Activity serves up happiness on the rocks for students

Who knew there was a national Collect Rocks Day?

Patti Carey, that’s who.

That’s why earlier this week there were Longwood students hunting all over campus for the very special rocks created by Carey ’82 and some of her friends in the College of Business and Economics (CBE).

Over the past few weeks, the CBE faculty, staff and students painted more than 150 rocks with cheerful messages and pictures, and then set them out for students to find. Some of the colorful rocks promised the finders CBE swag. The “mayor’s rock” entitles the finder to a key to the town to be handed over by Farmville Mayor David Whitus ’83, who wanted to participate in the event.

As director of student engagement and special initiatives in CBE, Carey is always looking for ways to spread some sunshine for students.

Sarah Kuzniewski ’22 (left), Dorie Walters ’21 and Rachel Wells ’21, all business majors, were some of the students who looked for rocks this morning.

“Last year we were brainstorming things we could do, and I ran through a list of some of those wacky days of the year. I also was aware of the Kindness Rocks Project, where people paint rocks with inspirational messages and leave them for anyone to find. The two just seemed to go together,” Carey said, adding that this is the second year she’s spearheaded the event.

Dr. Dawn Schwartz and Dr. Melanie Marks, both CBE faculty, were among the volunteers who painted rocks this year.

“We just want to show some college spirit and go the extra mile to create a fun activity for students. There are many beautiful rocks, so I hope they end up on desks to remind the students to stay focused and give it their all,” said Marks. “I love the things Longwood does to show students that they are our focus. I think it is especially important this semester that students know we want them to have the best experience possible.”

Some lucky students will get to take home these rocks, painted by Dr. Melanie Marks.

It’s all about happiness, agreed Schwartz ’03, MBA ’13.

“I do this because I want to spread happiness among our students,” said Schwartz. “I did it last year for the same reason. However, this year I can see the toll Covid-19 has had on our students (and really all of us), and I wanted to make it extra special for them.”

Schwartz said she hopes the inspirational messages on her rocks would give hope, joy and “maybe the strength to persevere through whatever they are going through. I know they’re just rocks, but sometimes the smallest thing can be the sign someone needs to keep going.”

If senior Will Watson’s experience is any indication—mission accomplished.

Watson, who is graduating in December with a concentration in accounting, hit the campus at 7 the morning of the “hunt” with the goal of finding the mayor’s rock. A few hours later he had it hand, saying it took a little of the sting out of some of this semester’s challenges and disappointments.

“Today,” he said, flashing a smile and holding up the coveted rock, “I have joy.”

—Sabrina Brown

Longwood Continues Top-10 Ranking, Again Named A “Best Value” Among Virginia Publics

In today’s post, I’m very happy to be able to share with you the good news about Longwood that was released today by U.S. News & World Report in the magazine’s annual college rankings. Feel free to spread the word!

This is the fifth-straight year Longwood is ranked among the top 10 public universities in the South and the second year Longwood is named a “Best Value” among regional Southern universities—both indicative of Longwood’s steadily rising reputation. Since 2013, the university has climbed to No. 7 from No. 12 among public institutions in the Southern regional category. Among public and private regional universities, Longwood is ranked No. 16 overall.

New this year: Longwood is the top-ranked Virginia university on the list of Best Colleges for Veterans, a rapid rise due in large part to concerted efforts led by Dr. John Miller, associate professor of early American literature and member of the U.S. Coast Guard.

“Rankings can never fully capture the student experience of a university, nor can they capture its spirit, but a steady rise like we have seen is because of improving benchmarks that matter very much,” said President W. Taylor Reveley IV. “Those benchmarks include small class sizes that are the hallmark of our Civitae core curriculum and our strong academic reputation. Our true strength, however, is in our community of citizen leaders who innovate and strive each day to seek new ways to push forward.

“This year I’m especially proud to see our work with our veteran students recognized alongside our commitment to college affordability,” continued Reveley. “Both of these measures are top of my mind every day, and we know that we can make a real difference to students and families by holding tuition increases among the lowest in Virginia and providing opportunities to veterans who have served our country.”

Among the factors that have led to Longwood’s sustained top-10 ranking:
—A six-year graduation rate that exceeds predictions
—Fewer than 20 students in nearly 60 percent of classes
—Civitae core curriculum classes capped at 25 students

At the same time, Longwood continues to invest heavily in full-time, tenure-track faculty—offering students smaller classes taught by professors who are making their careers at the institution. Since 2012, Longwood’s ranks of tenured and tenure-track faculty have increased by more than 40 faculty members, amounting to growth of 25 percent. That comes as universities across the country have scaled back full-time faculty hiring, relying more on adjuncts, graduate assistants and part-time staff to teach classes.

The Best Value ranking system compares overall ranking with total cost, factoring in the amount of need-based aid and the average discount given. Longwood is behind only one other public university in Virginia on the regional list.

“For the past eight years we have worked extremely hard on college affordability,” said Louise Waller MBA ’10, Longwood’s vice president for administration and finance. “We’ve kept tuition increases to among the lowest levels in the state, and this coming year we will actually be lowering out-of-state tuition rates. We have ongoing conversations about how we can innovate to keep the sticker price as low as possible so more families aren’t priced out of higher education. I’m glad that work is recognized in these rankings, but more fulfilling is meeting students who benefit from our efforts.”

