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App State delays start of in-person spring semester classes. Move follows similar measure at UNC-Chapel Hill.

App State delays start of in-person spring semester classes. Move follows similar measure at UNC-Chapel Hill.

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Appalachian State University Sanford Mall

This image from shows Sanford Mall at Appalachian State University on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021.

Appalachian State University has delayed the start of in-person classes by two weeks as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise across North Carolina.

The university also announced late Friday that it's postponing move-in to on-campus housing.

Appalachian State's spring semester classes will begin Jan. 19 as previously scheduled. But all classes will meet online through Feb. 1. Appalachian State is planning to have both online and in-person classes during the spring semester. Some classes will meet both online and in person.

"While our campus numbers are not a cause for current concern, we are cognizant that across the state cases of COVID-19 are high and Watauga County’s case counts have been steadily rising," Chancellor Sheri Everts wrote Friday in a message to campus.

"Data modeling indicates a peak in this latest wave of COVID-19 cases is likely to occur in the western part of the state in the next 1-2 weeks, and we are seeing a strain on local and regional hospitals. State and local data trends are concerning as students prepare to return to Boone and, in particular, to live in residence halls on campus."

Appalachian State's decision came a day before North Carolina recorded a record 11,581 new cases of COVID-19. 

On Thursday, UNC-Chapel Hill said it was pushing back the start of in-person undergraduate classes by three weeks. All of the university's undergraduate classes will be held online through Feb. 8.

Appalachian State said it would notify students on Monday about new residence hall move-in dates. Students will receive a prorated refund of their housing fee. Residence halls had been scheduled to reopen Thursday.

On campus, Appalachian State said it has 26 active cases of COVID-19, according to its online coronavirus dashboard. The university has no active case clusters and says it is using less than 1 percent of its available isolation and quarantine spaces.

UNC System schools are starting spring semester classes later than normal because of the pandemic. UNCG classes start Jan. 19, and N.C. A&T begins Jan. 25. Classes at the two state universities in Winston-Salem won't start until next month — Feb. 1 at Winston-Salem State University and Feb. 8 at UNC School of the Arts.

UNC System schools also are requiring most students to have a negative test for COVID-19 before they return to campus housing or in-person classes. Entry testing wasn't required before the fall semester.

Contact John Newsom at (336) 373-7312 and follow @JohnNewsomNR on Twitter.​

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