Getting your student off to a good start, important new town ordinance, shipping a package to campus and more

I hope move-in went well for those of you whose students are already settled into their residence halls. For those of you whose students move in Saturday and Sunday, I hope the weather cooperates and that you have a smooth process as well.

There are a couple of items I thought I’d share with you today that will let you know how hard we’re working to make this a great semester for your student, that will keep you informed about some important developments and that you may want to pass along to your student.

I can’t stress enough how crucial it is for new students to reach out to their fellow students during these early days of the semester, when everyone is looking to make new friends. Please encourage your student to speak to other students, smile and just generally to be friendly—even if they’re not usually the outgoing type. They will be so glad they did.

The first few days of the semester are important for students to reach out and make friends.
New Lancer Days

For parents of new students, please encourage your student to take full advantage of the remaining activities scheduled for tomorrow and Sunday as part of New Lancer Days. This is a crucial time for new students to connect with fellow Lancers in their Peer Mentor Groups as well as their Peer Mentor, who will be an important resource this semester. You can see the schedule for New Lancer days here.

Movies, Magicians and Glow-in-the-Dark Yoga

The Lancer Productions schedule is full of socially distanced activities for all students. Just in September these include Welcome Back Bingo on Sept. 4, Movie Night on Sept. 11, a performance by magician/mentalist Craig Karges on Sept. 19 and a Glowga session (glow-in-the-dark yoga) on Sept. 25. There is also a designated area in Upchurch University Center for students to play video games with others, but they should bring their own console.

Upchurch University Center is a great place for students to get to know each other.

Also, you can let your student know about a virtual Involvement Fair about joining student organizations that’s coming up Sept. 1. They can access the fair by going to lancerlink.longwood.edu that day. To prepare to make the most of the fair, your student can complete the Get Involved Calculator on Lancer Link, which will help them connect  with their areas of interest.

Take a Chair

You might want to invest in an outdoor chair for your student to use when activities and events are held outside. For example, here’s one that looked promising (but I haven’t bought one myself). If you’ve already moved your student to campus and want to ship them a chair (or another package) via USPS, FedEx or UPS, please see the instructions below.

And while we’re on the subject of chairs, the university has purchased about 100 new Adirondack chairs that will be placed around campus soon to encourage students to get outside and meet with friends. Please encourage your student to make use of the natural beauty of our campus in the fall.

Shipping a Package to Your Student

If you’d like to ship a package to your student’s PO box, you can do that through the U.S. Postal Service. If you’d like to ship via UPS or FedEx (neither of which will ship to a PO box), you can use this address:
Student Name
Longwood University
201 High Street
6-digit number of your student’s PO box (include ONLY the numbers; don’t include the words PO Box)
Farmville, VA 23909

Your student can find their PO box number by going to my.longwood.edu to connect to Banner self-service. They should look for their mailing address. Each Longwood student—except Lancer Park residents—has an individual PO box with a 6-digit number. Mail for Lancer Park residents is sent to their address in Lancer Park, which they can also find through my.longwood.edu.

Family Fall Weekends

Longwood—and Farmville—are special places to visit any time, but especially in the fall.

This year, instead of a designated Family Weekend, we are encouraging you to visit at your convenience and on your schedule. This will also help spread out the number of visitors on campus and in the community.

While you are always welcome and encouraged to visit, several weekends in September have been designated as Family Fall Weekends: Sept. 11-13, Sept. 18-20 and Sept. 25-27.  (As a reminder, the policy that prohibits outside guests from entering the residence halls and other Longwood-managed housing will be reviewed by Labor Day and a decision made whether or not to extend it.)

If one of these weekends does not work well for your schedule, please select another date and make your plans. You can find information about dining, accommodations and things to do here.

