Earlier this month, Jerry Falwell jr., the school’s president, said on Fox News that people were Overreacting to the coronavirus pandemic and that the campus would open as usual this week. A few days later, after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) banned gatherings of 100 people or more, Falwell reversed course and Said most classes would be conducted online.
Falwell, one of Trump’s most loyal supporters, called the decision to reopen a “responsibility to students” to “enjoy the room and board they’ve already paid for”.
At liberty residence halls will reopen, despite most classes moving online, faculty members were directed to report to campus.
“I think we, in a way, are protecting the students by having them on campus together,” Falwell said. Falwell then invoked a since disproven theory that young people “don’t have conditions that put them at risk”.
In an interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday, Falwell Said Liberty is “abiding by the letter of the law.” He told the governor’s chief of staff that What Liberty was doing was no different from what other schools were doing.
“But we’re Liberty,” Falwell said, “so we get picked on.”
Falwell said the university is taking precautions in consultation with health experts, including switching to online instruction for most classes, cleaning surfaces hourly and serving meals as takeout only. Signs on chairs remind people not to sit too close together, he said, and students are using only every third computer in the computer center. The fitness center was limited to 10 people at a time, he said, but the school planned to close it Tuesday night.
It is unclear how that order will affect Liberty University.