In my message yesterday I tried to stress the obligations you have as citizen leaders in the midst of this global pandemic. Today I write to share how Longwood is trying hard to do right by you – at a time when I know many of you are struggling with uncertainty for yourselves and your families.
Your professors are working night and day to provide the kind of teaching, mentoring and personal connection that are so special here, even at a distance.
Someday soon enough, we will get to celebrate being back on campus. In the meantime, we want to help with the financial burden families are facing, and provide housing and dining refunds as best we can. We know no solution is perfect, and that individual circumstances vary. But we’ve worked hard to develop a plan that’s 1) clear 2) as fair as possible and 3) we can deliver as soon as possible. That’s important because we know many of you are facing challenges now. The Lancer family is all in this together.
Here is what we are doing:
These refunds will be paid in two installments: one half of the total by check to your permanent mailing address in the next 30 days; and the second half in a payment this July.
We think this straightforward and equal approach is what’s fairest to our whole community, and will help you and your families as we all work together through this challenging time.
Please direct questions to: email@example.com
Dr. Tim James Pierson
Vice President for Student Affairs
Given the escalation of the Covid-19 pandemic in Virginia, and following the Virginia Department of Health’s most recent guidance to Longwood and other Virginia institutions, Longwood will need to close our residence halls to the fullest extent practicable and require students to return home, despite the hardship this may present. The University will make emergency exceptions on a case by case basis. Those students still registered in Longwood housing were informed this morning and instructed how to make an emergency appeal. Over 90% of Longwood students had already returned home as of last week. Any remaining students are being asked to depart this week.
All students in Longwood housing will have access to their room or unit again at a future date, to be determined, to collect or store belongings.
As of 5:00 p.m. today, Upchurch University Center will also be closed until further notice. Greenwood Library will continue to operate on its current schedule of limited hours.
Dear Longwood Students,
As the number of cases throughout the state and nation continue to rise, it is now more imperative than ever that we strictly adhere to all COVID-19 preventative guidance, especially when we live in close quarters as we do in Longwood-managed as well as off-campus properties.
Longwood has asked and strongly recommends those of you who are able to safely return home to do so. If you must remain in campus housing, you must be registered. Please understand we are evaluating whether we may need to take further actions as well.
The following safety changes are in effect immediately to ensure social-distancing, given the severity of this outbreak and the growing realization that it can pose a threat to people of all ages.
Failure to adhere to any of the aforementioned or future expectations may result in Conduct & Integrity charges, criminal charges, or immediate removal from Longwood housing.
In this serious time, it’s imperative that we make the health of ourselves and one another our foremost consideration.
Please follow this guidance from public health officials to ensure that we do everything we can to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Dr. Tim James Pierson
Vice President for Student Affairs
The Virginia Department of Health informed the University this morning that a second Longwood student has received a positive COVID-19 test result.
The student lives off-campus and has self-quarantined since last Wednesday, March 18. VDH believes the student acquired the virus while traveling out-of-state the week after spring break, but is not certain of the origin.
As with the case reported on March 11, VDH has already been in touch with identified contacts of the student prior to their self-quarantine, and is now following up directly with those contacts. If you have any questions or concerns about symptoms or possible exposure, call the local VDH office at 434-392-3984 or our University Health Service at 434-395-2102. Locally, Centra has set up a hotline at 434-200-1225.
Last week, Longwood advised students who can return home safely to do so. This applies to students living on or off campus. As the virus continues to spread rapidly in Virginia and nationwide, it is extremely important that anyone who has been asked to self-quarantine do so, and that everyone follow state and federal guidance to self-distance, avoid even small gatherings and stay at home or in their residence hall rooms as much as possible.
As Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, I wanted to share some additional information following President Reveley’s announcement that Longwood will be shifting to online delivery of classes for the remainder of the semester. Below is important information to keep in mind:
Faculty and staff are here to help you. We have compiled many questions and answers about distance learning on our COVID-19 FAQs page.
In addition to your coursework, you should be consulting with your advisor about summer and fall courses if you haven’t already. Registration is scheduled to take place next week (Tuesday, March 31 through Friday, April 3), and you should develop some back-up plans in case class availability changes.
I realize this transition creates many questions, and I assure you we are working to address them.
Ironing out the details of this transition will take a little time, and I appreciate your patience. We will continue to communicate with you about any decisions we make. This is an uncertain and stressful time, and I know this transition to distance learning places an additional burden on you. However, as Lancers, I am confident that we can work together to meet this challenge and finish the semester strong.
We are living through historic times in America, around the world and here in Virginia, and hard decisions are necessary.
Today, Longwood is announcing a number of important steps for the remainder of the semester. Foremost, like so many institutions, for the remainder of the semester we will proceed with teaching online rather than in-person.
However, we firmly commit to holding graduation in-person — something so deeply important to so many. We hope that means in mid-May as long planned, but we don’t yet know exactly when. Also, while fewer than 10 percent of students are on campus and in Farmville now, going forward we also will need to be even more mindful of limiting campus activity and ensuring social distancing to fight Covid-19.
