App State will distribute COVID-19 vaccines, chancellor announces

Jackie Park, Reporter

Beginning in March, App State will be home to a COVID-19 community distribution center.

Chancellor Sheri Everts announced in an email Friday that the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services approved the university’s application to become a vaccine distribution spot. 

The UNC System provided App State four cold storage units in preparation for distributing the vaccine. The units arrived on campus the week of Feb. 1, according to an email from the chancellor. These storage units can hold 116,200 vials of the vaccine altogether.

Vaccine clinics are expected to begin in March per statewide guidelines about vaccine priority, the chancellor wrote. 

North Carolina moved into Group 3 vaccinations Wednesday, which allows child care and pre-K through 12th grade workers to get the vaccine.

On March 10, the state will allow vaccinations for other frontline workers, including university personnel who are working in person. Other university workers who aren’t prioritized for their age or health conditions are eligible for the vaccine in Group 4, and students who aren’t prioritized will be eligible in Group 5. 

App State will email faculty, students and staff when it is their turn to receive the vaccine.

The chancellor thanked Jason Marshburn, director of Environmental Health, Safety and Emergency Management, Margaret Bumgarner, administrative director of M.S. Shook Student Health Service, Alex Howard, director of Wellness and Prevention Services, Vice Chancellor Hank Foreman, UNC System President Peter Hans and all of their teams for preparing for vaccine distribution at the university.

This announcement comes on the same day as Gov. Roy Cooper relaxed COVID-19 regulations like some capacity restrictions and the statewide curfew. 

Because of changes to capacity limits, some sports venues are allowed to welcome fans back to their stands. The chancellor wrote that the university will provide an update on App State Athletics’ plans for sporting events.

Spring commencement is on the mind, too. The university will share graduation plans soon, according to the email.

“Please know, we are also working hard to determine the best option for celebrating spring commencement,” she wrote. “We are reviewing the details carefully and consulting with public health experts to help inform our decisions with as much data as possible. This is a monumental moment in the academic lives of our students and their families.”