University leadership provides information on testing, housing, dining and more for spring

As the Spring 2021 semester’s Jan. 19 start date nears, leaders from across East Carolina University’s campus are sharing information and answering your questions about the Return of Pirate Nation.

Earlier this month, ECU asked students, families and other members of our community to submit questions about the upcoming semester. Those questions were provided to campus leaders for a Q&A video.

Learn more about campus operations, including general information, along with details about Student Health Services, ECU Campus Living, academics, counseling, ECU Police initiatives and more in the video and in the text version below.

Have a question that isn’t answered? Email us at COVID19@ecu.edu.

On This Page


Why does the university believe spring semester will work face to face when we pivoted online in the fall?

As we go through this pandemic, we have the benefit of lessons learned. ECU continues to work closely with our Student Health Services, the UNC System, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and others to implement the latest guidelines and best practices for the health and safety of our community.

In the fall, quarantine and isolation space was limited off campus. This spring, residence halls are single occupancy, with fewer students in the halls. Two complete residence halls are dedicated for students who need quarantine and isolation space, for a total of more than 350 beds available.

We also have de-densified campus in other ways. Approximately 32% of our classes are face to face and will be held in spaces that allow for social distancing with a smaller number of students. Other areas on campus — dining halls and retail spaces, libraries, Academic Student Success Center, student centers, rec centers and more — are all set up for social distancing.

Where am I required to wear a mask on campus?

Faculty, staff, students and visitors on campus are expected to wear a face covering in public places and face-to-face meetings, including classrooms and labs. This follows UNC System guidance for all campuses. Wearing a face covering is an expression of care, an acknowledgment of our community and a vital part of our plan to make ECU as safe as possible for everyone.

I graduate in May. Will there be an in-person ceremony?

A decision about spring commencement has not yet been made due to the ever-changing nature of the pandemic. We expect to have more information by the end of February. The commencement site continues to be updated with the latest information.

When can I get my parking permit?

Permits for new and returning students will be available for purchase beginning Monday, Jan. 11. Specific zone sales are on a first-come, first-served basis. New and returning students can purchase permits online through PiratePort by clicking the Parking and Transportation Services tab or by calling 252-328-6294. More information is available on the Parking & Transportation website.

Are the rec centers open?

The recreation centers — the Eakin Student Recreation Center on Main Campus and the rec center inside the Health Sciences Campus Student Center — are open seven days a week. Reservations are required due to limited capacity and safety guidelines. Visit the Campus Recreation & Wellness website for hours of operation for the centers, the North Rec Complex and the Blount fields; reservations; available services and programs; or to download the ECU Rec app, available for Android and Apple devices.


What are the testing requirements for the return to campus?

Students who are residing on campus are required to be tested for COVID-19 via a PCR test. Any student who is not tested through Student Health Services (SHS) must ask their provider for a PCR test and send their negative results to SHS through MyPirateChart or via email at gotquestions@ecu.edu. SHS will notify students to give them the all-clear for move-in. Get 7 fast facts about the spring testing plan.

Is a COVID test required if I live off campus?

It is strongly encouraged. Students who live off campus and will be on campus for any reason should be tested prior to their return. This is to ensure ECU can understand the prevalence of COVID-19 in our community, maintain good control of the virus and remain on campus for the semester.

Is testing required throughout the semester?

Mass screenings will be held the first week in February — with testing required for residence hall students and strongly encouraged for others. Testing will be available each day. With a 14-day incubation period for COVID, this mass testing will allow ECU and our health experts to get a pulse on what’s happening on campus. After this, residence hall students will continue to undergo required, regular testing throughout the semester.

How can I get tested?

Information about mass screenings the first week of February will be available soon. Saliva testing will be available for surveillance for faculty, staff and students this semester through a partnership with the Brody School of Medicine. The testing will be free of charge.

Testing Thursdays, which began in the fall, will continue this spring — with testing available each Thursday in the student centers on both Main and Health Sciences campuses for anyone who wants to be tested, preferably those who are asymptomatic. Anyone experiencing symptoms should contact SHS or their provider for a testing appointment.

How has quarantine and isolation changed from the fall?

Quarantine and isolation space is now on campus. With this change, it will be easier to test and re-evaluate students in Q&I housing. The moving process to and from Q&I housing will also be easier and more streamlined for these students.

What is the process for students in Q&I?

Student Health Services will notify students of a positive result or the need to be in quarantine housing. Once the student has moved into Q&I housing, Student Health will send daily communication to ask about their symptoms, concerns and more. Student Health also will reach back out to talk about next steps at the end of the student’s quarantine or isolation period. Get more information about the Q&I process.

What is some advice from ECU’s health experts on how I can stay safe on campus?

Social interaction is a big part of the college experience. No one expects students to forgo interacting with others, but experts recommend that students make conscious decisions about who they let into their “bubble” — mask up, hang out with others who take the virus as seriously as you do and take advantage of many virtual options that will be available this semester.

How can I contact Student Health Services?


When is move-in?

Main move-in begins at 1 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14.

If you participated in early drop-off, you can return to campus at your convenience with your key, fob and any luggage you have left to move in. Please refrain from bringing family members to reduce the number of people on campus.

If you did not participate in early drop-off, you may bring two family members, preferably from the same household. Be sure you and your family members check for COVID symptoms ahead of arrival and follow mask and social distancing guidelines during the process. Parking will be prioritized for move-in, and a limited number of carts will be available. There is no sign-up process, as students may move in beginning 1 p.m. Thursday and throughout the long weekend. Keep in mind that the first day likely will be the busiest, so plan accordingly.

If you stayed on campus in the fall, your fob should already be activated and you can return at any time after the halls open.

