Last updated March 19 at 11:51 a.m.

State Calls Off All Community College Graduations

Virginia Community College System Chancellor Glenn DuBois announced March 17 the state's public community colleges will not hold May commencement ceremonies.

That will affect students in Hampton Roads who attend Tidewater, Thomas Nelson, Paul D. Camp, John Tyler and Eastern Shore community colleges.

"What’s difficult is that the very things that make these ceremonies meaningful also make them dangerous in this pandemic," DuBois wrote in a statement.

"While it’s a celebration of individual achievements, it’s a community celebration. Many of the same family members who travel far and wide to attend are at particularly high risk with this virus. And the hugs and high-fives that come naturally to so many of us in that moment fly in the face of the social distancing practices we are asked to observe."

TCC said in a press release it will explore other options for commencement, including a summer ceremony or a virtual graduation.

Something In The Water Canceled For This Year

The popular music festival along the Oceanfront, scheduled for April 20-26, will not happen this year.

Instead, it will return in 2021, organizers posted on Twitter. 

In 2019, the event -- organized by Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams -- drew an estimated 35,000 fans.

Tickets purchased for this year will be honored at next year's festival. Ticket-buyers who want refunds will receive emails with information on how to get one this week.

"Please use this time to keep building, creating and progressing. The SITW team certainly will," organizers wrote in a tweet. "There are a number of timely community-centric displays of goodwill that we are working hard to ensure still happen this April -- things like planting a new school garden, public art, SITW Restaurant Week and more."

Officials across the state and country are canceling events that draw crowds to small spaces. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is also urging people to avoid large gatherings to limit the spread of the virus. 

In an inteview with WHRO, Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer said the cancellation of SITW would hurt many businesses along the Oceanfront. 

"It was a very tough decision for us," he said. "Ultimately what it came down to is public health and safety. You can't risk that given the potential of the magnitude of what's going on." 

He added the city and event organizers tried to postpone the event to later this year, but it wasn't logistically possible. 


  • Gov. Northam ordered Friday afternoon all Virginia K-12 schools to close Monday, March 16 until at least Friday, March 27. In a release, he said the order is meant to keep Virginians safe and to minimize exposure to the virus. "I recognize this will pose a hardship on many families, but closing our schools for two weeks will not only give our staff time to clean and disinfect school facilities, it will help slow the spread of the virus," he said. The governor added the state will "continue to implement and explore innovative approaches" to provide meals to students who are food insecure and rely on free-or-reduced breakfast and lunch from school. School officials are also working to minimize disruptions to instruction time.
  • Old Dominion University will finish the semester online. University President John Broderick said in a letter there will be plans for students to get their belongings from university housing and there is a plan for students who have nowhere to go.
  • William & Mary will finish the semester online. Students should plan to leave their dorms by March 25. Partial room and board refunds will be available. The school has not made a decision about its spring commencement.
  • As of March 13, all classes at Hampton University have moved online until April 3. All students, except international students, will have to leave campus by noon on Sunday March 15. The university will provide housing to international students who need it. All campus events through April 5 are canceled.
  • Starting March 23, Christopher Newport University will move to online classes for the rest of the semester. Commencement has been rescheduled to June 21. Students can return to campus to retrieve items from dorms March 20-April 5.
  • All Regent University classes are online, beginning March 16.
  • John C. Tyler Community college in-person classes are canceled March 16 and 17. All classes will shift online from March 18 until at least March 28. The campuses will remain open for student support services, and all college employee schedules will not change.
  • Virginia Wesleyan University is moving classes online through the end of the semester. Campus events through May 8 are cancelled and spring commencement will be rescheduled. 
  • Sentara College of Health Sciences has suspended in-person classes, but online instruction, skill labs, simulation, and clinicals will continue. Students should check their email for the latest information.
  • Saint Leo University, which has locations in Chesapeake, Virginia Beach and Newport News, has canceled classes for the week of March 16-20. They will move to online classes starting March 23. 

Special Events

  • The East Coast She-Crab Soup Classic scheduled for April 18 in Virginia Beach has been canceled.

  • Virginia Beach's Shamrock Marathon, scheduled for March 20-22 has been canceled. Race participants have the option of deferring their registration to next year.

  • The Chrysler Museum of Art is closed with a tentative reopening on March 29. All public programs, tours, classes and events at the museum are canceled. 

  • Virginia Beach's Cherry Blossom Festival at Red Wing Park on April 4 is canceled.

  • The Spring Open House and Native Plant Sale at the Francis Land House in Virginia Beach on April 4 is canceled.
  • Suffolk Parks and Recreation canceled senior programs starting March 16 until further notice. Rec centers will remain open.

  • Suffolk Parks and Recreation Eggstravaganza at Bennett's Creek Park on April 4 has been canceled. It will not be rescheduled.

  • Norfolk is canceling all city-managed events from March 16 to March 30.
  • The NorVa has canceled all events until the statewide emergency declaration is lifted.
  • The Virginia Symphony Orchestra will postpone concerts through April 15. Virginia Opera's performances of "Aida" in Norfolk and Richmond are also postponed. Symphonicity has canceled its "Bach to the Future: From Dark to Light" concert scheduled for March 22. 
  • Colonial Williamsburg will close most public sites March 16 with a planned reopening on March 30. Also, Colonial Williamsburg has canceled Foundation-led meetings and conferences through April 21, including the annual Garden Symposium, originally scheduled for April 17-19.
  • Tidewater Classical Guitar concerts scheduled for March 19 and 20 have been canceled. 

