News

Important Information: UNCW Spring 2022 COVID-19 Protocols

Thursday, January 06, 2022

The start of a new semester inspires energy and excitement at UNCW. During the global pandemic, a new semester also means it is time to revisit the university’s COVID-19 protocols. This spring, UNCW will continue to use the protective, layered measures we successfully deployed in the fall while adding carefully considered adjustments to address concerns caused by the Omicron variant.  

UNCW’s approach has proven effective during the pandemic, providing the university with the ability to offer our students in-person living and learning opportunities in safe surroundings. Throughout the semester, the university’s leadership team will continue to consider several factors when making decisions to alter COVID-19 guidance, including CDC, NCDHHS and UNC System policies; the transmission level in North Carolina; and the overall vaccination rate in our state. Please continue to monitor your campus inboxes, the UNCW homepage and Best for the Nest for updates.

The information below conveys reminders and updates for the start of the spring 2022 semester. It is a lengthy message, but please review it closely to make sure you understand how the latest updates may affect you.

Return-to-Campus and Surveillance Testing
UNCW requires all residential students as well as unvaccinated faculty, staff and students learning and working on campus for the spring 2022 semester to participate in return-to-campus testing before coming to campus for the first time in January. Details were sent via campus inboxes on Dec. 31. Please review information here.

Surveillance testing starts on Monday, January 10 and will serve as return-to-campus testing for those who arrive that day or later. As a reminder, all unvaccinated faculty, staff and students must complete weekly surveillance testing. More details and information about test locations are available here.  

Vaccinations/Boosters
Fortunately, the majority of UNCW faculty, staff and students have received COVID-19 vaccines; see our Data Dashboard for more information. If you aren’t yet vaccinated or you haven’t received your booster, take action to protect yourselves and our community. Vaccinations and boosters for UNCW students, faculty and staff will be available Friday, Saturday and Sunday (January 7-9) during Return-to-Campus testing hours in the MAC Gym.  

The university will continue to offer COVID-19 vaccines and boosters on campus this semester; monitor your campus inboxes and Best for the Nest for dates, times and locations. If you are vaccinated but have not yet submitted your information to Student Health, please send it to coronavirus@uncw.edu.  

Wear Face Coverings, Wash Hands Frequently and Stay Home When Sick  
While vaccinations and boosters are the most effective ways to make a difference in the spread of COVID-19, diligently practicing other preventative measures remain important. Remember:

  • Face coverings are required indoors, including during events, games and other activities at Trask Coliseum, Kenan Auditorium and other campus venues. Details are available here.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Get vaccinated and boosted.
  • Review the Daily Health Assessment sent to your inboxes.
  • If you feel unwell, don’t attend in-person classes or events and don’t come to work on campus. Some COVID-19 and flu symptoms seem similar. Please get your symptoms checked out by Student Health (for students) or your medical professional (employees).
  • Follow best practices off campus as well as on campus.

If You Develop COVID-19 or Are a Close Contact

Effective January 6, UNCW has adopted new isolation and quarantine guidelines in accordance with CDC and NCDHHS recommendations. The time period for isolation and quarantine has been shortened in some cases. More details are available here.

Students - Students with COVID-19 symptoms should contact the Student Health Center at 910.962.3280 or coronavirus@uncw.edu. Students who test positive at off-campus facilities should notify coronavirus@uncw.edu.

Employees - Employees with COVID-19 symptoms should contact their health care provider, notify their supervisor if they will be missing work and then notify the UNCW Student Health Center at 910.962.0587 or coronavirus@uncw.edu.

Course Modality Shifts
Consistent with previous semesters, course modality shifts may occur, especially of a temporary nature at the beginning of the semester. Faculty should consult with their department chair, school director or dean on the appropriate process to use for modality shifts. The Provost’s Office also provided detailed guidance on this topic. Any additional information regarding course modality shifts will be communicated to the faculty via the Office of the Provost in the coming days.

Teleworking Flexibility Extension
Given the increase in COVID-19 cases in NC, supervisors have the option to temporarily extend the teleworking flexibility used by some employees until Jan. 31, a three-week extension beyond the planned Jan. 10 return date (see previous guidance). Since UNCW is a people-facing organization with a clear public service mission, supervisors and employees are expected to maintain schedules and a campus presence that meet the university’s educational, operational and service needs. Divisional leadership may provide additional guidance for the units in their areas.  

As a reminder, employees working on campus are required to submit proof of vaccination to the Student Health Center. If you have not already done so, please send a photograph of your vaccination card to coronavirus@uncw.edu by Jan. 31. Unvaccinated employees are required to participate in return-to-campus and weekly surveillance testing. More details and information about test locations are available here.

Events
In-person campus events and activities have the option to proceed as long as COVID-19 protocols are in place. Event organizers should confer with divisional leadership, Student Health and Environmental Health and Safety to assess their plans and adjust as needed. Event attendees are encouraged to check the websites for all events to confirm details prior to arrival. Resources include:

Orientation for New Students  
The Division of Student Affairs plans to have in-person transfer orientation on Friday, January 7, 2022. Only students who have not registered for classes will be required to attend.

First-year orientation on January 10, 2022, will remain in-person for students and all guests will participate virtually. Anyone with questions may contact the Office of Transition Programs at transitions@uncw.edu.

Travel  
The official university travel guidelines utilized in the fall 2021 semester remain in effect until further notice. Approved travel should meet research and academic requirements, perform essential university business, or participate in professional development programming which requires in-person attendance. Please see additional guidance here.  

Beginning the Year with Continued Grace and Resilience
Thank you for your attention to these matters. Few of us realized when the pandemic began that it would remain such a force to contend with nearly two years later. Despite the challenges that COVID-19 continues to cause, the university is well-positioned for a successful semester thanks to dedicated Seahawks like all of you. Please continue to do what is “Best for the Nest,” follow UNCW’s protocols and have a safe, healthy start to the new year.