BREAKING NEWS: On-campus dorms to become single occupancy due to COVID-19 concerns


Zachary Kilby

Pelican Hall and Sandpiper Hall are two of the four new housing options which opened fall 2020 at UNCW.

Veronica Wernicke, News Editor

This post was updated to reflect the correct date of when the email was said to go out, Sept. 8, from the incorrect date of Aug. 8.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available. Check back for updates. 

The Seahawk has learned that on Sept. 8 UNCW students will receive an email announcing that double occupancy on-campus dorms will become single occupancy.

This means that one roommate has to leave and the other gets to stay. This decision is up to the roommates, however if they do not respond the university will randomly decide. According to Barbara Duran-Duboy a UNCW freshman living in Sandpiper this decision will have to made by Sept. 10.

“Me and my roommate found out through one of our friends in Graham who was told by her RA this information,” said Duran-Duboy. “I called my RA to make sure this wasn’t true and she told us that it indeed was true since she’d be in a meeting for hours about this.”

Duran-Duboy wrote in a Facebook post to the group “UNCW Class of 2024 – Parents and Families” that students who opt or are selected to return home will receive a refund for this semester or have their housing for the spring secured.

This information was confirmed by UNCW Resident Assistants (RAs) who refused to go on the record.

In the email sent out to on-campus residents living in double occupancy rooms on Sept. 8, and obtained by The Seahawk, UNCW Housing & Residence Life informed students of this change.

The email sent out to UNCW students in double-occupancy rooms. The recipient of this email has been blurred out for privacy reasons. (Veronica Wernicke)
The email sent out to UNCW students in double-occupancy rooms. The recipient of this email has been blurred out for privacy reasons.

















“The University, in cooperation with the New Hanover County Health Department, is taking action to help lower COVID-19 levels in the 18- to 24-year-old population. The Health Department has approached us because this age group is the largest source of new COVID-19 cases in New Hanover County, and most UNCW students are among that age group,” as stated in the email. 

The email also noted that students will be contacted by their RA to have one roommate move into a new space where they will stay for the remainder of the year. Both roommates will also have the option to move back home and still receive the same room assignment for the spring semester in addition to a “prorated” refund for housing and dining. Students will also receive a refund for parking. 

“You will not be charged additional money for the fall if it is a more expensive space, but if the space is less expensive, you will receive a prorated refund to your student account. If it is a double room that is made a fall single space, we will guarantee it as a single for the Fall, and we will try (but will not guarantee) to keep the space as a single for the Spring.”

The email also added that no one is being released from their housing contract nor are students allowed to move off campus into the Wilmington community unless it is with their parent/guardian. 

Students will move to their new room or back home for the remainder of the year by Sept. 16.

In an email later sent out to all UNCW students, the university further clarified this change.

“Starting today, Housing and Residence Life staff are reaching out to first-year students living on campus with a roommate about arranging for one of the roommates to move to an open single-occupancy room…We intend to make this transition as smooth as possible for the students involved. Of the 3,600 students living on campus, 1,900 already live in single-occupancy rooms. Residence Life will work closely with about 800 students who will be affected by the move,” as stated in the email. 

Students affected by this change will also be given flexibility towards their class attendance while they make this transition.

Since returning to classes on Aug. 19, UNC Wilmington (UNCW) has seen an increase in the number of positive coronavirus (COVID-19) cases on campus with over five separate clusters having been recorded in dorms.  According to UNCW’s data dashboard since Aug. 26, 205 students have tested positive.

“In planning for the return to campus this fall, we recognized we could likely face challenging situations and must be prepared to adapt according to the facts and the public health data. Though the pandemic has brought greater unpredictability, we will continue to be open and transparent with you as, together, we work through any issues we face. We are all living in unprecedented times, and we appreciate the flexibility and patience of the Seahawk community as we make necessary changes. Our priority remains the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and surrounding community,” the university wrote in their email.