  • The Diehn Series/Norfolk Chamber Consort concert scheduled for March 16 at ODU has been canceled. 

  • The Feldman Chamber Music Society concert with the Parker Quartet scheduled for March 23 has been canceled.

  • The Hampton Roads Tattoo Arts Festival in Hampton is postponed. A new date is to be determined.

Facilities And Services

  • Williamsburg has closed Kiwanis, Waller Mill, Qaurterpath, Strawberry Plains and Wales parks' playgrounds.

  • All non-essential and non-emergency district and circuit court proceedings are suspended until April 6, following an order from the state Supreme Court.

  • Some services at Virginia Beach Police headquarters will be temporarily suspended: All permit applications, including concealed handgun permit applications; record checks, like background and emplyoment checks; and fingerprinting services. Felony registrations and sex offender registrations will continue.

  • Sentara has updated its visitation policy. Hospitals are limiting routine hospital visitation to two visitors per patient in the building at any given time. Family members and friends are not allowed to gather in waiting rooms, and visitors age 12 and under are prohibited from entering their hospitals. Adjustments will be made for end-of-life situations when families want to gather at the bedside. Visitors are also asked to avoid all nursing and rehabilitation centers as well as the hospital’s assisted living village and Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) centers until further notice. This includes family members, contractors and volunteers.
  • All Norfolk facilities — including libraries, recreational centers, MacArthur Memorial, Nauticus and the Virginia Zoo — will close to the public March 16 to March 30. Essential services, such as trash pick-up and operations at the Norfolk Community Services Board, will continue as normal.
  • Most Newport News city offices, facilities and buildings are closed to the public at least through Sunday, March 29. This includes city hall, offices at city center, the Treasurer’s Office, the Commissioner of the Revenue’s Office, the Voter Registrar’s Office, the Visitor Center, public libraries, recreation centers, and senior centers. City employees will continue working, but a liberal leave policy is in effect for non-essential staff.
  • The City of Hampton will close its facilities to the public beginning Monday, March 16 through Sunday, March 29. At this time, courts are scheduled to be open on Monday. Employees will continue to report to work. 
  • York County will close public buildings to the general public through March 27. County employees will continue to report to work, but liberal leave is in effect for non-essential staff. Solid waste/recycling collections will continue as scheduled.
  • Williamsburg will close its city buildings through March 30. These buildings are: Municipal Building, Stryker Center, Quarterpath Recreation Center, Police Department and Fire Station. Staff will continue to report to work. 
  • All public programming at the Chrysler Museum and Glass Studio are canceled March 14-31. Glass studio classes will be canceled on an as-needed basis.
  • Busch Gardens will be closed until the end of March.
  • Chesapeake's Rokeby and Portlock senior centers will close until further notice. The city announced on Sunday, March 15 that it will close all community centers and public library branches until at least March 27. City parks and playgrounds will rremain open. All water cutoffs will be suspended starting Monday.

  • All senior programs offered through Chesapeake Parks, Recreation and Tourism and the city's libraries will be canceled through April 5.

  • Traffic and civil cases scheduled in Norfolk General District Court between March 16 and 27 are continued.

  • Custody, visitation and support cases in Norfolk Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court scheduled between March 16 and 27 are continued.

  • The Virginia Beach Public Health Department has modified its schedule. Dental services are canceled from March 16 until March 20. The department's clinic will be open - by appointment only - for maternity services on March 18, family planning on March 19 and sexually transmitted infection treatment on both days. The city website has more details.  
  • The Norfolk Department of Public Health has changed its schedule. The department has canceled pediatric services at Little Creek until further notice, but appointments for March 16 remain as planned. Also, sexual health and family planning services are available March 17 and March 18 by appointment only at the department office on 830 Southampton Ave., Norfolk, VA 23510. Immunizations are available March 16 through 18 and March 20 from 8:30am-10:30am and 1:00pm-4:00pm. The Women, Infants and Children program services will be available by appointment only. Call 757-531-2150 for additional details about the WIC program. For more information on the city's schedule, consult the Norfolk city website
  • Portsmouth facilities and offices will be closed to the public March 16 through March 30. No in-person transactions will be conducted. The city will continue its Behavioral Healthcare and Social Services with regular business hours. However, Social Services clients should call (757) 405-1800 for more information, as access may be limited.
  • Jury trials in the Norfolk Circuit Court will continue as scheduled, with a liberal continuance policy to account for potentially ill or at-risk trial participants. Pretrial motions should be done by phone. Pretrial hearings for inmates will be conducted via videoconference.

  • Virginia Beach buildings, including rec centers, libraries and the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, will be closed for two weeks.

  • Suffolk city buildings - rec centers, libraries, the Suffolk Art Gallery, Suffolk Seaboard Coastline Railroad Museum, Suffolk Animal Care, Treasurer's Office, Commissioner of the Revenue's Office and satallite offices, 1st and 2nd police precincts- are closed to the public.

To report a closure, schedule change, cancellation or visitation policy changes, send information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..