LU housing specifics amid COVID-19
Liberty University continues to make adjustments to their housing protocols to provide international students a safe place to live amidst the global pandemic.
After receiving backlash about the university’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the administration stands with its decision, which ultimately gives students the choice to remain on campus in dorms as they take classes online.
“The decisions we are making rely heavily on the guidance we are receiving from the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health and are intended to protect the health and welfare of our students, faculty, staff, and local community,” the university’s website said. “We recognize the uncertainty this global health issue is creating and are committed to keeping you informed and up to date as this situation evolves.”
The decision to keep campus open does not mean that the university is operating as usual. Only students, employees and those conducting university business are allowed on campus. Signs labeled “Closed for Social Distancing” are all across campus, designed to keep individuals spread far apart.
Students who were unable or chose not to return to campus after spring break have until May 6 to retrieve their belongings. Dustin DuBose, executive director of Residence Life, said that Liberty is taking great strides to ensure operation is the best possible for the circumstances.
“We are encouraging social distancing, and enhanced sanitation policies have been implemented,” DuBose said.
Social distancing is enforced across campus to help prevent possible exposure to COVID-19. Groups of people of 10 or fewer are asked to remain six feet apart, while groups of more than 10 are not allowed at all.
“Students should take great care that they are following this recommendation,” DuBose said.
The chances of exposure to coronavirus on campus are lessening with each day. According to DuBose, 1,900 students opted to return to campus after spring break. By the end of March, the number had dropped down below 1,300, and on March 29, less than 1,045 students remained.
If students moved out by Saturday, March 28, they will receive a $1,000 rebate on their student account.
Leaving campus open again for students heavily impacts the international student body. For some, Liberty is their home. Especially with international travel bans and restrictions, getting to another country is not an option.
“Whether it is for international students, or others that don’t have another option, closing completely would have been the same as ‘throwing them out in the cold, something we do not believe is appropriate,” DuBose said.
He said students have reached out to the Office of Residence Life to express their gratitude for keeping campus open. DuBose said the Office of Residence Life is happy to work with students to make the best arrangement possible.
The direction of the coronavirus in the near future is uncertain, but Liberty stands firm in the way it will operate for the rest of the semester.
“Decisions are made and will continue to be made in the best interest of the students, faculty and staff,” DuBose said.
Robert Locklear is a News Reporter for the Liberty Champion. Follow him on Twitter @RobertELockea1