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Longwood virus test is presumptive positive; classes and events canceled

Classes and events at Longwood University have been canceled through Wednesday, March 18, after test results for a Longwood student, self-quarantined since Monday, returned as a presumptive positive for COVID-19.

The news was confirmed Wednesday night in a 10:14 p.m. release from Longwood University President W. Taylor Reveley IV. The presumptive positive test is now being sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to confirm the positive test.

“Based on their conversations with the student earlier this week about their brief time on campus following spring break, VDH continues to believe even with the presumptive positive test there remains a low generalized risk to our community,” Reveley said in the release.

The release said the Virginia Department of Health has begun reaching out to those who may have been in close contact with the student who has a presumptive positive test to evaluate if further quarantines or testing of additional students may be necessary.

“While it is no surprise that a case of COVID-19 has appeared in our community, we have committed to you that if circumstances evolve Longwood would take new steps to best protect the health and safety of all students, faculty and staff,” Reveley stated.

The release said if it is deemed necessary to cancel classes beyond next Wednesday, the university would do so. The University of Virginia and James Madison University both announced Wednesday they would not hold classes on campus until at least April. Students are being asked to remain home and take classes online.

“Over these next few days, faculty will continue preparations already underway to be able to continue their courses online further into the semester should that prove necessary,” the release from Reveley stated.

Longwood had a busy night of events Wednesday night as both the softball and baseball teams played home games.

The release stressed that the university is not closing. The suspension of classes and events is being treated as a weather closing.

“Students may wish to return home during this period, but they do not have to,” the release stated. “We recognize many students may feel safer and more secure here at Longwood than in places to which they might return, and we will continue to accommodate you. Residence halls, the library and the dining hall will remain open, with protocols already in place for extra cleaning and to facilitate any ‘social distancing’ that may be necessary.”

University of Dayton students created a disturbance that police responded to with pepper balls after the university announced dorms would close Wednesday.

Wednesday was the precipice of coronavirus-related events in the U.S. to this point in the crisis. The World Health Organization deemed the outbreak a “pandemic.” President Trump spoke to the nation from the Oval Office and restricted travel from Europe for 30 days. The NBA suspended its season after a player was diagnosed with the virus. The NCAA made the decision to play its tournament without fans. The stock market continued to slide into bear market territory, dropping 1,464 points to 23,553, its lowest level since December of 2018.