Each week, App State’s Project Management and Implementation Team will provide weekly progress reports to campus from the teams across campus who are working toward resuming daily operations and returning to classrooms and labs.
As we return to campus, it will look and operate differently in order to maintain the safest possible learning and work environment. Enhanced health and safety practices and physical changes are being phased in now and will be fully implemented prior to the start of the Fall 2020 semester. Here are a few of the plans currently being implemented:
Cleaning and disinfecting:
Classroom cleaning: Classrooms will be cleaned by custodial staff multiple times throughout the day. Each classroom will also be supplied with wipes. Everyone is encouraged to wipe down their personal space prior to and after each class. Laboratory cleaning plans are in development.
- Physical distancing: Classroom furniture will be re-organized to reduce seating and place appropriate distance between each person in the classroom.
- Additional classroom spaces: All available space on campus, including the Plemmons Student Union meeting rooms, conference rooms and other meeting room spaces on campus will be utilized as classroom space in order to accommodate physical distance requirements.
- Fresh air exchange: Heating and air systems are being optimized to provide the greatest possible fresh air exchange. For buildings with central HVAC systems, fresh air exchange will occur 4-6 times per hour.
Daily health checks
Students, as well as faculty and staff, will be expected to self-administer daily health checks for COVID-19 symptoms using an online tool selected by the university. Depending on the symptoms checked, the tool will give guidance as to whether you should stay home, seek medical care or are cleared to be on campus.
Positive case dashboard
On June 5, Chancellor Everts announced an update to the university’s coronavirus website to include a dashboard that gives increased visibility regarding COVID-19 test results, the number of positive COVID-19 cases and information related to testing sites. This website and dashboard are the most accurate and immediate source for the latest information related to Appalachian's response to COVID-19.
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 reporting process
AppHealthCare, our local public health agency, continues to collaborate with the university on testing, tracing and reporting positive App State COVID-19 cases. The university’s coronavirus website includes a positive case dashboard with COVID-19 test results, the number of positive COVID-19 cases and information related to testing sites. The dashboard shows a breakdown of active cases as well as cumulative cases.
- You can read detailed information on the COVID-19 reporting process here.
Broad-based educational programming regarding public health, COVID-19 safety and community expectations:
As we prepare for the first day of classes on Aug. 17, it will be critically important for all our students, faculty and staff to come together as a community and embrace public health and safety standards together. One important component of this will be educational training.
All students, faculty and staff will be expected to complete educational training courses about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 before returning to campus.
Educational training for students
The students’ course, titled Protecting Yourself and Others From Infectious Disease and available through AsULearn, was developed by the Wellness and Prevention Services team led by Dr. Alex Howard, who holds a doctorate degree in public health. The course consists of four modules, each ending with a knowledge check. Students need to pass each module separately with at least a 90% score, in addition to having a collective score of at least 90%. The course includes pre-test and post-test surveys of their knowledge, as well as tips for safe ways to connect with their peers during the semester and links to additional resources.
The student course includes information on the following:
- An introduction to the coronavirus and the disease it causes.
- How to protect yourself and others.
- How to seek help if needed.
- Contact tracing and other public health guidance.
- Community expectations for caring for one another and keeping each other safe.
Completion instructions are being emailed to students. Others can see a preview of the students' course at the Wellness & Prevention Services course website.
Educational training for employees
Employees’ COVID-19 course, Pandemics: Slowing the Spread, is among online health and safety courses presented by Vivid Learn Systems through Appalachian’s Environmental Health, Safety and Emergency Services. The course begins by addressing pandemics in general and then offers specific information on the coronavirus and COVID-19. It includes a knowledge check after each part and an assessment at the end.
The employee course emphasizes:
- An introduction to the coronavirus and the disease it causes.
- How to protect yourself and others.
- Who is at risk.
It takes approximately 20 minutes to complete and is available online. To access the course:
- Log-in to your AppalNet account and select the “Employee” tab.
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and select “Online Health and Safety Training Courses.”
- Select “go to Vivid.”
- Choose “Pandemics: Slowing the Spread.”
After completing the course, employees should download the Certificate of Completion PDF and email it to their supervisor. Supervisors should confirm successful completion before permitting an employee to return to campus.
