I am following up on the president’s announcement that Longwood will be shifting to online delivery of classes for the remainder of the semester. This decision was not made lightly, and I understand that it increases the burden on you as faculty. I do believe that you will rise to this challenge, as evidenced by what I have seen you accomplish in the last week. 

I have linked a PDF document about initial actions you need to take to monitor and encourage student progress in this transition. It also has some additional FAQs you may find helpful. 

As the president’s email mentioned yesterday, all events related to classwork (including recitals, the spring student showcase, art shows, and productions) will not occur in-person this semester. Faculty in charge of organizing these events will determine whether there is a viable distance or digital alternative to the event. Some decisions have already been made: the Student Showcase Organizing Committee has decided to move forward with a virtual Student Showcase for Research and Inquiry, still planned for April 22. The Graduate Research Symposium, scheduled for April 24, has also been moved online.  

I realize this transition creates many more questions. I assure you we will work through them as methodically as we can, while also continuing to monitor state and national developments.

  • We are aware that other Virginia institutions are moving to alter their grading scales and policies for the semester. We are discussing a variety of options for grading policies with the chair of EPC, Faculty Senate Executive Committee, Enrollment Management, Financial Aid, and the Registrar’s Office to ensure that the implications of any decision have been fully examined. Some of those decisions might entail action by EPC and/or Faculty Senate. We will communicate more about this as soon as we can. I will also be communicating with students early next week directly about this transition, not only to encourage them in this work, but also to let them know we are considering a variety of academic options. 
  • Directors of clinical placements/practicum experiences are working to help students with alternate experiences to the extent possible, and they are working with state officials regarding the complications this situation causes for licensure programs.  
  • We have not made any decisions yet about courses or experiences in the summer, including travel courses, internships, face-to-face summer school courses, and PRISM. 
  • I will be working closely with the deans, the Academic Chairs Council, and Faculty Senate on various matters, including determining any necessary adjustments to annual evaluations and promotion and tenure.   

The events we are facing aren’t adequately described by challenging, and the ramifications of our decisions now are hard to fathom. As faculty, we have visions for our courses, our research, and our interactions with colleagues. Our students, particularly those on track to graduate, are losing spring traditions and are navigating class environments they didn’t anticipate.  This is an emotional time for all of us.  We didn’t choose to be here, and yet, here we are.  The cooperation you have offered to one another and the creativity and resilience you have demonstrated is profoundly inspiring.  Please continue to support each other and communicate with each other. I am confident that a spirit of citizen leadership will guide us to be considerate to one another and our students as we nimbly adapt to our current circumstances.  

With deepest gratitude,