BOONE — Students who live on campus at Appalachian State University will be required to go home to quarantine — with limited exceptions — if they test positive for COVID-19, according to the university.

University spokesperson Megan Hayes said this policy, which has been in place since the start of the school year, is due to the availability of a vaccine. It’s also due to funding.

“The federal funds we used to house students in off-campus locations last year are now being redirected to cover the costs of mandatory testing and other mitigation efforts we did not have in place in 2020,” Hayes said.

Hayes said that a very limited number of active cases may be housed on campus at any given time, but this is a last resort for students who have no other options. The same considerations are used for other housing exceptions and include factors such as extensive or international travel and homelessness.

Students will not be reimbursed if they are directed to go home.

Jenna Kubiak, a junior living on campus, said she was frustrated that they didn’t know about this policy until her and her roommate — sophomore AJ Akers — went to the website to see what they had to do if they tested positive for COVID-19.

“To learn that there wasn’t really any housing available for students who do test positive with COVID-19 was really scary, especially considering that we could possibly further infect our families,” Kubiak said.

Akers said that the policy has caused more anxiety.

“I have a 6-year-old brother who’s not been vaccinated,” Akers said. “He’s a first grader that attends special education. If he were to get infected if I brought COVID-19 back home, he would have to fall further behind in school, and we really can’t risk that for him.”

Hayes said that risk to one’s family is taken into consideration and “adds to the numerous reasons that it is very important to be vaccinated against COVID-19.”

With this policy, Akers thinks this could cause anxiety for people who live on campus to be comfortable to report they have COVID-19, especially if they don’t have an option to go back home.

Home for Akers is in Creedmoor and home for Kubiak is Rockingham, both of which are about 2 hours and 45 minutes from Boone. Kubiak lives with her grandparents.

Both Akers and Kubiak questioned why the university was hosting large-scale events when many students have tested positive for COVID-19. Since the university began conducting COVID-19 tests on Aug. 9, 296 students or faculty have tested positive.

“It feels almost as if they’re putting those like concerts and football games above the health and needs of their students,” Kubiak said.

As of Sept. 4, 112 students and six employees were active with COVID-19.

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(3) comments

I attended the Roger McGuinn concert at the Appalachian Theatre, which was the day before the Luke Comps concert. In order to attend the concert, I had to show proof of vaccination, a photo id. with my name on it, and wear a mask during the entire concert. I just watched a video of the Luke Comps concert. When the camera panned the audience, I noticed that very few were wearing masks. What is ASU's policy on masks and vaccinations at events like concerts and football games?


“It feels almost as if they’re putting those like concerts and football games above the health and needs of their students,” Kubiak said.

Yeah. That's because they are. This administration doesn't care about it's students or employees at all. Period.


I'm afraid I'm going to have to agree with you. I have a friend of mine who teaches there. Labs, where you're about a foot from students for extended periods helping them. They developed a medical situation where their immune system has been weakened. They already have other problems putting them at heightened risk. They have letters and forms from doctors explaining all this. So they ask HR to be excused from that environment. Not from teaching, just the labs. HR is all "we'll get back to you in 5 to 15 working days." So it's been a week and a half, and still nothing from the university. Meanwhile they are forced to teach in an environment that could be deadly to them. That is absolutely reprehensible.

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