New Town Ordinance Regarding Face Coverings and Gatherings

On Wednesday, the town of Farmville passed an ordinance laying out requirements for face coverings and gatherings that your student should be aware of. Here’s the full ordinance—and a quick summary:

  • Face coverings are required in public places (except in certain circumstances described in the ordinance).
  • Gatherings of more than 50 persons are prohibited (except as provided for in the ordinance).​
  • Gatherings are defined as planned or spontaneous (indoor or outdoor or both) events. This includes parties (including those at private residences), celebrations and other social events.
  • Fines of up to $300 may be imposed for violations of the ordinance.
Better Safe…
  • The LiveSafe app is an important tool for students and can also be downloaded by parents. Friends and family can virtually walk each other home, contact dispatchers and find other valuable safety resources through the app.
  • Longwood uses Omnilert to send emergency notifications to the campus community. Parents may also sign up for emergency alerts by going to longwood.omnilert.net and clicking “sign up.” If you already have an account, you can add an email or cell phone by logging in.
Faculty Get Creative

Longwood faculty are committed to making this fall a rich and engaging academic experience for your student. Many of them will be deploying new learning technologies and resources that will not just enhance instruction in the face of this fall’s limitations, but far into the future as well. Some examples of these innovative teaching methods are described here.

Back to School: Some helpful info about policies, move-in and more

I know most of you are up to your eyebrows in packing and other preparations to move your student to campus next week.

Even under “normal” circumstances, moving a student in can be a challenge, especially for first-timers. So it’s been heart-warming over the last week or so to see the flurry of activity on the Longwood Parents Facebook page, with veteran Lancer parents providing information and reassurances to anxious moms and dads posting questions about dropping off their freshmen.

I work in marketing and communications, where we talk a lot about the Longwood family. From my vantage point, that family clearly includes parents as well as students, faculty and staff. A big “thank you” to those of you who have made preparations for the start of this semester a little less stressful for your fellow Longwood parents.

Along that line, I thought I would also try to provide some helpful information about some updated policies and guidelines, move-in and campus life this semester. (Your student received an email yesterday with some of this information.) We’re looking forward to having your Lancers back on campus!

Policies and Guidelines

As part of our return-to-campus protocol, we are implementing a policy regarding visitors in Longwood-managed housing that will be in effect at least until Labor Day. At that time, we will evaluate in light of public health conditions and guidance, and either extend these restrictions or potentially adjust them with other continued precautions. In the meantime, students who live in Longwood-managed housing should not have any guests who are not residents of their housing group (outlined below). This restriction applies to parents and other family members.
Housing Groupings
Lancer Park
Moss Hall
Johns Hall
Longwood Landings
Sharp, Register and Stubbs halls
Cox and Wheeler halls

We have asked that your student limit travel off campus this semester, including visits home. While this is an inconvenience, limiting the spread of the Covid-19 virus is paramount so that everyone can stay on campus. If your student must leave campus, they are responsible for following the same guidance they are adhering to while at Longwood—daily symptom checks, wearing a face covering in public areas, maintaining social distance, and washing their hands properly and often.

Please make sure your student has an adequate supply of face coverings, which will be required in public spaces inside all campus buildings, including residence halls, Longwood-managed housing and classrooms. Longwood will supply each student with two cloth face masks—residential students will get their masks from their RA or REC, and off-campus students will get theirs by coming to the Commuter Lounge in Upchurch 202—but students should bring extras so they always have one on hand.

Move-in

Your student should have received details about their designated move-in date and time via their Longwood email. That information can also be found here, based on your student’s residence hall and room number. (Note that Johns and Moss halls were formerly named Frazer and Curry, respectively.)

Up to 3 helpers will be allowed to assist your student with bringing their belongings to their room or apartment. Volunteers won’t be available to help due to Covid-19 safety precautions.

If you will need a dolly or cart to move items in, please bring one with you. We will not provide carts or dollies. You should also bring your own face coverings, gloves and any other personal protective equipment (PPE) you need to follow Covid-19 safety guidelines.

Campus Life
Many areas of campus have been marked for social distancing, including Dorrill Dining Hall.

 Longwood’s Dorrill Dining Hall and other food outlets, including the campus Starbucks, will be operating this semester, with safety precautions in place.

At this time, appointments are required to see a health-care practitioner in person at the University Health Center, and students should call ahead if they need to drop off paperwork or to pay a bill. Telehealth visits also are available. The University Health Center’s number is 434-395-2102. Please remember that parents cannot make appointments for their students. If your student needs an appointment, they need to make the call.

Longwood’s Health and Fitness Center is open and the Campus Recreation staff have planned a variety of activities, all with Covid-19 precautions in place. Students are required to wear a face covering when entering and exiting the Health and Fitness Center. In-person fitness classes that will be offered this fall include spin and barbells. Classes to be offered in an online format include yoga, boxing and Pilates. Intramural activities will include a disc golf league and tournament; a modified sand volleyball league (no net play and only 3 members per team); and a pickleball league.

