The University of Lynchburg has extended online classes for an additional week. Classes will remain online through the end of the day Wednesday, Sept. 2, and enhanced protocols will continue.   The University reports 35 positive COVID-19 tests among students. Of these cases, 22 are on campus and the remaining 13 are off campus.   Most students are exhibiting only mild symptoms. School officials say despite the rise in numbers, they’re seeing an increased vigilance among our students to try to prevent the spread.

Here is the email from President Alison Morrison-Shetlar:

I want to thank the faculty, staff, and students who engaged in Q&A sessions yesterday. We listened closely to your wishes and concerns. I am inspired by your commitment to our continued success, your passion for doing the right thing, and your commitment to getting us back to face-to-face and hybrid teaching and learning as soon as possible. I am especially moved by your commitment to our staff who face layoffs and furloughs should we make the move to Level 3 and take all classes online for the remainder of the semester. Being on campus will keep everyone working and ensure that our Hornet family, and their families, will not be negatively impacted. The data show that we can beat this virus. If New York City can do it, if entire countries can do it, certainly we can do it! And we will! We’re finding that transmission of the virus is not occurring in the classrooms, nor when we are outside. Why? Because we are wearing masks, avoiding gatherings, washing our hands, and maintaining appropriate physical distancing. The clusters are happening in residential groups. Our Health Center and Dining Services are doing a great job in caring for our students in isolation and quarantine. By continuing to follow the protocols in place and taking care of each other, our community will be better and stronger. So we heard you — we need a little more time to flatten the curve on campus.After careful consideration and a thorough assessment of the continued presence of COVID-19 on campus, we have decided to remain in Alert Level 2 for an additional week. Classes will remain online through the end of the day Wednesday, Sept. 2, and enhanced protocols will continue.This extension of online classes while students remain in residence will allow us to focus on both the physical and mental well-being of our students while continuing to deliver a quality educational experience.As of this morning, we have documented 35 positive COVID-19 tests within our student population. Of these cases, 22 are on campus and the remaining 13 are off campus. Most students are exhibiting only mild symptoms. We are managing an additional 76 students in quarantine and isolation (61 on campus and 15 off campus). We have resolved 31 cases that presented since students returned to campus — these students have received medical clearance to return to classes and activities. These numbers will be updated each weekday morning.Despite the rise in numbers, we are seeing that increased vigilance among our students is having an impact and that transmission on campus could be more widespread. Our hope is that with continued vigilance, these numbers will flatten to a point where we may consider a move back to Alert Level 1 and return to in-person and hybrid classes.We have observed that transmission of the virus is occurring mostly within the on-campus residences — most often in a single room among roommates — and that there has been little to no transmission that we can point to in the classroom setting. We are encouraged by this and, over the coming week, will continue our efforts to safely engage students outside of the virtual classroom.As we announced last week, these changes are in effect while we are in Level 2:Campus dining options remain takeout only.Indoor recreation facilities — Drysdale fitness, Turner fitness, and Turner gym — will remain open with safety guidelines in place as outlined in the COVID-19 Reopening Plan.In-person campus programming is permitted under the supervision of non-student staff as outlined in the COVID-19 Reopening Plan.Students are encouraged to be outside, with face coverings and following physical distancing guidelines.Masks or face coverings must be worn inside any University building and outdoors. Exceptions are permitted only for exercise, eating, and when a student is in their own residence room. Student gatherings of any size are prohibited and will be cause for disciplinary action, including possible removal from campus.Residential facilities remain open, but guests are prohibited.Students are urged to stay on campus.Outside guests to campus are prohibited.We will continue to monitor the situation both on campus and in the City of Lynchburg. As always, should you have questions, please direct them to the task force, and refer to the COVID-19 webpage where we will post a daily status report of cases on campus. It is clear to me that all within our community are committed to staying the course and working together to get back to in-person and hybrid classes. I thank everyone, especially our students and their families, for all that you have done to work through this together. I urge you to keep up the good work.Sincerely,Alison Morrison-Shetlar