App State football returns to practice in pods

Silas Albright , Sports Editor

Three days since announcing an 11-person cluster of active COVID-19 cases and putting a hold on practices, App State football returned to practice on Friday in pods, based on the results of testing that took place Wednesday, according to a statement by Athletic Director Doug Gillin.

“We are placing even more stringent capacity limits on shared facilities like the locker room and weight room,” Gillin wrote. “Throughout this process, we have been in constant communication with the AppHealthCare public health team and our medical professionals, and will continue to follow their guidance.”

After the announcement of the cluster Tuesday night, on Thursday, the Winston-Salem Journal reported that six of the 11 active cases had cleared isolation. The Appalachian reached out to AppHealthCare to confirm this reporting, but has not yet heard back.

Across North Carolina, three FBS programs halted practice this week. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced that it paused all athletic activities, including football practice, on Wednesday for 24-hours before extending the hiatus through Friday. On Thursday, East Carolina University announced football practices would be stopped indefinitely after analyzing its most recent testing results. 

On Friday, Sun Belt conference member UL-Monroe also announced that it suspended football practices following nine new positive test results this week. 

App State is set to kick off its season Sept. 12, when the Charlotte 49ers come to Kidd Brewer Stadium. The starting time of the game is TBA.