Students will complete a similar training course. Student employers should request the completion report before student employees return to work.
Health and safety on campus
Employees on campus are expected, and in certain work situations may be required, to practice the 3 Ws:
- Wear a face covering if you will be close to others (6 feet away or less). As we return employees to campus, face coverings will be provided to all employees for use while working.
- Wait, in order to avoid close contact with others. Maintain physical distance of 6 feet from others.
- Wash your hands often, scrubbing with soap for at least 20 seconds. or use hand sanitizer. Read more about when and how to wash your hands here.
These measures are effective ways to limit transmission of the coronavirus because COVID-19 is an airborne disease that spreads from person to person through speaking, coughing or sneezing.
Physical distance and face coverings are not just to protect you; these measures protect those around you, too. Many people who contract the coronavirus don’t show symptoms at first, and some who contract the virus never develop symptoms — but asymptomatic people can still transmit the disease to others. That means it’s possible for someone to have the coronavirus and give it to other people without knowing it. Physical distance and face coverings reduce the likelihood of that happening.
Read more about the 3 Ws here.
- Faculty and staff on campus are expected to maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from others whenever possible.
- Many exterior doors of buildings will remain locked during the phased return to limit population density and facilitate physical distancing. Contact email@example.com for card access needs.
- In-person gatherings or meetings are limited to 10 people or fewer who are spaced at least 6 feet apart. Face coverings should be worn. For meetings that cannot meet these requirements, use teleconferencing. Find more information and assistance with teleconferencing here.
- Supervisors should ensure that visible reminders encouraging physical distancing — such as floor tape indicating 6 feet of distance, rearranged furniture and signs indicating traffic flow — are present in places such as building entrances and exits, mail rooms, break rooms and common areas. To access printable signs and templates for this purpose, visit App State’s central Coronavirus response site.
- Faculty and staff are expected to follow signage directing traffic flow through building entrances, exits, elevators and other common areas.
- When business requires riding in the same vehicle, faculty and staff must wear face coverings.
Because COVID-19 is spread through droplets when an infected person speaks, coughs or sneezes, one of the most important tools we have in this fight are face coverings.
- Everyone is required to wear face coverings that cover the mouth and nose in all campus buildings, including hallways, conference and meeting rooms, multi-person workstations, elevators, stairwells, restrooms and kitchens when social distancing cannot be guaranteed.
- Face coverings must be worn at all times, regardless of distancing, in classrooms and all instructional areas.
- Examples of acceptable face coverings include cloth face coverings - such as those being distributed to all students, faculty and staff - surgical masks and bandanas that cover the nose and mouth. If you have questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Everyone is required to carry a face covering at all times while on campus, in case they encounter an unforeseen situation where at least 6 feet of physical distance cannot be maintained.
- You are not required to wear a face covering when you are working alone in your office, in private living spaces within residential halls, but the policy does apply to common areas such as lobbies.
- You may temporarily remove your face covering while drinking or eating in non-instructional spaces. Eating and drinking in common areas in residence halls is not permitted.
- Read the policy in full here.
We are relying on members of our community to adhere to these standards, but when necessary, we also will enforce these behaviors. This will include asking students who do not have a face covering to leave the classroom, campus building or other venue and only return when they have a face covering. Students who continue to violate this policy may be subject to further action per the Code of Student Conduct. Similarly, employees who do not wear a face covering may be subject to disciplinary action based on our policies regarding employee performance and behaviors in the workplace.
- Students who seek a modification to this policy due to a medical condition should contact the Office of Disability Resources.
- Employees with a similar request should complete the "High Risk Identification Form" found here. Accommodations may be made on a case by case basis to facilitate teaching and learning in specific environments.
Distribution of face coverings
All students, faculty and staff will be provided with three face coverings.
Face coverings for employees:
- Environmental Health, Safety and Emergency Management has distributed more than 33,500 reusable face coverings to campus departments and areas, and distribution continues. Please contact your departmental administrator to see if reusable face coverings have been delivered to your area or email email@example.com.
- Campus departments will also receive disposable masks that can be given out as needed. Departments will be emailed instructions for where/when to pick up disposable masks in early August.
