A Message from Chancellor Sartarelli: UNCW Announces Spring Calendar, Class of 2020 Commencement Plans and Other Campus Updates

Friday, September 25, 2020

Thank you for your continued dedication to making the best of challenging circumstances this fall. There is no need to look any further than the changes to our fall courses to appreciate the flexibility, creativity and collaboration you’ve demonstrated this semester. At present, about 59% of our courses are being taught online, 27% in a hybrid format, and 14% in-person. Faculty and students have responded well to these new learning environments, and the university is on track to maintain them for the rest of the semester, subject to COVID-19 considerations. 
I know many of you are eager to make plans for the end of the semester, commencement and the spring 2021 semester. See the sections below for updates about the university’s schedule for the months ahead. Please keep in mind that these events, activities and calendars reflect the best and most current information available. Given the nature of the pandemic, changing circumstances, including any new guidance from government agencies, may require the university to alter these plans in the weeks to come. If that happens, UNCW will endeavor to give you as much notice as possible 
A Fall Semester Calendar Recap 
For students and faculty on the traditional semester calendar, classes will end Nov. 24, followed by Reading Day on Nov. 25. Final exams will take place in class before Thanksgiving (Nov. 26) or remotely between Nov. 30 and Dec. 5. Students and faculty in the university’s Online Accelerated Program should see the OAP Calendar for their schedule. 
A Look Ahead to the Spring Calendar 
Based on currently available information about the pandemic, UNCW has decided to alter its spring calendar to allow more time between winter break and the first day of classes, an approach designed to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. On the traditional semester calendar, classes will begin on Wednesday, Jan. 20. There will not be a spring break, but classes are canceled for the Good Friday holiday April 1-2. Spring 2021 commencement is scheduled for May 7-8. Students and faculty in the university’s Online Accelerated Program should see the OAP Calendar for their schedule. Although it is too soon to determine exactly how our courses may take shape, the university is planning to offer a robust combination of online, hybrid and in-person classes again in the spring. 
An Update from Housing and Residence Life 
The university is wrapping up its housing de-densification efforts, a proactive plan undertaken in consultation with county health officials to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. As of this week, nearly 700 students have elected to return home and nearly 400 have moved to other rooms on campus. This has been a difficult effort for all involved, and, years from now, when UNCW reflects on its storied history, these Seahawks will stand out for their resiliency. I appreciate these students’ flexibility and commitment to keeping the entire community healthy and safe. 
Although no one knows exactly which course the pandemic will take, if conditions continue along their current track, traditional residence halls and housing for freshmen will close at 1 p.m. on Nov. 25 for the winter break. Housing and Residence Life will share more specific details with residential students in the next few weeks. The university’s flexible plans for spring semester housing also will take shape over the weeks ahead as more information about the pandemic emerges. Updates will be shared as they become available.  
Class of 2020 Commencement Ceremonies 
The university is eager to honor UNCW’s spring, summer and fall 2020 graduates with special virtual ceremonies on Dec. 12. UNCW had hoped to host these events in person, but even Trask Coliseum, our largest arena, doesn’t include enough space for our graduates and their families and friends to safely gather while also meeting physical distancing guidelines. Rest assured that we have some great plans underway to make the Class of 2020 commencement celebration unforgettable. Please see our commencement website for more information.  
With nearly six weeks of the fall 2020 semester behind us, I hope you will take a moment to appreciate just how far we have come since the summer. When faced with complex circumstances and difficult decisions, we have worked together to shift the university’s Best for the Nest plan as needed to manage the challenging situations caused by the pandemic. The resiliency that defines our community is worth recognizing, both in ourselves and in others.  
Wings up, Seahawks! We are still going strong. 
Jose V. Sartarelli 
Campus COVID-19 Resourcesand Contacts 
Daily Health Assessment 
Best for the Nest 
Be a Safer SeahawkTraining  
Data Dashboard 
SlowCOVIDNC App Information