Anyone entering the Health and Fitness Center must fill out a screening questionnaire and wear a face covering

Washers and dryers in all laundry facilities in Longwood-managed housing can be operated with Lancer CA$H (accessible through your student’s Lancer Card) or with quarters. You can find information about how to add Lancer CA$H funds to the Lancer Card here. Note that a package of laundry “swipes” to operate washers and dryers is already included in the housing fees for students living in Lancer Park and Longwood Landings.

—Sabrina Brown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall Semester Updates: Online classes, face coverings and more

As a resident of Farmville, I have been seeing signs around town that the beginning of the academic year is drawing near. The number of cars at rental properties is growing, and there’s more traffic on Main Street.

Soon students who live in Longwood-managed housing will arrive in vehicles packed with “essentials” that mom and/or dad will help them haul into the places they’ll call home for the next eight months or so. Keeping those “essentials” to a minimum is even more important this year than ever. Precautions prevent us from having our usual contingent of volunteers to help with move-in, so your student will be relying on up to three family members or friends to help. More move-in information is available here.

Even though 2020-21 will be different, there’s a lot that will be the same—including the sense of excitement and possibilities that comes with a new school year.

The plan for the semester continues to evolve, and your student received an email this past Friday detailing some new elements in that plan. Our What Will Fall Look Like? page has been updated with this new information that will help your student prepare to return to campus.

Here are a couple of especially important updates:

  • About 20 percent of classes this fall will be taught fully online. If your student is registered for a course that is moving from in person to fully online, they will be notified via email by the end of the day Friday, Aug. 7. The updates regarding class format can be found through the my.longwood.edu portal in your student’s “Week at a Glance.” If you have any questions about online classes, please email questions@longwood.edu.
  • Face coverings will be required in public areas of Longwood-managed housing at all times.

Additional updates on our What Will Fall Look Like? page include information about how to keep safe prior to arriving on campus and what to pack.

Most importantly, please remind your student that a successful fall semester depends on their strictly following recommended guidelines: wearing a face covering, social distancing and frequently washing their hands. If they want to have a successful semester, they must do their part.

When Covid-19 is detected on campus, Longwood has a plan in place for effectively dealing with it. You can read about that plan here under the heading: When Covid-19 Cases Appear on Campus.

Finally, please ask your student to keep a close eye on their Longwood email. We will continue to stay in touch as campus move-in approaches.

—Sabrina Brown

 

SCHEV approves fall reopening plan, classroom reconfiguration is under way

You may be aware that Gov. Northam has required each institution of higher education in Virginia to submit detailed plans covering all aspects of their reopening plans for the fall.

Longwood found out today that its plan—which was submitted last month—has been approved by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).

The plan includes multiple aspects of dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, including
—Social distancing
—Hygiene
—Housing and dining adaptations
—Protections for vulnerable individuals
—Workplace safety measures
—Health care policies and resources
—Procedures for responding to positive Covid-19 cases
—Communicating with the campus and local community

Longwood’s comprehensive planning documents, which are available on Longwood’s main Covid-19 website, were reviewed by SCHEV and the Virginia Department of Health. Approval means that the plan contains all 26 required components. It will  continue to evolve and be updated along with changing guidance and as planning continues.

A key part of the planning for fall is rearranging classrooms so that every student and faculty member inside is socially distanced. Leading this effort at Longwood is Russ Carmichael, director of planning and real estate services, who says the university’s plan exceeds Centers for Disease Control guidelines for social distancing inside buildings.

Longwood’s rearrangement of the chairs, tables, desks, lecterns and other furniture in every classroom on campus will result in at least—if not more than—6 feet of distance between all students and faculty while they are in class, he said.

“We began the process by taking measurements of each room and coming up with an estimate of what we could fit into each space. We then fed the dimensions of each classroom and existing furniture into a space-maximization computer program,” Carmichael said. “It returns a recommended arrangement. We use the computer output to best arrange furniture in a way that maximizes class seating availability while ensuring we aren’t compromising any spacing specifications.

