COVID-19 update from App State — Jan. 16, 2021

Posted 01/16/21 at 4:00 p.m.

App State’s weekly progress report to campus provides the latest operational updates and other important information.

App Strong. App Resilient.

This is the first COVID-19 update of the year. This semester, these weekly messages will continue to provide critical operations updates and other important news and reminders.

The university remains open with reduced operations. Classes begin Jan. 19. 

Chancellor Everts’ message to campus on Friday, Jan. 8, shared that classes will begin on Jan. 19 as scheduled but will meet online until Feb. 1 (with some exceptions), as well as updates about university operations and staffing and vaccine distribution.

As the university continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation, it is critically important that you carefully review messages from App State. Information about spring 2021 and important reminders are below.

Preparing for Spring 2021 and Beyond

App State staff and faculty continue working steadily, in accordance with UNC System expectations and our educational mission, to assess and adjust every aspect of the Appalachian Experience to keep health and safety at the forefront. 

Chancellor Everts continues to meet regularly with UNC System President Hans and System leadership, as well as with her vice chancellors and emergency management team. University representatives meet with local public health Monday-Friday and on weekends as needed, and consult regularly with the NCDHHS COVID-19 response team.

COVID-19 vaccines

  • Chancellor Everts announced in her Jan. 15 update that App State has submitted an application to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) to be a community-facing COVID-19 vaccination distribution center. If approved, we will assist in North Carolina’s COVID-19 vaccination distribution plan for rural areas by administering COVID-19 vaccines to community members — as well as to students, faculty and staff — once vaccine allotments are provided.

  • Vaccine distribution is managed by public health. AppHealthCare, our local public health department, is leading the vaccination distribution plans in their three-county region. All students, faculty and staff will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine administered by App State. If you are not a resident of Watauga, Ashe or Alleghany County in North Carolina, you may have additional vaccine options available through your home county health department.

  • App State has added a vaccinations information page to its coronavirus website, where students, faculty and staff can learn more about the university’s role in the NCDHHS vaccination plan.

  • Vaccine information from state and local public health agencies is being frequently updated. New information will be posted to the university's COVID-19 Vaccines page, and will also be included in these weekly operations updates emails, which are posted to the Latest Updates page on the university’s coronavirus website.

Continued personal safety protocols

On Jan. 6, Gov. Roy Cooper announced an extension of North Carolina’s Modified Stay at Home Order to last until at least Jan. 29. Read the FAQ document here. Additionally, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) issued an advisory secretarial directive with immediate actions we should all take to protect ourselves and others. 

Most critical are:

Required reporting

Daily health checks continue to be required for all students, staff and faculty prior to coming to campus. Daily email reminders are sent to all current App State faculty, staff and students. If you experience any new COVID-19-related symptoms, stay home and contact your primary care provider or Student Health Service (if you are a student) for instructions on whether to seek medical care.

Remember, students, staff and faculty are required to self-report COVID-19 tests and results. If you have a concern about a student, staff or faculty member who may have COVID-19, submit a “Care and Concern” report to ensure the university is aware of their positive test result. In addition, if you have a concern about a student, you can report that concern to the Dean of Students.

Information for students with residence hall contracts

Students with residence hall contracts received updated information about spring 2021 move-in, including:

  • Move-in appointments (Jan. 28–31, 8 a.m.–4 p.m), which were pre-assigned by University Housing.

  • Prorated room and board expenses, which will be processed after students move in for the spring semester and will appear as a credit on students’ accounts.

  • Required COVID-19 re-entry testing and ongoing surveillance testing.

  • Face covering and visitation policies.

View the full information here.

Key Reminders

COVID-19 broad-based educational programming 

If you have not already done so, all students, staff and faculty are expected to complete broad-based educational training courses about COVID-19 before returning to campus. If you have already completed these courses, you do not need to repeat them.

Reminders for students

  • Stay engaged! It is important to maintain your friendships and community connections. Visit this Student Life page for more information — it is updated regularly. 

  • Order your spring 2021 textbooks online. Orders will be shipped directly via UPS Ground — order fulfillment began Jan. 4.

