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:
- We are working with the Virginia Department of Health very closely, as is every college and university across the commonwealth, to be prepared if someone in the community is confirmed to have coronavirus.
- Longwood is operating normally.
- The best preventative measures to take remain the same as most seasonal colds and flus: wash your hands regularly, don’t leave home when sick, and use hand sanitizer often.
- The best sources for information about the virus are the Virginia Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control.
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:
- washing your hands often (with soap, for 20 seconds)
- using alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- coughing or sneezing into your elbow
- discarding used tissues into a wastebin
- making sure you get plenty of rest
- avoiding others when you are sick
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.