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.
America’s challenge from Covid-19 continues to increase. Late yesterday, Gov. Northam declared a state of emergency for Virginia, and we are taking further steps as well for the university. This is a moment that calls for alert action, but also grace and compassion for one another. I am deeply proud of the way that Longwood and all of you are meeting this challenge.
Finally, I know many in our community continue to have special concerns now that there has been a positive Covid-19 test in our community. Regarding that case, the Virginia Department of Health has been in contact with anyone who it believes requires assessment or testing based on contact with that person. For anyone else who may be concerned, the VDH continues to believe the generalized risk of transmission in our campus community remains low, as explained here. However, particularly as testing availability widens, we should all be prepared that the number of positive cases nationally, in Virginia and here in our community will continue to rise. Experts do not know for how long.
If you 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.
Thank you for your patience, your hard work and your devotion to Longwood.
We appreciate your patience as we are working our way through details of campus operations. In order to be responsive to Longwood’s current operating plan, we have decided to move the registration dates. These dates are as follows:
If you have not met with your advisor already, we encourage you to contact them. You can find out who your advisor is in myLongwood. Students who need a PIN will need to work with their advisor virtually (email, phone, Webex/Zoom). Students who are unable to reach their advisor should contact their department chair for assistance.
This afternoon, the Director of the Virginia Department of Health Piedmont District released the following information regarding the Longwood student who tested positive for COVID-19 and ongoing measures across campus.
View the News Release (pdf)
In this very unusual situation, we recognize many people in our community have continued questions about COVID-19 and its impact on Longwood’s operations. Here are some answers to some common ones, and we will continue to communicate over the days ahead.
Q: What does it mean that the University is open but in-person classes are cancelled, at least through next Wednesday, March 18?
Our residence halls, dining halls and some other on-campus facilities remain open to accommodate students who may wish to stay on campus rather than return home. Students should check email for guidance from faculty about continuing academic work, and there will be further guidance soon regarding plans beyond next Wednesday. We have also been in touch by email with employees about what this means for them.
No later than early next week, there will be an update on our status.
Q. I’m concerned I may have come into contact with the student who had the presumptive positive test. What should I do?
While the patient will not be identified, the Virginia Department of Health has been closely involved in monitoring this case and the student’s self-quarantine. They are in contact with anyone who should be assessed or follow other steps. If you have any concerns or questions, please call their local regional office at 434-392-3984.
VDH has told us they believe the generalized exposure risk in the Longwood community related to this presumptive positive case remains small. The patient who received a presumptive positive test has had no symptoms such as sneezing and coughing, which are strongly associated with the risk of exposing others. The student was a family contact of a Covid-19 case elsewhere in the state, and VDH reports they have taken all appropriate steps.
However, the virus obviously continues to spread nationally and the situation is evolving. We can only assume that other cases will be present in our region and Farmville community. Whether you are on campus or elsewhere, you are encouraged to review the regularly updated CDC guidance regarding how to stay healthy. Remember, as always, if you have any flu-like symptoms, stay home. You can also contact your local healthcare provider or our University Health Center at (434) 395-2102. Their website, along with links to other regional resources, can be found here.
Q. Other institutions have announced longer periods of cancelled classes. Why not Longwood? Will we be rushed back before it is safe?
Absolutely not. This is a rapidly evolving situation, and we have decided to cancel classes for the next few days. We will use this time to prepare to shift for some additional period to continuing classes online if that is necessary. We will see where things stand in the days ahead, but under no circumstances will we resume in-person classes prematurely or contrary to the guidance of public health experts.
Q. What further communication can we expect from Longwood?
The university will continue to communicate with campus regularly regarding the university’s scheduling and status, and any changes to our guidance to our community based on public health developments. Patient privacy will be respected. We ask that you please understand that the Virginia Department of Health and federal agencies like the CDC serve as the principal conduits for public information about this rapidly evolving national situation.
Lastly, if there are Longwood-specific questions you still may have, we’ve set up an email address at firstname.lastname@example.org, to which we’ll respond as best we can.
We value your patience and understanding as we work together through this challenging time.
