UNCW asks apartment complexes to report students who gather in large groups

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Students have a lot more on their minds than just getting to class on time.

Seahawks returned to campus for the first day of classes on Wednesday. Other universities like East Carolina Universtiy and UNC-Asheville have already suffered COVID-19 outbreaks, and UNC-Chapel Hill moved to a totally virtual semester when 130 students tested positive for coronavirus after one week of classes.

Many at UNCW say they are afraid of following in the Tar Heels’ footsteps, and losing what’s left of their college experience.

“If I had a 100 bucks, I’d definitely put it on that we would be going all online like halfway through the semester at least. Maybe even before. We’ll see,” said student Alan Bass.

“That’s kind of what me and all my friends are thinking,” Graham Harris, another student said. “We’ll get probably a month and then things will probably shut down.”

It seems UNCW is determined not to follow suit. They’ve put an emphasis on social distancing on campus and off.

Last week, an email was sent to 25 private apartment communities, asking them to report any students who hold or attend gatherings of more than 10 people in one room.

When asked for comment, Dean of Students Mike Walker said:

UNCW cannot require local apartment complexes and landlords to provide the university this information. However, in the spirit of attempting to keep our students, their peers, and the broader community safe, we have simply requested that they share information with us if it includes a violation of the Governor’s Executive Order 155. This will enable the university to help further educate our students on the importance of safe behaviors, which are critical to exhibit at this time.  

 UNCW has forged excellent relationships with local apartments and we are confident, because they also care about the safety of their tenants, that they will match our efforts to help keep their tenants safe.

Many students hadn’t heard about the email, but some were grateful the university was taking their safety seriously.

“It seems a little bit strict right now, especially coming in and expecting something else from college,” student Eliza Knightzurbach said. “But I think in the long run, especially if things clear up by the second semester, we’ll be grateful that they kind of cracked down on us.”

Of their total classes:

  • 15 percent are held face to face
  • 40 percent are a mix of online and face to face
  • 45 percent are held online

Right now, UNCW only has seven positive cases and a quarantine area able to accommodate up to 150 students.

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