Liberty University is back in the news, this time because of a massive snowball fight in violation of the school's own coronavirus guidelines. The school had promoted Sunday's event in Lynchburg, Va., attended by hundreds of students who stood close together without masks. Photos uploaded to Facebook by President Jerry Prevo, who described more than 3,000 students in attendance, showed him "front and center" amid the action, also without a mask, per Fox News. "I messed up," Prevo said Tuesday, noting officials "did not think through or communicate the need to wear facial coverings and remain 6 feet apart in compliance with Virginia Governor's Executive Orders ... or even our own COVID-19 Operations Plan." He said he was "truly sorry for how this activity may put our students and university in a negative light."
The Virginia Department of Health had received more than 115 complaints by Tuesday. Some worried the snowball fight would become a superspreader event, per the Tri-City Herald. "We share the complainants' concerns about the potential for COVID transmission and are consulting the VDH central office on our response," a department rep tells Fox. The school had reported 79 COVID-19 cases as of Jan. 27, up from 13 on Jan. 18. "We rededicate ourselves to our solid commitment to communicating and reinforcing to students, faculty, and staff the mandate to comply with all COVID-19 policies," Prevo said, adding his mistake came in "being caught up in the moment," as Lynchburg hasn't seen a "good snow in over two years." However, a Liberty student tells WSLS that students are rarely told to wear masks and those that are often "just don't." (Read more Liberty University stories.)