Notice: COVID-19 Health and Safety Updates and Campus Reminders for Faculty and Staff

Friday, November 20, 2020

As UNCW moves closer to the completion of the fall semester and the start of the holiday season, your colleagues in Human Resources, Environmental Health and Safety and the Student Health Center want to take this opportunity to thank you for working together to support and sustain an environment that has slowed the progression of COVID-19 on our campus and in our community. Your dedication to following the health and safety protocols outlined in Best for the Nest has been meaningful and effective. 

We wanted to share the following updates and reminders with you because we need your continued support in the weeks ahead, even while some of the university’s daily operations ramp down between semesters. As a reminder, the spring semester will begin Jan. 20, 2021, on the traditional calendar and Jan. 18 on the OAP calendar

Campus Holiday Gatherings 

Virtual events are the safest choice this year. If your group, office, department or team is planning an in-person campus holiday gathering, please remember that events at UNCW are limited to 10 individuals indoors and 25 outdoors. Be sure to follow the 3Ws (wear face coverings, wait 6 feet of distance away from others, and wash hands frequently). See the UNCW General Guidelines for Activities, Events, Meetings, and all other Non-Course Instruction Gatherings for more information.  

Please be aware of CDC guidelines to help prevent becoming infected with COVID-19:   

  • Remember that 15 minutes of exposure to someone with COVID-19 within a 24-hour period increases the chance of infection. 
  • Give careful consideration to indoor gatherings or outdoor gatherings with large groups. 
  • Avoid gatherings with people outside your usual circle when possible.  

Modified Service Hours at Campus Locations 

As the semester concludes, many campus offices and services plan to alter their hours of operation to conserve resources and support supervisors’ efforts to offer employees flexible scheduling and much-needed time off during the interim between the end of the fall semester and the beginning of the spring semester. Please be sure to confirm operating hours for Randall Library, Campus Recreation, Campus Dining, the Bookstore and other campus services via their online sites before visiting locations in person. The Student Health Center will remain open, but please visit the website to confirm hours of operation.

Daily Health Assessment Also Useful Away from Campus 

The Daily Health Assessment, automatically distributed by email to the campus community on behalf of the Student Health Center and Human Resources, will continue to go out during the interim between semesters. The health assessment is a useful tool for any member of our campus community to consider prior to running errands and/or attending events and activities outside your usual circle.  

Coming Soon: New Face Coverings for Students, Faculty and Staff 

For the spring 2021 semester, UNCW will provide new students with two face coverings. Returning students and employees will receive one new face covering from the university. Distribution will be handled by the Student Health Center and EH&S in collaboration with the university’s divisional business officers, which follows the same, effective approach used at the start of the fall semester. 

CDC Recommendations: Isolation and Quarantine 

The CDC recommends that anyone who has tested positive isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms. After 10 days, isolation may end as long as the symptoms are resolving, and you have been fever-free for the last 24 hours without the aid of fever-reducing medication. If you have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive, then you should quarantine for 14 days from the last date of contact. Please see the COVID-19 Exposure Decision Tree on the Human Resources website for additional information. It is always recommended that you contact your doctor if you have any questions.  

Sign up for the SlowCOVIDNC App 

The NC Department of Health and Human Services recently launched SlowCOVIDNC, an app designed to proactively notify users about potential exposures and enable them to act quickly to protect themselves and their communities. The more people who use SlowCOVIDNC on campus and within the surrounding community, the more effective it will be in slowing the spread of the virus. Using SlowCOVIDNC is entirely voluntary, and users can enable or disable it at any time. The app is designed to protect users’ privacy. Download the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. 

Reminder: COVID-19 Testing and Flu Shots 

As previously shared, if you plan to travel for Thanksgiving or during winter break, public health experts recommend that you take a COVID-19 test 3-5 days prior to your departure date. Testing is available on campus for students through the Student Health Center and for faculty, staff and the community through a partnership with the New Hanover County Health Department. Tests at the Student Health Center and the community testing site are free. Please see the New Hanover County COVID-19 Testing site for more information about hours of operation, holiday closing dates, and more.    

Students should call the health center at 910.962.3280 to make an appointment. Faculty, staff and community members should register at this link for testing at the community site. Print out your voucher and bring it with you to be tested. The testing site is in Lot 1A at the intersection of Hurst Drive and Hamilton Drive. Those driving to the site should enter off Hurst Drive; those who choose to walk will see a tent at the corner of the parking lot. 

It’s important to remember that a negative test only provides information for that point in time, so limit non-essential activities between your test and travel date. Screening tests are not perfect, but they can catch some people who have the virus and don’t have symptoms yet. Even with testing, everyone should continue to practice the 3Ws (Wear, Wait, Wash) to protect yourself and others.   

In addition, public health officials recommend that both students and employees obtain flu shots between now and the end of winter break to help reduce the strain on the nation’s health care system by limiting the spread of the flu.