COVID-19 update from App State — July 2, 2021

Posted 07/02/21 at 8:05 p.m.

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

Note: Each update reflects the latest guidance as of that date and time stamp. Please note this continues to be a developing situation. Links provided direct to the latest information available. Note that printed information may be out of date, and always defer to communications with the most recent time and date stamp.

Summer Sessions and Preparing for Fall 2021

In addition to email updates, the university’s Coronavirus and Summer and Fall 2021 Guide to Campus Operations sites are regularly updated with the latest guidance and information for campus. Please continue to refer to these sites frequently.

This week, the second summer session began, and the campus is preparing for a full return to pre-pandemic operations for fall 2021 classes, with safety precautions in place. 

In her June 18 message to campus, Chancellor Everts shared her remarks to the Board of Trustees at their most recent meeting, which included insights into the university’s plans for the return to pre-pandemic operations in the fall semester, updates about our campus construction projects and fundraising efforts, and spotlights of our extraordinary faculty, staff and students. Read her remarks in full here.

Key upcoming dates:

  • July 1 - Aug. 4: Summer Session II 
  • Aug. 16: Fall 2021 first day of classes 

Chancellor Everts is joining local and state public health officials in their efforts to showcase the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine to ending the pandemic. As the university continues to prepare to return to pre-pandemic operations for the fall 2021 semester, with safety precautions in place, COVID-19 vaccinations continue to be key to providing:

  • Students with in-person instruction and a robust on-campus experience.
  • A safe on-campus work environment for employees. 

Please see below for additional COVID-19-related information and campus operations updates.

COVID-19 Vaccine Update

Vaccine data

Each Monday, the university shares the total number of COVID-19 vaccines administered by App State and Watauga County vaccinations data on the COVID-19 Vaccines page of the university’s coronavirus website. As of June 28:

  • App State has administered 4,625 vaccines at vaccine clinics and in Student Health Service.

  • In Watauga County, 26,469 people, or 47% are fully vaccinated. View the AppHealthCare dashboard for local COVID-19 data.

  • Additionally, as of July 2, the state has administered more than 8.8 million COVID-19 vaccine doses and 43% of the state’s total population has been fully vaccinated. Visit the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) COVID-19 vaccines dashboard for more information.

All students, faculty and staff should get a COVID-19 vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history. 

COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and beneficial. Additionally, the CDC has determined the risk of transmission of COVID-19 from fully vaccinated people to unvaccinated people is reduced. Vaccinations are our best defense against COVID-19 and are increasingly important as COVID-19 variants spread nationwide.

Vaccine status volunteerism

Students and employees will soon be able to voluntarily and confidentially share their vaccination status. As the systems for doing so are being put into place, Faculty Senate and Staff Senate leadership are being engaged for input about the specific vaccine volunteerism processes. 

  • Some incentives for sharing this information include:

    • You are not required to wear a face covering on campus with some exceptions.

    • You are not required to participate in re-entry testing or surveillance testing.

    • You are not required to quarantine after a known exposure if you are asymptomatic. 

Statewide vaccination incentives

Additional COVID-19 vaccine resources: 
App State's COVID-19 Vaccine pageVaccines for COVID-19 (CDC)COVID-19 Vaccine Information (NCDHHS)COVID-19 dashboard (NCDHHS)

App State COVID-19 Policies and Guidance Updates

Returning to on-campus work

The May 21 update to campus included initial information about returning to on-campus work. A July 2 message to campus from the Office of Human Resources (HR) shared additional information. Highlights include: 

Teleworking and returning to campus for fall semester

All faculty and staff should be preparing to return to pre-pandemic work arrangements. 

  • Leaders of all campus operational areas have been directed to plan for the return of their staff to campus according to their specific operational needs, so there is not one campus-wide date for the end of current work arrangements.

  • Employees who have not yet transitioned fully back to campus should continue to report teleworking hours on their timesheets as appropriate until further notice.

  • HR is working to develop and implement a campus policy for flexible work arrangements. This policy will comply with guidelines in the new UNC System Regulation on Flexible Work Arrangements and Remote Work. More information will be shared soon.

  • Certain COVID-19 employee leave options are still available. Please read the latest communication from Human Resources.

Disability accommodations related to COVID-19

The CDC has provided guidance for people with certain medical conditions who are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19; however, these individuals are no longer categorized as high risk or increased risk.

  • The guidance recommends continuing personal protective preventative measures, including vaccination, wearing a face covering, social distancing and practicing hand hygiene.