The soul of Longwood is living and learning together in person on our beautiful campus. We all dearly yearn for the day when that can be true again. When it comes, we will be all the more appreciative of this place we cherish. But at this time of extraordinary disruption and uncertainty, I know all of you are scrambling to adjust to a new reality for the weeks and months ahead, and that you need to plan. We don’t yet know every detail, so we will continue to be in close communication. In the meantime more information is below, and this updated Q&A also tries to anticipate some of the key questions you will have.
Online Learning for the Remainder of the Semester
The shift to online learning that began last week will continue through this semester, including final exams. We understand how challenging this is. Our faculty and staff are working tremendously hard to ensure academic continuity and student learning, and I hope this work will help keep you engaged and connected with one another in the weeks ahead. Please keep working hard, for your professors and for yourselves, and reach out to them with questions or concerns. All in-person events on campus are also cancelled until further notice (faculty may be in touch with students if they can develop viable distance or virtual alternatives for academic events such as recitals, concerts, art shows, the spring student showcase, and theatre productions).
Some questions you may have about topics like registration for next fall and summer courses are addressed in the Q&A. Some other questions will be addressed in the days ahead in emails to students from the university, so please continue to check your email.
With today’s announcement, and continuing to follow guidance from the Virginia Department of Health, we are asking students who are able safely to return home to do so.
Students who have health or other important considerations for themselves or family members and need to remain in university housing should register at https://rms.longwood.edu:446/page/studenthousinggateway as soon as possible, but no later than this coming Monday, March 23 to let campus officials know you continue to need housing. Students remaining should know dining services will be take-out only and facilities hours on campus limited. If CDC guidance evolves and we are able to provide further services, we will do so.
Other questions regarding accessing the residence halls to retrieve belongings, refunds and other matters are addressed as best we can now in the Q&A. We will continue to be in close contact on these fronts.
Commencement is a fundamentally important ritual in life, and Longwood famously does commencement ceremonies with fanfare and spirit. Class of 2020 — you have my firm commitment we will honor you and your graduation from Longwood in person. What I can’t tell you now is exactly when that will happen, for our undergraduate ceremony or our graduate ceremony. We will evaluate how circumstances develop over the coming weeks and communicate with you again by April 10.
Let me close for now by simply saying that this all is heartbreaking news to send. To our seniors especially, you are losing a precious and irreplaceable time together here at this place we all love. The Alma Mater yearns to have you here, and in profound ways this will be home for you throughout life. I am incredibly sorry —– and we all are incredibly eager to be together again.
Longwood has prospered through turmoil and triumph alike, since 1839, onward ever.
All my best, always,
Longwood continues to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak, and we want to provide you with additional details on the state and campus responses.
As part of a statewide effort to slow the spread of the virus, Gov. Ralph Northam today placed a limit on all non-essential gatherings to no more than 10 people. We strongly urge students who are staying on campus to follow that guidance for any social gatherings while classes are in a fully online format.
The Governor also today provided additional guidance regarding eating facilities and fitness centers. In order to promote social distancing and follow the latest guidance, we have amended some hours and practices at our facilities. Beginning tomorrow (March 18), all dining options will be take-out only.
Longwood is committed to the health and well-being of our campus community. We are in close contact with the Virginia Department of Health and following their guidelines for our campus. We appreciate everyone’s cooperation and patience as we navigate this evolving situation.
If you have questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Too few people in the swirl of this national emergency have paused to focus on the toll this takes on you. I know this is not the spring semester that you, or any of us, imagined. I know Longwood is at heart a place of human, in-person connection — classes, friendships in the residence halls, the D-Hall, student groups and athletics teams, our beautiful campus and college town, altogether the soul of this place, of the alma mater, which we will appreciate even more on the other side of this challenge.
What gives me optimism in the midst of all of this is you — your resolve in the face of challenge, and your hard work through this all. Your professors are deeply committed to helping keep everyone on track academically throughout this period of uncertainty nationwide.
At this moment I don’t know how the remainder of this semester will evolve, but I promise Longwood will be in close contact throughout these days, like we have been. I do know that the tested rhythms of our campus life, our common bond since 1839, will hit stride again someday soon enough.
All my best, and many thanks,
p.s. This morning I broke protocol and rubbed Joanie on the Stonie’s hands
Governor Northam’s statement today regarding large public events:
Following the positive Covid-19 result announced earlier this week, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) conducted a careful investigation to identify anyone in the Longwood community deemed at sufficient risk of exposure to warrant further steps such as self-quarantine, assessment and testing. As a result, two additional students entered a 14-day self-quarantine.
VDH has today, March 14, reported that any identified contacts who met criteria for testing have now received results and been confirmed as negative for Covid-19.
Additionally, according to VDH, there currently have been no further positive test results reported in our local community or in the Commonwealth’s Piedmont Health District. The state’s daily updates can be followed here.
While this is good news, as transmission increases nationwide and in Virginia we continue to expect the appearance of Covid-19 cases here in Farmville and ask any community members, wherever they are, to continue to take the recommended precautions including hand-washing and social distancing.
If you continue to have questions or concerns, please call the local VDH office at 434-392-3984 or our University Health Service at 434-395-2102. Locally, Centra has now set up a hotline at 434-200-1225 which they are asking community members to call before coming to their local facilities with concerns.