Photo by Joshua Hanson on Unsplash
Amid the global health pandemic, many education institutions have been closed in each state. While President Donald Trump hopes to have the country up and running by Sunday, April 12 – Easter weekend – many states have officially closed all schools until the end of the school year.
One institution in Virginia, Liberty University, has re-opened its doors to over 1,900 students despite the statewide order that went into effect Tuesday, March 24, 2020. The order issued by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam ordered all K-12 schools to shut down for the remainder of the school year, and all non-essential businesses to close.
Lynchburg, Virginia’s mayor, Treney Tweedy referred to the universities’ action as being “reckless” and expressed concern for the safety and the health of the students, faculty and employees. Tweedy also stated that this decision was not endorsed by the mayor’s office. But a statement released by the school says suggest the mayor had a different opinion, it reads “Falwell said Lynchburg’s mayor and city manager also contacted him to ask about the university’s pending decision, and he again received a favorable reaction.”
Reportedly, Liberty University is prepared for the return of 5,000 students. The decision to allow students to return to campus was decided by the school leaders of other universities including Liberty University’s president, Jerry Falwell Jr., during the schools’ spring break. Students filled out a form to notify the school of whether or not they wanted to return.
Falwell told CNN that the university did not reopen. The majority of the students who have returned are international students who have no other place to go. The Campus hold approximately 15,000 students.
Reports from ABC note that The Virginia Department of Health didn’t find any violations of the state’s restriction after visiting the campus.
Liberty University is holding all of their classes online and there have been no reports on if and how the Mayor’s office will interfere with the university welcoming back their students to campus.