• App State has returned to pre-pandemic operations for the Fall 2021 semester, with safety precautions in place. There are no current plans to move in-person classes online. All students, faculty and staff should get vaccinated against COVID-19. Face coverings are required in all indoor campus locations for students, faculty, staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status. Read the latest updates
Fall 2021 Guide to Campus Operations

COVID-19 update from App State — August 27, 2021

Posted 08/27/21 at 4:55 p.m.

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

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 Note that printed information may be out of date, and always defer to communications with the most recent time and date stamp.

Fall 2021: Stay Vigilant. Be Resilient.

As the university continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation, please be sure to carefully and regularly review messages from App State.

This week, App State concludes its second week of classes. In her Aug. 27 message to campus, Chancellor Everts again encouraged all Mountaineers to get fully vaccinated and to update their vaccine status, as vaccination rates are an important metric for determining operations and safety measures. 

The bottom line: COVID-19 vaccines protect people against severe illness, including disease caused by Delta and other variants circulating in the U.S.

North Carolina is currently experiencing the fastest acceleration in cases since the pandemic started. Additionally, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) reports that unvaccinated people are more than 15 times more likely to die from COVID-19 compared to vaccinated people.

All North Carolina counties — including Watauga County  — are currently designated "high” transmission areas. Therefore: 

  • Face coverings continue to be required in all indoor campus locations, as well as in shared university vans and motor pool vehicles, regardless of vaccination status.

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

  • If someone reports to you they have tested positive for COVID-19, or if you have a concern about someone, report that information using the “report illness/exposure/test results” button posted throughout the university’s Coronavirus site.

Summary of important updates:

  • Widespread vaccination continues to be a critical tool to help stop the pandemic and two new CDC studies show that vaccines continue to be remarkably effective in reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death, even against the Delta variant.

  • In addition to vaccines provided on-campus by Student Health Service, AppHealthCare provides vaccines, as well as booster shots for eligible individuals, Monday through Friday by appointment or walk-in between 1 - 4 p.m.

  • When you become fully vaccinated, upload your vaccine status to be removed from the COVID-19 testing pool, exempted from other requirements and entered to win prizes.

  • Visit the university’s COVID-19 Vaccines page for information on how to get a copy of your vaccination record.

  • App State’s COVID-19 Dashboard relaunched Aug. 23 with fall 2021 data. The dashboard is updated each Monday — it provides a snapshot of the data at the time of each update.

  • Open testing events are offered to all App State students, faculty and staff regardless of vaccine status. These events typically take place on Wednesdays —  learn more about COVID-19 testing.  Student Health Service also provides testing by appointment, and AppHealthCare has drive-thru COVID-19 testing clinics weekdays from 8:30 - 10 a.m.

  • When you self-report COVID-19 tests, test results, exposure and quarantine orders via the university’s secure Illness/Exposure Concern Report form, it helps the university's COVID-19 response team conduct contact tracing and make recommendations.

Keep reading for full details on COVID-19-related updates and information.

Resources:
App State's Coronavirus siteApp State’s Fall 2021 Guide to Campus OperationsNorth Carolina’s COVID-19 Information Hub

Don’t Wait to Vaccinate!

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine receives full FDA approval

On Aug. 23, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine — now called Comirnaty — received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older.

  • Comirnaty continues to be available under emergency use authorization for individuals aged 12-15 and for booster shots for certain immunocompromised individuals.

Get vaccinated to reduce your risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective — and widespread vaccination continues to be a critical tool to help stop the pandemic. More than 170 million Americans have been safely vaccinated.

  • On Aug. 24, CDC shared two new studies showing vaccines continue to be remarkably effective in reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death, even against the highly contagious Delta variant

  • Free COVID-19 vaccines are widely available to anyone 12 and older. Protect yourself and your loved ones — don’t wait to vaccinate!

Where can I get a vaccine or booster shot?

  • App State’s Student Health Service provides vaccines for students, faculty, staff and community members, as well as booster shots for eligible individuals — call 828-262-3100 for an appointment.

  • AppHealthCare provides vaccines, as well as booster shots for eligible individuals, Monday through Friday by appointment or walk-in between 1 - 4 p.m.

  • The NCDHHS Vaccine Finder provides a list of providers across the state.

Submit your vaccine status — be eligible to win prizes and exempted from regular COVID-19 testing 

Students, faculty and staff are required to submit their vaccine status and are subject to randomized testing and other requirements until they have done so. Fully vaccinated students and employees who have uploaded their vaccine status are automatically eligible to win prizes

How do I upload my vaccine status?

Unvaccinated individuals are subject to regular COVID-19 testing and other App State requirements

  • Students and employees who are unvaccinated or who have not yet uploaded their vaccine status are required to participate in regular, randomized COVID-19 testing and are subject to other App State requirements.

    • Students and employees selected for testing will be contacted via email with specific instructions about submitting required test results.

    • If you are selected for random testing, getting a test at one of the university’s weekly testing events will fulfill the requirement. 

