Some say ‘too little too late’ to stop COVID-19 spread as Liberty University resumes in-person learning

The university held a two-week ‘mitigation period’ from Aug. 30 to Sept. 10

The goal of the two weeks was to slow COVID-19 cases on the campus.

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Liberty University resumed in-person classes Monday, following a two-week mitigation period to slow the spread of COVID-19.

On September 8, the university reported 463 active cases, with more than 1,800 people instructed to quarantine.

“I think it’s too little and late. They [went into the mitigation period] after a whole week of students being on campus and allowing students to mingle and get each other infected,” said student Kendall Covington.

The university switched to online classes for two weeks.

Now, as in-person instruction returns, LU is keeping a virtual option for “a period of time.”

“The university made an effort to just try and do something, but I think if we’re going to do a mitigation period like this, I think we need to go all the way and really make sure that we’re not having any large gatherings or anything like that. I think we really missed the entire point,” said student Nathan Grimes.

Large, indoor gatherings were suspended during the mitigation period; however, large, outdoor gatherings, such as football games, convocation and a block party, continued during that time.

The university said there will be a 50 percent capacity for indoor events, with virtual streaming options.

“Any gathering that big is just going to cause issues, no matter indoors or outdoors. It was definitely a good move to bring [football games, convocation, and their block party]] outdoors, but I think the right move would have been to just cancel everything for two weeks,” said Grimes.

Grimes and Covington said they’ve noticed less foot traffic on-campus, but didn’t notice a difference in dining halls or on buses.

Masking wearing continues to be ‘strongly encouraged’ by the university, but not required.

“The professors are dedicated to protecting their students [by wearing masks]. I don’t see the same from the majority of the students or from the administration,” said Covington.

They’re worried about the guidelines moving forward.

“It’s just going to bring us right back to where we were before [before the mitigation period],” said Grimes.

Unlike Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia and other universities, a COVID-19 vaccine is not required at Liberty University.

A university spokesperson declined our request for an interview but said just because the university is not implementing a vaccine or mask mandate, doesn’t mean LU isn’t doing anything to stop the spread on COVID-19.

As we’ve previously reported, LU held a vaccine clinic on September 3, and we’re told more than 200 people received their first Moderna shot.

About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.