COVID-19 Response Updates


Operational Changes

Wily’s Bar & Grill
Wily’s Bar & Grill will be used as a classroom for the Spring 2021 semester and will not be open for food and beverage service. MacDonald Dining Hall will be open late (Café After Hours) featuring Wily’s menu items. Café After Hours will offer a wide variety of options, daily specials, and combo meals for a meal swipe!

Café After Hours will be open:

  • Monday–Thursday, 8–10 p.m.
  • Friday, 7–9 p.m.
  • Saturday–Sunday, 2–8 p.m.

Shelton Learning Commons
In compliance with the modified Stay at Home Order for North Carolina, the Shelton Learning Commons will temporarily operate on restricted hours.

Current hours of operation:

  • Monday–Thursday, 8 a.m.–9:30 p.m.
  • Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
  • Sunday, 3–9:30 p.m.
UPDATE: Jan. 6, 2021 


Re-entry Testing for Main Campus Students
All main campus students—residents and commuters—are required to be tested for COVID-19 when returning to Banner Elk. Students may register for a test on Sunday, Jan. 10; Monday, Jan. 11; or Tuesday, Jan. 12. All testing will occur at the athletic complex in the Haigler Athletic Center.

Due to a significant winter storm forecasted for Friday, Jan. 8, all testing previously scheduled on Saturday, Jan. 9 has been canceled. Students with unique travel circumstances who require travel to Banner Elk on Saturday should register here. These students will be contacted with temporary housing information prior to testing.

To accommodate these changes, all main campus classes are canceled Monday, Jan. 11 and Tuesday, Jan. 12. Classes will resume on Wednesday, Jan. 13.

With testing questions, please contact the Office of Health Services at or 828.898.8862.

Frequently Asked Questions
The below includes additional information and details about the testing requirements and procedures.


    What kind of test is required?

    You are required to have a 15-minute rapid antigen test. The college has acquired the BinaxNOW Covid-19 Test, with 98% accuracy, through a partnership with the NCDHHS and the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities.

    How do I register for a test?

    You can register for a test online here. Appointments are limited to four students every 15 minutes between 9 a.m.–9 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 9 and Sunday, Jan. 10.

    Where do I go for my test?

    All testing will occur at the athletic complex in the Haigler Athletic Center (7860 Hickory Nut Gap Road, Banner Elk). You must be tested before entering any other college facilities—do not return to your residence hall prior to the test.

    What are the testing procedures?

    When arriving at the testing clinic, you should park and remain in your vehicle until you are called by phone at your designated test time. After being called, proceed to the Haigler Athletic Center for your test following all entrance and exit signage.

    When will I get my results?

    After the test has been administered, you should return to your vehicle and await results by phone. You will receive your results within 15 minutes. You may not enter other campus facilities until you are cleared by college personnel.

    I have my results, what do I do now?

    If you receive a negative test result you will be cleared by college personnel. The Office of Student Affairs will turn on your key access and you may complete the move-in process.

    If you receive positive test results, you should return home for recovery and participate in classes remotely until Sunday, Jan. 24. Students should contact their healthcare provider for wellness guidance and any additional offsite testing. International students or those who live a considerable distance from Banner Elk will be housed in separate isolation space on campus until they are cleared.


    Can I be tested offsite or at home?

    Yes, you may be tested elsewhere and provide documentation of results to Tests must be administered January 1 or later at home or at other local locations. Students may not return to campus and use college facilities while waiting on test results.

    I was previously tested as an athlete, do I have to be tested again?

    No, you do no need to be tested again if you have already received a test(s) as part of your pre-season athletic requirements. Check with your coach for more specifics related to your team.

    I am experiencing symptoms, should I return to campus and be tested?

    No, do not return to campus if you feel sick. Contact your healthcare provider for information about care and offsite testing. Students should not travel to Banner Elk until cleared by a healthcare professional.

    I previously tested positive for COVID-19 and recovered, do I have to be tested again?

    You do not need to be tested again if you have been positive for COVID-19 after October 1, 2020, but you must contact the office of health services at and provide appropriate documentation.

