Opinion: Dear Sheri Everts, send us home


Stephen C. Leverton II, Opinion Writer

COVID-19 cases at App State have increased in the last few weeks: the current student case count 191 and one student death. Chad Dorrill’s death should’ve been a wake-up call for Chancellor Sheri Everts to send us home.

As the first half of the semester comes to a close, financially, it makes sense to keep students on campus. For undergraduates, tuition costs range from $1,401.75 to $3,861 if you’re a North Carolina resident, or $3,252.25 to $11,264.50 if you’re from out of state. Graduate students have to pay up to $4,003 as North Carolina residents or up to $12,519 if not. Both programs charge tuition based on how many credits students are taking each semester. This doesn’t include on campus housing, meal plans or parking spaces. In the spring, students received refunds if they lived on campus or had a meal plan, but not for tuition. While the university would keep all the money students pay to come to App State, they would still make an income if they sent students home. 

Since early August, student body cases have slowly increased. Recently, cases skyrocketed, surpassing 100 and 200 active case count marks. Dorm clusters have been more frequent in recent weeks as well.While the total active case count is small compared to the general population, Chad’s death should’ve been the last straw. 

App State made the front page of the New York Times Oct. 5, in a piece discussing how the university is handling COVID-19 compared to other colleges around the nation. We should be making the front page for football or academics, not for our active COVID cases. It’s shameful and it should communicate to Everts that she needs to send us home. The Watauga Medical Center only has 117 medical beds, nowhere near enough to handle 20,000+ students, faculty, and staff coming into Boone; plus, the death is concerning. 

Yes, some students are not following the rules, but they wouldn’t be back in town if it wasn’t for the UNC Board of Trustees allowing students to come back. After the death of Dorrill, Everts’ inability to send us home shows that she doesn’t listen to the concerns of students