Coronavirus? What coronavirus?
That seems to be the attitude of Liberty University, helmed by Trump surrogate/antigay activist Jerry Falwell Jr. The school announced this week that it’s reopening its doors amid a worsening coronavirus pandemic.
5,000 of the school’s 15,000 students are now being welcomed back to campus just days after Virginia’s governor, Ralph Northam, ordered all state schools shut down for the remainder of the academic year.
“While some colleges basically threw their hands up and just shut down and left the problem for somebody else to deal with, Liberty’s executive staff rolled their sleeves up,” Falwell said in a statement this week.
Falwell and school officials determined that they wouldn’t follow the trend of other schools by shutting down in an effort to flatten to curve. Instead, they’d open campus back up!
Classes will remain online, but dorms, dining halls, computer labs, fitness centers, gyms, and all social gathering areas are open for use. Large school events are paused for two weeks, after which officials will reevaluate whether to start having them again.
“Our thinking was, ‘Let’s get them back as soon as we can–the ones who want to come back,” Falwell said.
As of yesterday, roughly 1,900 students have returned to campus. The school promises “cleaning crews have been ramping up their work, cleaning oft-touched surfaces every hour” and it says signs reminding students to follow social distancing guidelines have been posted all around campus.
Falwell says be believes Liberty University staff deserve “a medal of honor” for how well they’re handling the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’d give every one of them one for their incredible work and how creative they are,” he said. “I don’t think there’s another university in the country that has a staff as good as ours.”
He added, “We think Liberty’s practices will become the model for all colleges to follow in the fall, if coronavirus is still an issue.”