Monday updates: Public library to close starting Tuesday; Parks and rec makes closures; District Court announces postponements; Sentara limits hospital visitation; EMU sends students home after person reports flu-like symptoms

Compiled by Hburg Citizen staff

Massanutten Regional Library to close Tuesday through the end of March

The Massanutten Regional Library will close its main library and branches to the public starting Tuesday and be available only for book drop-offs through the end of the month.

The library’s board of trustees made the decision Monday.

“This is a very difficult decision to make,” Library Director Lois Jones said. “We never like to curtail services or programs, but in light of the current COVID-19 crisis, the MRL Board of Trustees and library management have concluded that closing all branches is the best action for the health of both our employees and patrons.”

The library will keep a small group of employees at work to handle re-shelving, and due dates will be extended until April 6.

In the meantime, patrons can access ebooks, e-audiobooks and magazines through the library’s website. Other learning tools, such as Rosetta Stone Library Solution, Creativebug, Universal Class, US Major Daily Newspapers also can be accessed at

Harrisonburg announces parks and rec closures

The City of Harrisonburg is closing the Cecil F. Gilkerson Activities Center, Westover Pool, the Price Rotary Senior Center and the Lucy F. Simms Education Center to the public on Tuesday, March 17.

All programming, classes and events scheduled to take place during this time have been postponed and registered participants will be notified by the city.

This closure does not impact outdoor amenities, though restrooms will be closed.

Heritage Oaks Golf Course will remain open, and the city will be implementing social distancing recommendations for visitors.

The city did not say when the facilities would reopen.

Harrisonburg City and Rockingham County District Court announces trial postponements

The District Court of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County announced Monday morning that they have postponed all traffic court infractions through April 30, 2020.

Anyone scheduled for traffic court between Wednesday, March 18th and Thursday, April 30 will be rescheduled and those impacted will receive a notice of when the court date is rescheduled. 

All felony, misdemeanor, and civil trials will go on as scheduled, however, a liberal continuance policy is in place. All cases scheduled between March 18th and April 20th can be continued without providing a reason. 

Sentara Healthcare announces new hospital restrictions

Sentara Healthcare announced Monday that regular visitation at its hospitals, including RMH Medical Center, will end until “the transmission of COVID-19 is no longer a threat.”

The healthcare network will allow some exceptions, including obstetric patients having someone accompany them for birth and babies in the Nursery/Neonatal Intensive Care Units can have two parents, guardians or caregivers in the room.

Other exceptions include:

  • patients at the end of life can have two visitors;
  • patients with disruptive behavior can be accompanied by someone
  • patients with developmental delays or mental status changes can be accompanied by one visitor.
  • those under 18 can have either a parent or guardian visit;
  • patients in the Emergency Room can be accompanied by a person but only during the stay in the Emergency Department.

Sentara also is starting drive-through COVID-19 testing, but RMH is not yet one of those sites.

However, the company’s COVID-19 Call Center (1-833-945-2395) launched at 9 a.m. Monday and will operate seven days a week from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. The call center is meant to direct people to resources “based on nurses’ evaluations,” Sentara said.

EMU sends students home after person reports flu-like symptoms

EMU announced Monday that it was asking students to leave campus and employees to work from home, if possible, after a person reported feeling ill with flu-like symptoms.

“Because we want to take the highest caution, there are new actions we are taking today at EMU for our collective health,” the announcement posted to the university’s site said.

The school said 250 students were still living on campus.

The statement also said the university was implementing “additional sanitation protocols” and reminded people that the campus is closed to the public.

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