Leaving for School Break


The following communication was sent to JMU students on March 3, from JMU's Office of Public Safety.

The James Madison University Department of Public Safety, along with the Harrisonburg Police Department and Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office, would like to remind you to take just a couple of minutes to properly prepare before leaving Harrisonburg for the upcoming school break.  Many of these tips are intended for students but can just as easily apply to faculty and staff as well and can be adapted by everyone for their day to day safety in any community.

Be advised while planning spring break and other travel that with the ongoing outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus, The Centers for Disease Control has advised that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to South Korea and the People’s Republic of China (this does not include the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, or the island of Taiwan). The situation is evolving. Travel notices will be updated here ( as more information becomes available.


  • Take anything of value, especially small items, home with you. (I.e. laptops, jewelry, etc.)
  • Lock your dorm room, private space, apartment or office when you leave for break.
  • Close and lock all windows and sliding glass doors.  Place wooden dowel in sliding glass door track.  (You can purchase wooden dowels at your local hardware store.)
  • If you leave your vehicle in a campus parking lot or at your apartment complex, place all valuables out site, secure them in the trunk and lock your doors.  Try to leave vehicle parked under a streetlight.
  • If you have a bicycle, check with your hall staff to see if it is okay to leave your bicycle in your room over break.  If you cannot leave it in your room, secure it to a bike rack.
  • If you live off-campus, secure your bicycle in your apartment.
  • Write down all your serial numbers for your valuables, take pictures of them and store in a safe place.
  • Off-Campus residents may also want to contact the U.S. Postal Service to suspend residential mail delivery while away.


  • Your intended travel plans – your time of departure and estimated time of arrival.
  • Give them the phone number and address of where you’ll be staying (if not going home) and/or who you are traveling with.
  • Fully charge your cell phone for your trip.
  • Notify family or friends if you are delayed because of car trouble or traffic problems along your route.

What is the 511 system?

The kit should include

  • Cellular phone fully charged.  Cell phone car charger.
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • First Aid kit
  • Map of travel routes
  • Basic tool kit
  • Set of jumper cables
  • Blanket & warm clothes


  • Top off vehicle gas tank
  • Have vehicle serviced on a regular basis
  • Check the air in your tires
  • Get plenty of rest before driving


Look out for your neighbors and call the local police if you observe suspicious activity.  If you’re in Harrisonburg over Spring Break, local police can be reached at;

  • JMU Police 540-568-6913
  • Harrisonburg Police 540-434-4436
  • Rockingham County Sheriff’s Department 540-564-3800
  • The LiveSafe Smartphone App

Call 911 for emergencies
For additional public safety information visit our website at you and have a safe Spring Break!

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Published: Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Last Updated: Thursday, May 21, 2020

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