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Coronavirus
(COVID-19)

Information Center

Academics

Last Updated: Aug. 5, 2020 at 9:10 am

Lehigh remains committed to delivering a high-quality academic experience for our students. Though the realities of COVID-19 will mean that the academic year to come will be different than those that have before, we are confident that our faculty will be able to fully engage with, challenge and teach students in a way that will retain the essence of a Lehigh education.

Courses in the Fall semester will be offered remotely, in-person and in a hybrid mode. Almost all courses for the Fall semester will be accessible remotely, and there will be a limited number offered in a hybrid mode and a relatively small number offered in person. We have invested in expanding and improving our approaches to online instruction and remote learning, and we have confidence that remote learning will offer students a rigorous and challenging academic experience, allowing them to make progress in their degree plans.

Students can expect that many classes in the fall semester will include both an online asynchronous component, in which online course work is completed during a specified time period (usually within a 24-48 hour window), and a synchronous component, in which the class meets at a specified time either in a physical classroom or on Zoom.

Classes will be offered in the following formats:

  • Hybrid: These courses, open to students who are on-campus students and to students who are remote, will have a flexible combination of asynchronous online coursework, on-campus meetings, and remote meetings. The exact blend of these approaches will vary course-by-course. For those students able to attend in-person, these courses will have at least one on-campus class meeting each week. For remote students, there will be synchronous online classroom options.
     
  • On-campus Only: These courses have regularly scheduled meetings on campus, and are available only to students who can be present in person.
    • On-campus, Blended are a particular subset of on-campus only courses that require students to be able to come to campus for some class meetings. On-campus, Blended courses also have an online component, but because all enrolled students must participate in some class meetings on campus, On-campus, blended courses are not an option for remote students. These courses are listed as 'Blended' when you search for a course.
       
  • Fully Remote: These courses, open to students who are on campus and to students who are remote, will be conducted entirely online. Students can expect a combination of asynchronous online coursework and fully online synchronous meetings. Some remote courses will have designated meeting times for synchronous class meetings; other remote courses will not. No fully remote course will have required on-campus meetings. Note: All courses with more than 50 students will be fully remote in Fall 2020. (Most courses that are fully remote will have a synchronous component—meaning that students will be “in class” with their instructor and classmates at a regularly scheduled time each week.)

For more detailed information regarding course attributes and their definitions, visit the RAS Determining Instructional Methods/Modalities for the Fall 2020 Term page.

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Academic Calendar

Updates are being made to the 2020-2021 Academic Calendar. For the latest, check the Registration and Academic Services Office website.

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Community Conversations | Academics

Watch Provost Nathan Urban discuss the Lehigh academic experience in the Fall 2020 semester with members of the senior leadership team.

Watch Lehigh Community Conversations >

Frequently Asked Questions

The academic semester will begin on Aug. 24. 

Courses in the Fall semester will be offered remotely, in-person and in a hybrid mode. Almost all courses for the Fall semester will be accessible remotely, and there will be a limited number offered in a hybrid mode and a relatively small number offered in person. Refer to the instructional methods page for additional information about course attributes and their definitions. We have invested in expanding and improving our approaches to online instruction and remote learning, and have confidence that remote learning will offer students a rigorous and challenging academic experience, allowing them to make progress in their degree plans.

We learned a tremendous amount about remote learning from the spring semester, not just from our experiences, but also from others across the higher education community, and we will greatly enhance our online and remote capabilities in the fall. Since the Spring, more than 350 faculty have participated in workshops and other forms of training in online and technology-enhanced teaching and are well-prepared to meet the high academic standards of teaching our students and families rightly expect. We have invested in additional classroom technology for creating a better learning experience for students in the classroom and online.This also involves providing critical opportunities for faculty and students to build meaningful connections with one another, whether in person or online. Our faculty are prepared to fully engage with, challenge and teach students in a way that will retain the essence of a Lehigh education.

Students must elect the “fully remote” option to receive the 10-percent reduction in undergraduate tuition for the Fall semester by. No student, even if already registered in all online classes, is automatically considered fully remote. A student registered for exclusively online courses living off-campus in South Bethlehem who wants access to the highly limited but available campus facilities, such as dining facilities, the library and the gym, should not elect the fully remote option and therefore would not be eligible for the tuition reduction.