How do I get my key/fob?

The Neighborhood Service Office hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for the move-in weekdays and noon to 8 p.m. for the Saturday and Sunday before classes begin. Visit the NSO in Ballard East (formerly Gateway East) to check in and pick up your key and fob. You may then head to your residence hall — either on College Hill or West End — and start your move-in process. Staff will be available for directions and support. The Jones Hall office also is available if you have questions about the process.

What dining options are available?

Todd Dining Hall will be open, along with some of the retail in the Main Campus Student Center. Reede Street Market and Subway (next to Clement, White and Greene halls) will be open. Visit Dining’s website for a full list of options and to check hours of operation.

Since the West End NSO and West End Dining Hall are closed, where do I get my mail and eat?

Students may collect their mail at the College Hill NSO in Ballard East. A special Transit route from West End to College Hill on the quarter hour will allow you to easily get to College Hill to pick up a meal, stop by the NSO, collect packages and more.

What is different with Transit?

Transit largely will maintain its normal schedules, including for commuting students. Check the Transit website for schedules and updates.

What is ECU doing to make residence and dining halls safer?

The new testing plan and single occupancy in halls both will help keep Pirate Nation safer. The buildings will not be as occupied, so maintaining distance in restrooms and elevators will be easier. Housekeeping staff have additional cleaning guidelines to follow. Soap dispensers and sanitizer stations are available throughout buildings. Guests at residence halls are restricted — no overnight guests, no guests in the halls.

Dining has changed its operations, offering to-go options at Todd Dining Hall and other locations. Self-service options have been removed, and gloved staff will hand you your food.

How can I safely connect with other Campus Living students?

Residents will receive an email with Facebook links for their particular building so you can check in with fellow residents, learn about programs and activities and build connections with other students. When meeting face to face, wear your mask. Make good decisions about building a “bubble” for yourself — gathering only with a few friends at a time who are also following safety guidelines.


When do classes begin?

Classes for spring semester begin Jan. 19 and run through April 27, with exams to follow into May and spring commencement set for May 7.

How do I know if my class is online or face to face?

Approximately 32% of courses will be held face to face. You may review course information in Banner Self-Service. If your course has a time and building assigned, it is face to face. If a time is listed but no building, generally that indicates the course will meet at that standard time online. If your course is listed as TBA/TBD, it is an online course unless you have received specific information from your faculty member. Contact your faculty member if you have questions about how and where your course is going to be held. You can also reach out to the Registrar’s Office at regis@ecu.edu or the call center at 252-328-6747.

Will we have a 15-week semester or the two block terms like we had in the fall?

Most courses offered will be under the 15-week calendar. A small number of courses will be offered under two eight-and-a-half week calendars, with 68 undergraduate sections scheduled for the first block and 66 scheduled for the second. Course detail information in Banner Self-Service will indicate the dates for your course.

Will we have a spring break?

No. If there is an opportunity for students to leave for a week, visit different locations and return, there would be an increased level of exposure and risk. ECU has joined colleges and universities across the country in the decision to remove spring break from the calendar as a safety measure.

I have a health issue/concern and think I shouldn’t participate in a face-to-face class. What are my options?

Contact your academic advisor, who will partner with you in working through your course needs. If you have any issues connecting with your advisor or if you have special questions/concerns you need addressed, you may reach out directly to Angela Anderson, acting vice provost/university registrar, at andersona@ecu.edu.

Can I still register for classes?

Students may register for classes through 5 p.m. on the fifth day of class when the course adjustment period ends. Contact for advisor for assistance.


How is the pandemic affecting students’ mental health?

ECU Center for Counseling and Student Development has seen an increased demand since the start of the pandemic. Some themes that emerged included increased stress among graduate students in general and increased stress regarding the fall academic calendar block schedule and pace, which has changed for most courses this spring.

Do you have advice or ideas for coping?

Reach out to your faculty member as soon as you have a concern — either during office hours or via email. Take advantage of study groups or the Pirate Academic Success Center and its offerings. Connect with a tutor if needed. It’s OK and important to ask for help.

How can I utilize the Center for Counseling and Student Development?

Call 252-328-6661 to get the process started. Various services — including crisis services — are available. You may also call that number after hours for crisis support. Teletherapy services also are available, along with other virtual offerings. Visit the CCSD website for more information.

I’m a family member. How can I help my Pirate?

Have real conversations with your student — “We know this is so hard right now and it’s so different and strange, and we’re worried about you. How are you doing?” Ask for specific ways that you can support them.


Will gatherings be permitted and will student organizations/clubs still be able to meet?

ECU is restricted from hosting gatherings with expected attendance above state guidelines taking place on or off campus until further notice. Learn more about ECU’s gathering restrictions.

Student organizations and clubs are part of the Pirate experience, with more than 500 groups and clubs active at ECU. The Engage platform will list meeting times and other opportunities, including virtual and face to face that follow gathering and safety guidelines.

What is ECU doing to discourage large gatherings?

ECU Police Department’s Be Responsible initiative includes guidelines for gatherings, police response protocol and information about possible sanctions. ECU Police will be on patrol on campus, at off-campus complexes and in the neighborhoods surrounding campus to deter gatherings. If an officer responds to a large gathering, the goal is first to educate the students on minimizing those gatherings, followed by possible sanctions if the students do not comply.

How can I report a large gathering or other concern to police?

Call ECU Police at 252-328-6787. Officers will be sent to monitor the situation and take corrective action if necessary.


Counseling/Mental Health

CCSD website

Pirate Academic Success Center

PASC website

Dean of Students

DOS website

ECU Police

ECU PD website
Be Responsible initiative