UPDATED 3/29/20 at 5:30 p.m ET: Almost a dozen Liberty University students are showing coronavirus symptoms after the campus reopened.
The doctor who supervises the school’s student-health service, Dr. Thomas Eppes Jr., told The New York Times that three students have been hospitalized and eight have been directed to quarantine themselves. “Liberty will be notifying the community as deemed appropriate and required by law,” Jerry Falwell Jr. told the publication. He also said that any student coming back to school will have to self-isolate for two weeks.
While Falwell told Lynchburg, Virginia’s mayor and city manager that he would close the school to students, he evidently reconsidered. More than 800 of the 1,900 students who returned to the campus have now left. Falwell said he had “no idea” the number of students who came back to off-campus housing. “If I were them, I’d be more nervous,” he said.
See original story below.
"I was on a conference call with other college presidents and representatives from private colleges, and we listened to what other schools were doing," president Jerry Falwell Jr. said in a statement shared to the school's site this week. "Many were throwing their hands up and saying they would just close and others were going to extend their breaks. At that time, we were on Spring Break, so we had time to work on it."
This process of choosing to "work on it" ultimately resulted in the decision to "get [students] back as soon as we can, the ones who want to come back."
A report from the Richmond Times-Dispatch noted that between a few hundred to more than 5,000 students were projected to be living in Liberty dorms as classes resumed this week. The majority of those classes have moved to online formats. Staff and faculty, however, are said to be coming to work in their usual capacity. Meanwhile, classes requiring in-person elements will allegedly still stick to the state's 10-person limit on gatherings.
In Virginia, more than 250 people have been confirmed to have COVID-19. Seven have died. But Falwell Jr.—whose late father's name should ring an unfortunate bell—has kept busy by sharing conspiracy theories about the novel coronavirus. Earlier this month, for example, he suggested on Fox News that North Korea and China had teamed up behind the virus in an effort to hurt Trump. Like, he really said that.
Anyway, here's an assortment of people roasting Falwell Jr.'s Liberty University: