Preparing for a successful spring semester

As we anticipate the new year, I’m passing along an email about the spring semester that was sent to your student on Wednesday, Dec. 30, by Matthew McWilliams, assistant vice president for communications.

It contains important information about
—Covid-19 precautions for students to take prior to returning to campus and guidelines for students who should delay their return
—Guidelines for move in, set for Jan. 9-11, including the limiting of helpers to 2 per student
—Continued vigilance in combatting Covid-19 this semester
—The extension of the fall visitor policy into the spring semester
… and more

I hope you can take a minute between now and your student’s return to campus to read through this update.

By working together and taking precautions seriously, the entire Longwood community—and especially students—made Longwood’s successful fall semester possible. By continuing that commitment, the coming semester can be just as successful.

Happy New Year!

—Sabrina Brown


Full text of email sent to Longwood students on Dec. 30, 2020

I hope you all had a happy and safe holiday season. I’m reaching out about 10 days before most students return to campus with some information about your return and the upcoming semester. The semester will begin as scheduled, with graduate classes beginning Jan. 8 and undergraduate classes beginning Jan. 13.

While the news about vaccines is a source of great hope for 2021, we continue to see substantial Covid-19 cases across the country and here in the Commonwealth. We must assume the virus will be present in our community during the spring semester. That means the precautions that served us well in the fall will remain in place as we return to campus. I urge every member of the campus community to review the Shared Commitment that was foundational in our success in the fall and pledge yourself to those principles again.

As in the fall, we are prepared to handle Covid-19 cases in the university community. It is up to all of us to do the things we know work—wear masks, keep socially distanced, and wash hands regularly—to make the spring successful.

Prior to Returning to Campus

Our collective steps to ensure a successful semester must begin now, ahead of our return to campus. Please exercise great care these next two weeks— wearing masks, social distancing and avoiding gatherings.

If you are experiencing any potential Covid-19 symptoms or have been contact exposed, or are awaiting test results, do NOT return to campus. Please call the University Health Center at 434-395-2102 and email so we can work with you on academic considerations if you need to delay your return.

Per our consultations with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), our plan for repopulating campus this spring will mirror our successful approach in the fall. In general, a test is not required before returning to campus. However, if you have visited with family or friends over the holidays, testing options have expanded and can help ensure you are not an asymptomatic carrier. If you have visited with others, we encourage you to seek out one of these tests a few days before returning to campus. VDH’s testing site map may be a helpful resource. If you are near Farmville, you can arrange for a test at the University Health Center, which opens Jan. 4 at 8 a.m. To make an appointment, call 434-395-2102.

Daily Health Screening

Ten days before you return to campus, you should resume asking yourself the daily health questions:
—Are you currently experiencing a fever (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher)?—Are you currently experiencing a new cough?
—Are you currently experiencing a new shortness of breath?
—Are you currently experiencing new chills?
—Are you currently experiencing a new sore throat?
—Are you currently experiencing new muscle aches?
—Have you had a loss of taste or smell?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, you should contact a health care provider and not return to campus until cleared following a negative test.


Students can begin moving back into their on-campus residence halls on Jan. 9. Spring move-back is different from the fall—there are fewer belongings to move, and the return is naturally more staggered over several days, so we will not assign specific move-in times. However, please exercise caution. Remember that when you are in on-campus buildings, including residence halls and university-managed apartments, you must wear a proper face covering. This includes family members who are helping you move back in. Please limit the number of family members who assist you with move-in to two. Face coverings are also required outside when you cannot maintain consistent 6 feet of distance between yourself and others.


The visitor guidelines put in place for the fall semester are still in effect. These will continue to be reviewed regularly in consultation with student leadership.

Testing, Quarantine and Contact Tracing

As during the fall semester, we will engage in prompt testing of those with symptoms or who are contact exposed, as well as contact tracing, and provide support services for students who may need to isolate or quarantine. The Health Center expects to be able to continue offering “peace of mind” testing to students who are not symptomatic or contact exposed but would like to be tested. VDH is strongly supportive of our approach this past fall and has not recommended random surveillance testing of the campus community. However, over the course of the semester we may engage in targeted surveillance testing — for example of a broader group of people around a cluster of positive cases.

We are looking forward to having you back on campus this spring. Thank you for continuing to take these individual actions that will be key to a successful spring semester.


Matthew McWilliams
Assistant Vice President for Communications
Longwood University

Happy Holidays!


It’s hard to know what kind of holiday wishes to send to folks this year. Some of you may not be able to experience the holidays as you have in years past. Still, I hope that the spirit of the season finds you no matter where you are or whom you are with this week.

Toward that end, I thought I’d share with today you some words of reflection on the fall semester and the holidays from President W. Taylor Reveley IV and Longwood’s Board of Visitors.

I’ve also included a link to a holiday-themed collection of performances by Longwood’s music faculty and students as well as a video featuring one of our most cherished holiday traditions.

Personally, I’d like to wish you and yours all the best. Longwood is truly a special place, and you and your Lancer are a big part of the reason why.