“Each classroom is being assessed multiple times to ensure that social distancing is followed,” he added.

Because of the spacing requirements, each classroom will lose between 50 and 60 percent of its capacity, which means, for example, that a classroom with a normal capacity of 40 people will now be able to accommodate fewer than 20.

“It’s going to require some creativity when Academic Affairs staff assign classes to their rooms, but we can do it,” Carmichael said.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read the full Q&A with Carmichael, which you can find here.

—Sabrina Brown

 

 

A successful fall semester is up to all of us

As parents, I know you have lots of questions about what campus life will look like and how classes will work in the fall for your student.

To give you a clearer picture as plans evolve, we have recently updated our  Fall 2020 Covid-19 web page and our What Will Fall Look Like overview. Both of these provide information about classes, social distancing, face coverings, dining, testing, health care resources and other important topics related to the fall 2020 semester.

Working closely with the commonwealth, Centers for Disease Control and the Virginia Department of Health, and following their guidance, we are still finalizing the details of some aspects of the plan. Your student will receive additional information in the weeks ahead, including an updated Student Handbook.

Faculty, staff and administrators are diligently getting ready for the return of students this fall. We know they’re excited to return—and we’re excited to have them back. All of us—students and parents included—have a part to play in accomplishing this safely.

Tim Pierson, vice president for student affairs, put it this way in an email to students yesterday: “Making this year work will depend on each member of our community owning their responsibilities to help mitigate the spread of Covid-19. Success for the school year will be up to all of us.”

Below are some essential components of a successful return to campus that Dr. Pierson and Dean of Students Jennifer Fraley communicated to students in that email. Your support of these guidelines is critical. Please encourage your student to follow them conscientiously with not only their own health and safety in mind but also that of their professors, their fellow students and the staff that keep the campus running smoothly. We also respectfully ask that you show your support by following any guidelines that are applicable to you if you visit campus.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to send them to questions@longwood.edu.

Also this week, we were happy and relieved by the news that the proposed Department of Homeland Security directive regarding international students has been withdrawn. While it did not appear to affect Longwood as directly as many other institutions, our international student community is relatively small but deeply valued and will continue to have our full support. Longwood’s Center for Global Engagement continues to monitor the situation and work to help our students navigate a range of complicated travel and other issues related to returning to campus this fall.

Thank you for entrusting your student to Longwood. It’s a responsibility we take very seriously, especially in these challenging times.

—Sabrina Brown

Regarding New Covid-19 Guidelines: Excerpt from the July 15 email sent to students by Vice President for Student Affairs Tim Pierson and Dean of Students Jennifer Fraley 

Monitor your own health, and do your part to protect others. Follow the steps and guidelines Longwood is taking across campus to encourage social distancing. If you have symptoms, or are sick (with Covid-19 or otherwise), seek medical attention and don’t go to class. There are people in our community who may have higher risks than you. Commit to habits—from hand washing to face coverings to social distancing—that will help keep you well and ensure you’re not the one to pass on the virus.

Wear a face covering. Face coverings will be required this fall during all classes, in between classes, and at all times in many parts of campus. They should be worn anytime on campus when you cannot maintain six feet of distance. Get used to wearing a face covering, always have one with you, and make wearing one your default.

Own your academic responsibilities. This is always an important part of your education. If you need to miss class because you are sick or are required to isolate, communicate with your faculty. Be assured, faculty will be there to support you with the resources for you to keep up with or make up classwork.

Citizenship. The Farmville community wants Longwood to be vibrant again. Around the country, there have been stories about Covid-19 spreading among college-age students ignoring health guidelines at crowded parties and events. People are wondering whether students will really do their part for their community, and to make college work this year, by acting responsibly. Prove those who doubt your commitment to our community wrong. Wear a face covering, socially distance, and avoid crowds, especially indoors. If our community members see Longwood students acting responsibly around campus and town, it won’t just help stop the spread of the virus, it will build trust that we’ll need to make this semester successful. This is what citizen leadership is all about—leading by example to do your individual part for the greater good.

In closing, one of the things that’s really different about Longwood is our honor code. When we each take it upon ourselves to behave honorably, trust and community follow, making Longwood more special. In the same way, if we all do our part and behave honorably in response to this pandemic, we will be able to experience what matters most about Longwood this year.

