UNCW calls fall semester a success, will test students for COVID-19 more frequently in spring


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Students at UNCW are getting ready to head home for the holidays as the school watches rising numbers of COVID-19 cases around the country.

Most students have already headed home for the holidays, some are still lingering on campus and others are preparing for a virtual graduation ceremony.

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Interim Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Katrin Wesner-Harts is calling this a successful semester.

“I know we asked a lot this semester but people really worked hard to try and do their best,” Harts said.

She says now, the objective is reminding students, faculty and staff to continue to take safety precautions even when they are not on campus.

​”And that’s asking a lot right?” she said. “To say that when you’re with people who don’t live with you that you have to wear a face covering when we’re used to just getting together and celebrating. Especially at the end of a long semester I think that’s asking a lot, but talking to people about why that’s important.”

COVID-19 cases continue to rise in North Carolina, and experts projecting record breaking numbers after the holidays. Wesner-Harts says these are things they are keeping in mind as they plan for the spring semester.

“Much like all campuses, you’ll see some increased testing throughout the semester,” she said. “We’re looking at doing some testing Tuesdays, we thought that was kind of cute to keep in our theme of Teal Tuesdays, now we’ll be doing testing Tuesdays.”

Unlike some large universities, UNCW will not test the entire population. Wesner-Harts says randomized surveillance testing is part of their spring plan.

Increased testing won’t mean an increase in what you’re paying. She says the university is working with the state, county and other resources to make sure they can provide free testing as long as possible.

Students living on campus will have to provide evidence of a negative COVID test before returning to campus, and Wesner-Harts says some other students will be required to do that as well.

The university says more finalized plans for the next semester should be ready in the next week.