Liberty University to remain open amid coronavirus outbreak

College president Jerry Falwell Jr. is inviting students back to campus

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Jerry Falwell Jr. at the Republican National Convention in 2016
Jerry Falwell Jr. at the Republican National Convention in 2016
(Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)
Last Updated:
March 24, 2020 - 1:06pm

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Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, is bucking the trend of most all other U.S. colleges by re-opening to students this week, following their spring break.

College President Jerry Falwell Jr. has invited Liberty’s 5,000 students back to campus and their residence halls, despite most classes moving to an online format for the duration of the semester.

The college president has also instructed professors and course lecturers to return to campus, barring a valid medical exemption.

“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 said on Sunday evening.

All gatherings in campus buildings, including in-person class meetings, will be capped at 10 participants, per Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s order. Additionally, dining halls will be available for take-out use exclusively.

“I think we, in a way, are protecting the students by having them on campus together,” Falwell said.

The evangelical Christian university is considering offering refunds or credits to students who opt to move off campus, according to a statement sent by the school to the student body on Saturday.

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