Message from Chancellor Sartarelli: Spring 2022 COVID-19 Updates from UNCW

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Dear Seahawk Community:

As you know, UNCW has multiple pandemic protections in place, including face coverings, vaccinations/boosters, surveillance testing, flexible scheduling and more, to help slow the spread of COVID-19 on campus and in our community. The health and leadership team continuously monitors conditions and updates our health and safety protocols as the pandemic evolves.

At present, the percentage of positive case counts among UNCW students, faculty and staff remains below NC’s positivity rate, but overall trends across our region, the state and the nation indicate the need to maintain our current pandemic-related protocols. We will continue to consider several factors when making the decision to alter COVID-19 guidance, including CDC, NCDHHS, and UNC System policies; local public health guidance; the level of transmission in North Carolina; and the overall vaccination rate in our state.

Please review the message below in its entirety; while all sections may not pertain to all individuals, essential information about the university’s ongoing efforts to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 is included throughout the message.

Temporary Teleworking Flexibility
Supervisors have the option to temporarily extend the teleworking flexibility used by some employees until March 31, a two-month extension beyond the Jan. 31 date announced earlier this year. Please continue preparing to transition to in-person campus work locations at the conclusion of the extension. 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.

Updated COVID-19 Special Work/Leave Provisions
As a reminder, the UNC System Office and Office of State Human Resources developed special COVID work/leave provisions, effective through the end of the state of emergency unless revised or rescinded. Employees should review specific details here.

Update on Temporary Modality Shifts
The guidance related to course modality modifications (PDF) distributed by the Office of the Provost remains in place through March 31. Faculty should continue to consult with their department chair/school director on the appropriate process to use for modality modification requests.

Indoor Face Covering Requirement Remains in Place
The university’s indoor face covering requirement applies to students, faculty, staff and visitors regardless of vaccination status. The protocols in place include:

  • Wear face coverings in campus dining areas, break rooms and other places where food is consumed. Remove them only when actively eating or drinking and then replace them while sitting and talking with others.
  • Wear face coverings in class and at indoor events, including artistic performances, conferences, lecture series, and student organization activities.
  • Wear face coverings in multi-passenger vehicles such as WAVE buses, shuttles, vans and UNCW vehicles. Personal vehicles and open-air vehicles such as golf carts or gators are not included in this requirement.
  • Wear face coverings at all indoor UNCW Athletics events, including men’s and women’s basketball games. Help protect our student-athletes, coaches and athletic staff, and other fans by wearing masks inside Trask Coliseum.
  • Classrooms and other areas on campus are equipped with free, disposable face coverings.
  • Face coverings are not required when someone is alone in their office or in their assigned residential space.
  • Obtain free, reusable masks from Student Health by requesting them at

As a reminder, noncompliant students can be asked to leave a class and/or may be referred to the Office of the Dean of Students. Noncompliant employees may be referred to a supervisor and/or Human Resources. Event hosts may ask noncompliant guests to leave indoor events if they refuse to follow our face covering requirement.

While UNCW does not require face coverings for general outdoor activities, face coverings may be requested or strongly recommended for large gatherings. See specific event information for guidance and/or signage. Please continue to demonstrate care and respect for your fellow Seahawks and refrain from asking individuals why they are wearing a face covering if it is not required in a particular location. Their reasons may be related to confidential health information.

Campus Events, Including Homecoming
As previously shared, in-person campus events and activities have the option to proceed with COVID-19 protocols in place. Event organizers should continue to 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 arts activities, lectures, sports events, etc. to confirm details prior to arrival.

Keep up with plans for Homecoming, Feb. 7-13, via these sites:
There is No Place Like the Dub! Association for Campus Entertainment (ACE)
A Celebration Like No Other! UNCW Alumni Association 

Vaccinations, Boosters and Surveillance Testing
Based on data gathered by Student Health for the spring semester, 90% of faculty and staff are vaccinated, as are 75% of residential students and 70% of off-campus students taking on-campus classes. These percentages were current as of Monday, Jan. 24, and the data will be updated periodically as the Student Health Center receives more vaccination status information from students and employees. Please visit the Data Dashboard on the Best for the Nest website for updates.

If you are not vaccinated or have not received your booster, please take action to protect your health and the well-being of our campus and community. Free shots for students, faculty and staff and community members are available via the Student Health Center while supplies last. Campus clinics will be held 8:30-11:30 a.m. and 1-4:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 28 and Friday, Feb. 4 in Warwick Center. Vaccinations and boosters are also available at many locations in the community and across the state. See NCDHHS information for more details.

As a reminder: unvaccinated residential students, faculty, staff and off-campus students taking in-person classes are required to participate in weekly surveillance testing. Students, staff and faculty who present proof of vaccination are not subject to weekly surveillance testing.

Standard Surveillance Testing, Locations, Dates and Times:
  • Locations: Warwick Center and Veterans Hall (Northside), Room 1012
  • Dates/Times: Monday-Thursday, 8:30-11:30 a.m. and 1-4:30 p.m.

If you have not yet submitted your vaccination status, please submit your information to Student Health staff will be the only ones with access to individual information.

If You Develop COVID-19 or Are a Close Contact
Earlier this semester, UNCW 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 exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms should contact the Student Health Center at 910.962.3280 or Students who test positive at off-campus facilities should notify 

Employees – Employees exhibiting 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 

Moving Forward
Thank you for maintaining the patience and fortitude to help the UNCW campus and community continue navigating the pandemic. We are Seahawks and, by working together, we will keep rising throughout the year ahead.

Sincerely yours,

Jose V. Sartarelli

Resources for Information

UNCW Best for the Nest 

UNCW Data Dashboard 

UNCW Student Health Center

UNCW Human Resources

UNCW Counseling Center – Provides currently enrolled students with free services

Employee Assistance Program – Provides faculty and staff with emotional wellness, mental health and resilience resources



New Hanover County Health and Human Services