Image
null

Coronavirus
(COVID-19)

Information Center

Guidance for Staff and Faculty

Last Updated: Nov 19, 2020 at 8:22 pm

Lehigh’s faculty and staff are central to the university’s function of supporting students and elevating its research and educational mission. Work during this pandemic has looked different for faculty and staff, including those who transitioned to remote work and those essential staff whose work has been vital to the uninterrupted operation of the university.

Ricardo Hall, Vice President for Student Affairs, wearing a face mask

Guiding Principles

  1. Provide the best Lehigh education and experience for students that is possible in these circumstances
  2. Protect the health and safety of all members of the Lehigh community
  3. Uphold our principles of equity and community as we balance the previous two principles. Equity does not mean that all people are treated equally, but that all people are treated equitably and according to their needs.

See examples of guiding principles in action >

Pandemic Remote Work Policy

In the Open I and Open II phases of Lehigh’s reopening plan, staff, faculty and RAs/TAs/GAs who are not designated essential should not return to campus until receiving approval from their Dean or unit manager. In the Open III phase, this permission may be granted by the Supervisor, Department Chair or PI consistent with the Safety Management Plan they have developed for that area.

Remote work will continue “where feasible” for the majority of faculty/staff/RAs/TAs/GAs. Those who can work remotely, should continue doing so. After receiving approval to return to campus, consideration should still be given to remote work when possible.

Learn more about the phased return to campus >

Get information about developing a Safety Management Plan >

Required Training

Before returning to campus, all staff, faculty and RAs/TAs/GAs are required to verify they have completed a 20-minute online training module. At the end of the module, each employee must acknowledge and commit to understanding and abiding by the health and safety standards expected of everyone on Lehigh’s campus.

Complete the Return to Work training module >

Performance Expectations

At a time when we are all pulling together to maintain Lehigh’s legacy in education, research and service, each staff, faculty and RA/TA/GA is expected to do the best they can in a compromised environment. As we gradually re-open campus, performance expectations will continue to evolve. It is everyone’s responsibility to seek out ways to perform our work as effectively as possible.

Read more about performance expectations >

Maintaining Safe Work Spaces

From staggered shifts to space modifications, there are a variety of strategies to help keep work spaces safer. Supervisors and department chairs have been charged with developing Safety Management Plans for their areas in accordance with the guiding principles of safety, quality and equity.

Learn more about safer work space strategies >

Individual responsibility to observe public health directives

All staff, faculty, contractors and students are required to conduct a personal health self-screening each day before coming to campus.

Lehigh will provide cloth face coverings to all faculty and staff (and students) upon return to campus. Individuals are responsible for maintaining and cleaning their face coverings. Individuals are also permitted to use their own personal face coverings. If an employee’s work responsibilities require additional or specific Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), these will be provided by Lehigh. All PPE must be worn appropriately according to directions and instructions.

Faculty and staff are required to adhere to all safety protocols while on campus.

Lehigh custodial services will continue to clean offices and workspaces on an enhanced protocol developed with CDC and PA Dept of Health guidance, however all staff, faculty and RAs/TAs/GAs  must take additional responsibility to wipe down commonly used surfaces after use (including shared printers and copiers, meeting room tables and chairs, microwaves, light switches and doorknobs, etc.) with disinfectants made available by the University.

Learn about the COVID-19 Self-Assessment tool >

Read guidance on using masks >

Read about health and safety protocols >

Illness or Exposure Protocols

Faculty and staff who return to work on campus must continue to monitor personal health for symptoms and risk of exposure. Daily use of the self-assessment tool will provide guidance on if/when to return to campus safely.

If you don’t feel well, stay home and notify your supervisor or department chair. If you arrive on campus and begin to feel symptoms consistent with COVID-19, immediately notify your supervisor or department chair and go home. You should contact your primary care physician first and follow their advice, including scheduling a COVID-19 test, if recommended. Contact the university’s Employee Health Nurse Case Manager from Lehigh Valley Health Network, Terri Latvis RN, at 610-861-8080 ext. 21237 or Teresa.Latvis@lvhn.org and notify her of your condition.

Any faculty or staff member who has been on campus or in close proximity to other Lehigh community members and receives a positive COVID-19 test result must notify Terri and notify Lehigh by following the instructions in the COVID-19 Return to Campus Employee Health Guide. The Employee Health Nurse Care Manager will need to clear you for return to work. Those who test positive and have not been on campus or in close proximity are still encouraged to contact her. She serves as the key point of contact for Lehigh employees for any health concerns related to COVID-19 and facilitates care through recovery and return to work for any employees who suspect exposure or may test positive for COVID-19, working closely with Lehigh Human Resources throughout the process.

