BOONE — Appalachian State University has extended spring break an additional week until Monday, March 23, then will go to online classes for as many courses as possible due to the 2019 novel coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic, the university announced March 11.
“Beginning Monday, March 16, through Friday, March 20, all undergraduate and graduate classes are canceled,” ASU’s alert website stated. “On March 23, App State will transition from in-person instruction to alternative course delivery methods. Students will be provided with further instructions by March 18.”
Students living in residence halls, accounting for thousands of the more than 19,000 at the university, are encouraged to remain at home or off campus.
“We understand this may not be possible or prudent for everyone. If you have special circumstances that require you to return to a residence hall, please contact University Housing,” ASU said.
Employees whose schedules may be affected by the spring break extension will receive follow-up communications, ASU said.
"Any university community member returning to campus from an affected area ... should self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to work or school on campus, in consultation with their health care provider. This self-quarantine should, if possible, occur at the individual’s home, away from campus," the university said. "Taking such steps is part of acting as responsible members of the community."
The announcement follows the University of North Carolina system, which includes Appalachian State University, announcing in a statement earlier in the day that all of its institutions will transition from in-person instruction to alternative class delivery such as online classes no later than March 20.
"Alternative course delivery will begin on March 23 and last indefinitely," the UNC system stated. "Our goal is to return to in-person instruction as soon as reasonably possible. Each institution will communicate the specific details to its students and faculty."
University leadership will determine which classes, such as those with labs, will continue to require in-person instruction and attendance, it said.
In addition, outside events and gatherings of 100 or more people will be cancelled or postponed unless otherwise authorized by a chancellor or provost. University-sponsored in-state travel to gatherings of 100 or more people is suspended, and all travel outside the state is suspended, unless otherwise authorized by a chancellor or provost.
For intercollegiate athletics, teams are asked to “follow the guidance of their respective athletic conferences,” according to ASU.
ASU Faculty Senators were notified on March 12 that its regularly scheduled meeting for the following Monday had been canceled. According to Faculty Senate Chair Michael Behrent, the group was then scheduled to meet via online video chat at 3:15 p.m. on March 23.
Appalachian State has assessed its ability to recall all students currently studying abroad and will announce decisions about current and summer study abroad programs, it said.
"Universities provide environments where large numbers of people interact and congregate," the system stated. "Practicing tried and true methods for maintaining good health, and being vigilant without overreacting, will help individuals remain healthy and help minimize the impact of the virus."
System leaders continue to consult with public health officials to monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation and prepare for the likelihood that the virus will impact its institutions, the system said in the statement.
"UNC system institutions are thriving and supportive communities, ready to adapt quickly as circumstances evolve," it said. "We remain focused on the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff, and the delivery of our core academic mission."
After initially announcing they would continue in-person classroom instruction on March 11, Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk announced March 12 the "difficult decision" to move in-person classes online beginning Monday, March 23, and continuing through April 13.
"All in-person classes, both on the main campus in Banner Elk and those held at Surry Community College, are canceled from Monday, March 16, through Sunday, March 22, so faculty and staff can make preparations for remote instruction," LMC said on March 12.
Students have been asked to vacate their residence halls while classes are held online, but exceptions are being made for those with special circumstances, LMC stated.
"Lees-McRae continues to modify other operations to minimize risks to the entire community," the college said.
Prior to April 11, college-sponsored events with expected attendance of more than 20 people taking place on campus or off campus will be postponed, canceled or virtualized, the school said.
"Student-athletes with scheduled competitions and travel will receive information from their respective coaches," LMC stated. "The Office of Athletics and Club Sports will follow the guidance of the athletic conference."
Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute
HUDSON — Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute — which includes a campus in Watauga County — will suspend all classes and activities for students the week of March 16, but will continue operating on a regular schedule for employees and student support services, the college announced Friday, March 13.
Beginning March 23, the college will operate on a modified schedule with most classes transitioning to an online format, with the exception of classes requiring labs or clinical components. The college will notify students about their class status next week before classes resume.
“CCC&TI has been working closely with local and state officials to monitor the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation to ensure that the college is taking the appropriate steps to protect the health and safety of students, employees and the community,” CCC&TI President Mark Poarch said. “During the week of March 16, we’ll begin transitioning most courses to an online format and making preparations to ensure online support services are available to our students to the fullest extent possible.”
There currently are no reported cases of COVID-19 in Caldwell or Watauga counties; however, CCC&TI continues to take proactive steps based on guidance from local and state agencies to minimize its impact and prevent its spread.
In recent weeks, CCC&TI’s housekeeping staff has implemented additional cleaning protocols, including the use of an electrostatic machine that sprays a disinfecting solution. The college also has indefinitely suspended athletics, campus events and student activities, while implemented travel restrictions for employees.
For CCC&TI updates and announcements related to COVID-19, visit www.cccti.edu/covid-19.