After WFXR’s inquiry about mass gatherings on campus, Liberty University begins requiring face coverings, social distancing in all academic buildings

Coronavirus

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) – Liberty University student Elizabeth Brooks says stepping back onto campus on Tuesday for the first time this semester was “awful” and “scary.”

“Went in the elevator yesterday,” said Liberty student Elizabeth Brooks, “ten people packed in the elevator, I was the only person wearing a mask.”

It’s the same whether indoors or out, said Brooks.

“I went on campus for the first time yesterday, and when I walked onto campus, I was astounded. There were large groups of people not wearing masks. There’s LUPD officers not wearing a mask.”

The evidence is all over social media, from this photo on reddit, apparently of a water balloon fight, to pics and videos on Snapchat.

“There was a party right in welcome week,” said Brooks, “welcoming everyone, and I didn’t see any masks in any of the snaps I received.”

A Liberty University employee, who asked to remain anonymous, sent WFXR a photo encouraging distancing and a message saying mask wearing is not enforced at all with employees, which Brooks says sets a bad example for students.

“If faculty doesn’t have to wear it, if the police officers don’t have to wear it, why should I have to wear it?”

A spokesperson for Liberty declined to comment for the story. Then, 20 minutes later, students received an email mandating masks and distancing.

Dr. Jenny Hall is the Director of the Master of Public Health program at the University of Lynchburg and says the new policy is a good start.

After news broke of five positive cases at the University of Lynchburg, Brooks is worried an outbreak will happen at her school.

“Absolutely, if things continue the way they are, we’re going to see a huge spike in cases,” she said. “This is not even the end of move-in week. This is just the beginning. And this is not sustainable.”

Original story:

Liberty University sent an email to students Thursday afternoon announcing a revision to the campus’ fall operating plan.

The email was sent 20 minutes after a University spokesperson declined to comment to WFXR’s inquiry about mass gatherings of students on campus not wearing masks.

In the email submitted to WFXR News by a student, the email mentions that starting immediately, “physical distancing and face mask coverings are required in all academic buildings or any official gathering of students, regardless of whether the recommended 6-10 feet of physical distancing can be maintained.”

There are other changes mentioned in the email which includes:

  • New instruction protocols
  • Increased hand sanitation
  • Updated operational protocols
  • Improved technology options
  • Social distancing guidelines
  • Constant communication with local community health partnerships
  • Limited capacity and new procedures for large events

View a copy of the email sent to students below:

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