A Christian university in Virginia says it finished its semester without any coronavirus cases despite receiving sharp criticism over its president’s decision to keep the campus open for students.
Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. was widely condemned for his decision to reopen his campus to students who had nowhere else to go in March.
“We have a campus built for 16,000,” Falwell said on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” in May.
“Twelve hundred students came back to stay in the dorms for seven weeks and they were students who either didn’t have high-speed internet, had elderly relatives living at home or were international students,” he said.
As the semester comes to an end, Falwell announced that there were no cases of COVID-19 on campus.
“We are thankful to God that nobody who lived in a campus residence hall or who worked in a campus office tested positive for the virus,” he said in a farewell note, The College Fix reported.
“No positive COVID-19 test anywhere in our region was linked to Liberty students who returned to their dorm rooms after Spring Break.”
Falwell added that the only cases of the novel coronavirus in the university community were employees working from home or off-campus and “their infections were all traced to contacts in the local community.”
After students were welcomed back in March, health specialists inspected the campus amid concerns from the community, according to WDBJ-TV in Roanoke.
The Central Virginia Health District did not find any violations of Virginia’s executive order that restricted certain businesses and organizations’ operations during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Food in the areas, including the buffet line, was being served by employees. Usual self-serve products, like bags of chips, were relocated behind countertops, while condiments were given in single packets,” the local report read.
“Staff were sanitizing equipment like soda machines and utensil dispensers every fifteen minutes.”