Yes, if they are registered for a class that is held in person and do not select the “fully remote” option. Courses in the Fall semester will be offered remotely, in-person and in a hybrid mode. Almost all courses for the Fall semester will be accessible remotely, and there will be a limited number offered in a hybrid mode and a relatively small number offered in person. Please note that students off campus will find activity on campus very limited. We have confidence that remote learning will offer students a rigorous and challenging academic experience, and encourage all students to consider the remote option for the Fall semester.

No - Students must decide if they will pursue the "fully remote" option at the beginning of the semester so that our health and safety plans can adequately account for a certain number of people in campus facilities.

Students currently enrolled in courses that have on-campus labs should be aware that electing fully remote tuition will mean that they will not be able to complete on-campus labs. These students will need to work with the appropriate academic departments to determine their options for completing these lab requirements.

Classroom and lab space will be modified to comply with social distancing requirements. Cleaning schedules are being adjusted based on the activity in campus buildings, with a focus on the ongoing cleaning and disinfection of all entrances, door handles, and high-traffic areas on campus in accordance with the latest CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH) guidelines. Hand sanitizers will be located at entrances to all buildings and dining and high-traffic areas. Ventilation systems are being adjusted to reduce air recirculation and upgrade air filtration.  We will also be providing a wellness/safety starter kit for all faculty, staff and students, which will include masks, hand sanitizer and other personal items.

 

Classrooms: In addition to daily cleaning, each classroom space will be equipped with EPA- approved spray sanitizer and towels for students and faculty to use prior to or after each class. Facilities will stock and maintain these classroom supplies. Instructors will be able to request additional PPE and also request access to larger spaces - likely including some outdoor tented spaces - for occasional in-person meetings. Plexiglass shields and dividers are being installed in some classrooms. Instructors with ideas about how to make their classrooms or other educational spaces safer can make these suggestions to their department chairs and deans.

 

Offices: Individual cubicle and office cleaning will continue to be completed weekly. Additional focus will be given to cleaning and sanitizing touchpoints. Before you leave any room in which you have been working or eating you should swab down all work or eating areas with EPA-registered disinfectant. This includes your private workspace or any shared-space location or equipment.

If students need to make changes to their submitted survey, they can do so up until August 21.The first step a student must take is submitting a ticket to https://go.lehigh.edu/emticket, or sending an email to emticket@lehigh.edu asking that their Modes of Instruction survey be reset.

The second step is for the student to use the link in a new email that they will receive to access the survey and resubmit their answers.

Undergraduate students considering a leave of absence should discuss their plans with their academic advisor, and reach out to the Office of Academic Life and Student Transitions. This office oversees the process that a student must complete in order to take a leave of absence. Please note that the process to take a leave of absence should be completed before the start of the semester of the leave.

If unapproved leaves are taken, students are declared as non-returning and must request readmission through the Dean of Students if they wish to re-enroll in a future term. Courses taken at another college or university while on an unapproved leave will not be permitted to transfer toward a Lehigh University baccalaureate degree.

It is extremely important to seek approval for the transfer of courses before beginning coursework at another university. Lehigh’s course approval process involves both the Office of Registration and Academic Services (RAS) and academic departments; faculty evaluate courses for transfer based on their equivalency and rigor. Courses taken at rigorous four-year institutions are viewed more favorably by faculty.

Nearly all students in the Class of 2024 have registered for their fall courses at Lehigh, with only a small number pursuing a gap year before beginning their first-year classes at Lehigh. Lehigh has a process for incoming undergraduate students who wish to defer their matriculation. Gap periods are typically one year, but approval may be given for shorter or longer durations, depending on the reason for the request and proposed activities during the deferral. Anyone considering a deferral/gap period should review Lehigh’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions information on the deferral/gap year process.

Incoming students who are approved for deferred enrollment spend their gap semesters/years engaged in some particular activity that typically does not involve enrolling for academic courses at another institution. While occasionally a student’s deferral proposal might include taking one or two academic courses at another university, this is not the traditional purpose of a gap year and  the request may be denied. Further, taking courses elsewhere may affect your financial aid, so you should also speak to your financial aid counselor before submitting a deferral/gap year request.

In the event you are approved for a gap period that will include college level courses, please note that there is no guarantee that those courses will be accepted at Lehigh for transfer credit. Lehigh’s course approval process involves both the Office of Registration and Academic Services (RAS) and academic departments; faculty evaluate courses for transfer based on their equivalency and rigor. Courses taken at rigorous four-year institutions are viewed more favorably by faculty.

