UNCW extends COVID-19 guidelines into the spring semester

Brenna Flanagan, Editor-in-Chief

COVID-19 protocols, including face coverings and surveillance testing, will continue in the spring semester according to a university email sent today.

Unvaccinated on-campus students, face-to-face off-campus students, faculty and staff will be required to take a COVID-19 test upon returning to campus. The university will conduct testing from Jan. 4-14 with more details to come via email.

Those same unvaccinated groups will be required to participate in surveillance testing beginning on Jan. 10. Participants will be required to attend a COVID-19 test once a week. Testing will continue to be offered Monday through Thursday with no appointment necessary. Vaccinated students do not have to submit to surveillance or return testing.

Face mask mandate on campus. (Kaylin Damico)

Face coverings will continue to be required in all public indoor spaces.

These guidelines will be enforced “to begin the spring 2022 semester.” It is unclear if or when the university will reevaluate them in the spring.

The email stated that the majority of the campus community was vaccinated—75% of off-campus students attending on-campus classes, 80% of on-campus students and 91% of faculty are vaccinated. The New Hanover County vaccination rate sits at 59%.

This email comes amid news of the spreading omicron variant, a COVID-19 variant thought to be spreading faster and potentially more contagious than previous virus strains. A case of the variant was reported in Mecklenburg County on Dec. 10, but no cases of the omicron variant have yet been reported in New Hanover County.