August 26, 2021 : By Office of Communications & Public Engagement
Liberty University Student Health and Wellness Initiatives posted this communication on Friday, Aug. 27, to further clarify campus operations during the temporary mitigation period:
As you may have heard, starting on Monday, Aug. 30, the Liberty University residential campus will begin a temporary mitigation period lasting through Sept. 10 so we can take some responsible steps designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.
While you will notice changes to SOME of our campus operations — including classes held online and no large indoor gatherings — this is NOT a campus wide lockdown. This period is simply a temporary dial back of some larger indoor activities. Students will NOT be confined to their rooms and are free to use campus facilities and dining venues as usual. Quarantine will only occur for those students with new positive cases as well as those who have been determined to have direct exposure to individuals who have tested positive. All others are free to move about and enjoy our beautiful campus as usual. We pray that you use this freedom responsibly, especially when in confined indoor spaces.
Liberty is known for its vibrant campus life — and that will continue, with exciting recreational and fun activities to help kick off the new school year. Our Spiritual Development programs will also continue and will set the tone for a great year of powerful preaching and personal spiritual growth. Convocations and Campus Community will be held in Williams Stadium during this time.
There will be no disruption to students’ learning opportunities as they will continue to engage with their classes and professors digitally.
We expect you to consider your personal health status and make good choices. For instance, if you share a room, please consider reducing your circle of people with whom you have direct and sustained contacts until September tenth so you can limit the ripple effect of quarantine if one person in your circle tests positive. Don’t move tables together in the dining areas to create large groups. Go outside as much as possible, even taking your meals outside when you can. We do encourage social hygiene practices that will help reduce the spread of disease, including washing your hands, some physical distancing outside your circle while outside, and even wearing a mask in indoor circumstances where it could help. And be looking out for news on upcoming free vaccine clinics to be offered on our campus.
These decisions are not taken lightly, and we have sought the Lord’s wisdom. The campus infection rate is higher than at any time last year, our only local hospital is reaching capacity for ICU COVID treatment, and we project our Annex quarantine capacity to be reached soon. At Liberty, our faith is fueling all these decisions. We were made to be in community, and as our leaders plan for as normal an experience as possible during this temporary period, we are balancing our students’ needs and being conscious of the concerns surrounding a pandemic.
Liberty has been blessed. We have had much success in the past years with our COVID-19 mitigation strategies designed to protect our students, faculty, and staff. We are taking what we have learned and applying it to new situations as they arise to develop plans suited to Liberty University. We know that this won’t look like how it’s done at other schools, but we are confident that with the same immense cooperation everyone has displayed before, we will continue to receive God’s blessings.
As part of its ongoing monitoring of positive COVID-19 rates on campus as well as active community cases and local hospital capacity, Liberty University administration announced on Thursday that it is enacting a temporary mitigation period from Aug. 30-Sept. 10.
The university is making adjustments to campus operations during this time, which are designed to dial down opportunities for indoor contact. All residential classes will switch to an online platform and all large indoor gatherings have been suspended during this period.
Additional information on these temporary adjustments are available on Liberty’s COVID-19 Response website.
The modifications are intended to slow the spread of the virus and maintain a safe and healthy campus environment while the institution continues to act responsibly as a community partner in battling the pandemic.
“We are taking the necessary steps and actions to lighten the burden to our medical service providers, the local hospital resources, and to do our part to keep our community safe,” said Keith Anderson, executive director of Liberty’s Student Health Center and Wellness Initiatives. “We understand the severity of the pandemic and desire to act swiftly to ensure the health and safety of our campus. Through collective collaboration with our on-campus partners, Central Virginia Family Physicians (CVFP), and our Liberty University Health & Wellness professionals, we are attending to our asymptomatic and symptomatic campus members as quickly and thoroughly as possible.”
The university will continue to encourage social hygiene practices that aid in reducing the spread of disease, including physical distancing and wearing a mask. The university will also be announcing upcoming free vaccine clinics to be offered on campus.
Anderson said multiple members of the university administration are working to make this a seamless transition, drawing upon the knowledge and experience gained last year during the university’s successful implementation of COVID-19 mitigation strategies. He said during this upcoming temporary mitigation period, the university will continue to monitor positive COVID-19 rates on campus and the surrounding community, review information from the Virginia Department of Health, and make necessary updates as needed.
Additional temporary measures to be undertaken by the university include allowing employees who have worked remotely to return to remote work, adjustments to meal service options such as more outdoor space and takeout, increased capacity for quarantine of positive and symptomatic residential students, and re-introduction of mitigation measures for non-classroom learning environments such as labs and flight training.
Outdoor events, including the Sept. 4 football game against Campbell, will go forward as planned. Liberty’s Williams Stadium will also be used to host the Convocations and Campus Community worship services that are temporarily moved from the indoor Vines Center.
All Liberty community members are asked to visit Liberty.edu/COVID19 for updates, including the different areas of campus life that are impacted and the proper health and safety procedures to follow.