Thursday, January 27, 2022

UNCW broadens start-of-semester Covid-19 protocols

Before spring semester classes start, UNCW now wants all its on-campus vaccinated students tested. (Port City Daily/Preston Lennon)

WILMINGTON — The University of North Carolina at Wilmington announced an expansion to the Covid-19 testing requirements that will be in place at the start of the spring semester. 

“Based on emerging public health guidance, UNCW will require 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,” according to an announcement sent to the university community Friday morning. 

Previously, showing up to campus with a negative Covid-19 test in tow was only planned to be required of unvaccinated students, faculty and staff. The university said its broader requirements are based on emerging public health data and were established after top leaders “closely monitored the development of the Omicron variant during winter break.”

“Residential students live in a congregate setting as defined by the CDC, and we wanted to provide an additional layer of protection for the Seahawks living on our campus,” according to a university spokesperson. “Vaccinated members of the campus community have the option to participate in testing as well.”

When submitting to return-to-campus testing, individuals now need proof of a Covid-19 test received in the previous three days, a reduction from the previous window of five days. 

Residential students and other community members required to test can also provide proof of a positive Covid-19 test within 90 days of arrival, or the university will test them before they attend classes or work. 

UNCW Student Health will issue “clearance records” at testing sites confirming that individuals have met the requirements. The announcement says, in bold, to prepare to show your clearance record if asked. 

The university opens Tuesday, Jan. 4, and classes begin the following Wednesday, Jan. 12.

Starting Jan. 10, all unvaccinated students, faculty and staff are expected to receive weekly surveillance tests from student health. 

Though the updated return-to-testing requirements ask vaccinated on-campus students to provide a negative Covid-19 test prior to re-entry, it does not require the same of vaccinated faculty members and off-campus students.

“In UNCW’s ongoing effort to navigate the pandemic, 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 level of transmission in North Carolina; and the overall vaccination rate in our state,” according to the university spokesperson. “We will continue to assess the impact of COVID-19 and communicate information about any changes as needed.”

Return-to-Campus  Testing Details: Warwick Ballroom 4 

  • Tuesday, January 4 from 8:30-11:30 a.m. and 1-4:30 p.m.  
  • Wednesday, January 5 from 8:30-11:30 a.m. and 1-4:30 p.m.  
  • Thursday, January 6 from 8:30-11:30 a.m. and 1-4:30 p.m.  
  • Friday, January 7 from 8:30-11:30 a.m. and 1-4:30 p.m.  
  • Saturday, January 8 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.  
  • Sunday, January 9 from 1-6 p.m.  

Return-to-Campus  Testing Details: MAC Gym   

  • Friday, January 7 from 8:30-11:30 a.m. and 1-4:30 p.m.  
  • Saturday, January 8 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.  
  • Sunday, January 9 from 1-6 p.m.  

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