It’s in our hands, together.

 

 

 

Targeting Discrimination: Task force developing actions to ensure equity

Now more than ever, we want to be sure that Longwood is a caring, welcoming second home for students where respect and equity of treatment are ensured for everyone.

President Reveley—describing recent weeks as a “national moment of reckoning regarding systemic racial inequality and discrimination” that requires action, not just words—announced yesterday the appointment of a campus Equity Action Task Force.

With a membership of students, faculty, alumni, staff and three members of the president’s cabinet, the task force will operate under a broad charge, including the development of three specific actionable steps to be implemented for fall 2020.

I hope you will read the full text of the president’s message, which provides a detailed and thoughtful look at what Longwood is currently doing to ensure equity and diversity, acknowledges that more needs to be done and lays out details for how the university will move forward with urgency in this critical area.

Here is a brief summary of the three specific steps that create a focus for the work of the task force:

1)     A Commitment Against Incidents of Bias or Discrimination. “Any incident of discrimination goes against Longwood’s deepest values, and also its rules,” said Reveley. “But I believe we need a stronger, and more straightforward, process in place on campus to ensure any such reports are addressed seriously and fairly.” This would include creating an office focused on adherence to Title VI, the portion of the federal civil rights law that concerns racial discrimination.

2)     Engagement By Every Student with the Moton Museum and Farmville’s Civil Rights History. In 2015, Longwood entered into a formal partnership with the Moton Museum (shown in the photo above), which honors Prince Edward County’s consequential civil rights history and the role of students at its Moton High School in the civil rights movement. A growing number of Longwood students have been visiting the museum each year as part of their classes or extracurricular activities. “For some time, I’ve felt every Longwood student should have that experience,” Reveley said. “Now is the time to make that so. The museum has something to teach all of us.”

3)     Conversations on Campus. President Reveley has asked the task force to determine how best to structure conversations among members of the Longwood community—particularly students—who will return to campus this fall “profoundly affected by recent national events … [and] seeking space to converse, listen, process, heal and develop plans for action. These conversations may be difficult. But as a training ground of citizen leaders, Longwood has a particular obligation to guide and facilitate them,” Reveley said.

In concluding his message, Reveley states: “Again, the steps I am announcing today are by no means our only efforts in this regard. But I hope they will give some urgency and purpose to that work, focusing us on tangible goals where we can make progress, looking ahead to when we are back together again soon.”

—Sabrina Brown

Fall academic calendar announced along with other Covid-19 adaptations

In response to Covid-19, Longwood today announced several measures, including a slightly revised academic calendar, that are planned for fall semester.

Some new procedures are in place, some are in progress and others are subject to future state guidance. The full communication about these measures can be found on the university website.

Highlights include:
Academic Calendar and Exams

—Fall classes will begin as planned on Monday, Aug. 24, with New Lancer Days for incoming students starting Thursday, Aug. 20.
—The last day of in-person undergraduate classes will be Tuesday, Nov. 24, the last day before Thanksgiving break.
—In order to ensure a full measure of instructional time, classes will be held on Labor Day, Sept. 7, and there will be no fall break.
—After Thanksgiving, there will be a two-week review and final exam period, with the expectation that most final exams will be given online.
—All students will receive information soon about the timeline and precautions in place around the move-in schedule.

Classrooms and Class Structure

—Longwood is in a good position to follow guidelines for social distancing in its classes. Only 15 classes on campus have more than 40 students, and only six have more than 50. Longwood has ample classroom space, including an additional 42,000-square-foot academic building opening this summer, and other large spaces may be repurposed as classrooms.
—Analysis of classroom space is ongoing, and spaces will begin to be reorganized soon to allow for social distancing.
—Following CDC guidance, we are upgrading and increasing the regular cleaning of all academic spaces and evaluating ventilation systems.

flexibility of instruction

—Web cameras in each classroom will enable instructors to make course content available more readily and encourage innovative teaching. This technology will also allow students to access material remotely and maintain academic progress if they must miss class due to health concerns or quarantine related to Covid-19.

Housing

—This fall all shared bathrooms in suite-style accommodations will be limited to a maximum of 4 students. There are no community-style bathrooms in Longwood residence halls.
—Longwood is making additional single rooms, including single bedrooms within suites, available to students through the housing assignment process at a discounted rate.
—All on-campus residence halls have advanced ventilation systems that provide each individual room with its own direct to-and-from circulation of outside air, so air is not circulated among rooms.

