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Dr. Sheri Everts Update from Appalachian State University — Friday, September 24, 2021

Last Updated on September 24, 2021 2:14 pm

Friday, September 24, 2021

Today we are hosting meetings of our Board of Trustees — a welcome opportunity to share with them the many successes we have achieved so far this semester. The full board meeting will be livestreamed and my full remarks will be posted to my website later today.

The educational experience at App State continues to garner national recognition. In addition to our recent rankings by U.S. News & World Report, App State has also been lauded by The Princeton Review and Forbes magazine as a “Best” and “Top” college for 2021 and 2022. As I said in my message last week — and it bears repeating — these affirmations of our educational excellence speak directly to the high-caliber faculty and staff who work alongside our stellar students each day.

My leadership team and I continue to operate a holistic response and recovery effort in regard to COVID-19. A critical component of this effort is regular meetings with leaders from across campus and we are thankful for this continued collaboration. We also closely monitor trends and make decisions informed by data and by CDC, state and local health guidance. In advance of our dashboard updates on Monday, below is a look at the latest data:

  • Preliminary reports from our testing lab indicate we have tested 1,496 students, faculty and staff on campus this week, with a positivity rate of 1.3%. Watauga County's active cases are on a downward trend, with a latest reported positivity rate of 5.7%, and North Carolina’s latest reported positivity rate, currently at 9.1%, is also on a downward trajectory.

  • The vaccination rate of our students has increased to 58% and that of employees remains steady at 94%. Of note, 76% of students who live on campus are vaccinated. The university's overall vaccination rate has been steadily rising and is currently at 63%. Our campus vaccination rate exceeds that of Watauga County, which is currently at 51%. On campus, we are seeing an increase in the demand for vaccines, and this week, we hosted four on-campus clinics with the FEMA vaccine team.

These are important, favorable trends during a time in which we are working to balance a return to in-person activity with the reality that the pandemic is still very much a part of our lives. As we see increases in both testing and vaccination rates and lowering positivity rates on campus, locally and across the state, we are cautiously optimistic these trends will continue.

Last night, our Mountaineers football team hosted longtime rival Marshall University in Boone for the first time in 25 years. Like so many campus experiences, game day at The Rock is a living tradition that creates new and lasting memories with each season. Today, the Class of 2020 will inaugurate a new campus tradition as they ring the Founders Bell to signify their academic achievements. This kicks off their long-awaited, in-person commencement ceremonies this Saturday, and we are excited to celebrate our graduates!

From hard-earned accolades to a collective response to a global pandemic, the Appalachian Community proves time and time again that Mountaineer spirit prevails.

Sheri Everts, Chancellor

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