COVID-19 update from App State - week of Aug. 31-Sept. 4

Posted 09/04/20 at 6:50 p.m.

App State’s weekly progress report to campus provides the latest operational updates and important information related to the fall 2020 semester and beyond.

Fall 2020: Answers to trending questions:

As fall semester classes continue, 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. 

App State facilities reopening under Phase 2.5 

On Tuesday, Sept. 1, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced Phase 2.5, which begins Friday, Sept. 4, and remains in effect through Sept. 22. Under this phase, gyms and fitness centers can reopen with 30% capacity, and museums can reopen with 50% capacity. Six-feet physical distancing and face coverings requirements remain in effect for all. 

Read the executive order here.

View his press conference here.

The announcement affects Appalachian’s campus in the following ways:

  • University Recreation will introduce indoor offerings at 25% capacity with participants spaced at 12 feet beginning Tuesday, Sept. 8. Face coverings must be worn at all times. Read full details of the expanded offerings on the UREC website.

  • Turchin Center for the Visual Arts will be open, by appointment only, for faculty, staff and student groups for academic purposes. Contact Christy Chenausky for more information on academic access. While the museum is not open to the public, virtual programming is available free of charge, and TCVA staff members are available to assist with accessing digital information and online resources. Visit the TCVA website or call 828-262-3017 for more information.

  • Clubs and organizations continue to be encouraged to exercise an abundance of caution in an effort to minimize exposure and community spread. The use of online platforms for organizational meetings remains the recommended approach.

Upcoming COVID-19 testing events

In the first two weeks of classes, between Student Health Service and the “pop-up” testing events, 1,573 students, faculty and staff received COVID-19 tests with a positive test rate of 3.6%, or a total of 58 people. 

  • “Pop-up” testing events scheduled for September: The university is offering free COVID-19 tests for App State students, faculty and staff at “pop-up” testing events on the following dates:

    • Saturday Sept. 5 

    • Thursday Sept. 10

    • Saturday Sept. 12 

    • Saturday Sept. 19 

    • Saturday Sept. 26 

    All “pop-up” testing events will be held from 12 - 5 p.m. in the Rivers Street Parking Deck. No appointments required; however, you will be asked for your Banner ID and other identifying information. Visit the university’s COVID-19 Testing page for information on upcoming testing events and on-going testing for students, faculty and staff.

  • Contact tracing: Contact tracing is under the purview of public health. The university assists as needed. Contact tracing is one of the most effective tools in reducing the spread of COVID-19. When a person tests positive for COVID-19, public health will work to determine who may have been exposed and in close contact with the confirmed positive individual. They will then reach out to those who have been determined to have been in close contact with the confirmed positive individual. Close contacts (within 6 feet of distance for 15 minutes or more) will be advised to quarantine and get tested for COVID-19. If you receive a call from public health, it is critically important that you answer and/or return their calls and answer their questions. The purpose of the call is to support those who may have been in close contact with the contagious person and prevent the further spread of COVID-19. There is no punishment for individuals who disclose their close contacts, and AppHealthCare and university staff will not share personally identifying information. Visit the university’s Reporting COVID-19 Cases page for information on self-reporting of COVID-19 tests, what happens when someone tests positive, and campus isolation and quarantine procedures. 

How to navigate the App State Data Dashboard:

The Aug. 28 update to campus shared information on enhancements to the App State dashboard, including charts showing the daily changes in active cases including the 7-day average, and cumulative case counts since March 27. Additional enhancements will continue to be added.

  • What App State reports: App State reports confirmed cases of all students, employees and subcontractors regardless of where they are or where they are tested.

  • Who provides and confirms the data: Local data (for Watauga, Ashe and Alleghany Counties) are provided by AppHealthCare district health department. App State’s Environmental Health and Safety and Emergency Management (EHS&EM) team works with AppHealthCare to confirm all reported cases prior to adding them to the dashboard. The university receives updated data daily at around noon and updates the dashboard accordingly.

  • What’s included in the Daily Summary: The Daily Summary charts include at-a-glance numbers of current active cases (people in isolation) for App State students, employees and subcontractors as well as cumulative cases since March 27. Active cases are those individuals who are currently in isolation per instructions from public health.

  • What’s included in the App State COVID-19 Active Cases graph: This graph provides a visual representation of current active cases over more than 70 days and includes daily increases/decreases of active cases. Individuals are included in the active case count for the duration of their isolation period as required by public health. The 7-day average line provides data on trends which helps public health and the university adjust strategies related to testing and operations as needed.

  • What’s included in the App State COVID-19 Cumulative Cases graph: This graph provides a visual representation of cumulative active cases over approximately three months time; however, the numbers reported are cumulative since March 27. Each active case is included once in the cumulative count. 

Communications and updates:

  • Messages from Chancellor Everts: Chancellor Everts shares weekly updates with campus. These include updates related to UNC System and Board of Governors’ decisions that affect our campus planning, preparations and responses to the pandemic. Read these messages here

  • Human Resources Update: On Sept. 1, Human Resources shared the most recent version of COVID-19 Return to On-Site Work Guidance: Faculty and Staff provided by the UNC System. See this and other updates on the Human Resources COVID-19 webpage.

  • Family Weekend postponed until Spring 2021: Due to COVID-19 precautions, App State has moved Fall Family Weekend programming to spring 2021. Information has been added to the Student Life page, and you can also read more on the Family Weekend website.

  • Operations updates: These logistics updates share key campus operations information, including safety and community expectations. Read the previous update here.

  • Clearinghouse website: App State’s coronavirus website is the clearinghouse site to navigate to the latest updates across campus, find information about returning to campus, and see the university's cumulative and active case count dashboard.