Dining

—Students will see a variety of new practices and setups in response to Covid-19. You can read here about some of the steps our food service partner, Aramark, is taking nationally.

Campus activities and Events

—We don’t know yet what guidance may be in place across Virginia regarding gatherings and events, including possible limits on the number of people present. Any restrictions in place will apply to Longwood’s extracurricular activities and campus life.

athletics

Longwood’s intercollegiate athletics program has its own set of comprehensive plans to protect the well-being of student-athletes, in close consultation with the NCAA.

Future Measures

The university continues to work on additional adjustments for the fall to ensure that university facilities, services and activities follow state guidelines designed to protect your student’s health. These will be communicated via email to students as they are determined—so tell your student to keep an eye out for updates. And I will work to keep the latest information flowing to parents via Parent Pipeline.

—Sabrina Brown

 

 

Update on plans for safely reopening this fall, plus new Honors College dean

It’s another day of sunshine and blue skies in Farmville. Like many other employees, I am currently working from home, but I often take my daily walk on Brock Commons—and I can tell you the campus has never looked better, as you can see in the photo above.

We know that Longwood’s beautiful campus is meaningful to you and your student, so we’re “keeping up appearances” in preparation for the return of in-person learning this fall.

Speaking of the fall, I wanted to share some updates with you today just in case you haven’t seen them.

First, Matt McGregor, leader of the Covid-19 Incident Command Team, talks about the planning underway to ensure campus safety when students return in the fall.

I’m also including an introduction to Dr.  Chris Kukk , the new dean of Longwood’s Cormier Honors College for Citizen Scholars, who is bubbling with ideas for the college.

Q&A with Matt McGregor, Leader of the Covid-19 Incident Command Team

What is your role on campus as vice president for wellness and auxiliary services?
I oversee health and wellness at Longwood, working closely with the three departments in student affairs that make up the wellness unit: campus recreation, counseling and psychological services, and the University Health Center. I came to Longwood in 2005 as the director of campus recreation, and I have been working with the entire wellness unit since 2009.

Matt McGregor, associate vice president for wellness and auxiliary services

You’ve been leading Longwood’s Incident Command Team that has been responding to the Covid-19 crisis. Can you tell us about some of the work that’s already been done and what that group is continuing to do?
We stood up the Incident Command Team in early March as the pandemic came to the U.S. The team includes representatives from the offices of Environmental Health and Safety, Emergency Management, Housing, Residential and Commuter Life, and Facilities as well as from the University Health Center. This summer we are focusing on preparations to open campus this fall, including developing protocols in the event we have Covid-19 cases, and establishing testing and contact-tracing guidelines for campus.

Longwood has said it’s committed to returning to in-person learning on campus this fall. What steps are being implemented so that students can return to campus safely to live and learn?
All aspects of on-campus life are being assessed, from academics to housing and dining arrangements to enhanced cleaning methods to health practices and education. We’re also working closely with the other Virginia public universities and the state, in particular the Virginia Department of Health.
     Some of our plans are starting to take shape, and others will take place over the summer. But there are a few key principles guiding them. One is that we have to assume Covid-19 will be present across the country for some time. Another is that, in general, college-age students are at low statistical risk of serious health effects—but some with underlying health concerns, along with older people in our community, do have elevated risk. We can’t eliminate Covid. But we can develop prudent and manageable steps to mitigate spread and to protect those at higher risk. That’s our goal.

Can you describe some of the ways that residential life and campus life in general might be different when students return to campus? Can we expect that there will be social-distancing protocols in place?
We are working on a number of ways to allow for more social distancing:
—Arranging and assigning individual classrooms so they allow for more space between students
—Offering more options for single rooms in our residential and off-campus managed housing facilities
—Possibly limiting large events
     Other areas of focus will be on hygiene, scheduling and things like PPE that can help mitigate exposure in some circumstances. We also care a lot at Longwood about developing good citizens, so preparing students and asking them to act responsibly for the greater good are an important part of this. Even in such an unusual situation, we don’t want to lose sight of our mission.
     Our overall goal is to provide as normal a semester as possible, with some appropriate modifications to our activities. We will also be following the state guidelines as laid out by the phases of the Forward Virginia plan developed by Governor Northam’s office.