  • Students or employees who need a disability accommodation due to health-related concerns should complete the applicable Accommodation Request Procedure. Requests are reviewed confidentially on a case-by-case basis by the Office of Disability Resources.

  • Employees with general questions or concerns, should speak first with their supervisor, and if needed, HR. 

Face coverings 

On June 11, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Executive Order 220 in effect immediately through July 30. This order extends some measures currently in place to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic from Executive Order 215. App State is following this state guidance, which specifically affects on-campus face coverings requirements for certain settings. The university’s Face Coverings page includes current guidelines and a link to the updated face coverings policy. 

  • Face coverings are not required on campus for fully vaccinated individuals, EXCEPT:
    • At large, crowded indoor events when social distancing is not possible.
    • At Student Health Service or other health care settings. 
    • At on-campus child care facilities.
    • At on-campus summer camps serving minors.

  • Individuals who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 should continue to wear face coverings in all indoor public settings.

  • Wearing face coverings is optional for vaccinated individuals. Please continue to be respectful and supportive of those who elect to continue to wear face coverings.

Health, safety and wellbeing

Our top priority in all decisions is the health, safety and well-being of the App State community. 

  • Students and employees continue to be required to self-report COVID-19 tests and results and/or if they have been instructed to quarantine by public health. Additionally, if you hear about others who may have COVID-19, use the same form to submit a “Care and Concern” report. All reported information will remain confidential.

  • Students and employees should continue to monitor themselves and stay home if they feel unwell or have possible COVID-19 symptoms.

  • App State will continue to follow CDC guidance related to COVID-19 contact tracing and isolation/quarantine.

  • Per the CDC’s updated cleaning guidance, classrooms will continue to be supplied with surface wipes and hand sanitizer for use by students and faculty, and classrooms will continue to be cleaned daily.

  • Hand sanitizer stations will continue to be stocked in common areas on campus. These stations have also been added to all elevator waiting areas.
  • Employees are encouraged to use available supplies to clean and disinfect their personal spaces, including their work space, their university work vehicle if applicable, and shared tools or equipment.

  • Wellness resources continue to be available for students and employees:

Additional resources: 
App State's Coronavirus Information pageApp State’s Summer and Fall 2021 Guide to Campus Operations

Campus Operations

Information Technology Services (ITS) update 

ITS is anticipating a high volume of tech support calls and requests ahead of the first day of classes. Faculty and staff should take these actions as soon as possible:

  • If you took your university-issued computer home while working remotely, bring your computer to campus and log in while on the university network.

  • If you left your university-issued computer on campus but have not recently logged in, come to campus and log in. 

Campus Services update 

  • The AppCard Office has moved to the Campus Services Express desk, located on the second floor of the University Bookstore, and is currently open weekdays from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

    • Visit the Campus Services Express desk with questions related to the AppCard Office, Campus Dining, Conference and Event Services, Parking and Transportation, the University Bookstore and the University Post Office. 

  • Campus Dining facilities are open with summer hours.

  • Faculty and staff who need a summer parking permit can register in person at the Parking and Transportation office in the Rivers Street Parking Deck — the monthly payroll deduction will be prorated based on when you register. 2020-21 parking permits expire on Aug.15 and online registration for 2021-22 parking permits will open on Aug. 2 at 10 a.m.

University Recreation (UREC) update

  • UREC facilities are operating with summer facility hours group fitness classes and a limited number of private swim lessons are offered this summer. Download the UREC app for real-time updates and communication.

  • Facilities bookings are no longer required. In addition:

    • Full court basketball, volleyball, and badminton at the Student Recreation Center resumed June 28.

    • Racquetball at the Quinn Recreation Center resumed June 28.

    • The pool and locker rooms at the Student Recreation Center reopened for drop-in use June 28.

  • Faculty and staff who wish to use UREC facilities are required to sign up for a membership. If you had previously signed but have not used UREC facilities since May 16, 2021, you will need to complete a new membership form — visit UREC’s Membership and Fees page for instructions.

  • Access for dependents of students and employees is permitted — visit UREC’s Dependents page for more information.

Additional operations updates

Information coming soon:

Please remember to continue to check your App State email regularly throughout the summer for information about fall 2021, operations updates and other important news and reminders, including:

  • Additional information about returning to pre-pandemic operations for the fall 2021 semester, with safety precautions in place.

  • Information about scheduling campus events for fall 2021.

  • Additional information about incentives for getting vaccinated and for volunteering your vaccination status.

  • Information for students living in on-campus housing.