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Like colleges across the country, Longwood has been preparing to work with students who under state Department of Health and federal Centers for Disease Control guidance are asked to self-quarantine, either based on recent travel or possible contact with positive cases.
Currently at Longwood we have one student who is self-quarantining based on those recommendations. Out of an abundance of caution, the Virginia Department of Health has had the student tested for the virus on Tuesday, March 10. The results are not yet available and we will continue to communicate with campus.
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is closely involved and in regular contact with us, and has told us no one else on campus needs to self-quarantine at this time. However, if you have flu-like symptoms, as always you should stay in your residence, and be in touch with your professors to let them know you need to miss class. You can contact the University Health Center at 434-395-2102.
In the event someone in our community does test positive for the virus, we are prepared to help them continue to self-quarantine and take any additional steps recommended. With our assistance, the Virginia Department of Health would contact those who may have been in contact with that person.
We know some in our community are wondering about campus events and possible travel. We are closely following VDH and CDC guidance. That guidance continues to indicate the risk to the general population remains low, and currently does not indicate a need to cancel campus events. There are also no generalized travel restrictions. However, please be aware that there is more specific guidance for individuals over 60 and those with severe underlying health issues, which anyone in those categories should consult. For the most updated travel guidance from the CDC, please check here https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html.
We continue to implement a comprehensive plan to keep campus clean. The VDH guidance remains to focus on hand-washing, using alcohol-based hand sanitizer, avoiding touching your face, and covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow when coughing and sneezing. VDH guidelines on coronavirus prevention can be found here: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/surveillance-and-investigation/novel-coronavirus/
All campus updates will continue to be posted at alerts.longwood.edu.
You’ve likely seen the news that a confirmed case of coronavirus has been identified in Virginia, and we know you naturally have questions about Longwood’s preparedness and response to the spreading virus.
Alerts.longwood.edu is your best resource on up-to-date information on how coronavirus might impact campus operations.
We’ve gathered the most frequently asked questions and answered them below. There are a few takeaways that everyone should be aware of at the moment:
Is Longwood operating normally?
Yes. The current guidance is that public health officials continue to emphasize the risk to most Americans remains low, particularly for young people, and that is the case at Longwood. The only reason anyone should be isolated from the campus community while not having any symptoms is if they have been to a country that the CDC has identified as a “Level 3,” which at the moment includes China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea. Earlier this week we asked that anyone who has traveled to those counties be in touch with the University Health Center at 434-395-2102. If anyone has recently been to those countries and not yet been in contact with the Health Center, please do not return to campus at this time and contact your local physician or health department.
Currently classes are proceeding as normal as the level of risk remains low and CDC guidelines focus on preventative steps.
What preventative steps is Longwood taking?
Housekeeping staff has ramped up efforts to sanitize high traffic areas and public surfaces that are touched often, like doorknobs, handles, etc. In addition, a team of administrators and staff are meeting regularly with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to monitor the evolving situation and put into place recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO).
The best prevention starts with each member of the community, however. That includes:
While there is no need currently to isolate anyone on campus, we have a plan in place if a suspected or confirmed case should arise on campus. The Virginia Department of Health has worked with every college and university across the commonwealth with guidance on preparedness in the event a student needs to be isolated.
I’m feeling sick. What should I do?
This is the time of year many people become ill from the flu or other seasonal viruses. The CDC lists symptoms of coronavirus as cough, fever, and shortness of breath. If you have these symptoms, you should call the University Health Center at 434-395-2102 and they can help you assess whether you need treatment or rest.
The University Health Center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday. If you have a medical issue outside these hours, follow the guidance outlined on the University Health Center website.
A reminder for parents: students must make their own appointments at the University Health Center.
If I am concerned my roommate or someone I know has coronavirus, what should I do?
Encourage them to call the University Health Center at 434-395-2102.
What about campus events?
The CDC guidelines do not currently indicate that events need to be canceled.
Will my study abroad program this summer or next fall be impacted?
The Office of Global Engagement is monitoring the situation and has not at this time canceled any study abroad programs. Their staff will work with students planning to study abroad individually.
Has domestic university-related travel been restricted for faculty or staff?
Not at this time. We will continue to monitor developments and follow guidelines from the CDC and VDH, and of course encourage anyone traveling for any reason to consult and follow those guidelines.
Where can I get updated information on the coronavirus?
We recommend that the community look to the Centers for Disease Control and Virginia Department of Health for the most accurate information. You can find that information here:
In addition, any information the university sends to campus will be collected at alerts.longwood.edu.
