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.
- Effective tomorrow (Thursday) morning and through at least next Wednesday, March 18, campus events and in-person classes are cancelled. As with a weather-related closing, faculty will be in touch with you about continuing work assignments and clinical/internship experiences. It is your responsibility to check your student email or Canvas as appropriate, and to contact them with questions.
- If it is necessary to extend the cancellation of in-person classes beyond next Wednesday, we will do so. Over these next few days, faculty will continue preparations already underway to be able to continue their courses online further into the semester should that prove necessary.
- We will continue to evaluate in consultation with experts when we can return to in-person classes and campus events, and communicate regularly with you during this period.
- The University is not closing. Students may wish to return home during this period, but they do not have to. We recognize many students may feel safer and more secure here at Longwood than in places to which they might return, and we will continue to accommodate you. Residence halls, the library and the dining hall will remain open, with protocols already in place for extra cleaning and to facilitate any “social distancing” that may be necessary. We will communicate more details with students about this separately.
- Faculty and staff should consider the next five days as similar to a weather-related closing and engage in their duties and responsibilities as they customarily would in that circumstance. Faculty and staff can access their offices.
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.