COVID-19 update from App State - week of Nov. 2 - 6

Posted 11/06/20 at 6:35 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.

App Strong. App Resilient.

A little over two full weeks of classes remain before App State’s last day of classes on Tuesday, Nov. 24, and Thanksgiving break. Then, the university will transition to the Remote Learning/Teaching Period (Nov. 25 - Dec. 14). This includes exams, which will be held online from Thursday, Dec. 3, through Wednesday, Dec. 9, and virtual December Commencement on Friday, Dec. 11. 

This is a time for continued vigilance. Protect yourself and others at App State and in the greater community by continuing to follow the 3Ws (Wear, Wait, Wash) and adhering to campus safety protocols. Together, we can continue to be strong and resilient. 

Students, check out these ways to have fun while staying safe:

Dancing With Ourselves, presented by App State’s Department of Theatre and Dance
Nov. 6 and 7, 7 p.m.
Dancing With Ourselves is a collaborative Zoom dance performance made and performed on Zoom. Free event; reservations required.

App State at Texas State
Nov 7, 3 p.m. on ESPN+
The Mountaineer football team travels to Texas State for a Sun Belt conference road game. 

Watkins Family Hour, part of the Schaefer Center Presents Free Virtual Series
Nov. 8, 8 p.m. 
Nickel Creek alums Sean and Sara Watkins perform songs — streamed from the duo’s home base of Los Angeles — from the new album, “brother sister.” Free event; advance registration is required.

Reaching New Heights: Highlights from the Most Comprehensive Science Expedition to Mt. Everest in History, hosted by App State’s College of Arts and Sciences
Nov. 10, 7 p.m.
This virtual event features speakers and expedition members from National Geographic and Rolex’s 2019 Perpetual Planet Extreme Expedition to Mount Everest, including App State faculty members. Free event; registration recommended.

More Events and Activities

AppalachianTodayEngageCampus ActivitiesUniversity Recreation

Key Takeaways:

Fall 2020 Enhanced Pass No Credit Grading System (P/NC) for undergraduate students: 

In a Nov. 5 message to campus, Dr. Mark Ginn, vice provost for undergraduate education, announced that App State has adopted an opt-in Enhanced Pass No Credit Grading System (P/NC) for all undergraduate students for the fall 2020 semester. Students should carefully review this message for full details about options and explanations of some special circumstances that may arise for some students but will not apply to all.

  • Under this system, undergraduate students can choose to switch to an Enhanced Pass No Credit Grading System (P/NC) on a course-by-course basis.

  • Withdrawal and repeat options for undergraduate students were also announced in an Oct. 16 message to campus.

  • Students are strongly encouraged to discuss all options with their advisors as well as instructors and/or faculty in their major department, as decisions could impact degree progress, future career or graduate education plans, licensure/certification requirements and/or financial aid.

Holiday and Winter Break Departure and Return Plan

The newly published Holiday and Winter Break Departure and Return Plan webpage includes information on how to prepare to safely leave campus and return home for the Thanksgiving holiday and winter break, as well as guidance for travel, continued personal safety protocols, holiday gatherings and more. 

The following information is a summary of key details:

  • Residence halls close on Wednesday, Nov. 25, at noon for winter break. The halls will remain closed through Friday, Jan. 15.

  • Before you leave the Boone area:

    • Reduce the number of people with whom you have close contact two weeks prior to departure. Any close interaction with persons outside your immediate household or residence hall roommates will present an opportunity for infection, which could disrupt your plans and travel schedule.

    • Get tested. Take advantage of the university’s free COVID-19 testing events. Students, faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to get tested for COVID-19 prior to departing for break.

  • Textbooks: The deadline to return rental textbooks for fall 2020 is Dec. 15. Detailed instructions about how to return textbooks to the on-campus dropoff location or via a prepaid UPS shipping label will be emailed to students in mid-November.

  • During break: Because the holidays are a time when families and others typically gather together, it is important to exercise extreme caution this holiday season. Review the CDC’s guidance for holiday activities and celebrations.
    • For students traveling home, consider getting tested once you arrive. You should also monitor your health for symptoms of COVID-19 and quarantine for 14 days.

    • It is important to continue to be vigilant with personal safety protocols, including following the 3Ws and limiting activities and/or exposure to others and avoid high-risk settings.