President Reveley sent the following message to the Longwood University campus community:
Dear students, faculty and staff,
As we return to campus from spring break, I wanted to be in touch and reassure you Longwood officials have been meeting regularly and carefully monitoring the global coronavirus situation. We have been in regular – usually daily – contact with state and federal public health officials. We are keeping close track of the guidance they are providing, particularly to college campuses.
This is an occasion for precaution and care, and certainly not an overreaction that might do more harm than good. Like almost any college, we are accustomed here at Longwood to having communicable diseases like flu in our community. Hopefully by now we’re also used to the kinds of precautions like hand-washing that are an effective defense. It’s also important to remember it appears with this new virus that young people generally develop only a mild strain.
That said, we are taking the matter seriously. While there have not yet been cases anywhere in Virginia, we are operating on the assumption they will appear. If we do have cases at Longwood, we will respond in a careful way that shows responsibility for the common health of our community and compassion for anyone involved – in short we will act as the responsible citizens we are.
Here are a few takeaways I want to be sure to communicate clearly to the Longwood community:
In the meantime, for the most up-to-date and reliable public health information, I encourage you to consult these official online resources:
My thanks to everyone for working together to meet this challenge responsibly and safely.
The university is monitoring developments both in Virginia and around the world related to the COVID-19 virus. We are working with the Virginia Department of Health, area partners, and following Centers for Disease Control guidelines. There are no reported cases of the virus at Longwood, and no confirmed cases in Virginia. As a precaution, our housekeeping staff has increased disinfectant and cleaning efforts, focusing on high-traffic areas.
SPRING BREAK TRAVEL
This week, the Centers for Disease Control issued a travel advisory, recommending that people avoid traveling to China and South Korea, as well as postponing any planned trips to Iran, Italy, and Japan. If you have international travel plans for spring break, please make sure you follow CDC advice. Updated advice can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.
If you have questions related to the COVID-19 virus—it’s symptoms, reported illnesses, and how it spreads, please visit the CDC website (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html) and the Virginia Department of Health website (http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/surveillance-and-investigation/novel-coronavirus/).
Preventing the COVID-19 virus is similar to other common viruses. Preventative measures include:
The University Health Center is open for student appointments. Contact them at 434-395-2102.
The Information Security Office would like to make you aware of a scam email related to student employment that is currently circulating. The email comes from a live.longwood.edu account and advertises the position of Desk Aide. It requests that interested applicants reply with confidential information, such as your cell phone number, address, or other identifying information, to be considered for the job. Please be on the lookout for this email and do not respond with any personal information.
If you receive this scam email, simply delete it without responding. If you have responded to the email and would like to send us information about it, send the email with headers to email@example.com. For instructions on how to send an email with headers, see our Report a Security Incident page.
With news spreading about the Coronavirus, I want to share some information the Virginia Department of Health relayed from the Centers for Disease Control below. There were two suspected cases reported in Central Virginia last week, but both have been tested and were negative for the Coronavirus.
Right now there is no cause for alarm at Longwood and no suspected cases have been reported. We know of no one in the campus community who has traveled to Wuhan. The incubation period on this virus is believed to be 2-14 days. As with any virus, practicing good hygiene can help prevent its spread, including:
The University Health Center is still offering flu shots to students, faculty, and staff. Longwood community members can walk into the health center without an appointment for the flu vaccine.
Q: What is 2019 Novel Coronavirus?
A: 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
Q: What is the source of 2019 Novel Coronavirus?
A: Public health officials and partners are working hard to identify the source of the 2019-nCoV. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats and bats. Early on, many of the patients in the outbreak in Wuhan, China reportedly had some link to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting the virus likely emerged from an animal source. Analysis of the genetic tree of this virus is ongoing to know the specific source of the virus. SARS, another coronavirus that emerged to infect people, came from civit cats, while MERS, another coronavirus that emerged to infect people, came from camels.
Q: What are the symptoms and complications that Novel Coronavirus 2019 can cause?
A: Current symptoms reported for patients with 2019-nCoV have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever1, cough, and difficulty breathing.
Q: How does the virus spread?
A: This virus probably originally emerged from an animal source but now seems to be spreading from person-to-person. It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so. It’s not clear yet how easily 2019-nCoV spreads from person-to-person. When person-to-person spread has occurred with MERS and SARS, it is thought to have happened mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. Spread of MERS and SARS between people has generally occurred between close contacts.
Q: Has anyone in the United States gotten infected?
A: Yes. The first infection with 2019-nCoV in the United States was reported on January 21, 2020.
Q: Am I at risk for 2019-nCoV infection in the United States?
A: This is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment may change daily.
Q: Is there a vaccine?
A: Currently, there is no vaccine available to protect against 2019-nCoV.