Supervisors and department chairs, staff and faculty are not required to divulge that the reason for their absence is due to a COVID-19 isolation or quarantine. However, if they choose to share this with you, treat this as confidential information and follow up with Terri Latvis or Human Resources to make sure the information and all services are being extended.

Full information about Lehigh's partnership with LVHN for COVID-19 related employee health services can be found here

Employees who work in certain work locations (for example, the Health & Wellness Center) or have certain responsibilities may require additional periodic, on-campus screening.

Review details regarding clearance, contact tracing, paid leave and more >

Accommodations and Options

We understand that even after the university has taken health and safety precautions, some staff, graduate students and faculty members may still feel uncomfortable coming to campus due to concerns about their own health or that of vulnerable loved ones.

Manager Responsibilities

During COVID-19, managers, department chairs and PIs play an important role in determining, establishing and supporting realistic work expectations and goals for their teams while adhering to the guiding principles.  

As part of these responsibilities, a self-guided online training course for Lehigh supervisors designed to help supervisors, department chairs and PIs effectively plan for and manage their team’s return to campus will be available soon.

Read more about manager, department chair and PI responsibilities >

Community Expectations

All community members must agree and commit to adhere to national, state and local health guidelines as well as any additional measures implemented by Lehigh.  We must hold each other accountable.

If you experience or witness a situation in which members of our community, regardless of whether they are students, faculty, staff, or visitors are not adhering to these standards, there are several options available to you, up to and including reporting the behavior.

University faculty, staff or students shall not retaliate against any individual who, acting in good faith, reports suspected or actual wrongful conduct.

Read more about Community Expectations >

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Enter a word or phrase

Where possible, HVAC systems that introduce fresh air into the buildings will have the percentage of outdoor air settings adjusted to maximize the amount of fresh air movement through the building. The percent of fresh air will be adjusted to as high as possible based on outdoor temperatures, humidity, and the capacity of the unit to heat/cool the desired percent of fresh air. All HVAC systems have received, and will continue to receive, regularly scheduled preventive maintenance. Filter changes will continue to follow ASHRAE guidelines.

Lehigh will be extending the additional sick leave provision (which had been set to expire on July 1) to Dec. 31, 2020. Staff will be allotted an additional 10 days of sick leave if they exhaust their available sick leave bank. Staff may use their sick leave bank as well as the 10 additional days to care for a sick family member who lives in the employee’s home. Refer to the COVID-19 Guidance for Staff email you received for further information.

Signs are downloadable for individual printing on the Resources page of this website.

To better support the health and safety of Lehigh faculty and staff as we return to campus, the University has partnered with Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) for occupational health services and for medical consultation for planning purposes. The partnership includes an LVHN Employee Health Nurse Case Manager who will serve as the key point of contact for Lehigh employees with any health concerns related to COVID-19. The nurse case manager will facilitate care through recovery and return to work for any employees who suspect exposure or test positive for COVID-19, working closely with Lehigh Human Resources throughout the process. 
Download the guide here. For more information, visit the Human Resources website.

If you experience or witness a situation in which members of our community, regardless of whether they are students, faculty, staff, or visitors are not adhering to these standards, you have the following options:

  1. If you can safely address the concern directly with the individual or group, you may do so by reminding them of University standards and our shared responsibility in promoting a healthy, safe and inclusive learning and working environment. Supervisors are expected to address these issues with their direct reports. 

  2. If addressing the concern directly is not an option, or if you are not satisfied with the response you receive or the behavior doesn’t stop, you may report the concern to the COVID Response Team (CRT) by completing this form at http://lehigh.edu/go/covidreporting.  While we encourage you to provide your name and contact information with this form so that the CRT may follow-up with you, if necessary, you may also submit this report anonymously.  

Each unit or department is expected to submit a safety management plan as part of the return to campus process. (This is a separate process from research laboratory safety planning.) The safety plan template is available for managers to use at this link. LU Facilities and Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) staff will continue to consult with managers needing assistance in developing their plans. Please contact them using the inreopen@lehigh.edu email address.

 

Classrooms and teaching laboratories will be re-configured to provide for social distancing and the set-up should not be modified without consulting LU Facilities first.