    If you have been positive prior to October 1, then you must be tested again before entering other college facilities.

UPDATE: Nov. 16, 2020 

Effective Nov. 16, the following additional protocols are in place:

  • Students, faculty, and staff are expected to wear face coverings at all times while on campus, this includes all common spaces, learning spaces, and outdoors. Face coverings may be removed when you are actively eating or drinking. Students may remove face coverings in their own residence hall rooms and employees may remove face coverings when they are alone in individual offices with the door closed.
  • Health and wellness procedures remain in effect in all dining areas. Individuals in these areas may remove face coverings while actively eating or drinking, but should put them back on when talking or meeting with others in these spaces. Wily’s Bar & Grill will remain open for students, but is closed to the public.
  • Students and employees should conduct a health self-assessment twice daily. Health assessments should occur prior to the start of the workday, classes, or other educational activities on campus and then again throughout the day. Those who feel sick, should separate themselves from others and monitor for worsening symptoms until they have been cleared by a healthcare provider.
  • Employees should conduct work within individual offices with doors closed to the greatest extent possible. When appropriate, supervisors may adjust work locations or schedules to reduce density. Employees should make extensive use of technology to limit the size and frequency of in-person meetings.
  • No public visitors are permitted on campus and vendors must check-in and follow institutional health guidelines. Admission tours will continue as scheduled, but with limited access to facilities.
UPDATE: Nov. 6, 2020 

Flu Shot Requirements

All main campus students are required to receive a flu vaccine and provide documentation by Jan. 1, 2021. North Carolina law requires individuals attending a college or university in the state to receive certain immunizations. The additional flu immunization requirement has been implemented to further protect community health.

After obtaining your flu vaccine or if you have already done so, students should provide Flu Vaccine Documentation

With questions about flu vaccinations or approved exemptions pursuant to North Carolina immunization requirements, please contact the Office of Health Services at or 828.898.8862.

Frequently Asked Questions
The below includes additional information and details about the flu and vaccination requirements.


    What is the flu (influenza)?

    The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus. The flu and COVID-19 have similar symptoms that can lead to serious health problems, and sadly, both can be fatal. It is important, especially in group living settings, to reduce transmission of all infectious diseases with symptoms that would trigger quarantine and isolation procedures.


    Why are students required to receive a flu vaccination?

    Being able to reduce much of the flu risk allows us to focus our support efforts on those who test positive for COVID-19. Quarantine and isolation spaces on campus are limited, so it is necessary to reserve those and other campus resources for cases associated with the pandemic. Local medical resources can also become overwhelmed, and by reducing infectious diseases, we can help ensure that healthcare providers have the capacity to tend to those in the greatest need.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state health officials recommend that everyone receive a yearly flu vaccine. As such, many of our peer institutions with students living in congregate settings are making or have already established the same flu vaccination requirement.


    Where can I get a flu vaccination?

    Students can participate in the flu shot clinic on campus or receive the vaccination at other local locations:

    Banner Elk Pharmacy
    Banner Elk (2-minute drive/8-minute walk)

    Ballad Health Urgent Care
    Banner Elk (2-minute drive/8-minute walk)

    Banner Elk (8-minute drive)

    Avery County Health Department
    Newland (20-minute drive)

    Visit the CDC website for Influenza (Flu) resources including the Vaccine Finder tool to identify additional locations near your home address.


    How much does a flu vaccination cost?

    Most flu vaccinations are free or are offered at a significantly reduced cost with valid health insurance. Out-of-pocket costs generally range from $30–40.


    How do I document my vaccination?

    After obtaining your flu vaccine or if you have already done so, please use the below form to submit your documentation. Students must provide documentation of a flu vaccination by Jan. 1, 2021.

    Flu Vaccine Documentation


    Are there exemptions to the flu vaccination requirements?

    Exemptions are allowed consistent with the North Carolina immunization requirements for medical or religious reasons. Students need to provide evidence of eligibility for exemption to the Office of Health Services.