The coronavirus continues to linger in the Lynchburg community even though thousands have received vaccinations and is still impacting local nonprofits such as the University of Lynchburg.
Nationally, there has been a strict enforcement of social distancing policies and many nonprofits were forced to cancel fundraisers, which were their primary sources of income to keep their organization operating.
The University of Lynchburg and city of Lynchburg have been working closely together to remove College Lake Dam, which is an ongoing project that is expected to be completed within the next three years.
In 2018, the dam was nearly destroyed after it overflowed, which is one of the reasons the school and city have decided to remove it entirely. The goal is to remove the lake and turn it into thriving wetlands.
The city of Lynchburg has released a specific plan to remove the dam, and this plan lists several reasons for why the dam is a hazard. Still, there are people who believe the dam removal is unnecessary.
On Saturday, Feb. 6, Lynchburg hosted its first Polar Plunge event.
Event coordinator Katherine Clement said, “In past winters, Lynchburg residents already felt cooped up and this year with COVID-19 extending that cabin fever all year, we wanted to provide a safe and unique activity for everyone to find an excuse to get outside. Another reason this event was held was to support the Lynchburg Parks and Recreation scholarship fund.”
Clement also said that even though there were many COVID-19 safety precautions, the participants still had fun. “This is our inaugural year offering the Lynchburg Polar Plunge. As with all changes to our lives due to COVID-9, we had to take measures to prevent the spread and asked all involved to wear a mask and remain socially distanced. I believe the plunge was a success and everyone seemed to have a great time plunging. We had families, friends and a participant hailing from Nashville show up to plunge,” said Clement.
The University of Lynchburg will celebrate Black History Month 2021 under the theme, “Good Trouble: Uniting Our Dreams & Voices for Justice.”
The calendar of events is being co-sponsored by the Black History Month Planning Committee and the Johnson Health Center.
Vice President for Inclusive Excellence and planning committee chair, Dr. Robert Canida said, “This year’s theme was chosen, one to pay homage to the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the well known Drum Major for justice and righteousness! And two, to honor the late Honorable Congressman John Lewis and his contribution to social justice, equality and unity. Both of these remarkable men were icons of Good Trouble!”
This weekend, beloved biology professor and Associate Director of the Westover Honors College Dr. Nancy Cowden passed away.
Dr. Cowden has been a faculty member of the University of Lynchburg since 2000. She taught courses in biology, plant biology, plant ecology, general ecology, and sustainable forest management. In Westover, Dr. Cowden taught various colloquia and a senior thesis course.
On Oct. 12, a new local nonprofit, SHARE Greater Lynchburg was launched.
According to Bill Bodine, president of the Greater Lynchburg Community Foundation, “SHARE Greater Lynchburg is a website developed originally in Charlotte and now in use there as well as Omaha, the Cape Fear area of North Carolina, and now here.”
Bodine continued, “It is a common site where virtually any nonprofit in our region, Lynchburg and the four surrounding counties, can have a page listing that shows what they do, who they impact, upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, and a shopping cart that shows items they need where people can actually purchase needed items on Amazon and have them sent directly to the nonprofit. It is a single source for citizens to find help or opportunities that can be searched by category, such as food provision or education, for example. It also makes it easier for people to donate money if they choose.”
According to an email from President Alison Morrison-Shetlar, there are currently five active cases of COVID-19 among the student population, 26 students in quarantine on campus and another 11 in isolation. The university is also awaiting awaiting test results on an additional seven suspected cases.
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the first complete shut-down of the movie theater industry and halted the production and release of many anticipated films.
Movie theaters have been wrestling for years, trying to find a way to attract more people to their darkened theaters and freshly popped corn.
In the “before times,” when we were still allowed to see sunlight and stand closer than six feet, speculation often entertained the idea that Netflix and other streaming services would kill movie theaters.
Yet, despite the Coronavirus finally pushing AMC Theatres toward bankruptcy, and surely applying a financial strain to other chains, Deadline reports that it does not necessarily spell doom for the theater company. There are still many movies in development that have delayed their release instead of opting to release online.
Quarantine during the COVID-19 crisis is helping prevent the spread of the virus, but this isolation may be causing a decline in mental health and productivity.
A study conducted by Qualtrics shows that 41.6% of respondents have experienced a decline in mental health since the outbreak, with 66.9% reporting higher stress, 57.2% reporting higher anxiety, and 53% reporting an increased sadness in their lives.
The Director of Therapeutic Recreation, Joshlyn Harris states, “We are taking extreme caution at Westminster Canterbury because we realize our residents are at the most risk of death due to coronavirus.”
Due to the lack of medical supplies Harris has taken upon herself to sew masks for coworkers. All staff are required to wear masks during their shift.
On March 30, 2020, the Virginia Governor announced that there would be a state-wide stay-home order set in place until June 10, 2020. Due to this, life is looking so different for just about everyone.
Due to cost cutting related to the pandemic, my workplace unfortunately furloughed almost all employees, including myself. To bring in an income during this time, I am nannying my cousin’s two-year-old and nine-month-old.
The University of Lynchburg’s College of Business is in the process of creating and approving several interdisciplinary majors and minors to expand the offerings available to students and to differentiate the university from other schools.
The College of Business has been busy developing new, mixed-discipline majors and minors, including actuarial science, sustainability and international business.