January update on COVID

Dear Sweet Briar Women,

I’m writing today to appeal once more to your good sense, community spirit and care for and trust in one another, by asking you to maintain your vigilance and adherence to our COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

As I write, we have one active case among the students, with several more in quarantine. We hope we won’t see additional cases, but that won’t be easy unless we all remain cautious and careful, especially as the numbers of COVID-19 are on the rise in Virginia. Yesterday, there were just under 3,000 new cases reported in the state in just one day. The numbers of cases are also growing in the city of Lynchburg. And the more highly communicable variant of the virus first identified in the United Kingdom arrived in Virginia at the end of January.

I know that this rise in COVID cases statewide and locally is happening at a difficult time. We are all exhausted by following protocols, maintaining social distance from our friends and loved ones, and wearing masks almost constantly. But I ask you to keep up your tremendous efforts. I also urge you to remain at Sweet Briar on weekdays – and during the weekends. Unless you have a very important reason that requires you to leave campus, I hope you will stay here, where it is safer and avoid the surrounding “hot spots” of virus transmission. And if you must travel off campus, please exercise caution.

I am so proud of what you’ve done and continue to do to keep our community safe. Unlike certain other Virginia campuses, where this past weekend’s snowfall tempted students to frolic outdoors without masks and without maintaining safe distances from one another, you enjoyed the snow in a safe and responsible way. I know that you will continue to participate in your classes, campus events, and social activities in a similarly mindful manner.

We can look toward a more hopeful future, when we will be protected by vaccines and the spread of the virus will be curtailed. We will return to “normalcy.” But until then, please continue to exercise your good judgment and your leadership. I know you can do this – because you are Sweet Briar women.


Meredith Woo