Message from Chancellor Sartarelli: Student Rec Center Opening, Free COVID-19 Testing at Student Health Center and Other Campus Updates

Thursday, September 03, 2020

With more than two weeks of the fall semester successfully behind us, I want to take this opportunity to recognize the tremendous effort UNCW’s students, faculty and staff have made to adapt to the living and learning environments on campus, in our community and, indeed, in their communities across the state and nation.

Thank you for using the Daily Health Assessment, which arrives in your campus inboxes each morning; for accessing the resources and the FAQs available via Best for the Nest; and for participating in the “Be a Safer Seahawk” training. It is not always easy to remember to follow the 3Ws, but your continued dedication to wearing face coverings, waiting 6 feet apart to support physical distancing, and washing hands remains an essential part of the health and safety expectations for our campus and the community. 

Labor Day Weekend

Please don’t let your guard down this holiday weekend, Seahawks. I know it will be tempting to take a break from the 3Ws to celebrate the unofficial end of summer, but I urge you to stay focused on following our health and safety protocols both on campus and off. Although we have seen an increase in COVID-19 cases among UNCW students recently, we have the potential to change that trend, and we need your help to do so. Students, if you value in-person classes and on-campus living experiences as much as we do, please do your best to help us keep those possibilities open by following mass gathering limitations, washing your hands, waiting 6 feet apart and wearing your masks. Take every precaution you can to have a safe, happy and productive Labor Day weekend.

Student Rec Center to Open on Saturday, Sept. 5

As many of you know, N.C. Governor Roy Cooper recently announced that our state will move into Phase 2.5 on Friday, Sept. 4. Thanks to the changes included in this executive order, the UNCW Student Recreation Center will open at 30 percent capacity to students, faculty and staff, effective 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5. UNCW students who have not already entered the Student Recreation Center this semester must register before their first visit, and until otherwise notified, all users must reserve their use of the facility in advance. Face coverings/masks will be required in all areas of the Rec Center except the indoor and outdoor pools. 

Hours and registration instructions for access to the SRC can be found at As a reminder, open free play on outdoor recreation fields is accessible between the hours of 4-10 p.m. (M-Th), 4-7 p.m. (Fri.), 1-4 p.m. (Sat.) and 1-10 p.m. (Sun.).

Update on Events, Activities and Mass Gatherings

UNCW, in consultation with UNC System leadership and sister institutions, has decided to maintain the limits for mass gatherings on campus at 10 individuals indoors/25 outdoors. These limits work well with our room capacities across campus, which will continue to serve as a guiding factor for our events and activities. See the events section of Best for the Nest for more information. 

Student Health Center Now Offering Free COVID-19 Testing for Students

As of Sept. 1, the UNCW Student Health Center is offering COVID-19 tests free of charge to students via funding made available through the CARES Act. Unfortunately, we cannot provide reimbursements for previously conducted tests. There is a testing protocol that SHC staff must follow. 

Students, if you have symptoms of COVID-19, please call the Student Health Center at 910.962.0587 for a consultation; walk-in appointments are not available. You may also reach out to for more information.

Faculty and staff should contact their health care provider and notify their supervisor if they develop COVID-19 symptoms or have had contact with a person with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. Employees with a positive COVID-19 test are asked to report that to or 910.962.0587. Employees also may contact the Student Health Center for information about testing locations in the community.

I also want to take a moment to recognize the great professional staff in the Student Health Center for all of their work on behalf of our students, faculty and staff. 

Housing and Residence Life Update

From the earliest days of the pandemic, UNCW’s Housing and Residence Life staff has made a tremendous effort to help residential students and their families navigate an evolving landscape with as much grace as possible. I am deeply grateful to this team, which includes many student employees, for their dedication and service. As of Sept. 1, 52% of the university’s residential students were assigned to a single room for the fall, and no students are living in a room with 3 or 4 people total. Overall, about 77% of UNCW’s available beds are occupied, and all common bathrooms are sanitized daily.

Have a safe holiday weekend, Seahawks.

Be well,

Jose V. Sartarelli