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,