Breaking News

Jerry Falwell Jr defies calls for coronavirus closures and reopens Liberty University

Up to 5,000 students will be allowed to return to Liberty University’s campus after school officials confirmed the conservative Christian school based in Lynchburg, Virginia, will reopen this week.

Liberty’s president, Jerry Falwell Jr, defied nationwide calls for mandatory school closures, inviting students to return amid a worsening coronavirus pandemic. Falwell is a major and vocal backer of Donald Trump and evangelicals are a core part of the president’s support base.

'I literally cried': parents grapple with the impact of US school closures
 Read more
Trump has in recent days appeared to balk at a growing US shutdown Education News  in the face of the virus and claimed the US would reopen soon – alarming many health professionals.

At Liberty residence halls will reopen, and 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”.
On Monday, Trump questioned whether restrictions recommended by health experts to curb the coronavirus outbreak were going too far, citing the outbreak’s growing threat to US and global economies.

Despite health guidelines, Trump promised the country would “be open for business very soon”.

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”.

Health experts rebuke suggestions to defy stay-at-home orders, including from the president.

Some opponents have even called for a nationwide general strike in response to the Texas lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, implying to Fox News’s Tucker Carlson that older Americans should not “ruin this great American dream” by resisting getting “back to work”, something experts say puts them at risk.

Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy Press Release Distribution Services For Education and Infectious Diseases, has offered blunt contradictions of Trump’s comments on the coronavirus. He told Science magazine Trump “could lead to some misunderstanding about what the facts are about a given subject”.

One subject is the vulnerability of young people, despite Falwell’s insisting they aren’t at risk, data shows 20% of the hospitalized patients and 12% of the intensive care patients are millennials, or between the ages of 20 and 44.

Critics, including Liberty University faculty, lashed out at Falwell’s decision. Marybeth Davis Baggett, an English professor, said Falwell was putting “the Lynchburg community”, their “health and lives at risk”.

“Liberty is not a bubble where the virus would be contained,” she told the News & Advance, adding she refused to return to campus during the course of the pandemic.

For More Information 

No comments