaccine to provide added protection for a number of the COVID variants that have been identified.

Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine on campus? May I bring family members?

Vaccinations are available for free on the UNCW campus through Student Health. Please see our vaccination information for more details. 

What are the vaccination rates of students, faculty and staff on campus?

As of August 31, 2021, more than 9,530 residential students, faculty, staff and off-campus students taking on-campus classes shared vaccination information with the university to support UNCW’s pandemic mitigation strategies. Among respondents, our COVID-19 vaccination rates are strong – 71% among residential students and 85% among faculty and staff – but we can do better. Among off-campus students taking on-campus classes, the vaccination rate is just 53%. This exceeds the state average for adults ages 18-24. The university will continue increasing our vaccination rates throughout the semester to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Please see Aug. 31 campus update for additional information.

Are face coverings required on campus this fall?

Yes. Based on CDC guidance and the rising number of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina and elsewhere, UNCW temporarily will require face coverings in indoor settings except when an individual is in their office or assigned residence hall room. Face coverings were an effective part of our COVID-19 management strategy last year, and we are putting this extra safety precaution in place as part of our efforts to preserve and protect as traditional a fall semester as possible for everyone.

Earlier this summer, when we announced a COVID-19 indoor face covering requirement to begin the fall semester, we indicated that we would provide you with an update on its status by or before Sept. 17. Since then, as the campus leadership team added layers of health and safety protocols to expand pandemic protections, we used Sept. 17 as a touchstone to revisit them. 

We are encouraged by the general downward trend in the university’s positive COVID-19 cases and the upward trend in vaccinations among students, faculty and staff. We are going to keep the momentum going by maintaining our focus on efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. The pandemic-related guidance in place now will remain in effect until Oct. 15, based on the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 virus and its variants.  

We will consider several factors when making the decision to alter COVID-19 guidance, including CDC, NCDHHS, and UNC System policies; local public health guidance; the level of transmission in North Carolina; and the overall vaccination rate in our state. Ideally, vaccination rates in our state will continue to increase to a large percentage of the population overall, a level that public health experts indicate would provide greater protection against COVID-19 and its variants. 

Read Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli's full message.

Who is required to participate in surveillance testing at UNCW, and how often will they be tested?

All unvaccinated residential students, face-to-face students who reside off-campus, faculty and staff will be required to participate in weekly surveillance testing. Students, staff, and faculty who present proof of vaccination are not subject to weekly surveillance testing. Free surveillance testing will be available Monday-Thursday from 8:30-11:30 a.m. and 1:30-4:30 p.m. in the Student Rec Center MAC Gym and Warwick Ballroom 4. No appointment necessary.

If employees indicate they have a medical condition that warrants additional consideration, what should supervisors do?

Please refer the employee to the Office of Human Resources for assistance.

I have been tested off campus and received a positive result. What should I do?

Students should notify Student Health Services at Employees should notify their supervisors and Student Health Services at

Do visitors need to wear face coverings on campus?

Yes. Based on CDC guidance and the rising number of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina and elsewhere, UNCW temporarily will require face coverings in indoor settings.

What should I do if I have symptoms on my testing day? What if I know I have been exposed to a person with COVID-19?

Please DO NOT go to one of the asymptomatic testing locations.

Students should contact the UNCW Student Health Center at 910.962.3280 to make an appointment for a free COVID-19 test.

Employees who are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms should contact your own health care provider (let them know you have symptoms when making an appointment), notify your supervisor and then notify the UNCW Student Health Center at

If employees have questions about the health and safety guidelines for fall 2021, is there someone they can speak with?

Yes. Jeff Campbell, director of Environmental Health and Safety, and Katrin Wesner-Harts, director of the Student Health Center, remain available to discuss campus health and safety guidelines with all faculty, staff and students.

Will UNCW provide disposable face coverings in campus buildings in 2021-22?

Yes. Numerous campus buildings will be equipped with disposable face coverings. In addition, students, faculty and staff may contact Student Health Services to request free, reusable masks.

Will hand sanitizer continue to be present in campus buildings in 2021-22?

Yes. UNCW Facilities will maintain hand sanitizer stations across campus similar to last year. Additionally, departmental staff can submit AiM tickets as needed.

COVID-19 Fall 2021 Campus Operations Information FAQs

Are face coverings required for indoor activities at UNCW?

Yes, all member of the University community and guests are required to wear face coverings for indoor activities unless they are in an individual office. This guidance is effective through September 17 or until otherwise updated. (August 9, 2021)

Will UNCW implement cleaning protocols similar to those of fall 2020 during the fall 2021 semester?

The UNCW Housekeeping staff will be continuing with cleaning protocols similar to those of fall 2020 including disinfecting all classrooms every night. That includes high touch surfaces (light switches, doorknobs, etc.), all desks, tables, and chairs. Each room will be swept and mopped. (August 12, 2021)

Will UNCW manage the flow of building movement patterns for entry/exit, hallway/corridor, and/or stairwells?

There are no restrictions on building movement planned at this time. (August 9, 2021)

Will there be a reduction in room capacity for non-academic course activities?

Room occupancies were returned to pre-COVID levels for the fall semester. (August 9, 2021) Additional information: Events, activities and meetings not directly related to student learning or coursework whould be moved ot virtual formats if possible. If it is not possible to move these events, activities and meetings to an online environment, then organizers should consider postponing them to a later date. (August 24, 2021).

Will there be any health and safety restrictions for food at events/meetings?

