Friday, November 20, 2020
Next week, we will hold our last day of classes and take a short, much-needed break for the Thanksgiving holiday. Vigilance in our personal COVID safety measures is critically important at this time.
Current statewide and national headlines are reminding us of the importance of limiting exposure to others and getting tested for COVID-19. I am so pleased that our students are utilizing our drive-up/walk-up exit testing events. Please continue to utilize campus testing opportunities, limit your exposure to others to the greatest possible extent, and be sure to make plans for prioritizing safety during the holiday.
While we will update our weekly testing data on the university’s COVID-19 dashboard on Monday, below are some key exit testing metrics:
- We have conducted 2,309 free COVID-19 tests on campus for the week so far, with 28 positives, a 1.2% positivity rate.
- On Monday, we saw a 48% increase in the number of tests conducted over the previous Monday.
- On Wednesday, we saw a 75% increase in the number of tests conducted over the previous Wednesday.
Our own campus experts provide important information. In particular, guidance for how to create a pandemic pod, or a small group of people who limit their non-distanced social interaction to one another, has been provided by Dr. Alex F. Howard, interim assistant vice chancellor in the Division of Student Affairs and director of Wellness and Prevention Services.
Throughout the year, and especially during this season of giving and gratitude, I am inspired by how the Appalachian Community works to help those on our campus and in our local community.
- To date, we have served approximately 10,000 meals to individuals from our campus and in the community who are in isolation or quarantine. Many thanks to Jason Marshburn and his team in Environmental Health, Safety, and Emergency Management for coordinating this effort, to Campus Dining for preparing these meals and to Parking and Transportation for facilitating these important deliveries. We will continue providing support to our students who are in isolation or quarantine over the break.
- Last week, App State’s Staff Senate sponsored its 40th annual AppKIDS event. With safety in mind, the committee instituted several new or modified events: the AppKIDS Give Day for online donations; a virtual silent auction; and online shopping for each child in need instead of the traditional in-person shopping day. In total, AppKIDS raised $18,500 for winter clothing and necessities for local children.
- App State's Campus Dining has created a new Meals for Mountaineers program that offers free, chef-inspired meals to those in need in the Appalachian Community during Winter Break — no questions asked. Available from Dec. 11 to Jan. 14, 2021, this program is another way Campus Dining is serving our Mountaineers, and I am so very proud of their efforts.
- Yesterday, students enjoyed WinterFest on Sanford Mall — hosted by Campus Activities and Wellness and Prevention Services. With free food and games, this event was a great opportunity for our campus community to enjoy a beautiful Boone afternoon with all safety precautions in place. I appreciate the tremendous work of Wellness and Prevention Services and Campus Activities, as well as Student Health Service, Counseling and Psychological Services and University Recreation in helping keep our students healthy and engaged this semester.
Finding ways to connect is more important than ever — as App State’s Glee Club reminds us in this virtual performance. While we miss the sights and sounds of performances like these in the Plemmons Student Union and Broyhill Music Center, I am thankful for the many ways we are learning to stay connected, no matter the distance.
Sheri Everts, Chancellor