Face coverings for students: Reusable face coverings for students will be distributed in several ways:
- Residential students will receive their face coverings at check-in during their assigned move-in appointment.
- Online students will receive them by mail.
- Off-campus students will receive face coverings through several distribution methods. More information will be provided in early August.
If I forgot my face covering, what should I do?
- Reusable face coverings are available for purchase at the University Bookstore for $10 plus tax, and 10-packs of disposable face masks are available for purchase at the Markets, located in Appalachian Panhellenic Hall, Trivette Hall and the University Bookstore, for $12.79 plus tax.
- Snack vending machines across campus will be stocked with 2-packs of disposable masks for $2.50. Vending machines will also be stocked with small bottles of hand sanitizer.
- Campus departments will receive a limited supply of disposable masks that can be given out while supplies last.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow — not with your hands.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer. Scrub with soap for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use hand sanitizer instead. Hand sanitizing stations may be found at the primary entry points to each campus building.
Employees must wash their hands in the following instances:
- At the beginning and end of each work shift.
- After using the restroom.
- Before and after eating.
- After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
For more detailed information on effective hand hygiene, view the CDC’s guidance for washing and sanitizing your hands here.
Cleaning and Disinfection of Surfaces
Departments can request cleaning supplies by completing a work order. It is expected that disinfecting wipes will be the most commonly used item.
High-touch surfaces and common spaces will be cleaned by Environmental Services staff in accordance with CDC guidelines for disinfection. Read more about those standards here.
Employees and supervisors should take steps to reduce the number of common touch points in on-campus facilities. Consider leaving internal doors (other than fire doors and alarmed doors) propped open when possible.
The use of gloves is not required unless you are required to do by your supervisor in order to perform your work duties effectively. (For example, if you work in Dining Services, you may be required to wear gloves to effectively perform your work.) Gloves do not give the wearer immunity, and germs that might be on your gloves can be transferred to other surfaces. To avoid cross-contamination, safely remove gloves immediately after use.
Faculty and staff are expected to use available supplies to clean and disinfect the following:
- Their work space (as defined by the supervisor) at the start and end of each workday or shift.
- If applicable, their university work vehicle at the start and end of each shift (or before and after each use if the vehicle is shared).
- Any tools or equipment, including computer keyboards/mouses, at the start and end of each shift (or after each use if the items are shared).
Mental and Emotional Well-Being
The uncertainty of this pandemic may cause mental and emotional stress for faculty and staff and their families. Resources and assistance for faculty and staff are available to help manage fear, anxiety and other stress.
The CDC provides guidance for coping during COVID-19, which includes:
- Take breaks from social media and from watching, reading or listening to news stories if you are feeling overwhelmed or distressed.
- Do what you can to eat healthy foods, exercise, get adequate sleep and find time to unwind.
- Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
Find additional CDC resources on coping and daily life during COVID-19 here or contact the National distress hotline: 1-800-985-5990, or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
Employee assistance for faculty and staff
A number of resources are available to assist App State employees:
- Confidential counseling is available for faculty and staff free of charge.
- App State’s Employee Assistance Program provides resources to help employees address personal and work-life issues. Supplemental, confidential counseling services, work-life solutions, legal support, financial information and expert information online about many topics are provided to faculty and staff at no charge.
- Center for Academic Excellence’s Keep Teaching website
- ITS’ Keep Working website
- Wellness and Prevention Services’ “Go at Your Own Pace Meditation Class”
- Human Resources’ Professional Development opportunities
- Affinity groups:
Wellness resources for students
Counseling and Psychological Services Center offers counseling support, assistance with referrals and other resources for students. Call 828-262-3180 to schedule an initial consultation or discuss options, or click here for more information.
The Office of the Dean of Students offers support and resources to promote educational and developmental opportunities for student growth and self-responsibility. Find information on case management, off campus student services, parent and family resources, student conduct, legal assistance for students and student veteran services here.
Wellness and Prevention Services serves all students through the promotion of healthy behaviors, risk behavior modification services, and advocacy for campus-wide health policies that facilitate student success and holistic well-being. Find out more information here.