College students in Lynchburg, Virginia will be returning to school if they go to Liberty College. According to The Richmond-Times Dispatch, more than 5,00 students are able to return to the campus this week despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Students’ classes will resume online for the semester in compliance with a state ban on gatherings of more than 10 people. However in sharp contrast, Liberty’s academic buildings, library and fitness center will remain open and students will return to residence halls. In addition, professors and instructors are expected to come to campus to hold office hours, unless they have a valid health exemption.
Liberty College President Jerry Falwell Jr. told The Richmond-Times Dispatch, “I think we have a responsibility to our students — who paid to be here, who want to be here, who love it here — to give them the ability to be with their friends, to continue their studies, enjoy the room and board they’ve already paid for and to not interrupt their college life.”
Falwell, who has publicly downplayed the threat of the virus, told the paper that he is confident the school has taken the proper steps to prepare for a campus outbreak. He said, “I think we, in a way, are protecting the students by having them on campus together. Ninety-nine percent of them are not at the age to be at risk and they don’t have conditions that put them at risk.”
In Virginia as of Monday evening (3/23), more than 250 people have contracted the disease and seven have died.