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 email@example.com.
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