Classroom and lab space have been modified to comply with social distancing requirements. Cleaning schedules are 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 are located at entrances to all buildings and dining and high-traffic areas. Ventilation systems were adjusted to reduce air recirculation and upgrade air filtration.  We provided a wellness/safety starter kit for all faculty, staff and students, which includes masks, hand sanitizer and other personal items.

 

Classrooms: In addition to daily cleaning, each classroom space is equipped with spray sanitizer and towels for students and faculty to use prior to or after each class. Facilities stock and maintain these classroom supplies. Instructors can request additional PPE and also request access to larger spaces, including some outdoor tented spaces. Plexiglass shields and dividers were 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 is 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.

After receiving notification and consulting with the Lehigh Health & Wellness Center, Environmental Health and Safety, Human Resources and additional University leadership, LU Facilities will determine the extent of a closure, if needed. LU Facilities will then direct the deep-cleaning and sanitization of the space based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Pennsylvania Department of Health protocols prior to re-opening. Facilities may rely on a third-party industrial disinfection provider to sanitize areas for COVID-19 as needed.

Deliveries to buildings will be coordinated via Campus Mail Services, including FedEx, UPS, and USPS. For more information contact Glenn Strause at ghs2@lehigh.edu. Specialized direct deliveries may be coordinated between departments and vendors as needed.

We understand that even after the university has taken health and safety precautions, some staff members may still feel uncomfortable coming to campus due to concerns about their own health or that of vulnerable loved ones. If you fall into the CDC-defined category of people who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 due to a serious underlying medical condition, you may submit a confidential request for a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended, by submitting these COVID-19/Pandemic Specific forms through email at incovada@lehigh.edu:

COVID-19 Request for Reasonable Accommodation

COVID-19 Medical Information Request and Verification Form

If you are 65 years of age or older (another higher risk category defined by the CDC) or do not have an underlying medical condition but are generally concerned about returning to campus, please talk with your department chair or supervisor about modifications (such as remote work, flexible work schedules or workspace modifications) that may allow you to perform your position accountabilities effectively and productively. You may also consult with Human Resources at inhro@lehigh.edu to determine whether your circumstances may be addressed under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Faculty and other instructors will not be required to teach in person, and decisions about alternative approaches and duties will be made at the department or college level. For more information, consult Provost Urban's email of July 16, 2020.

 

 

 

Currently, there is no different protocol for those who have had confirmed cases of COVID-19 and have presumably fully recovered than there will be for students who have not had the infection or do not know if they have had it. The medical community does not yet know if having had COVID-19 necessarily means you are immune from getting it again or from being an asymptomatic carrier. So wearing a mask at all times when in public places, practicing social distancing and good hand hygiene would still apply to those people who have already had COVID-19. These are standard, good practices that are recommended by the CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Health for your individual health and safety as well as the health and safety of those around you and the community at large.

We recognize this is a difficult time for faculty, staff and families. Lehigh medical benefits include behavioral health coverage. To access these services under Lehigh’s medical plan call the phone number listed on the back of your Capital Blue Cross Card. In addition, Lehigh's Employee Assistance Program (Integrated Behavioral Health) can be helpful for you and your dependents even if you don't participate in the Lehigh medical plan.

For all undergraduate and graduate students:

If a student tests positive for COVID-19, including those living off-campus, the student must self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days. Refer to our isolation and quarantining protocol for what to expect if you live on or off campus. Individuals who test positive are contacted by the local public health entity. In the case of Lehigh University, this is the Bethlehem Health Bureau. The Bethlehem Health Bureau will be managing contact tracing and notification and they will follow up with you, along with the HWC, until you recover.

If a student tests positive, faculty and instructional staff teaching in-person classes in which that student is enrolled will be contacted as part of the contact tracing efforts. As described in an e-mail, to facilitate contact tracing, faculty and instructional staff should take attendance in class and should either assign seats or take a picture of students’ seating locations at the beginning of every class. 

It is critical that students notify the Health and Wellness Center at 610-758-3870 about any positive test, even if the test was administered elsewhere.

For faculty and staff:

Any faculty or staff member who has been on campus or in close proximity to other Lehigh community members and receives a positive COVID-19 test result should self-isolate, follow a primary care physician’s advice, notify your supervisor or department chair of your absence, and notify Lehigh by following the instructions at this linkWhether or not they have been on campus, it is essential that they contact Lehigh’s Employee Health Nurse Case Manager, Teresa Latvis, at Lehigh Valley Health Network via email (Teresa.Latvis@lvhn.org) or phone (610-861-8080, ext. 21237). 

