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Liberty University Suspends Some Large In-Person Gatherings after 160 Students, Faculty Contract COVID-19

Liberty University Suspends Some Large In-Person Gatherings after 160 Students, Faculty Contract COVID-19

Liberty University is suspending some large in-person gatherings and moving to online classes after the school reported 160 COVID-19 cases.

Liberty University says the "temporary mitigation measures" are in hopes of slowing the spread of the virus. The temporary measures are in effect until Sept. 20.

The Lynchburg, Virginia-based university has about 15,000 students and 5,000 faculty and staff members.

"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. The 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," the university said in a statement.

The Sept. 4 football opener, which will take place outside, is still scheduled, The Christian Post reports.

As of last Wednesday, Liberty University had 124 active coronavirus cases among students and 35 among faculty and staff, according to the university's COVID-19 dashboard.

The dashboard also shows that 274 on-campus students were in quarantine, and 111 commuters had been instructed to quarantine.

Just before last week, only 40 students and staff had tested positive.

"We understand the severity of the pandemic and desire to act swiftly to ensure the health and safety of our campus," Keith Anderson, executive director of Liberty's Student Health Center and Wellness Initiatives, said in the statement.

"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," Anderson added.

Last March, Liberty University's then-president Jerry Falwell Jr. said he thought many people were overreacting to the pandemic.

"I don't want to become one of these college presidents who are pushing this problem off on someone else by sending 20-year-olds with near-zero mortality risk to sit at home for the rest of the semester, often with grandparents in the house who truly are at risk," Falwell tweeted at the time.

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Alex Wong/Staff

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.