Update: Coronavirus Impacts

Friday, March 13, 2020

Thank you for your patience as we continue to assess campus impacts as a result of the coronavirus situation. As you can imagine, decisions as important as these require a great deal of information, input from multiple stakeholders, and adequate time to curate the updates into the communications you’re receiving. Various campus units are working tirelessly to continue to bring you updates as quickly as possible. Below is what we can confirm for you as of 5:30 p.m.
We have an update for you on our earlier message concerning the self-quarantine of several student-athletes and staff members. The university has been notified that the referee who tested positive didn’t exhibit symptoms until Tuesday, March 10. Therefore, the probability that the referee was contagious at the March 7 UNCW basketball game is very low – and the chance that a player would have contracted the virus from the referee is even lower. The likelihood that anyone else (those who may have been exposed to players, but not the referee) would contract the virus is extremely low – there are no recommendations for this group (those who may have been exposed to players, but not the referee) to take any precautions other than the basic preventive steps health officials have asked everyone to perform (including washing one’s hands, staying home when sick, covering coughs, etc.). In the unlikely event that a self-quarantined student-athlete or staff member develops symptoms and tests positive, people who interacted with that athlete or staff member would most likely be asked to self-monitor for any symptoms (fever, cough, etc.). Many of you have asked if those now in self-quarantine have visited any campus locations. We can share that since their return to Wilmington on March 8, our student-athletes made very brief visits to their residence halls, primarily to retrieve belongings, and to Trask Coliseum, to drop off equipment. Our self-quarantined student-athletes have not been on campus since March 9. We continue to clean and disinfect all campus buildings with great attention, and those locations are included in that effort.
As you may know, New Hanover County Public Health has been made aware of several county residents being tested for COVID-19 and will be monitoring each person. New Hanover County Health and UNCW will update the public immediately if any of those tests comes back positive. We must reiterate that you should not believe or share information you haven’t personally verified to be true. Rely on only reliable sources for public health information and guidance, and be mindful of how your social media commentary may cause undue panic.
Following CDC  guidelines for social distancing and consistent with decisions made regarding instruction being offered online or via alternate means, most campus meetings and events are being canceled. Small gatherings and events that can be appropriately managed by social distancing policies may be permitted to continue; this remains under consideration. More information will be shared with event/meeting organizers as details are confirmed. Until further notice, the Student Recreation Center will be closed and all club sports competitions are canceled. Starting Monday, March 23, the Fisher Student Center and Fisher University Union will operate under amended hours until further notice (see below for details).
Please continue to monitor your campus inbox and this site for updates. We do not anticipate we will have additional information until Monday, March 16, but in the event of an urgent update before then, campus will be notified via email, social media and the university’s coronavirus website. Thank you for your continued cooperation and diligence.

How will this situation affect campus locations?
Please check campus service location websites for the latest information, including the Campus Dining and Randall Library websites. Until further notice, the Student Recreation Center will be closed and all club sports competitions are canceled. Seahawk Adventure Travels will continue as scheduled. Gazebo Fields are open and the Rec Fields will be open for small groups. Starting Monday, March 23, the Fisher Student Center and Fisher University Union will operate under amended hours until further notice: Monday through Friday 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 12 p.m.-7 p.m. Information about the campus dining locations within Fisher Student Center and Fisher University Unions will be available on the campus dining website.
Will books be made available online?
We are still assessing all options to support the execution of online/alternate instruction. As soon as we have more information, we will share it.
What should students do if they aren’t confident in their ability to access the internet for online instruction from off-campus?
Instructors will do their best to make reasonable accommodations for students without internet access from off-campus. As soon as we have more information, we will share it.
I have a roommate who traveled internationally over spring break. I’m concerned about being exposed.
Students who have travelled to a country with a Level 3 Travel advisory will be asked to self-quarantine off campus for 14 days before returning to campus. Students with concerns about potential exposure should contact the Student Health Center (910.962.0587 or for assistance.
Can students self-quarantine in their residence halls?
We are asking that students self-quarantine off-campus and we cannot support students self-quarantining on campus. We will do our best to help students locate suitable off-campus options if they don’t have easy access to such spaces. Students should contact the Student Health Center (910.962.0587 or for assistance.
Will there be refunds offered for campus housing if students choose not to return to campus?
The university will not be offering refunds for students who choose not to return to the residence halls. Students who need to be excused from their housing contracts due to medical conditions which would not allow them to remain in student housing should contact the Disability Resource Center (910.962.7555).
How will this situation affect international students’ academic progress?
Online/alternate instruction will be available to all international students for the remainder of the semester, regardless of whether in-person instruction resumes on campus.
Can employees bring laptops/desktops home if they are approved for teleworking? 
If employees have been approved for teleworking, they are permitted and encouraged to take their laptops home. If employees do not have a laptop, they should contact ITS at A list of campus needs continues to be compiled. Taking desktops home will require permission from employees’ supervisors; employees will need to follow the checkout process developed by their departments. Re. updates and virus protection software: Laptop and desktop computers will update automatically when turned on and connected to the campus network. To manually install updates, users should go to the Start button on their computers and search for “Software Center,” then look at “Updates.” If users have updates available they can install them. More information can be found here. Additional ITS resources may be found here.
How do I know if I’m a mandatory/essential employee?
Mandatory employees are employees who are required to work during a public health emergency because their positions have been designated by the university as mandatory to operations during the emergency. You will be notified by your supervisor if you are designated as a mandatory employee and of the requirement to report for or remain at work in emergency situations, or to work from home or other alternative location as deemed appropriate. 
Is there any update on Seahawk Preview Day?
Unfortunately, we must postpone Seahawk Preview Day (previously scheduled for March 28). At this time we have not rescheduled the event, but we are reviewing options and will update admitted students and the campus community as soon as possible. Updates will be available here.