    • Reach out for help if you are experiencing emotional distress of any kind. Visit Counseling & Psychological Services for information about university mental health services.

    • App State will continue providing support for students in isolation and/or quarantine status during university breaks.

Visit the university’s Holiday and Winter Break Departure and Return Plan page for full information. 

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:

  • Returning to campus for the spring semester:  As when you left campus, when traveling back to campus, follow CDC’s guidance for travel during COVID-19 and consider getting tested before traveling and upon arrival. In addition, during the weeks leading to your return to campus, limit travel and minimize risk of exposure and infection.

    • All students returning to residence halls for the Spring 2021 semester are required to get tested for COVID-19 prior to their return to campus. These students will receive additional communications about testing options, documentation requirements and timelines via email.

    • Each student, faculty and staff member will receive five washable, reusable face coverings upon their return for the Spring 2021 semester.

    • More information about returning to campus will be provided in upcoming messages and posted to the Holiday and Winter Break Departure and Return Plan webpage.

  • Weekly COVID-19 testing events: On-campus COVID-19 testing events are held each week.

  • Targeted COVID-19 testing: AppHealthCare and App State continue on-campus targeted testing at residence halls. Locations are communicated directly to students. Questions? Contact either App State’s Student Health Service at 828-262-6957 or AppHealthCare’s COVID-19 call center at 828-795-1970.

  • On-going briefings and 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 daily with local public health Monday-Friday and on weekends as needed, and weekly with the NCDHHS COVID-19 response team.

Key Metrics

On-campus tests administered since start of fall semester: 20,921
Classroom transmission: 0 confirmed cases
Current hospitalizations: 0
Current quarantine availability: 91% available (using 9%)
Current meal support availability: 91% available (using 9%)
Police reports responding to violations of gathering limits (Aug. 1 - present): 18
Current residence hall occupancy (includes exemption requests in process): 74% in use (approx.)
Classes scheduled for face-to-face instruction (%): 15% (approx.)
Classes taught hybrid (%): 30% (approx.)
Classes taught all-remote (%): 55% (approx.)
Active cases in students who live on campus: 14 (47% of all cases)
Active cases in students who live off campus: 14 (47% of all cases)
Days since campus planning discussions first started around COVID-19: 289
Days since the campus EOC formally activated to coordinate preparedness/response/recovery efforts: 251

Latest News:

  • Building access and climate control update: Beginning on Friday, Dec. 11, at 5 p.m., temperatures in most academic and support buildings will be set to unoccupied mode to maximize energy and cost savings. Building temperatures will be turned back up on Friday, Jan. 11, to prepare for the first day of spring semester classes.

    • Offices will be colder than normal, so if you will be working on campus during this time, dress warmly.

    • Areas with special collections or scheduled events, as well as most science and music buildings, will not be affected.

Communications and updates

  • Get tested: Free COVID-19 testing events for students, faculty and staff will be held every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday in November (through Nov. 23) and each Wednesday in December (through Dec. 16) from noon - 5 p.m. Visit the university’s COVID-19 Testing page for all upcoming testing events.

    • No appointments are required; however, you will be asked for your Banner ID and to show your AppCard. Walk-up and drive-up testing will be available. If you drive up, you will remain in your vehicle and a technician will conduct your test there.

    • Students can also contact Student Health Service for an appointment. Tests are conducted weekdays during clinic hours Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Wednesday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  • Download the free SlowCOVIDNC exposure notification app: This free app sends a notification if you have been in close contact with someone who has shared a positive COVID-19 test result while protecting your identity.

  • Spring registration reminder: Spring registration begins Nov. 9. The Spring 2021 Schedule of Classes has been published on the Office of the Registrar website, and course delivery methods are identified as face-to-face, hybrid and online. Students should meet with their academic advisors as soon as possible to make the most informed decisions as they select classes.

  • Additional campus updates and information:

Information coming soon:

  • Guidance on how to form a pandemic pod. 

  • Guidance on telework and alternative work for staff during the Remote Learning/Teaching Period (Nov. 25 - Dec. 14) and between fall and spring semesters (Dec. 15 - Jan. 18).

  • Preparing for returning to campus for the Spring 2021 semester.