As of August 2, face coverings are required in all indoor spaces with the exception of individual offices and assigned residential areas. In dining places, individuals should wear face coverings while moving through the area, remove their face coverings to eat, and then replace them while sitting and talking with others. (August 9, 2021) Please see additional guidance related to events/meetings in the question above (August 24, 2021).

Will UNCW implement any physical (social) distancing measures?

Room occupancies were returned to pre-COVID levels for the fall semester. (August 9, 2021)

Will external guests be allowed to participate in campus activities? Will campus buildings be open to external guests?

Guests are welcome to participate in campus activities. They are expected to comply with the campus face covering requirements when indoors. (August 9, 2021)

Will UNCW reconstitute an events exceptions committee for any purpose?

At this point, we do not plan to reconstitute the COVID-19 events exceptions committee. (August 9, 2021)

Are face coverings required for faculty/staff that are in shared offices? Are there any physical distancing expectation for individuals who share an office?

At this point, occupants in shared offices are expected to wear a face covering when their office mate or anyone else is in their office. (August 9, 2021)

Are existing teleworking/flexible work schedule agreements impacted by the recent update to face covering requirements?

The face covering requirement did not impact the teleworking/flexible work schedule agreements. (August 9, 2021)

Will UNCW provide increased flexibility to faculty/staff to complete work assignments that do not require a face-to-face presence to address personal circumstances and/or health/safety concerns? If faculty/staff begin experiencing childcare or eldercare related to COVID-19, can increased flexibility be provided to those faculty/staff?

Faculty and staff who would like to request additional flexibility should contact their supervisor to discuss options based on business need. (August 9, 2021)

Will any furniture be relocated to encourage physical (social) distancing?

Room occupancies were returned to pre-COVID levels for the fall semester. Any furniture that was removed was returned over the summer. (August 9, 2021)

Will any additional signage be used to encourage health and safety protocols?

Lawn signs reminding people to wear their face coverings have been placed around campus. Additional signage is available through the print shop. (August 9, 2021)

Should the plexiglass used during fall 2020/spring 2021 be used for fall 2021?

Plexiglas shields remain a part of our health and safety plan. We continue to encourage Plexiglas shields at transactional counters or desks, especially in areas that had them last year. Departments may choose to keep the shields post-COVID to use during cold and flu season. (August 9, 2021)

Will unvaccinated faculty/staff be required to undergo surveillance testing?

As announced on August 10, all unvaccinated faculty, staff, and students who are working or taking classes on campus will be expected to test weekly. Starting Aug. 23, free surveillance testing will be available Monday-Thursday from 8:30-11:30 a.m. and 1:30-4:30 p.m. in the Student Rec Center MAC Gym and Warwick Ballroom 4. No appointment necessary. (August 10, 2021)

What are the repercussions to a faculty member who is teaching face-to-face, but refuses to wear a mask in class?

Similarly to last year, faculty may wear a face shield while lecturing in class. They are expected to wear a face covering before their lecture starts, and to put their face covering back on when the lecture is complete. Face shields are available through AIM, please check with the department/school office for help ordering. We hope that faculty and staff will be role models for students in following the campus face covering mandate. (August 9, 2021)

What are the expectations around enforcement of the face coverings requirements?

As mentioned in the August 10, 2021, campus update, some members of our community have concerns about “what to do” if individuals refuse to wear face coverings. First, please respectfully ask the person to wear one. They may simply need a reminder. If that approach isn’t successful, then the protocols we had in place over the past year are in effect. Noncompliant students can be asked to leave a class and/or may be referred to the Office of the Dean of Students. Noncompliant employees may be referred to a supervisor and/or Human Resources. Venue hosts may ask noncompliant guests to leave indoor events if they refuse to follow our face covering requirement. (August 10, 2021)

Will there be occupancy limits in buildings/spaces?

Room occupancies were returned to pre-COVID levels for the fall semester. (August 9, 2021)

Will masks and wipes still be available in classrooms? Will these items be available in the residence hall classrooms too?

Disposable masks and disinfecting wipes will continue to be available in classroom locations. The hand sanitizer stations located around campus will remain throughout the fall semester. (August 9, 2021)

What if I have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days? Do I still have to get tested?

Individuals who have tested positive in the past 90 days are not required to participate in weekly surveillance testing until your 90 days have passed. If you were tested off campus and have not already notified of your positive test, you will need to do so. (August 12, 2021)

If I work a night shift or in a circumstance where I don’t interact with other members of the campus community, do I still have to get tested?

Students, staff, and faculty who present proof of vaccination are not subject to weekly surveillance testing. If you are a faculty or staff member who has not presented proof of vaccination, you are subject to participation in weekly testing regardless of your work schedule. We are working with the departments that have night shift employees to arrange testing that will be in the evening or early morning hours. (August 12, 2021)

If I am 100% remote working or a student who is enrolled 100% in distance education or remote courses, do I need to participate in weekly testing?

No. If you will not be on campus on a routine basis for any reason, then you are exempt from the weekly testing requirement. (August 12, 2021)

If I have submitted my vaccine card to, but I have not received confirmation of submission. What does that mean?

Thank you for your submitting your proof of vaccination. With the volume of messages coming in, individual acknowledgement has not been possible. If you have submitted it, and you see it in your sent items, you should feel confident that we have it in our files. However, you may also respond to the survey link distributed on August 11 to let us know that you have already submitted it. That will allow the Student Health Center team to double check that it has been received and contact you if there is anything missing. (August 12, 2021)