Fall 2020: Return to Campus - UNCW Remains on Schedule to Reopen in August

Friday, July 17, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

We know that many of you are eager to return to campus, ready to experience the Seahawk spirit in person again, with essential health and safety protections in place to address concerns caused by the pandemic. Your commitment to wearing face coverings, waiting six feet apart and washing your hands frequently will contribute, in meaningful ways, to our efforts to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. We also know that many others may feel differently about returning to campus, and we have worked diligently to create a multifaceted plan for the fall that offers a range of options for students, faculty and staff. 

UNCW built extra flexibility into our reopening strategies, and we remain on schedule for a safe start to the fall semester even though Phase 2 of North Carolina’s pandemic response plan has been extended through Aug. 7. Fall semester classes are scheduled to start Aug. 19.

Returning to Work

While the majority of UNCW’s employees will continue to telework, we will begin to expand the list of essential employees approved for on-campus assignments the closer we get to the first day of classes. We will share more specific information next week; faculty and staff with immediate concerns should contact their supervisors. For the foreseeable future, we anticipate limiting the number of employees on campus at any given time to support physical distancing measures. 

The state’s recently announced hybrid plan for reopening K-12 public schools may have caused concern for employees with school-age children. As previously outlined in the university’s Return to Campus guide (PDF), supervisors will be encouraged to offer flexibility for employees who are members of vulnerable populations or who may have childcare or other family responsibilities. The current COVID-19 Work/Leave provisions issued by the Office of State Human Resources remain in place. Any future updates to these provisions will be shared as soon as they become available.

Questions, Resources

We know that students, faculty and staff have questions about several topics, including health and safety protocols, academic course scheduling, work scheduling, housing and dining, Drop-Off and Move-In, tuition and fees, financial aid and much more. We have combined essential information, including the answers to many commonly asked questions, on the “Best for the Nest” website. Please visit this resource at

After reviewing the site, if you don’t see the information that you need, please reach out via one of the following inboxes:

Return to Campus questions:

COVID-19 questions:

Campus health and safety questions:

We also encourage students, faculty and staff to continue monitoring your campus inboxes for additional information from campus divisions, departments and programs with specific details that may be applicable to you. No one can accurately predict what this pandemic will have in store for us in the coming months, and the university will continue to adapt its plans for the fall as needed to maintain our readiness for the full range of potential impacts. Students, please consider sharing these updates with your parents/families to help keep them informed about UNCW’s plans for the fall.

Thank you for your continued patience and attention to these matters.