The first group of Appalachian State University students who live in campus residence halls blew into town for spring semester on Thursday, Jan. 28 — amid high winds, a sprinkling of snow and continued health and safety precautions regarding COVID-19.
According to first-year student Josiah Sink, of Lexington, who moved into Dogwood Hall, returning to the App State campus could not have happened soon enough. Students enjoyed an extra long winter break from mid-December 2020 to the third week of January due to COVID-19 precautions, followed by the Jan. 8 announcement to hold the first two weeks of classes online for additional safety.
More than 3,700 students were scheduled to arrive between Jan. 28–31 at pre-assigned appointment times issued by University Housing. The university’s COVID-19 dedensification strategy for on-campus student housing included allowing students to rework their schedules for all online classes and opt out of their housing contracts if they preferred to live with their parents or guardians for the spring semester.
Students who live on campus were required to submit a negative PCR (molecular) or antigen (rapid) COVID-19 test prior to move-in. In addition to this re-entry testing, all students moving in are required to complete a follow-up COVID-19 test between Feb. 1–6 to identify those who might have become infected between the time of their pre-move-in test and their actual transition to campus. They will also be required to complete periodic testing throughout the semester. Additionally, App State faculty are engaging in wastewater surveillance testing in residence halls, which will help further refine the university’s targeted COVID-19 testing strategy. The cost of the on-campus testing is covered by the university.
Members of App State’s Wellness and Prevention Services team have contacted the students who will be living in on-campus housing in spring 2021 to remind them about required testing and answer any questions they may have.
Classes at App State began Jan. 19 all online and resumed with a mix of face-to-face, hybrid and online formats Feb. 1.