Update from Appalachian State University
Campus activity is ramping up as students will soon move into residence halls and classes will begin for the fall semester on Aug. 16. The latest operations update was sent to campus yesterday. If you haven’t yet read it, I encourage you to do so, as it includes details about COVID safety protocols for fall semester, including links for students, faculty and staff to upload their vaccine status. Having data about the vaccine status of our university community will be key to our ability to make informed safety policy and protocol decisions, and I greatly appreciate the nearly 30% of faculty and staff who have, since yesterday, attested their vaccine status.As the fall semester approaches and gets underway, additional guidance and more frequent communications will be sent to campus.
Yesterday, Governor Cooper announced a new Executive Order, EO224, and updated the state’s Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) guidance.
- The EO224
requirements do not apply to UNC
institutions or employees.
- The NCDHHS guidance, which isn’t mandated
under the Executive Order, is in line with the
latest guidance of the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC), and recommends
various COVID-19 protocols for both unvaccinated
and vaccinated individuals. We are reviewing
- Gov. Cooper also confirmed that all face covering requirements under the previous Executive Order EO220 will expire today at 5 p.m. and will not be renewed.
The Vice Chancellors and I meet daily to review the latest guidance and discuss the university's COVID response and recovery efforts. The safety of the university community is our utmost priority and we continue to take the global pandemic very seriously.
- Since the start of the pandemic, we
have relied on data and guidance from the UNC
System as well as public health guidance from
the CDC and state and local public health
agencies to inform our decisions in
regard to COVID-19 safety policies and
protocols. The updated
university guidance we shared yesterday is
in line with the latest federal, state and local
- After 18 months of actively responding to
COVID-19, we are acutely aware that guidance
necessarily must change as circumstances
change and new information is available.
We review all information, guidance and
directives carefully to determine how they apply
to App State. We will continue to make
data-driven decisions based on the latest
public health recommendations.
- A team led by Emergency Management Director Jason Marshburn and Dr. Alex Howard, Assistant Vice Chancellor and Director of Wellness and Prevention Services, meets regularly to review the latest data, guidance and university resources, and makes recommendations to the Vice Chancellors and me. The Vice Chancellors and I review these recommendations each week, in addition to our daily meetings to review and discuss the latest information available from the UNC System, as well as federal, state and local public health agencies.
In a few weeks we will begin a new academic year with the benefit of 18 months of data, guidance that has been developed by the best medical experts in the world and the most powerful tool available that has been proven to stop the severity and the spread of COVID-19 and its variants — a plentiful supply of vaccine.
- The COVID vaccine is key to a
successful fall semester. If you
haven’t yet had the vaccine, please do so now. On
campus, faculty, staff and students can make
an appointment at Student Health Service by
- The CDC is recommending vaccinated individuals
wear face coverings in areas with “substantial”
or “high” rates of transmission. Watauga County
is currently an area of “moderate”
transmission. We are closely monitoring
our county transmission rates, and will post
the county’s transmission status on the
university’s homepage, as well as the
university’s coronavirus website.
Face coverings will be available for classrooms,
and in academic departments and public areas
- The enhanced sanitation procedures and rigorous cleaning schedules put in place last year will continue. Please use the hand sanitizer stations across campus and the sanitizing wipes provided in each classroom.
The last few weeks have also brought important discussions and momentous occasions.
- Today, we will cut the ribbon on
Laurel Creek Residence Hall — the
third new hall to open on our campus in the last
year! I am proud of the team that completed
these buildings on time and under budget despite
the challenges presented by the pandemic, and am
pleased that our perseverance also helped
contribute to the local economy during
especially challenging economic times. These
buildings, and the many
other projects in progress on our campus,
represent the future of App State. At a time
when the focus is very much on the day to day,
we also have our sights on the horizon —
anticipating the needs of the Appalachian
Community and planning for generations of
Mountaineers to come.
- Team Sunergy, App
State’s solar vehicle team, is in
Topeka, KS, representing App State in an
international competition in which
they will race the App State solar car on the
Heartland Motorsports Park track in the Formula
Sun Grand Prix, a three-day track race that
begins today. Next week, they will join the
American Solar Challenge, a five-day,
cross-country road race that spans nearly 1,000
miles from Missouri to New Mexico. We are so
proud of our team, which has persevered through
the pandemic to represent App State at these
competitions for the fourth time, inspiring
others and testing the limits of what can be
accomplished with the power of the sun.
- Last week, at the meetings of the UNC System Board of Governors, I represented App State as a member of the Committee on Budget and Finance. During the full board meeting, President Hans reinforced the value of System institutions’ collaboration with community colleges, and also recognized App State as a Literacy Innovation Leader. The rich heritage of our institution has always been focused on student learning, and we are proud to be part of these important UNC System initiatives, which will create profound and lasting positive effects for the future of North Carolina.
Although the last year and a half has taken a toll on all of us, we have demonstrated our ability to persevere and come together as a community to problem-solve under the most difficult of circumstances. I sincerely thank every faculty and staff member for their hard work to ensure our university is ready to provide a meaningful experience for all Mountaineers this fall. We all look forward to welcoming our students back to campus soon!
Sheri Everts, Chancellor