Important message from Chancellor Everts about continuing university operations

Monday, August 17, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

As you have likely heard, this afternoon, UNC-Chapel Hill announced their campus will shift all undergraduate instruction to remote learning on Wednesday. This decision was made by the UNC System in consultation with UNC-Chapel Hill leadership, following a significant increase of COVID-19 infection clusters within that campus community during the first week of classes. This decision applies to UNC-Chapel Hill only.

We are in constant communications with UNC System officials, as well as our local public health experts, to monitor conditions on our campus, and there are no immediate plans to change our course delivery methods at App State.

I am sharing below a message from UNC System President Peter Hans:

“The decision to adapt operations applies to UNC-Chapel Hill only because no other UNC System institution has reported information, at this time, that would lead to similar modifications. 

All students must continue to wear facial coverings and practice social distancing as part of their personal responsibility, particularly in off-campus settings. Taking personal responsibility and enforcing community standards are essential for the success of this semester and for protecting public health.

Each campus is different, and I expect situations to evolve differently. In any circumstance, we will be grounded by reliable public health data and prevailing local health conditions. I will continue to stay in close contact with our chancellors and fully support their efforts to fulfill our core educational mission in safe learning environments.”

I am encouraged by our numbers so far, including:

  • Last week, during our pop-up testing for residence hall students and at Student Health Services, we conducted 2,006 COVID-19 tests. Of those tests, 27, or only 1.3 percent, were positive.

  • Of our available isolation and quarantine space, 86 percent is currently available and we have additional options we can utilize if needed.

I know, however, that it is early in the semester. I cannot emphasize strongly enough that it is up to each of us to minimize the spread of COVID-19 among members of our university and the greater community.

  • Across the state, gatherings and parties are limited by Executive Order of the Governor of North Carolina to no more than 10 people indoors and no more than 25 outdoors. This does not apply to our classrooms and laboratories, which are set up for physical distancing, but it does apply to meetings, parties and off campus gatherings, and the university takes this order very seriously. App State Police will assist Boone Police in monitoring for large parties, and students who are in violation will be referred to Student Conduct.

  • On August 14, the Delta Chi fraternity was placed under University Interim Suspension and National Cease and Desist Pending an Investigation for failure to follow the Joint Council Safety Statement in regards to off-campus gatherings.

University staff meet with public health experts every weekday. We are closely monitoring the health of our community and our response to positive cases of COVID-19. In the coming days, we will add enhancements to our reporting dashboard so our university community will have access to additional public health information, including percentages of positive test results.

While there is no exact set of metrics that will determine when a UNC System campus may move to all-remote learning, we know that if we can keep the transmission of COVID-19 low, we will be able to stay on campus. If our campus conditions merit a change in plans or approach to instruction or on-campus living, we will communicate any changes as quickly as possible.

Our classroom setup, enhanced cleaning and logistical planning to adhere to physical distancing recommendations are designed for the protection of students, faculty and staff. It is up to each of us to do our daily health checkspractice the 3Ws and follow the advice and orders of our medical professionals, state and local public health agencies and the Governor.

Sheri Everts, Chancellor