Liberty University issues response to COVID-19 and international travel
Dear Liberty University community:
The number of national coronavirus (COVID-19) cases continues to rise and the safety of the Liberty University community is our primary concern. We have taken proactive steps in response. Note that this guidance is subject to change as the situation is rapidly evolving. You can find updates and resources on the University’s website, including a list of FAQs regarding the coronavirus on the LU Send website.
Spring and Summer Break Study Abroad
Liberty University has made the decision to cancel all upcoming international Liberty-sponsored travel over Spring and Summer 2020. We plan to follow a policy very similar to the University of Virginia and some other universities.
The University has decided to refund payments made for all upcoming international Liberty-sponsored travel over Spring and Summer 2020 that were made through LU Send. Additionally, we wanted to assure you that the Financial Aid Office will work to ensure that students’ 2019-2020 financial aid is not negatively affected. Further, Liberty University will work with students to ensure that their academic plans proceed forward.
We notified affected faculty program directors and students today. Schools will work directly with students to arrange for completion of coursework through alternative means.
Our decision concerning university-sponsored travel was guided by the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) March 1st recommendation that Universities should reconsider study abroad travel. It is in everyone’s best interest that students avoid unnecessary travel through crowded transportation hubs for short visits to uncertain environments before they return to campus. We feel this is the best decision to protect our students and our local community where students will return after their travel.
We are in close, regular communication with those students who are currently abroad on exchange and other programs, regarding how to monitor and assess their current situations based on conditions in the country they are visiting.
The CDC maintains a Travel Information website related to COVID-19, and specifically recommends avoiding all nonessential travel to countries at Warning Level 3. Note that these ratings can change rapidly.
We urge faculty, staff, and students who have personal or professional plans to travel either internationally or to affected areas in the U.S. to reconsider their travel. In doing so, we ask each of you to take into account the possibility of travel delays, future quarantines, or prolonged self-isolation when returning from travel to our communities.
If you have travel insurance, you should closely review your plan to assure it does not exclude pandemics in the case of need for medical evacuation.
We strongly encourage faculty and staff to share any travel plans with your department chair, dean, or manager in order to facilitate University assistance if the need arises. We strongly urge student organizations to share any travel plans with the Student Health Center and Wellness Initiatives Office.
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 faculty, staff, students, and local community. We recognize the uncertainty this global health issue is creating and are committed to keep you informed and up to date as this situation evolves. You may find updates and current information on the University’s website.
Jerry Falwell Jr., President