As most schools around the country shutter operations in response to the coronavirus outbreak and move their classes online, Liberty University will continue as usual, and the decision by the evangelical college has some students angry, according to a report from WDBJ.
Speaking to WDBJ, freshman Alexis Valle thinks the decision is a bad idea.
"I'm from the area and I have a lot of family that have cancer or lung problems in general," she said. "I don't want to risk taking it home and spreading it to my family because with the cancer they have, that could potentially really hurt them and potentially even result in death."
Valle is among thousands who've signed a petition calling on Liberty president Jerry Falwell Jr. to implement an extended break and move classes online. The petition's creator, who wishes to remain anonymous, said in a statement that she decided to speak out because of the virus' threat to her own health issues.
"At 21, I have spent much of the past two years in and out of hospitals and doctors' offices being treated for advanced thyroid cancer," she said in a statement. "Through those experiences, I have met many people that have compromised immune systems and other health conditions ... I decided to make a petition, hoping that maybe if the students banded together we could express that this is way more than a political issue. Shortly after Jerry announced his plan, President Trump declared a national emergency. Myself, and 3,700+ other students and families are hoping that Jerry Falwell will come to his senses and make the decision to switch classes to an online platform to slow the spread of the virus and help protect those that are more vulnerable."
As of this writing, over 10,000 people have signed the petition.
In a Fox & Friends interview this Friday, Falwell Jr. scoffed at what he sees as hysteria over the coronavirus outbreak, and even floated a conspiracy theory as to its origins.
“I had the owner of a restaurant ask me last night—he said, ‘Do you remember the North Korean leader promised a Christmas present for America back in December? Could it be they got together with China and this is that present?’ I don’t know, but it really is something strange going on,” he said.