  • Return your parking pass if you will not be returning to campus in the spring by March 31 for a prorated refund to your student account — see Student Parking Permit Registration Information (Additional Permit Information). 

Campus operations 

  • Campus building access will vary through Feb. 1. A key or card swipe may be required for access. Contact your department chair or administrator with questions. Visit area websites for more information.

  • Parking permit holders (students, faculty and staff) may park in any open lot, excluding parking decks, through Feb. 1 regardless of permit type.

  • Free, on-campus COVID-19 testing is available for students, faculty and staff. Check the university’s COVID-19 Testing page regularly for the latest schedule information. During the winter months, testing dates, times and locations may change.

  • Face coverings continue to be required for students, staff and faculty when on campus. Distribution is underway for five new, washable, reusable face coverings for students, faculty and stafffind out more here. NCDHHS’ Frequently Asked Questions on Cloth Face Coverings PDF includes guidance on when to discard face coverings.

  • Health and safety signage has been reviewed and replaced across campus. Departments and units on campus can request additional signs for their area as needed.

Resources for Students, Staff and Faculty

  • Students facing financial hardship should contact the Case Management Team in the Office of the Dean of Students for help to access available resources. 

  • Staff and faculty can apply for loans of up to $750 through the Emergency Loan Fund. View full details of this and other employee assistance programs, as well as a link to the online application, on Human Resources’ Employee Relations page.

  • The Mountaineer Food Hub and Free Store in the Office of Sustainability is open by appointment through Feb. 1. Email for a pickup appointment.

  • App State’s Career Development Center provides resources for students seeking employment. Visit Career Studio, which provides resume reviews and tips on how to do a job search in Handshake. Students can also email their resume or questions to

  • App State’s Resiliency Toolkit offers helpful information, including methods for managing stress, tips for staying active during winter months and how to create a pandemic pod, emotional regulation, ways to resolve conflict, and more.

  • Reach out for help if you are experiencing emotional distress of any kind. Mental and emotional well-being information is available on the university’s COVID-19 continuity website.

    • Students: Counseling and Psychological Services (the Counseling Center) offers counseling, emergency services and more — mainly through Telemental Health. Visit its Get Started webpage for consultation information or its Self-Help page for tips on how to cope during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as information on anxiety, grief and loss, mindfulness, stress and other mental health-related topics. Also, Wellness and Prevention Services offers virtual events, peer education, weekly motivation messages and more.

    • Staff and faculty: Review HR’s Employee Assistance Program page. A number of free, confidential resources are available for faculty and staff. HR is offering a new workshop, “Get to Know Guidance Resources,” that provides information on how to navigate and access these resources — register for an upcoming session. In addition, confidential counseling is available for faculty and staff free of charge.

Key Metrics

Total on-campus tests administered since start of fall semester: 33,027
Classroom transmission: 0 confirmed cases
Current hospitalizations: 1
Current quarantine availability: 96% available (4% in use)
Current meal support availability: 98% available (2% in use)
Police reports responding to violations of gathering limits (Jan. 1 - present): 0
Active cases in students who live on campus (in residence at time of positive test): 1
Active cases in students who live off campus: 27 (87% of all active cases)
Days since campus planning discussions first started around COVID-19: 363
Days since the campus EOC formally activated to coordinate preparedness/response/recovery efforts: 311

Communications and Updates

Who to Contact with Questions

Please reach out if you need assistance. There are many people at the university who are here to help you. If you aren’t sure who can help you, here’s where you can start:

  • For students with academic questions, needs or challenges: Begin with your faculty member, then reach out to your department chair or academic advisor for additional assistance if needed. For more information or assistance, contact Academic Affairs.

  • Student support and resources and assistance for on- and off-campus students: Contact the Office of the Dean of Students, who can assist directly and/or connect you with campus resources or help in your local area.

  • COVID-19 questions and updates: Begin by reviewing the information on the university’s coronavirus website. The weekly COVID-19 updates that are emailed to campus are also posted on this site. For more information or assistance, contact Environmental Health, Safety, and Emergency Management (EHS&EM).

The university’s department directory is available here.

Information Coming Soon:

  • Additional vaccine distribution information.

  • Additional guidance for spring 2021.