Virginia's Liberty College Retains Campus Open — Regardless of Coronavirus Issues

Liberty College is preserving its campus open to college students coming back from spring break — regardless of coronavirus considerations which have led to school closures throughout the nation.

In response to the newest replace to its web site on Monday night time, the Christian college in Lynchburg, Virginia, is preserving its residence halls open to college students who select to return to campus, whereas college and workers members have been instructed to “report back to work as regular.”

Though the varsity has transitioned to largely on-line instructing and school-sponsored research overseas and worldwide journeys have been canceled, Liberty president Jerry Falwell Jr. stated in a press launch final week that the choice was made to proceed housing for college kids who couldn’t instantly return house.

“A lot of our worldwide college students are merely unable to return to their house nations and different college students don’t have a spot to go, so we should hold our campus residence halls and eating companies staffed anyway,” Falwell stated, “though we might be modifying the best way meals are picked up and consumed.”

Some courses — like labs and aviation programs — received’t be provided on-line and can proceed in particular person, with teams smaller than 100, per the state’s COVID-19 tips.

On Sunday, Falwell instructed the Richmond Occasions-Dispatch that 5,000 college students had been anticipated to return to campus residence halls. In response to the varsity’s web site, there are 100,000 college students enrolled, together with 850 worldwide college students.

“I feel now we have a accountability to our college students — who paid to be right here, who need to be right here, who adore it right here — to present them the power to be with their associates, to proceed their research, benefit from the room and board they’ve already paid for and to not interrupt their faculty life,” stated Falwell.

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In response to the Occasions-Dispatch, the varsity will use a close-by resort owned by the college to quarantine any college students who develop signs. On-campus eating might be takeout solely.

“I feel we, in a manner, are defending the scholars by having them on campus collectively,” Falwell stated. “Ninety-nine % of them will not be on the age to be in danger they usually don’t have situations that put them in danger.”

As of March 24, there have been 43,499 confirmed instances of COVID-19 within the U.S., with 537 deaths, in accordance with a New York Occasions database.

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On Sunday, the Faith Information Service printed an op-ed titled “Expensive Liberty College board: Please cease Jerry Falwell Jr. earlier than it’s too late” by a professor named Marybeth Davis Baggett, who urged the choice to be reversed, and to ship everybody house.

“For one charged with main a Christian establishment of upper studying, these are troubling qualities, essentially at odds with each Christian religion convictions and an instructional mindset,” Baggett wrote. “For a pacesetter coping with a state of affairs of such magnitude, they’re outright terrifying.”

Added Baggett: “These leaders might imagine they’re serving to the establishment, however in reality, they’re sowing the seeds for its devastation.”

A consultant from Liberty College declined to remark additional and directed PEOPLE to the official web site for coronavirus-related updates.

One scholar instructed the Occasions-Dispatch that the campus is “fairly empty” and that the “variety of college students staying appears to be low.”