Meet Longwood’s New Dean of Students: A resource for parents as well as students

The path Jen Fraley took from being a chemistry major with her sights set on a medical degree to a dean of students working on a law degree is exactly what makes her such a good choice for her new role at Longwood.

“I wanted to help people, and I thought going into medicine was the way to do that,” said Fraley, who’s been in the Student Affairs division at Longwood for seven years and began her new responsibilities as dean of students this July.

The epiphany that changed her life happened during her senior year at Kenyon College in Ohio.

“I realized that a career in medicine wasn’t that Norman Rockwell vision I had in my head,” she said. She turned to her mentor—advice she often gives students today—who helped her realize that being a physician wasn’t the only way to help people.

That mentor just happened to be Cheryl Steele, then an associate dean at Kenyon and now dean of student engagement at Longwood. “I went to talk to Cheryl about my situation, and I’ll never forget when she said to me, ‘Jen, I get paid for what I do,’” Fraley recalled. “Until that moment, I hadn’t even thought about a career helping students in a university setting.”

From there, she never looked back. After finishing her chemistry degree, she went on to work in various areas of student affairs at three other universities and earned a master’s degree in student affairs in higher education. Fraley came to Longwood in 2013, serving the majority of the time since then as director of student conduct and integrity and Title IX coordinator.

These days much of her focus is on dealing with Covid-19 issues, but the regular business of the Dean of Students Office continues even in the face of a pandemic.

Fraley took some time out of her busy schedule—she’s also working on a law degree through the University of Dayton—to share how she sees the role of her office, how she and her staff can be a resource for parents and how they can best serve students.

As Longwood’s dean of students, what offices do you oversee?
Of course, the Dean of Students Office is one of my areas of responsibility. Also under my “umbrella” are the offices of Student Conduct and Integrity, Title IX, Disability Resources, and Residential and Commuter Life. This is a new structure for Longwood. All of these offices are working toward the same purpose, so having everyone together as a team makes sense. This structure presents opportunities to benefit students in some really powerful ways.

What is the role of the Dean of Students area?
I see it as seeking to instill self-advocacy in students and connect them with the proper and best resources for their unique situations and concerns. We’re looking to serve students by providing some of their basic needs so they can be successful academically.

Exactly what do you mean by instilling self-advocacy in students?
We want to help them develop the skills they need to fend for themselves, while still providing a safety net.

How can parents help you accomplish that goal?
The best advice I could give to parents is to check in with their students and make sure they know where to go for help. For example, if there’s an issue about their student’s scholarship, instead of the parent dealing with it, they can tell their student about the Office of Financial Aid and suggest they call there to ask for help in resolving the issue.

Can parents call the Dean of Students Office for help?
We’re happy to speak with parents. FERPA (Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act) limits some of the things we can discuss without a waiver from the student, but we’re always happy to give information that’s publicly available and to listen to concerns. Usually we can say, ‘This is what you’re describing to me, and these are the offices we’d suggest that you refer your student to.’

We can also help when there’s been a family emergency or a death in the family that impacts the student.

Parents also can call us and say, ‘I’ve never heard my student sound so down, and I’m concerned.’ We’ll send someone to check in on that student.

Would the Care Team be the group looking into concerns about a student?
Yes. The Care Team is a multidisciplinary group of faculty and staff run out of the Dean of Students Office who meet regularly to discuss concerns that have been expressed about students and to develop a plan for reaching out to those students.

What should a parent do if they believe their student is in an emergency situation?
If there’s an emergency with the safety and welfare of a student, parents should call LUPD (Longwood University Police Department) at 434-395-2091. This will activate a 24-hour administrative response, seven days a week/24 hours a day. Parents should be aware that our office isn’t monitoring email or phone messages for immediate, emergency concerns—and especially not in the evenings or on weekends. It’s really important that parents call LUPD if they believe their child is in an emergency situation no matter when that emergency occurs.

What are the 3 most important things parents can do to help their students be successful at Longwood?
—Help your student solve their own problems.
—Encourage your student to make connections with their faculty/professors. I come across a lot of students who don’t take advantage of office hours, which are designated times that students can connect with their faculty members. That connection or extra piece of help can really make a difference in the outcome of the class. Faculty are so willing to help—but I know they can be intimidating to students. Encourage your student to have the confidence to make those connections.
—Emphasize the importance of forging friendships and finding ways to get involved. They don’t want to overdo it, but your student should look for organizations or activities focused on things that are important to them and become involved with those on campus.

Finally, what’s your current take on the Covid-19 situation at Longwood?
Of course, it’s a day-by-day situation, but right now I am cautiously optimistic. I see very few students across campus who are not following the rules. By and large, our students are committed to being here, and they understand their actions have consequences beyond themselves.

We just need to stay the course and not relax our vigilance. There is a general sense at Longwood that students look out for each other. This situation is just really a broadening of that experience—of students’ recognizing their place in the community and how they can contribute to this effort. As long as they don’t get lax on that, I think we’ll make it. So far so good.

