Notice: UNCW Works with Residential Students to Move to Single Occupancy Rooms in Residence Halls

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

UNCW, in cooperation with the New Hanover County Health Department, is taking additional decisive action to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 among the 18- to-24-year-old population. Starting today, Housing and Residence Life staff are reaching out to first-year students living on campus with a roommate about arranging for one of the roommates to move to an open single-occupancy room. The new assignment will likely be in another residence hall or UNCW apartment, and this will be their assignment for the remainder of the academic year. 

The Health Department approached UNCW because 18-to-24-year-olds represent the largest source of new COVID-19 cases in the county. With the support of the Health Department, the university is taking this voluntary additional action to further de-densify campus by reducing the number of students in shared spaces, which makes it easier to socially distance in campus housing.  

We intend to make this transition as smooth as possible for the students involved. Of the 3,600 students living on campus, 1,900 already live in single-occupancy rooms. Residence Life will work closely with about 800 students who will be affected by the move. 

Students who are moved to a more expensive space will not be required to pay more. Students who are moved to a less expensive space will receive a pro-rated refund. 

Students who are asked to move may opt to return home if they choose, and they will receive pro-rated refunds for housing and dining for the remainder of the fall semester. If both roommates want to move home, they may do so, and both will receive pro-rated refunds. Students who move home will also receive parking refunds. 

As part of this arrangement, upon the recommendation of the New Hanover County Health Department, students who are currently living on campus will not be permitted to move to off-campus housing unless they will be residing with parents or guardians. 

Working in collaboration with Provost James Winebrake, we are asking faculty to assist in the transition by offering some flexibility in class attendance to students who are asked to change housing assignments.

In planning for the return to campus this fall, we recognized we could likely face challenging situations and must be prepared to adapt according to the facts and the public health data. Though the pandemic has brought greater unpredictability, we will continue to be open and transparent with you as, together, we work through any issues we face. We are all living in unprecedented times, and we appreciate the flexibility and patience of the Seahawk community as we make necessary changes. Our priority remains the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and surrounding community.  

We are taking this action to protect our students while continuing with our efforts to offer on-campus living and in-person learning consistent with the current circumstances. To support this effort, we want to remind the entire campus community to continue to follow the 3Ws (wear face coverings, wait six feet apart in support of social distancing, and wash hands), to use the daily health assessment, and to follow the health and safety protocols outlined on the Best for the Nest website. UNCW will continue to work with county health officials to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, and we thank students, faculty and staff for their cooperation, as this is a team effort.