Coronavirus changes life in area

Published 9:20 am Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

From the news that a Longwood student received a presumptive positive test for the novel coronavirus to Governor Ralph S. Northam’s ban on gatherings of more than 100 people, it has been a week of defining a new normal in a world coping with a pandemic.

In one week, Lunenburg County has gone from a place filled with activity and buzz to a place with deserted baseball fields, students out of school and churches canceled. Just reading the cancellation notices one would think the area is dealing with a major blizzard. Instead, spring flowers are blooming and the weather beckons children outside to the parks.


The university has moved all of its classes online through March 27. Residence halls remain open. Limited dining options are available. Students were given the option to return to their home to study or remain on campus. All campus sports and events have been canceled through March 27 as well.

Tests came back negative for the two students who were being quarantined after sharing living space with the student who received a presumptive positive case. The Longwood case remains the only presumptive positive case for the coronavirus in Prince Edward County and the Piedmont Health District.

“It remains our hope to return to in-person classes as soon as possible,” a message from Longwood President W. Taylor Reveley IV read. “But no matter what, we will closely follow developments and expert guidance with community health paramount. We will make an announcement no later than Wednesday, March 25, regarding next steps.”

The Big South Conference, which Longwood is a member of, has suspended competitions and activities through March 30.


The community college has canceled classes and activities through March 20. Classes are scheduled to resume through virtual means or by alternative delivery through at least April 3.

All campus or community events scheduled to be held on the SVCC campus have been canceled through Saturday, April 4.


The college’s spring break has been extended through March 22. Athletic contests and events have been postponed until further notice.

The Old Dominion Athletic Conference, which Hampden-Sydney is a member of, has suspended all games and activities indefinitely.


Governor Northam ordered all Virginia schools to close for a minimum of two weeks beginning Monday, March 16. The earliest schools can reopen is Monday, March 30.

In order to provide food to students who may need it while out of school. Lunenburg County Schools has set up a meal schedule while students are out of school. Free meals, breakfast and lunch, will be provided each Tuesday and Thursday to all children ages 2 to 18 beginning this week. The meals will be available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Kenbridge Elementary School and Central High School. The pickup for meals at Kenbridge Elementary School will be in the back parking lot at the gym. The pickup zone for Central High School will be at the cafeteria entrance to the left of the main doors.

A child must accompany the parent when a meal is picked up.


Kenston Forest School is closing from Monday, March 16, through Friday, March 27, in accordance with the two-week closure order from Gov. Ralph S. Northam, according to a statement on the school’s website.

The statement noted Kenston Forest students had received login information for Edmodo, a network that facilitates distance learning, and teachers had a work day Monday to ensure the school was ready to provide continuous learning during the two-week closure.

Officials concluded the statement by noting they will provide updates as they receive them.


The school has moved into extended closure status the week of March 16 through March 30. The school was on spring break last week.

All Fuqua School athletic activities are canceled as well.

“We will be continuously re-assessing the situation with (the) coronavirus based on the most recent and accurate information available through the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” Fuqua Head of School John Melton wrote in a letter.


Heritage Hall Nursing Home is Blackstone is currently closed to all visitors due to virus concerns. There is no timetable for lifting the restriction.


The hospital has instituted a no-visitor policy at all four of its area hospitals including Southside Community Hospital. The policy began at 5 p.m. Monday.

“We understand this change will represent a significant hardship for both patients and families,” the release said. “This was a difficult decision, but one we feel is critically important to protect the patients who have entrusted us with their care, their families, our staff and the communities we serve. We want to assure both our caregivers and community that it is safe to visit Centra for scheduled appointments and procedures.”

There are some exceptions to the policy for obstetrical and pediatric patients.

The hospital is also canceling all non-essential surgeries and procedures.

Centra also announced it would provide free COVID-19 testing for all patients being treated at a Centra facility or testing site.


The Piedmont regional jail has suspended all visitation and volunteer activity until further notice.