—Sabrina Brown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Importance of Staying Vigilant

In light of developments at other universities that have been in the news recently, I thought you might appreciate a bit of good news Longwood’s Assistant Vice President for Communications Matthew McWilliams shared yesterday as well as an update on Covid-19 at Longwood and plans for Convocation next week.

In his email, McWilliams related that on Tuesday of this week, during a regular Covid-19 conference call for regional leaders and health officials, the Virginia Department of Health’s Piedmont Health District director, Dr. Robert Nash, asked that the university convey to our students his personal appreciation for the excellent public health habits he’s seen in practice these first weeks of the semester.

Our community appreciates your student’s efforts—please encourage them to keep it up. Poor decisions by just one or a few members of the community can have an enormous impact. Experiences at other universities show just how quickly and easily Covid-19 can spread.

We are fortunate that our smaller size and smaller classes make our circumstances different from large universities. Even so, everyone in the Longwood community must keep up their good habits and remain vigilant in order to have a successful semester.

Longwood’s Covid-19 dashboard

Longwood’s Covid-19 dashboard includes a daily tally of positive test results from the University Health Center that updates each day around 5 p.m. The dashboard also links to the official VDH site, which includes data on all reported cases by locality.

We’ve received some questions and feedback about possibly sharing additional information on the dashboard, in particular the number of self-reported positive cases we’ve heard about from students (for example, tests administered by providers other than the University Health Center). We have decided to focus on frequent (daily) updates of information we know for certain. This decision is based on our concerns about conveying information that may not be reliable or verifiable, or that could be misleading or potentially compromise student privacy. However, we are listening to this feedback, looking at what other institutions are doing and considering how we can responsibly share more.

“I can tell you that as of this writing, since most students began returning on Aug. 16, two students have notified the university of positive test results, in addition to the three confirmed at the UHC. One has now completed isolation and the other is isolating at home,” McWilliams said in the email.

testing and contact tracing

If your student has received a positive test result or is awaiting results from an off-campus provider, it is very important for them to inform the University Health Center at 434-395-2102. Our Quarantine Support Team will work with your student to ensure care and academic continuity, while at the same time protecting their privacy according to our practices and policies.

Communication and effective quarantining for those who may be contact-exposed are essential to limiting spread of the virus. VDH staff is leading all contact tracing and will let your student know if they are considered contact-exposed and need to go into quarantine. Students with questions can also contact the University Health Center.

Quarantine and Isolation

First of all, here’s the difference between quarantine and isolation: Quarantine is for those who are considered to have been contact-exposed to positive cases, either at Longwood or elsewhere, even if they have themselves tested negative. Isolation is for those who are themselves positive or presumed positive.

Some universities have expressed concerns about running short of space for students to quarantine or isolate in on-campus housing. Longwood’s housing situation and case numbers are very different. Almost all students who have needed to isolate or quarantine because of possible contact exposure have been able to do so in their own rooms, in their off-campus housing or at home.

On average, only about 1-2 students per day have needed to stay in our designated on-campus quarantine/isolation space in ARC Hall. We have ample capacity there, as well as in other locations if numbers increase and it is needed.

Convocation Plans

Lastly, we know Convocation is on the minds of many students and their parents. Longwood recognizes it is especially important this year to students to preserve rituals and traditions as best we can. It will be different this year—capping in particular may be more spread out in time and space than the traditional ceremony— but we very much hope to proceed next Thursday, Sept. 10, in some form, with appropriate precautions in place. There will be an email to campus within the next few days confirming plans.

—Sabrina Brown

Read All About It in Longwood Magazine: Big plans, big gifts and big love for the university

I know that most of you have been focused this week on making sure your students have everything they need to get off to a good start this semester.

As you do that, I thought you might also enjoy some light reading in the summer issue of Longwood magazine that I hope will be one more confirmation that you and your student made a good decision in choosing Longwood.

You’ll meet several members of the Class of 2020 who have big plans for the future and big love for Longwood.

You’ll see some concrete examples of how our graduates apply citizen leadership in their lives:
            —Four fraternity brothers who decided to help out young students struggling to keep up with online schoolwork due to lack of adequate technology
            —A first-generation college graduate who overcame a difficult childhood to become the leader of the Virginia Education Association

Dr. James Fedderman ’98

           —A musician who was determined to keep his music-making paying the bills despite shutdowns and cancellations
            —A teacher who, after decades of frugal living, gave a multimillion-dollar gift to help create the new hub of campus life your student is enjoying today

The late Elsie Upchurch ’43 with members of her sorority, Sigma Sigma Sigma

In this issue you’ll also see some of our 2020 senior art students’ creativity—and find out what inspired their artwork.

The jewelry created by Alejandra Gonzalez ’20 was inspired by her curiosity in the Pre-Hispanic jewelry from Northern Peru and its most ancient cultures.

You’ll meet the energetic new dean of the Cormier Honors College for Citizen Scholars, and you’ll hear how our alums stayed connected to each other and to Longwood during Virtual Alumni Weekend.

And much more.

Happy reading!

—Sabrina Brown

 

 

 

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.