Members of the college community should familiarize themselves with and employ best practices for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases. The college uses guidance from local health officials, the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), when implementing new protocols.

Health Check

Employees and students should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases. Students or employees who feel ill should stay home and not attend class or other events/meetings on campus. Students who have questions about their symptoms may contact the Office of Health Services at or 828.898.8862.


Vaccination, especially in congregate settings like a residential campus, is one of the most critical steps we can take to stop the spread of COVID-19. The college strongly recommends that all students and employees remain current—including boosters—on the available COVID-19 vaccines. All members of the campus community are also encouraged to receive the annual flu vaccine when it becomes available in the fall.


Students and employees who feel sick should use a home antigen test especially if advised to do so by a healthcare professional. Students who test positive should remain home following isolation protocols. Questions may be directed to the Office of Health Services at or 828.898.8862. Employees who test positive should remain home and notify their supervisor.


According to the CDC, isolation is used to separate people who have tested positive with COVID-19 from others while quarantine is used to separate individuals who may have been exposed to the virus.



    Regardless of vaccination status, students and employees who test positive should isolate from others before returning to campus. You should also isolate if you are sick and suspect that you have COVID-19 but do not yet have test results. Individuals who have symptoms may end isolation after five (5) full days if you are fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and your symptoms are improving. If you had no symptoms, you may end isolation after day five. Day zero is the day you were tested or the day of symptom onset, regardless of when you tested positive. Day one is the first full day after your symptoms developed or your test specimen was collected.

    Students who have a permanent address within 350 miles of campus, should relocate home during isolation. Students with a permanent address beyond 350 miles or who require reasonable accommodations should isolate in place in their on-campus residence while wearing a tight-fitting face covering.

    Students isolating on campus should remain in their assigned residential room until they are cleared to return to class. Students may leave the room wearing a mask to use bathroom facilities but must return to their isolation area as quickly as possible.

    All students in isolation—those at home and on campus—are responsible for contacting their professors to remain current with coursework. Absences are at the discretion of the individual faculty members as dictated in course syllabi.

    Employees should follow the CDC guidelines for isolation and any individual guidance from a healthcare provider. Faculty and staff requiring isolation should notify their supervisor.



    According to the CDC, individuals who are exposed to COVID-19 are no longer required to quarantine. The CDC recommends that instead of quarantining if you were exposed to COVID-19, you wear a high-quality mask for ten (10) days and get tested on day five (5). The date of your exposure is considered day zero. Day one is the first full day after your last contact with a person who has had COVID-19.

Masks/Face Coverings

In general, the use of masks and face coverings is optional in campus facilities. Faculty members reserve the right to require masks in their own classrooms or other learning spaces. Student-athletes may be required to wear masks when engaged in certain activities as directed by coaches and athletic staff.

Students and employees may choose to wear masks or face coverings at any time. All members of the campus community should keep a tight-fitting mask with them while on campus.


The college has implemented a detailed cleaning and disinfecting process that meets or exceeds the current guidelines from the Avery County Health Department including:

  • Routinely cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects in communal areas with disinfectants that are registered with the EPA for use against SARS-coV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • Cleaning stations have been added around campus in areas of classrooms, labs, and common gathering spaces. Instructions on using these supplies have been clearly posted.
  • Facilities staff use various combinations of engineering controls, administrative controls, safe work practices, and additional personal protective equipment when working or cleaning in an area that has been assessed as a higher risk exposure area.

Residential students are responsible for cleaning their personal spaces. The facilities team provides supplemental cleaning supplies, and students are encouraged to spray down surfaces after use.