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Appalachian State Continuing With In-Person Class Instruction For Now; 40 Students Currently Have Active COVID-19 Cases

By Nathan Ham

In a message from Appalachian State Chancellor Dr. Sheri Everts on Monday afternoon, it appears that Appalachian State will continue to offer in-person classes for the time being. 

UNC-Chapel Hill made the decision to discontinue classroom sessions and return to an entirely online learning format, becoming the first school in the UNC System to made the switch back to online classes only. 

“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,” said UNC System President, Peter Hans, in a statement. “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.”

As of Wednesday, Appalachian has 40 active cases among students and 9 active cases among employees. 

“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,” Dr. Everts said. “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.”

Students remembering to social distance and avoid large gatherings off-campus have been a worry among Boone residents and other students who are trying their best to follow the guidelines. 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. Another off-campus hangout, River Street Ale House, had to briefly close due to several employees having positive COVID-19 tests. The restaurant announced on Facebook that they are reopening today.