Supervisors and department chairs, staff and faculty are not required to divulge that the reason for their absence is due to a COVID-19 isolation or quarantine. However, if they choose to share this with you, treat this as confidential information and follow up with Terri Latvis or Human Resources to make sure the information and all services are being extended.

For more information on Lehigh’s COVID-19 related health services partnership with LVHN, follow this link.

In all cases where a student, faculty or staff member tests positive COVID-19 and was on campus, Facilities Services is notified to conduct the cleaning and sanitization process of any physical spaces, as needed.

Refer to the email sent on June 1 regarding university actions in response to COVID-19, including information regarding temporary furloughs, senior leadership salary reductions, reducing expenses and the suspension of retirement contributions. An update was sent on September 15 about ongoing cost-saving reminders. 

 

Applying what we have learned and what has proven successful this past fall, our goal for the spring is to:

  1. Modestly expand our on-campus residential capacity;
  2. Increase the number of courses that have and require in-person participation;
  3. and Further expand our COVID-19 testing protocols as we look to increase the number of students on campus

Our plan aligns with our focus on delivering an exceptional Lehigh experience and supporting the health and safety of the Lehigh and Bethlehem communities. Its execution assumes the spread of the virus in the spring will be similar to the levels seen throughout the early part of this fall and that the current surge we are seeing locally and across the country will subside before mid-January.

Travel, both domestic and international, can present risks associated with exposure to COVID-19. Although travel by the university has been limited, those coming from international and out-of-state locations should follow the current Pennsylvania guidelines for quarantining and testing requirements.

At this time all staff, faculty and graduate students who need to come to campus should do so only with their Supervisor, Department Chair or PI’s approval and in accordance with their office’s safety plan.

 

Training: Your card access will be reactivated within 48 hours of successful completion of all steps of the Return to Work Safety Training. No other action will be necessary on your part. Access will be restored to the same locations you had access to prior to March 20, 2020.

 

Self-screening: Everyone coming to campus is expected to conduct a self-screening via the Hawk Watch app before leaving home. Please be sure to download the app so you can complete this mandatory screening, which appears as a main bar at the top of the screen. An alternate format will be provided for those who do not have the technology to download the app.

 

Health: Remember to stay home if you are feeling ill or have a fever and consult your healthcare provider. You will be required to comply with all on-campus safety and hygiene requirements, including wearing face coverings (masks), social distancing, and hand washing.

All on-campus and off-campus meetings and gatherings (indoors and outdoors) are limited to five people at most. For any gathering up to five people, appropriate social distancing of at least six feet from others must be able to be observed and face coverings must be worn. Given no evidence of transmission in classroom and formal settings, in-person courses may exceed this five-person limit in accordance with the established course format when held. The restrictions on gatherings include occupancy; for example, five roommates living together are not permitted to host visitors. 

For students:

We have prepared guidance on what to do if you are feeling sick and suspect you have COVID-19. Read more about COVID-19 symptoms, treatment and on-campus testing for students on this page. > Students living on- or off-campus who believe they have symptoms in line with COVID-19 should call the Lehigh Health and Wellness Center (HWC) at 610-758-3870. If you are living on campus, the HWC will assist with determining if you need to be relocated to on-campus isolation housing and the provisions for how you will receive care and support during the time you are isolating. 

For students who are experiencing symptoms, we have partnered with the Lehigh Valley Health Network as a supplemental resource to provide access to their 24/7 nurse triage line (1-888-402-LVHN). Speak with a nurse to assess COVID and other symptoms, answer your questions, and discuss your testing options. A video visit is also an option. Additional information will be published on our website. For those who are tested at an alternate location, be aware that if you are not taking a rapid test, your results may take several days to be processed. Transportation to a LVHN Express Care Center will be made available from 8:00 to 5:00 Saturday and Sunday for students who are living on campus by calling 610-758-4295. If you are experiencing a true medical emergency and need to visit the hospital or emergency department, you should call 911. If you receive a positive test from an outside source, be sure to let the Health and Wellness Center know and to upload your results on your health center portal.

