Public Health Emergencies

Appalachian State University prepares regularly with campus units and community partners in the event of a public health emergency.

Our planning and preparation are in accordance with the latest guidelines and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and include coordination with many units across campus, including those who manage housing, dining, health services, facilities and maintenance, international travel and communications.

We work closely with local and state public health officials and the UNC System to monitor and prepare for public health emergencies that could affect our campus and protect the health and safety of the Appalachian Community. We remain vigilant and will continue to work closely with public health officials should we encounter any suspect illnesses.

How You Can Prepare Now

  • Follow flu season precautions
  • Prepare your prescription medications for an emergency.
  • Gather food, water, & medical supplies to last at least 72 hours.
  • Collect and protect important documents and medical records.
  • Prepare for power outages with backup power sources.
  • Learn life-saving skills, such as CPR, to use until help arrives.

What to Do

Preparation is the best measure to protect yourself from communicable disease. Guidance from the CDC indicates that general prevention measures can help to prevent the spread of disease, such as hand washing, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and importantly, staying home when you are sick, are also the best measures to avoid becoming sick.

Additionally, vaccines are available to prevent you from becoming sick. Consider whether you have been properly vaccinated and check with your healthcare provider concerning vaccine recommendations. Students can access their vaccination records via the Student Health Service website. More information about vaccinations can be found on the CDC website.

How does App State respond?

App State's Student Health Service utilizes consultants within the immediate area and at large medical centers to secure needed services and expertise should any heightened health concern arise. We work with the UNC System, the Watauga County Health Department, the State Epidemiologist, the Director of Infection Prevention for the UNC Hospitals and App State's Office of Environmental Health, Safety and Emergency Management, among others, to maintain readiness concerning prevention of communicable diseases. Student Health also closely follows recommendations from AppHealthCare, our local health department, and the Center for Disease Control.

Student Health Service also works to address safety, health and environmental concerns through educational efforts, both in and out of the classroom. We also practice with our campus partners to maintain a high state of readiness to prevent the spread of communicable diseases, and communicate with campus broadly when necessary.

Should a heightened concern exist concerning a public health emergency

  • App State alerts the local health department (who would subsequently communicate with the State Epidemiologist) about any serious suspect illnesses.
  • We work with local and state health officials to follow their recommendations before and after a diagnosis is confirmed by a healthcare provider
  • Please visit or to learn more.

Terms to Know

Appalachian State University uses CDC definitions to refer to the following terms:

Communicable Disease

Communicable diseases are illnesses caused by infectious agents or their toxins that occur through the direct or indirect transmission of the infectious agent or its products from an infected individual or via an animal, vector or the inanimate environment to a susceptible animal or human host.


Epidemic refers to an increase, often sudden, in the number of cases of a disease above what is normally expected in that population in that area. Epidemics occur when an agent and susceptible hosts are present in adequate numbers, and the agent can be effectively conveyed from a source to the susceptible hosts. More specifically, an epidemic may result from:

  • A recent increase in amount or virulence of the agent,
  • The recent introduction of the agent into a setting where it has not been before,
  • An enhanced mode of transmission so that more susceptible persons are exposed,
  • A change in the susceptibility of the host response to the agent, and/or
  • Factors that increase host exposure or involve introduction through new portals of entry.


Outbreak carries the same definition of epidemic, but is often used for a more limited geographic area.


Pandemic refers to an epidemic that has spread over several countries or continents, usually affecting a large number of people.

More Information


  • On-campus: Environmental Health, Safety and Emergency Management (828-262-4008)


  • On-Campus: Appalachian Police (828-262-8000) or 911
  • Off-Campus: 911

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