By Harley Nefe
Drivers going down King Street may notice an increase in pedestrians, and the sounds of marching band members practicing their instruments may be heard near Rivers Street or Stadium Drive. It’s that time of the year again — school is about to begin.
Throughout this week, there has been an increase in traffic and people in Boone as 6,200 college students have been moving into the 20 different residence halls on Appalachian State University’s campus in preparation for classes that start Monday, August 16.
“The joyful sights and sounds on our campus this week signaled the start of a new academic year — proud families helping their Mountaineers move into residence halls, students exploring their homes away from home and Sanford Mall once again filled with students enjoying outdoor activities,” said App State Chancellor Sheri Everts in an email update to faculty, students and staff. “Our campus is invigorated by this renewed energy!”
For the fall 2020 semester, App State saw enrollment at 20,023 students. This year’s numbers have not been released yet, but it’s expected to be around the same.
With everyone returning to campus, coming up with the best safety protocols for App State has been a key focus. One important update is that face coverings are required in all indoor campus locations.
“We must remain cautious and safety-focused,” Everts said. “In my conversations with our students, faculty and staff, it is understood that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over.”
Although it’s not required, App State is highly encouraging its students, faculty and staff to get fully vaccinated. All personnel should submit their vaccine statuses to the school by Aug. 16.
Beginning Aug. 16, every student, faculty and staff member who has submitted their full vaccination status will be placed into a pool for prize drawings including free parking passes, gift cards for on-campus dining and community businesses, football getaway weekends along with a chance to win $1,000 scholarships, according to the chancellor’s email update.
For folks who have not uploaded their vaccine status, they will be required to participate in randomized COVID-19 testing throughout the year.
App State’s classes will be in session until Sept. 6, when the university is closed for Labor Day. Fall Break will be Oct. 11-12 before the next school break is from Nov. 24-26. The last day of class for the fall semester is Nov. 30.