I want to reach out with some more information. I know that this can be an uncertain time in the wake of the news yesterday that a Longwood student tested presumptively positive for COVID-19. Your health and safety are our top priority and we are working closely with the Virginia Department of Health on following the stated guidelines for our community.
As President Reveley communicated last night, the university remains open through at least Wednesday, March 18, though all in-person classes and events have been canceled or postponed. All campus alerts will continue to be posted at alerts.longwood.edu. We will continue to communicate with you as this continues to evolve.
Here is some information about today through March 18.
Your professors have been asked to email you with instructions. There are some students who have internships or student teaching responsibilities outside main campus, and those students should work with professors for the status of those responsibilities.
Farmville Area Bus
These are challenging times nationally and here in Virginia.
On Tuesday, we shared with you the news that a Longwood student was following CDC guidance to self-quarantine and had been tested for Covid-19 by the Virginia Department of Health.
We have just been informed that the results of that test have been returned and are sharing immediately that those results are a presumptive positive case. The student continues to self-quarantine pending further testing at the CDC to confirm the test.
Based on their conversations with the student earlier this week about their brief time on campus following spring break, VDH continues to believe even with the presumptive positive test there remains a low generalized risk to our community.
VDH has begun reaching out to those who may have been in close contact with the student to evaluate whether any further steps such as assessment, self-quarantine or testing may be necessary. The name of the student will not be released publicly. If VDH believes they need to speak with you they will be in touch. If you have questions VDH asks you to contact their local office directly at 434-392-3984.
While it is no surprise that a case of Covid-19 has appeared in our community, we have committed to you that if circumstances evolve Longwood would take new steps to best protect the health and safety of all students, faculty and staff. So out of an abundance of caution tonight we are announcing the following, all following close consultation with VDH.
My thanks to everyone in the Longwood community for your understanding as we navigate these challenging times, acting responsibly for the greater good and our own community, now and in the future.
Dear Longwood community,
I want to continue to stay in regular communication with you regarding our response to COVID-19. We remain in regular consultation with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and are closely following their guidance.
In recent days, you have no doubt seen that a number of institutions have begun moving away from in-person class meetings and shifting to continuing courses online, at least for now. Each institution’s campus and regional circumstances are unique, and the expert guidance from the VDH we are following does not indicate that is necessary at this time here at Longwood.
However, we continue to evaluate our circumstances daily, closely following the guidance of the VDH and the Centers for Disease Control. It remains the case we have no positive COVID-19 cases in our community, but we will update you if that changes (as we communicated yesterday, we are aware of one student who has been tested, and are still awaiting results). If our circumstances and the applicable guidance change, we will follow it. Like virtually every institution, we are preparing in case it becomes necessary to take additional steps, such as canceling in-person classes at least temporarily, to ensure academic continuity for our students. For now, we are staying the course.
I know many of you are wondering about upcoming events on campus. We do not at this time under the guidance see a need to mandate internal meetings or events be cancelled. However, if you are involved with hosting an external event, you should work with organizers to evaluate whether events should be cancelled or postponed. Among the questions experts recommend considering:
Our current university guidance is that if the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then please cancel, postpone or work to move your external meeting/event online.
Finally, please know that in our decisions today about how to proceed, and all future decisions, community health is our paramount consideration. The VDH assures us we are a place of low general risk and students, faculty and staff should feel safe here. But we recognize that some of you in our community have underlying health concerns or other considerations. Your concerns will be respected. If you are a student with such concerns, please be in touch with your professors so they can work with you. Employees should do the same with managers. And of course, as always, if you have flu-like symptoms, please stay at your residence and if needed contact the University Health Center at 434-395-2102. You can also continue to read all of our campus communications at: http://alerts.longwood.edu
I know it is an uncertain and anxious time, but I am proud of how the Longwood community has acted responsibly, compassionately and alertly, like the good citizens we aspire to be.
My assurance to you is the following: Our community’s well-being will remain paramount in all our decisions. We will adjust if necessary as circumstances and professional recommendations change. And we will continue to be in regular communication with you.