For those choosing the “fully remote” option:

  • You must elect the “fully remote” option to receive the 10-percent reduction in undergraduate tuition for the Fall semester.
  • No student, even if already registered in all online classes, is automatically considered “fully remote.”
  • Students living in campus housing are not eligible for the “fully remote” option.
  • Those who elect the “fully remote” option, whether they live off campus in South Bethlehem or elsewhere, will forgo all access to campus classrooms and facilities, with the exception of the Health and Wellness Center. This means you will not be able to attend in-person classes.
  • A student registered for exclusively online courses living off-campus in South Bethlehem who wants access to the limited but available campus facilities, such as the library and the gym, should not elect the “fully remote” option and therefore would not be eligible for the tuition reduction.

For those who do not select the “fully remote” option:

  • Even if all of your courses are remote, you are electing to access campus facilities and will not receive the 10-percent tuition reduction.
  • Students will have access to academic facilities only as needed for their academic programs.
  • Undergraduate students engaged in on-campus research can do so with the permission of the faculty advisor and must complete required safety training.
  • University libraries, the University Center, and athletic facilities will operate under strict health and safety protocols, including potentially limited access.
  • Students living off campus will similarly find access to campus very limited.
  • Extracurricular and social opportunities will be extremely limited.

First, students should focus on staying home when sick and supporting their personal health, safety and wellness. Students should keep in contact with their professors about any course conflicts and work directly with their professors on a plan to make up missed coursework, if applicable. For extenuating circumstances, students who are unable to keep pace with studies in a given course should speak with the professor regarding how to complete the course. In some instances, it may be appropriate for a student to “take an incomplete,” meaning that the student would receive a temporary semester grade of N and complete some coursework after the end of the semester. For information on this process, and the circumstances under which it might be appropriate to take an incomplete, see the University Catalog’s information on the definition of grades (specifically the N grade).

There are a variety of situations that might lead a student to withdraw from an individual course. A student who has missed a very large proportion of the first half of a course might decide to withdraw before the withdrawal deadline. In a regular semester, a student may withdraw through the 11th week of the semester; see the Lehigh Catalog for additional information on course withdrawals.

In the event of a health situation that requires a student to withdraw from the university (that is, withdraw from all courses), the student may apply for a medical withdrawal. Supporting health documentation is required. In the event of a medical withdrawal from all courses in a semester, certified by the Dean of Students, tuition will be refunded in proportion to the semester remaining.

All undergraduate students must be enrolled in 12 credit hours in a semester to hold full-time status. Incoming first-year students must enroll in a minimum of 12 credit hours of courses, or they will have their status changed to a nondegree student. Returning students may enroll in fewer than 12 credits and remain degree-seeking students, but they will be considered part-time students. There are a number of implications to this, and it is important to understand the ramifications of going part-time or (for first-year students) being a nondegree student.

First, students should consider time to degree. Students need to complete an average of 15 to 17 credit hours for eight semesters in order to complete their degrees in four years. (The exact number of credit hours required for a degree varies by college.) If students take a lower course load, they will need to take additional courses in other semesters.

There are also financial aid implications. Undergraduates must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 credits (full-time status) in order to receive institutional financial aid, and maintaining good academic progress for financial aid purposes requires a student to complete 24 credit hours in an academic year. There are also implications to the schedule for paying back loans, so it is important to speak with your financial aid advisor about these implications.

Finally, there are implications for your privileges as a Lehigh student. Certain students, such as athletes and ROTC students, must maintain full-time status. Students should also be aware that they are eligible to join a fraternity or sorority only after successfully completing a full-time Lehigh schedule of 12 credit hours or more and earning a 2.500 GPA or higher, so going part-time may affect your ability to rush, and there may be other implications for leadership positions in clubs and organizations. Students’ eligibility to enroll in Lehigh’s student health insurance plan varies by credit load.

With the exception of cross-registering for courses at LVAIC institutions, Lehigh students may not be simultaneously enrolled at two institutions; that is, students may not take Lehigh courses and take courses at another institution at the same time. Generally speaking, students who wish to take courses at another university would need to take a leave of absence if they are continuing students or defer their admission.

Students should talk with their advisor, and must speak with Lehigh’s director of retention, Dr. Donna Mohr (inretain@lehigh.edu), about their plans. Students must complete the permanent withdrawal/non-return form in advance of the start of the semester.

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