UNCW prepares for students returning to campus

UNCW implements new procedures for returning students

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) -UNCW students will begin moving back into on campus housing this week.

Move in slots are scheduled for Thursday and Friday, ahead of the university’s first day of class on January 20.

Classes this semester will be a mix of online, hybrid and in-person learning. Research, sports and the arts are still on, but will have limits because of the virus.

Precautions put in place this fall are still active, as well as a new campus COVID-19 testing protocol.

Now, each student that lives on campus or comes in for in-person classes or research must show proof that they tested negative for the virus within five days of returning to UNCW.

University officials believe about 70 percent of their campus community will get tested at other sites in their hometowns, but estimate they will be conducting as many as 1,000 rapid COVID-19 tests on campus for those unable to be tested prior to move in and the start of classes.

Once they submit proof of the COVID test, students will be given a green wristband that will have to be worn until next week, certifying they tested negative. People not wearing their green bracelet could be asked to leave.

The interim associate vice chancellor for student affairs says testing upon re-entry is pretty standard for schools across the UNC system.

“Return to campus testing has become more common across the system, across the country and so we felt that it was another safety mechanism to put into place. With all of this, you look to see all the different components you could have to create a comprehensive plan. It’s another piece in the toolbox,“ said Katrin Wesner Harts, interim associate vice chancellor for student affairs.

Harts also acknowledged testing is just a snapshot in time and people will have to continue to distance and wear their masks to ensure they aren’t exposed after getting their results.

“We’re asking a lot. We recognize that we’ve said over and over we’ve asked you to change every routine that you know and we’re asking to do that just a little bit longer,” said Harts. “We’re Seahawk strong. We’ve overcome a lot in the past few years and this is just something else to overcome. We’ve got a very resilient set of faculty, staff and students and we’re going to do it.”

Tennis players Lea Dubois and Annie Gupta are among the first UNCW students to complete new return to campus testing protocol. They’re both glad to have the opportunity to play their match on Friday and be returning to UNCW.

”I’m happy to be able to just be here on campus and to have in person classes because a lot of universities are all online,” said Lea Dubois.

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