COVID-19 update from App State - week of Nov. 16 - 21

Posted 11/21/20 at 12:05 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.

Our last day of classes for the semester is Tuesday, Nov. 24. After Thanksgiving break, 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. 

If you are a residential student heading home or if you are traveling for the holiday, be sure to familiarize yourself with the university’s Holiday and Winter Break Departure and Return Plan

As we begin to look ahead to the spring semester, these messages will include important information about returning to campus, operations updates, news and reminders. It is critically important that you continue to check your App State email over the break and watch for messages from the university. 

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

App State at Coastal Carolina
Nov. 21, noon on ESPN
In App State’s fifth nationally televised game of 2020, the Mountaineer football team will take on unbeaten and 15th-ranked Coastal Carolina in Conway, S.C.  

Waiting for the Host: An Online Play
Nov. 21 and 22, 7 p.m.
Presented by Appalachian’s Department of Theatre and Dance, this online play tells the story of a church pastor who wants to produce his church’s annual Easter passion play… online. As the cast of actors grapple with the various challenges of videoconferencing, isolation and potential contagion, they also rediscover the enduring power of human connection. Free event, reservations required.

Appalachian Guitar Orchestra Virtual Concert
Nov. 23, 8 p.m.
The Hayes School of Music’s Appalachian Guitar Orchestra will broadcast its virtual concert on the Hayes School of Music Performances page. The 27 guitarists coached by Dr. Douglas James, professor of guitar, will present a program that includes Celtic pieces as well as a range of classical guitar music and orchestral arrangements. 

More Events and Activities
Appalachian TodayEngageCampus Activities 
Hayes School of Music Live StreamsUniversity Recreation

Key Takeaways:

Holiday and Winter Break Departure and Return Plan reminders

As we approach Thanksgiving break, these key actions can help you have a safer holiday:

  • Continue to follow the 3Ws (Wear, Wait, Wash) and adhere to campus safety protocols.

  • If you are traveling, get tested for COVID-19 prior to departing and after returning to the Boone area, even if you have no symptoms. Take advantage of the university’s free COVID-19 testing events or check the NCDHHS No-Cost Community Testing Events page for no-cost events across North Carolina.

  • Limit your activities and exposure to others to the greatest extent possible.

  • Avoid gatherings with those outside your household. If you are hosting or attending a gathering that does include people from outside your immediate household, limit attendance to 10 or fewer and gather outdoors if possible. Review the NCDHHS’s Interim Guidance for Private Social Gatherings for other considerations.

  • 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. Your identity is protected.

  • If you test positive for COVID-19, follow the instructions of public health. This includes answering the call and participating in contact tracing. App State will continue providing support for students in isolation and/or quarantine status during university breaks.

Student Health reminders

  • Flu shots for students will be offered Monday, Nov. 23, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:10 p.m. Register at the Student Health Service site through Medportal to schedule a time. You can also schedule a flu shot during regular clinic hours. Call 262-3100 to schedule an appointment.

  • The last full day of operations for Student Health Service in the Miles Annas Building is Friday, Dec. 11. View the Student Health Service operations schedule.

  • Do you have prescriptions that will need to be filled before winter break?  Visit the pharmacy and/or send the provider a Medportal message to renew your prescriptions.

Housing and Dining operations

  • Residence halls close at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 25, and reopen at 8 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 15. Residential students will be required to turn in their keys prior to leaving or be charged a $55 re-key fee. Review University Housing’s Residence Hall Closing Procedures page for more information.

  • Campus Dining will operate through Dec. 11 with reduced operations after Nov. 25.

  • The Meals for Mountaineers program will be available weekdays from Dec. 11 - Jan. 14 providing chef-inspired meals at no charge to App State students, staff and faculty in need, no questions asked. Meals for Mountaineers is a collaboration of App State's Office of Sustainability, Division of University Advancement, Division of Student Affairs and Campus Dining. It is made possible by in-kind and monetary donations.

Building hours and access

  • After Thanksgiving break, campus building access will vary — some buildings will be locked and will require a key or card swipe for access. From Dec. 11 - Jan. 11, most academic buildings will be locked for safety and security and will require a key or card swipe for access. Contact your department chair or administrator with questions. Please visit area websites for more information.

Holiday and winter break departure and return plan

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:

  • Students can still apply for Mountaineer Emergency Grants: Students who incur expenses as a result of the campus disruption from COVID-19 may still apply for financial assistance through the Mountaineer Emergency Fund or the Mountaineer Emergency Fund CARES Act Supplement.

    • This funding is not a loan and does not need to be repaid. There is no deadline to apply at this time and grants will be awarded as long as funds are available; however, requests will not be processed during the Thanksgiving break (Nov. 26 - 29) and the winter break closure (Dec. 24 - Jan. 1).  

    • To be eligible, students must meet minimum Department of Education criteria. Visit the Mountaineer Emergency Grants for Students page to view eligibility requirements, types of expenses covered and other details for each fund and to apply. Students who have already been awarded the maximum amount are not eligible to request additional funds.

COVID-19 testing

  • Free COVID-19 testing events for students, faculty and staff will be held Saturday, Nov. 21, Monday, Nov. 23, and each Wednesday in December through Dec. 16 from noon - 5 p.m. No appointments are required. Walk-up and drive-up testing will be available. Visit the university’s COVID-19 Testing page for all upcoming testing events.

  • 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.

On-going briefings and strategy and tactical meetings

  • Chancellor Everts meets regularly with UNC System President Hans and 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: 25,463
Classroom transmission: 0 confirmed cases
Current hospitalizations: 0
Current quarantine availability: 90% available (10% in use)
Current meal support availability: 90% available (10% in use)
Police reports responding to violations of gathering limits (Aug. 1 - present): 20
Current residence hall capacity: 73% 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: 7 (21% of all cases, approx.)
Active cases in students who live off campus: 24 (71% of all cases, approx.)
Days since campus planning discussions first started around COVID-19: 304
Days since the campus EOC formally activated to coordinate preparedness/response/recovery efforts: 266

Latest News:

New resources from NCDHHS

On Nov. 17, Gov. Roy Cooper and Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) announced a new COVID-19 County Alert System to pinpoint counties with the highest levels of viral spread and offer specific recommendations to bring numbers down. To read more and see FAQs, visit the alert page.

Preparing for final exams

Final exams will be held online from Thursday, Dec. 3, through Wednesday, Dec. 9. View the exam schedule here.

  • For students remaining in Boone during exams, Plemmons Student Union’s ballrooms, lounges and hallways will be available as on-campus study space through Dec. 11, with adequate space for social distancing — see facility hours. Belk Library and Information Commons also will be open through Dec. 11, but group study rooms will not be available — see hours of operation. Legends will be closed.

  • The fall 2020 opt-in Enhanced Pass No Credit Grading System (P/NC) for all undergraduate students is now available. Students are strongly encouraged to discuss all options with their advisors, 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.

Preparing for commencement

  • Graduating students can pick up commencement packets at the University Bookstore on Nov. 23 from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. Bring your mobile device for contactless checkout. The packet includes your diploma cover and other materials to help you celebrate virtual Commencement. Packets not picked up will be mailed to the address listed on your application for graduation. Visit the university’s Commencement site for full details.

Communications and updates

Additional campus updates and information:

Information coming soon:

  • 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 spring 2021.

  • Guidance on how to participate in outdoor winter activities.