Norfolk State orders students to move home immediately in wake of coronavirus outbreak

Posted at 9:08 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 17:43:52-04

NORFOLK, Va.  — To prevent the spread of novel coronavirus, Norfolk State University is addressing the need for social distancing by ordering students to move home immediately.

"It makes all our students feel uncomfortable. We know it's a pandemic, but to pick up and move on a moment's notice - I can't explain it," said Linei Woodson, SGA president.

Classes will also be delivered remotely and online for the rest of the spring semester.

"When I got the news, I was very surprised because our break was extended," said student Ari Weems.

Many students were shocked of the news as they were told on March 11 that they could return to campus on March 22. Many have returned, but now are heading right back home.

"Everything is moving kind of fast. Some people have to go far like California and really all over the world," said student Zion Williams.

The university's Office of Housing and Residence Life will allow students to return to campus to retrieve all of their personal belongings. University officials are recommending students come to campus for a brief amount of time to collect their items.

"This really was our last goodbyes, and we didn't even know it. It's heartbreaking," said Woodson.

Students are asked to sign up for a retrieval time starting Monday, March 16 and ending on Sunday, March 22. The Office of Housing and Residence Life will be sending students additional information about sign-up times.

Students who cannot return home because of international travel restrictions or other extenuating circumstances will be required to submit an Emergency/Alternative Housing Form (electronic version) no later than 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17.

A hard copy of the form can be printed and submitted to the Office of Housing and Residence Life via email at or it be can be submitted to the front desk of the student’s respective residence hall.

Exceptions to remain on campus will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

All residence halls will have limited access starting Monday, March 16 for the remainder of the semester.

Card access to the residence halls will be shut down on Sunday, March 22, and only residents with emergency/alternative housing will have building access. Residents must bring their student ID and room key to access their room to gather their belongings. Front desk staff will be available to assist with entry to any room where a student may have misplaced or lost their room key.

All on-campus events have been canceled unless and until otherwise noted. Students are advised to check their email regularly for additional updates regarding campus events or activities.

Information regarding Spring 2020 commencement exercises will be sent out no later than Wednesday, March 25.

Questions regarding housing should be directed to the Office of Housing and Residence Life at 757-823-8407 or email

Click here for more information.