When Appalachian State University students returned for fall semester Aug. 17, they encountered any number of changes to the expected routines.
In response to the novel coronavirus, the university has assessed and adjusted every aspect of the Appalachian Experience to keep health and safety at the forefront, including implementing physical distancing recommendations, requiring face coverings and enhancing sanitation protocols.
Appalachian has a strong partnership with AppHealthCare, the local public health agency, and is supported by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the University of North Carolina System. The university is partnering with AppHealthCare on the High Country “Share Your Love” public health campaign, with billboards, avenue banners, newspaper ads, and local radio and TV spots featuring Appalachian Chancellor Sheri Everts and Appalachian students. Additionally, the Appalachian Police Department is assisting the Boone Police Department with monitoring, responding to and addressing off-campus gatherings that violate requirements related to COVID-19.
Read on for a glimpse into key areas of daily life, from dining to academics. Additional information is available at appstate.edu/recovery.
The state of North Carolina, the University of North Carolina System, the town of Boone and Appalachian are taking public health guidance seriously and are requiring face coverings. Signage about requirements for face coverings and physical distancing has been placed throughout campus.
All students will be provided three reusable face coverings and are expected to wear them — on campus and during off-campus activities as well — for the health and safety of everyone in the campus and local communities. Read more about the university’s face coverings policy.
Students, as well as faculty and staff, will be expected to self-administer daily health checks for COVID-19 symptoms using this online tool. This centralized tool includes a short, easy questionnaire and is accessible on any device — phones, laptops, tablets or desktop computers. 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.
On-campus residential students have an opportunity to receive a free COVID test Aug. 10–15 as they move onto campus, thanks to a partnership with Mako Medical Laboratories to increase testing availability for the campus community. Local public health agency AppHealthCare continues to offer testing for other members of the Appalachian Community. Find additional information about testing on Appalachian’s dedicated coronavirus website.
The ability to hold campus events and the number of people who can be in attendance depend on decisions made by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper. Guidelines for student club and organization events will be provided soon, but per Cooper’s Phase 2 extension, issued Aug. 5, gatherings of more than 10 people in a single indoor space remain prohibited. In confined outdoor spaces, gatherings of more than 25 people are prohibited. These mass gathering limits apply to parades, fairs, festivals, auditoriums, stadiums, arenas, conference rooms and meeting halls.
In a show of support for the university’s recommendations, leadership of Appalachian’s fraternities and sororities issued a joint statement on the groups’ commitment to “enforcing the directives and initiatives of our state, town and campus” for the safety of students and others in the community returning to campus amid COVID-19. The statement also declares “those organizations that do not act according to these initiatives and our community values will be held accountable.” Read the news story.
Signs of the times
The university has installed clear and consistent health and safety signage for campus buildings, specifically at building entrances/exits, on elevators, outside and in classrooms and labs, in hallways and common areas, and in restrooms. The signs detail recommendations for face coverings, physical distancing and sanitation. Request additional and specialty signage.
The fall 2020 schedule of classes has been updated to reflect adjustments to room assignments, class times and class delivery methods. A total of 52% of courses are being delivered in fully face-to-face or hybrid modes, and 48% are being delivered fully remotely. The new schedule will offer a variety of course types to allow greater physical distancing in classrooms and flexibility for faculty and student needs.
Course types include the following:
- Face-to-face courses held in classrooms arranged to provide 6 feet of physical distancing.
- Hybrid, with both online and face-to-face components, including rotating student groups, synchronous broadcast and HyFlex, in which students have multiple options to achieve course goals.
- Online courses (synchronous or asynchronous) in which students will participate from their residences or other designated learning areas across campus set up for physical distancing.
The University Bookstore and Belk Library and Information Commons are both open for the campus community. The library’s dates of access and hours of operation for fall semester are available on its website.
Of note, students began ordering their fall textbooks online July 31. The University Bookstore has posted step-by-step instructions on its website for the online ordering process. Off-campus students will have their books delivered to them via UPS Ground. Residential students will pick up their books in person at the University Bookstore by appointment only and will receive emailed instructions for how to do so — no walk-ins will be allowed. Learn more about ordering fall textbooks.
Information Technology Services has been working to ensure the best possible learning environments. Read details about laptop recommendations, online computer labs and financial assistance.
Students will have spaces available on campus for studying or participating in online learning, including campus computer labs and designated study zones in multiple campus buildings. These spaces will have access to Wi-Fi, allow for appropriate physical distancing between students and be cleaned and disinfected throughout the day. Specific locations will be shared as information is available.
Dining on campus
Life in the residence halls
Appalachian opens two new residence halls this fall — Thunder Hill and Raven Rocks halls. There, and in all the residence halls, University Housing has implemented policies and procedures to ensure physical distancing, intensified cleaning and other safety precautions and special move-in instructions.
New visitation policies limit the number of people allowed in the residence halls and individual rooms. Read about the policies and watch a short video, in which Associate Director of University Housing Dr. Alicia Vest explains some of the measures in place to help protect students living in the residence halls. As always, Appalachian students’ physical safety and security are priorities for the university. Read University Housing’s safety and security measures.