COVID-19 update from App State - week of Oct. 5 - 11

Posted 10/11/20 at 9:20 a.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.

App Strong. App Resilient.

As we reach the halfway point of the fall semester, it is important to remember that each of us plays a role in minimizing the spread of COVID-19 at App State and in the greater community. 

Students, faculty and staff have risen to the challenge by following the 3Ws (Wear, Wait, Wash) and campus safety protocols, but we must remain focused and committed to these simple and effective actions. Together, we can continue to be strong and resilient.

Students, you can still have fun while being safe! Check out these resources for things to do:

EngageCampus ActivitiesUniversity Recreation

Key Takeaways:

  • The university has no documented cases of classroom transmission to date.

  • Academic Affairs has been working with each student individually who has requested to move to all-remote instruction.

  • University Housing is offering the choice to opt out of housing contracts to all residential students who are moving back to their permanent residences. Residential students received an email on Thursday; they will receive follow-up communications early next week.

  • Current contact tracing information indicates our infections are contained to our student body, and data do not indicate a burden on the local health care system by our students. We are keeping a careful watch on these trends.

  • The Appalachian Police Department assists local agencies with patrolling and responding to off-campus sites, including off-campus apartment complexes with large populations of students. Police have responded to 10 violations of off-campus gatherings that exceed the current Executive Order limitations of 25 indoors and 50 outdoors. Students are mostly complying with gathering restrictions, but need better compliance with wearing face coverings and distancing.

  • App State’s Student Government Association (SGA) and Interfraternity Council (IFC) announced a ban on all fraternity-related activities from Oct. 1 - 14. The declaration was posted to IFC’s Instagram account.

Key Response Measures:

We continue to add new response tactics as we build upon those we have had in place for several months, which include:

  • Briefings, strategy and tactical meetings: Chancellor Everts meets regularly with UNC System leadership and daily with her Vice Chancellors and Emergency Management team. University representatives meet every M-F with local public health and twice weekly with the NC Department of Health and Human Services COVID response team.

  • Targeted COVID testing: We are implementing targeted testing in residence halls, and are working with public health to target some off-campus housing locations for large-scale testing.

  • Surveillance testing: Pop-up testing events have increased to three per week, Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

  • Additional testing equipment: Student Health Service recently acquired additional rapid antigen testing equipment, on loan from N.C. State University. This will help increase the volume of on-site testing conducted by Student Health, which currently has 70 appointments per day.

  • Contact tracing: Contact tracing is under the purview of public health and the university has assisted as needed. Public health will begin utilizing trained contact tracing staff from the university next week.

  • Residence hall restrictions: No guests are permitted in residence halls, and only room occupants are allowed in each room.

  • Limited group activities: The university urges the campus to limit group activities, use virtual platforms for meetings and events, and utilize outdoor recreation and venues to the greatest extent possible, while wearing face coverings and distancing.

  • Travel restrictions: The Office of International Education and Development (OIED) has cancelled all education abroad programming for spring 2021 and is working with students and departments to develop alternatives.

  • Enforcement: The university continues to strictly enforce on-campus behavior, and work with law enforcement to address off-campus violations. Student Conduct staff receive information involving App State students from the courthouse biweekly. App State addresses violations per the Code of Student Conduct, and serious and/or repeated violations will result in suspension.

Key Metrics

On-campus tests administered since start of fall semester: 11,749 (as of 10/9/2020)
Classroom transmission: 0 confirmed cases
Current hospitalizations: 0
Current quarantine availability: 77% available (using 23%)
Current meal support availability: 77% available (using 23%)
Police reports responding to violations of gathering limits (Aug. 1 - present): 10
Current residence hall capacity: 84% in use
Classes taught face-to-face (%): 20%
Classes taught hybrid (%): 32%
Classes taught all-remote (%):  48%
Current percentage of active cases on campus: 30%
Current percentage of active cases off campus: 70%
Primary mental health/wellness concerns: Isolation, loss of experiences, and lack of motivation largely due to the presence of COVID-19
Meetings with local public health:  Every M-F, with additional weekend interactions as needed
Meetings with NCDHHS COVID response team: Every T-Th
Days since campus planning discussions first started around COVID-19: 263
Days since the campus EOC formally activated to coordinate preparedness/response/recovery efforts: 225

Latest News:

COVID-19 testing and contact tracing resources

  • Free COVID-19 pop-up testing events for students, faculty and staff will be held every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday in October in the Rivers Street Parking Deck from noon - 5 p.m. Both walk-up and drive-up testing will be available. No appointments are required; however, you will be asked to show your AppCard. Visit the university’s COVID-19 Testing page for all upcoming testing events.

  • Student Health Service conducts tests weekdays by appointment during clinic hours (M, T, TH, F: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. / W: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.). Students who are ill are not turned away for testing elsewhere. They are first screened by a nurse via telephone. If it is determined they need a test, they will receive a same-day rapid antigen test, with molecular (PCR) testing as a backup, per clinician’s judgement in the event of a negative rapid test. Information on the types of tests available and how to make an appointment are available on the Student Health Service website.

  • Download and utilize the free SlowCOVIDNC exposure notification app. It records the signal strength and duration of exposures to others who have anonymously reported a positive test and determines if you have met a threshold to receive an exposure notification while protecting your identity. Read more about how the app works.

Communications and updates

Information coming soon:

  • Additional flu shot clinics for students, faculty and staff

  • Answers to FAQs about dining, housing and parking for students moving to all-remote instruction

  • How App State students are encouraging COVID-19 safety and preparedness

  • Spring 2021 Schedule of Classes