Stressed on spring break: UNCW students wonder what’s next

Updated: Mar. 12, 2020 at 5:44 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The UNCW campus is quiet while students are on spring break, but it will likely remain that way once they return from their extended vacation.

On March 23, all UNCW schools will switch to online courses indefinitely in response to the coronavirus. UNCW released some basic information Wednesday evening but students say they have more questions.

WECT reached out to UNCW for clarification, but school leaders declined to comment until Monday, March 16, saying they were still working on a plan.

Mary Hull is a sophomore communication studies major who is now wondering about the future of her employment status with the university.

“We pay a lot to go to school at UNCW and we’re spending a lot of time out of the classroom. If I wanted to go to online school, I would pay to go to online school. UNCW obviously can’t control the epidemic that’s happening but I think after Florence they could have better prepared an evacuation plan. I live on campus so I definitely feel like there has to be some sort of compensation if I’m not going to be able to stay in my apartment for the rest of the year and a meal plan,” she said.

Hull works three different jobs at UNCW and said she has concerns not only as a student, but also as an employee.

“One of the areas that I work on campus involves events that have typically over 50 people and that’s kind of standard that those are being cancelled so I’m pretty much ruling out I’m going to have any more shifts for the rest of the semester. My other jobs also involve giving tours on campus and again that’s a bigger group so I don’t think those will continue,” she said.

Hull says she will have to move out of her on-campus apartment by March 23, something she says will cause problems for a lot of her peers.

“That’s not a lot of time and fortunately I have family in Wilmington but for students who live out of the country, out of state, or even places further away in North Carolina it’s definitely going to be a more difficult process,” Hull said.

As a communication major, Hull says most of her courses are essay and discussion-based and can transition smoothly into online mediums.

But that is not the case for all courses, especially ones involving labs or clinicals.

“For people in STEM majors where their labs are physical or communication majors who rely on the studio to do broadcasting it’s something you can’t do online,” she said.

She also expressed concern for students who rely on the library and free wifi sources to do work on computers. It is still unclear if the library will remain open.

UNCW has announced a tentative media round-table discussion set for Monday.

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