Mayor Treney Tweedy issued a statement today, Tuesday, March 24, in response to a press release from Liberty University’s President Jerry Falwell, Jr. as well as a plea to the Lynchburg community regarding taking precautions against COVID-19.
“First of all, I want the residents in this community to know that at no time did I or the City Manager endorse having the students return to Liberty University’s campus or any of the other college or university campuses in our community. In fact, it is quite the opposite.”
“When we asked President Falwell to close his campus, he explained that he had to remain open for on-campus international students who had not gone home, some lab classes and the School of Aviation. President Falwell also noted that the University would be moving to an on-line platform for instruction.”
After receiving this information, Mayor Tweedy thanked the presidents of all the area colleges and universities for their decisions to close or limit access to their campuses in a March 16 press release.
“I was very surprised and disappointed to later learn of President Falwell’s most recent decision to allow students back on campus,” said Mayor Tweedy. “We are in the midst of a public health crisis. I am concerned for the students, faculty and employees at Liberty University, and I am also very concerned for the residents of the Lynchburg community. Liberty University is an important part of this community; however, I believe it was a reckless decision to bring students back on campus at this time. It is unfortunate that President Falwell chose to not keep his word to us and to this community.”
Mayor Tweedy continued by saying that COVID-19 is much bigger than one person’s decisions and the community cannot dwell on this one issue.
“I am pleading with the Lynchburg community to take this pandemic seriously. The only way we can get a handle on this and flatten the curve of this disease is to follow the guidelines set forth by the Virginia Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
Mayor Tweedy cautioned residents not to panic but to be diligent in following the widely published guidelines on how to stem the tide of the disease including:
• Washing your hands.
• Practicing social distancing.
• Staying at home if you are sick.
• Covering your mouth and nose if you cough or sneeze,
• Limiting your trips out and staying home if you can.
She also encouraged people to call on elderly neighbors or friends to check on their well-being and needs.
“This time is difficult for everyone. We must all practice patience, remain calm, follow the CDC guidelines and exercise self-responsibility,” said Mayor Tweedy.