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.
For updates and latest status of Admissions-related events, please visit:
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.