—Sabrina Brown

From President W. Taylor Reveley IV

in an email to the Longwood family

At the end of this harsh and historic year, the usual sense of holiday joy may feel harder to summon. But this holiday season, as campus winds down the work of this semester, I am filled with gratitude as well as hope.

Our achievements in 2020 weren’t the usual ones. Simply being together for in-person learning tapped our deepest reserves of creativity, flexibility and perseverance. We have had to dig further still to maintain the human connections that are Longwood’s heart and soul. These efforts have produced real exhaustion. But our mission of preparing citizen leaders has never mattered more, and we should be proud we have succeeded, in such full measure.

To our students — Thank you. I know this semester has been hard in so many ways, but your commitment to public health and to one another made it possible to be here. So many people have doubted college students. But you have stepped up, earning praise and gratitude from the Town of Farmville and well beyond. I promise you, in 2021, sunnier days lie ahead.

To our faculty and staff — Your professionalism, imagination and dedication have been powerful, and they have mattered so deeply in the lives of our students. Amidst your own challenges, including caring for family members young and old, you safely reimagined our classrooms, upgraded our buildings, cared for anxious students, redesigned courses and quickly learned new technologies to keep our students personally and academically connected. Thank you.

To our home community of Farmville, we are so grateful for your partnership and support. And in spite of 2020’s challenges, we took real strides together. The opening of the elegant Johns and Moss Halls, landmarks along Main Street. A third Starbucks! Indian food! The coming year will also bring our new art-house style cinema on High Street — and much else in the way of progress, as our community flourishes.

In this hard year for families, our community and the nation, we have experienced grief, anxiety and challenging conversations about justice, equity and our obligations to one another. There is still difficult road to travel in 2021, and we cannot let up. But Longwood has met and prospered through every great challenge we’ve faced, drawing essential strength from our community and our true spirit of camaraderie. This year, all of you — students, faculty and staff, friends near and far — have been writing your own great chapter in our history.

I wish you peace and health this holiday season.

President Reveley

From the Longwood University Board of Visitors

in a full-page ad in the Farmville Herald

In the spirit of the season, during this historic and challenging year of 2020,
We wanted to say THANK YOU with this public resolution of gratitude

To Longwood’s students, faculty and staff, and the entire Lancer family — our Lancers have been true citizen leaders,

To the Town of Farmville and the broader community — our partners and trusted friends,

To Hampden-Sydney — our neighbor through the centuries here in America’s oldest two-college community,

To the Commonwealth of Virginia — an example of compassion and common purpose in the face of this pandemic and in this time of reckoning,

To President Reveley and the administration of the University — for remarkable, principled leadership and vision

May the holidays offer peace and joy, as well as renewal,
in the promise of yet finer days to come

Holiday Music from Longwood Musicians

Some holiday-inspired selections from the faculty and students in the Department of Music.


A Grand Illumination in the Rotunda





Wrapping up Fall, Planning for Spring

As we wrap up the fall semester, I wanted to share with you some dates and a few pieces of information that may be helpful. Spring semester will be here before we know it!

Important Dates

—The university will be closed beginning tomorrow, Friday, Dec. 18, and will reopen Monday, Jan. 4.
—Residence halls and other Longwood-managed housing will reopen beginning Saturday, Jan. 9. Check-in will be noon-5 p.m. on Jan. 9 and Jan. 10, and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Jan. 11.
—Classes begin for undergraduates on Wednesday, Jan. 13.
—Spring break will be different this year due to public health and academic calendar considerations. Instead of 5 consecutive days off, students will have 5 days off spread throughout the semester. These days are: Monday, March 1; Thursday-Friday, April 1-2; and Tuesday-Wednesday, April 27-28.
—Martin Luther King Jr. Day—Monday, Jan. 18—is a Longwood holiday.
—The add/drop period ends at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 21.
—The last day of regular classes is Monday, April 26.
You can find the full spring academic calendar here.


The last Covid-19 daily update for the fall semester will be Dec. 17, when the university closes for winter break. We will restart daily updates when the university opens on Jan. 4. If there are any urgent public health matters to communicate to the campus community while the university is closed, we will do so.

Covid-19 Practices and Precautions

The precautions and practices that have served us well this past semester will remain in place. Later this month, more specific guidance will be shared with students about returning to campus and public health precautions next semester.

Covid-19 Testing

Over the course of the fall semester, the University Health Center increased its testing capacity and has generally been able to offer appointments for peace-of-mind testing in addition to testing for those who are symptomatic or contact-exposed. We expect to continue to be able to continue testing on this basis in the new year. The University Health Center will be closed Dec. 18-Jan. 3.

Longwood Magazine

Finally, by now you should have received the latest issue of Longwood magazine. I hope you enjoy seeing some of the academic and extracurricular activities that kept your students busy this fall. Faculty and staff really put their hearts into making this a good semester for your Lancers. If you didn’t receive a copy and would like one, just send your mailing address to

 —Sabrina Brown