  • When you become fully vaccinated, upload your vaccine status to be removed from the COVID-19 testing pool, exempted from other requirements and entered to win prizes.

App State’s COVID-19 Dashboard 

App State’s COVID-19 Dashboard relaunched Aug. 23 with fall 2021 data, including vaccination rates, on-campus testing numbers and active cases.

  • The dashboard is updated each Monday — it provides a snapshot of the data at the time of each update.

  • In addition to data collected by the university, it includes curated data from AppHealthCare and NCDHHS. 

COVID-19 vaccine resources: 
App State's COVID-19 Vaccines pageGet your COVID-19 vaccination recordVaccines for COVID-19 (CDC)COVID-19 Vaccine Information (NCDHHS) 

COVID-19 data: 
App State COVID-19 DashboardAppHealthCare dashboardCOVID-19 vaccines dashboard (NCDHHS)

When and Where to Get a COVID-19 Test

When should I get a COVID-19 test?

Do you have symptoms of COVID-19? Are you a close contact of someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19?

Where can I get a COVID-19 test?

  • App State will offer on-campus COVID-19 testing events each Wednesday for students and employees who would like a COVID-19 test for any reason. Times and locations may vary and will be posted to the university’s COVID-19 Testing page.

  • COVID-19 testing is available for students at Student Health Service. Make an appointment via MedPortal.

  • Take advantage of community testing events — AppHealthCare’s drive-thru COVID-19 testing clinics provide testing to anyone who would like a COVID-19 test weekdays from 8:30 - 10 a.m. Appointments are not required. Visit AppHealthCare’s COVID-19 Testing FAQs page for more information.

  • Visit NCDHHS’ Find My Testing Place page to request a free at-home COVID-19 test collection kit or find no-cost community testing events or testing sites in North Carolina. 

Steps to take after being tested

First, self-report any COVID-19 tests and results, whether positive or negative — read more about required reporting below.

Resources: 
COVID-19 TestingReporting COVID-19 Cases

COVID-19 Required Reporting

When you self-report COVID-19 tests, test results, exposure and quarantine orders via the university’s secure Illness/Exposure Concern Report form, it helps the university's COVID-19 response team conduct contact tracing and make recommendations. 

Students and employees are required to self report the following:

  • COVID-19 tests and results, whether positive or negative.

  • Known COVID-19 exposures, regardless of vaccination status.

  • If they have been instructed to quarantine by public health. 

Self-report via a secure Illness/Exposure Concern Report form

If a student or employee reports illness, tests and results, exposure and/or quarantine orders to you, or if you hear of others who may have COVID-19 and/or a known exposure, regardless of vaccination status, submit a “Care and Concern” report.

Resources: 
Reporting COVID-19 Cases

University Guidance and Policy Updates

COVID-19 reporting protocols and classroom policies

An Aug. 25 message to faculty and staff from Dr. Mark Ginn, vice provost for undergraduate education, includes guidance about COVID-19 reporting protocols and classroom policies. Highlights include:

  • If a student tests positive, that does not necessarily mean that their faculty or other students in their classes are close contacts or have been exposed to COVID-19. The university's COVID-19 response team will work with local public health to conduct contact tracing to make this determination.

  • Quarantine/isolation decisions are determined by the university's COVID-19 response team under guidance from public health. Faculty and staff cannot make quarantine/isolation decisions and cannot prevent students from attending class.

  • If a student shares positive test results or quarantine orders from public health, faculty and staff should submit a “Care and Concern” report and can work with the student on flexible learning arrangements.

Campus COVID-19 response concerning vaccination status

An Aug. 26 memorandum to faculty and staff from Paul Meggett, general counsel, includes clarification about what, if anything, you may ask of someone else concerning their vaccination status and whether, in the absence of that information, someone may be declined access to campus resources or services. Highlights include:

  • Do not ask another employee, student, or visitor their vaccination status.

  • Do not condition anyone’s access to classrooms or other spaces on their vaccination status.

  • Do not create “local” rules or procedures (e.g., at a classroom, departmental, or college level) that differ from the broader rules adopted at the campus level.

Additional Information

Please remember the global pandemic is dynamic, and continues to be a rapidly developing situation. Continue to check your App State email regularly — the latest information is also posted to App State’s Coronavirus site.

  • The university will adjust COVID-19 safety protocols, procedure and policy according to the latest federal, state, local and UNC System guidance. 

  • Following CDC guidance, App State will use county-based community spread data to determine when requirements can be lessened or lifted. Watauga County’s transmission status is checked at least daily and posted on the university’s homepage, as well as the Coronavirus site.  

  • If you have questions or concerns about the university’s COVID-19 response and recovery efforts, please reach out to safety@appstate.edu.

Coming soon:

  • Additional information about COVID-19 testing related to university-sponsored travel.

Additional resources:
Latest UpdatesFace CoveringsCOVID-19 VaccinesReporting COVID-19 Cases
COVID-19 Testing