JMU News

City, county, university leadership working together to Stop the Spread


Harrisonburg, VA – As COVID-19 cases rise locally, community leaders are strengthening their partnerships and continuing to work together to combat the spread of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.  

The vast majority of recent positive cases are for individuals under the age of 29. It is vital that people in this age group take seriously their responsibility to protect the health and wellness of themselves and all others they may come in contact within our community.

“Our city, county and university teams have been meeting on a regular basis to plan for the safe return of students,” JMU President Jonathan Alger said. “With the recent spike, we are redoubling our partnership in an effort to prevent the spread among students and throughout the community.”

On Tues., Sept. 1, university leadership determined it was necessary to temporarily transition students to online learning. 

This difficult decision was made with the utmost care and concern for the safety of faculty and staff, students and the greater Harrisonburg and Rockingham County communities. 

“Despite the transition for JMU students to learn online, our work is not done,” Harrisonburg Mayor Deanna Reed said. “We are in this together. This disease doesn’t care who you are or what you think. I care so much about this city, our community and about our universities, and I know we can successfully combat this virus, but only if we commit to the fact that we’re all in this together and all must do our part.”

In order stop the spread in the community, it is critical that students and residents wear a mask and maintain physical distance from others. Everyone should remember that you are safer staying at home, and you should especially stay home if you are experiencing signs or symptoms of COVID-19. Following these guidelines is the best way to protect the health and wellness of our shared community.

JMU leaders will continue to closely monitor student behavior and gatherings that draw crowds on or off campus. 

“As we continue as a community to move through COVID-19, let’s please remember how important it is for all of us to mask-up, to wash-up, and maintain our social distancing,” said Chairman William Kyger Jr., Rockingham County’s Board of Supervisors.

With much misinformation and during a global pandemic, members of the community are reminded of the following accurate resources for information:

o    JMU Stop the Spread

o    City of Harrisonburg

o    Rockingham County

Sentara RMH Medical Center has capacity for testing and patients. The Virginia Department of Health will offer free testing to symptomatic individuals on September 11. This testing is available for anyone in the community, including students. You can register by calling 540-574-5101.            

“We are happy to have students back, but we need to ensure the safety of our entire community,” Mayor Reed said. “Please continue to follow CDC and VDH guidance by wearing a mask, physically distancing and staying home if you are sick or experiencing symptoms. It is tough now, but it will pay off in the long run.” 

Media contacts:

Mike Parks

City of Harrisonburg


Caitlyn Read



Stephen King

Rockingham County




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Published: Thursday, September 3, 2020

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 6, 2021

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