Will Covid-19 testing be available when students return in the fall?
Both the federal and state recovery plans call for robust testing availability. The landscape of both testing technology and expert guidance is constantly changing. We believe wide availability of testing will be important, and we are working with health care providers and the state to explore a range of options and policies related to both students and faculty/staff. We will have testing capacity and practices in place, and we appreciate people’s patience as we work through exactly how that will work.

What is Longwood doing to be prepared if there are cases of Covid-19 on campus?
The Centers for Disease Control has just issued some preliminary guidance about how to respond in such instances, and the commonwealth is working on that, too. But even as that guidance takes shape, we are planning to make sure students who need to isolate are taken care of and able to stay on track academically. We are fortunate that we have a good deal of flexibility and space in campus housing, which we will make use of.

When can we expect more details?
We hope by mid-June to be able to communicate with faculty, staff, students and families in a way that gives a pretty good picture of what to expect next semester. We won’t have every answer then, and flexibility will be important, so over the summer those plans will take final shape.

What local health care resources are available?
Longwood is very fortunate to work with Potomac Healthcare Solutions as our management partner at the University Health Center. The center is staffed with trained clinicians (doctors and nurse practitioners) and their support staff to meet the acute and urgent care needs of students, faculty and staff. They have been and will continue to be an active partner in our planning, management and response to this pandemic. We also work closely with Centra Health, the major regional health care provider, which has an outpatient clinic a block from the north end of campus and a hospital one block from the south end.

All colleges are wrestling with how students will return to campus in the fall. What makes you confident Longwood is well-positioned to do this?
Our size and setting will be helpful in making in-person learning and campus life move forward this fall, while taking prudent steps to ensure public health. Through our response to Covid-19 on campus this spring, we have developed key relationships with the town of Farmville, Centra Southside Community Hospital, the Piedmont Health District and the Virginia Department of Health. All of these entities will be strong partners with us as we prepare to safely bring our students back for the fall semester. The safety of our students, faculty and staff will always be our first priority. There is no substitute for the on-campus learning experience, and we as a university are doing everything possible to safely return to college life this fall.

New Honors College Dean Is Bubbling With Ideas

Dr. Chris Kukk, the charismatic incoming dean of Longwood’s Cormier Honors College for Citizen Scholars, is absolutely bubbling with ideas.

Dr. Chris Kukk gives a talk on the power of compassion at a TEDxTalk in Nashville.

He talks about the Cormier Honors College as a hub for social entrepreneurship and its potential to be a nationally known center for the thinkers and citizens of tomorrow. These ideas and cross-disciplinary thinking aren’t just darts that get thrown at a board—they’re all connected in an intricate web of social science and responsibility that is fundamental, he says, to a thriving society.

These ideas are so important for the future of our world, says Kukk, there’s just no time to wait.

“When you put these really talented students from a lot of different backgrounds who have a lot of different interests in a situation that allows for experimentation, it drives the university forward,” he said. “As an education, that’s the best glass of chocolate milk you could drink every day. You just want to down it!”

Kukk comes to Longwood from Western Connecticut State University, where he is a professor of political and social science and founding director of the Center for Compassion, Creativity and Innovation.

During the selection process at Longwood, he outlined a vision of new kinds of careers—ones that take ideas from different disciplines and blend them together to come up with new questions to answer and new ways of addressing those questions. These are the jobs of the future, he said, and Longwood can be that undergraduate engine.

“Citizen leadership,” he said, “is social entrepreneurship. Let’s go after it.”

The Cormier Honors College for Citizen Scholars is a group of high-achieving Longwood students who live and learn together while completing honors courses that span multiple disciplines, maintaining rigorous academic standards and completing a study abroad experience before graduation. Named for Longwood’s 24th president, Patricia Cormier, the college received a record $2 million endowment gift in 2015 by Marc and Wilma ’66 Sharp and has become known as the home to academic innovation on campus.

You can read more about Kukk and his plans for the Honors College here.

The Biggest Score of All: A Longwood Degree

Today is the day graduating seniors officially receive their degrees, and scoreboards across campus came to life with congratulations for the Class of 2020.

