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.