America’s challenge from Covid-19 continues to increase. Late yesterday, Gov. Northam declared a state of emergency for Virginia, and we are taking further steps as well for the university. This is a moment that calls for alert action, but also grace and compassion for one another. I am deeply proud of the way that Longwood and all of you are meeting this challenge.
- Today we are announcing Longwood will move classes and assignments to a fully online format beginning today through Friday, March 27. Faculty may have already completed or be in the process of this transition. As of today, students should be prepared to continue coursework, which means closely monitoring their email or Canvas for messages from their professors. Students should reach out to their professors directly for any clarification about this transition.Campus events will also be cancelled through March 27.It remains our hope to return to in-person classes as soon as possible. But no matter what we will closely follow developments and expert guidance with community health paramount. We will make an announcement no later than Wednesday, March 25 regarding next steps.
- Longwood’s campus remains open. While some students have chosen to return home after we suspended in-person classes earlier this week, a meaningful number have indicated they prefer to remain here in Farmville. We continue to have the approval and encouragement of the Virginia Department of Health to keep campus facilities open, and intend to continue supporting students who wish to remain here. Current facility hours can be found here, and any updates will be shared with students.
- For Longwood employees, we understand this unprecedented situation prompts questions, including whether you should come in to work. We are committed to keeping our campus open for students who wish to stay, and the vice presidents are working closely with employees to do so. However, pursuant to guidance issued yesterday by Gov. Northam for state agencies to encourage telework, we are directing VPs and managers to work with staff to determine eligibility and ability to telework. We have tried to give answers to additional questions in this Q&A . If you have additional questions be in touch with your manager or VP.
- Please be advised the Governor’s guidance yesterday in issuing a State of Emergency Declaration prohibits out-of-state travel on official business by Commonwealth employees. It also directs state employees to try to limit in-person meetings and non-essential work-related gatherings.
Finally, I know many in our community continue to have special concerns now that there has been a positive Covid-19 test in our community. Regarding that case, the Virginia Department of Health has been in contact with anyone who it believes requires assessment or testing based on contact with that person. For anyone else who may be concerned, the VDH continues to believe the generalized risk of transmission in our campus community remains low, as explained here. However, particularly as testing availability widens, we should all be prepared that the number of positive cases nationally, in Virginia and here in our community will continue to rise. Experts do not know for how long.
If you have questions or concerns, please call the local VDH office at 434-392-3984 or our University Health Service at 434-395-2102. Locally, Centra has now set up a hotline at 434-200-1225 which they are asking community members to call before coming to their local facilities with concerns.
Thank you for your patience, your hard work and your devotion to Longwood.