From Willett Hall, where the men’s and women’s basketball teams play their home games, to the home fields of lacrosse, field hockey, baseball and softball, the score was 2020.

At the baseball stadium
Lacrosse and field hockey play their home games here.
Willett Hall, home of Lancer basketball

Also in recognition of this year’s seniors, President W. Taylor Reveley IV sent out a special video message to the graduates this morning.

President Reveley’s special message to graduating seniors

Faculty and staff added their heartfelt well wishes in a video sent out this afternoon.

Faculty and staff congratulate the Class of 2020

Today is definitely a proud day for the entire Longwood family, and, parents, you’re a big part of that family. We look forward to seeing you on campus for the undergraduate Commencement ceremony scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 10.

Finally, we are honored that you have entrusted us with the task of helping prepare your sons and daughters to make the world a better place. We’re confident they will be successful.

—Sabrina Brown

 

Saluting the Class of 2020: Creativity, Grit and a Positive Outlook

One of my favorite things each year is working on a story about our current graduating class.

I’m currently in the process of gathering that information about students graduating in 2020. You may have already read about a few of our outstanding graduates on Longwood’s social media, but the ones I’m sharing with you today are an additional group.

As always, what I am hearing about these amazing students makes me very proud to be a part of the Longwood family.

Hats off not only to the Class of 2020 but also to their parents. You raised these young men and women right, and that’s no small accomplishment.

This year’s seniors have faced the challenges of a final semester unlike any in recent memory and have come out stronger on the other side. They’ve responded with creativity, hard work and a positive outlook.

Members of the Class of 2020 officially receive their degrees on Saturday, May 16. In light of current circumstances, the undergraduate Commencement ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 10, with graduate ceremony the previous day.

As these graduates move to the next chapter of their lives, they’re exploring options and making plans, going off to graduate school or starting careers—all the while giving credit to those who helped them get to this point and cherishing the memories and the friends they have made here.

I found the reflections they shared with me uplifting and heart-warming—and I’m guessing we could all use a little more of that these days.

Here are just a few examples of what our 2020 grads doing after graduation:

  • Entering Ph.D. programs in chemistry at Clemson and North Carolina State
  • Studying for the CPA exam and working at Ernst & Young
  • Working as the communications and marketing manager for the Virginia Manufacturers Association
  • Looking into opportunities in cyber security, specifically the fields of ethical hacking and penetration testing
  • Starting a dual master’s program in international business and business analytics at the Hult International Business School Dubai campus
  • Teaching art at Dinwiddie Middle School

And here’s a little of what they had to say about their experiences at Longwood:

Derek Holmberg, physics major
What’s Next: Ph.D. program in physics at William & Mary
“While all my professors have been amazing and helpful, Dr. Pestka has been my greatest mentor. I’ve learned so much about performing experiments, collecting data, analyzing data and doing error analysis through our work.”

 

 

Kelsey Ostrowski, nursing major
What’s Next: R.N. at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital on the Intermediate Vascular Care Unit, where her patients will include those undergoing kidney and pancreas transplants
“At Longwood, we focus on making our communities, nation and world a better place. That is a goal of mine: One action at a time. One day at a time.”

 

 

Karyn Keane, English major
What’s Next: Master’s degree program in composition and rhetoric at Miami University in Ohio
“I’m a firm believer that the small class sizes at Longwood played a critical role in my success. I was able to form close relationships with professors who would become my mentors, and I received frequent, individualized feedback on my work.”

 

 

 

Zachary Rector, business administration major
What’s Next: Area manager, Amazon
“The Alternative Break club opened my eyes and gave me a global sense of humanity. Serving in the Student Government Association made me realize that advocating for other’s needs is necessary.”

 

 

Trevor Heath, communication studies major
What’s Next: Putting his aviation and marketing skills to work at Dominion Aviation Services in Richmond
“The amazing opportunities I had at Longwood made me realize that I couldn’t just fly for a living. I came up with the idea of moving into a career path of airport management, some professional flying and building a platform for youth to use in aiding their start in the aviation world.

Megan Bland, biology major
What’s Next: Doctor of Pharmacy program at VCU
“I have had some of the most insightful and brilliant professors who really care about me and my success. There is such a great community here. It has always felt like home!