For faculty and staff:

Faculty or staff members with symptoms should stay home and notify your supervisor or department chair. If you arrive on campus and begin to feel symptoms consistent with COVID-19, immediately notify your supervisor or department chair and go home. You should contact your primary care physician first and follow their advice, including scheduling a COVID-19 test, if recommended. This testing can be done by your Primary Care Physician or can be coordinated through our occupational health services partnership with Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN). Any faculty or staff member who has been on campus or in close proximity to other Lehigh community members and receives a positive COVID-19 test result should self-isolate, follow a primary care physician’s advice, contact the university’s Employee Health Nurse Case Manager from Lehigh Valley Health Network, Terri Latvis RN, at 610-861-8080 ext. 21237 or Teresa.Latvis@lvhn.org, and notify Lehigh by following the instructions at this link

 

Any individual, even if asymptomatic, who wishes to get tested can do so for a fee through Vault Health (the company we have contracted with for student arrival testing) or through a number of other providers. 

During the semester, the Lehigh COVID-19 Dashboard is updated daily during the week with the most current case information.

According to the CDC:

  • Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.
  • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

More about Quarantine-

Read more from the CDC about "When to Quarantine," including a chart with guidance about when to start and end quarantine under various scenarios:

Who needs to quarantine?

People who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19—excluding people who have had COVID-19 within the past 3 months.

People who have tested positive for COVID-19 do not need to quarantine or get tested again for up to 3 months as long as they do not develop symptoms again. People who develop symptoms again within 3 months of their first bout of COVID-19 may need to be tested again if there is no other cause identified for their symptoms. Read more.

More about Isolation-

Read more from the CDC about how to "Isolate If You Are Sick," including information about how long you should isolate. 

I think or know I had COVID-19, and I had symptoms

You can be with others after

  • At least 10 days since symptoms first appeared and
  • At least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication and
  • Symptoms have improved

Read more.

 

Building access will be limited to Lehigh faculty, staff, and students as follows:

  • Access to all buildings requires completion of the relevant COVID-19 training and acknowledgment.
  • All buildings will be locked and only accessible via card-swipe.
  • Academic buildings will be accessible via card-swipe during regular campus opening hours. Final campus and building opening hours are to be determined. 
  • All faculty, staff, and graduate students will be permitted access to the same buildings but will require a Lehigh ID to gain entry.
  • Undergraduate residence hall or house access is restricted to students who live in the building.
  • Undergraduate students residing on campus (first-year students and those given permission for on-campus residency) will have access to their assigned residence halls and open campus facilities. 
  • Undergraduate students residing off campus, who do not choose the “fully remote” option will have access to open campus facilities.
  • Off-campus students who choose the “fully remote” option and the 10 percent undergraduate tuition reduction will only have access to the Health and Wellness Center, which will remain open to all students regardless of registration status.
  • Everyone on campus is required to have their Lehigh ID with them at all times, and to display their ID card when in public spaces.
  • If your Lehigh ID is missing, email inIDEAL@lehigh.edu as soon as possible for a replacement. Your email must include your name and LIN for a new card to be issued. The $30.00 card replacement fee will be waived for requests submitted before August 15.

The first day of classes of the Spring 2021 semester will be February 1. The university has delayed the spring term by one week to give additional time for staff and faculty to prepare the campus.

The 2019 Commencement Ceremony was postponed, and Lehigh held virtual celebrations to confer degrees and to honor the academic achievements of our graduates. We will keep the community informed of updates on the rescheduled in-person ceremony. The Lehigh University Commencement website will be updated with new information.

 

February 1 will be the first day of classes for the spring semester.

We have developed an information page about the tool, including step-by-step instructions, here.

Lehigh is currently following a phased approach to reopening on campus research activities. Visit the Office of Research and Graduate Studies page for more specific information. Email with additional questions.

In the spring, we plan to allow students currently living in residence halls to remain in on-campus housing and intend to modestly increase our fall undergraduate housing capacity.

We are determining the final number of undergraduate students we can accommodate in on-campus housing. With the opening of the new Singleton-Hitch-Maida residence halls, we can house an additional 200 students on campus who do not currently have spring housing in Bethlehem. We are also re-evaluating the density of students living in all of our residence halls and the use of university housing for quarantine or isolation space to determine how many students we can house safely on campus.

Undergraduate students in the categories below may request to live in a residence hall for Spring 2021. Spots will be filled in the following order:

  • Newly matriculating students, including transfer students, who will be enrolling in their first semester at Lehigh
  • Students in special circumstances such as those whose living environments impede academic progress
  • Seniors currently living out of the Bethlehem area who have academic needs to be on campus for completing graduation requirements
  • International undergraduate students who were newly enrolled in the fall, but who were unable to arrive on campus for the Fall 2020 semester
  • Sophomores

It is possible that the capacity of our residence halls will not allow us to house as many sophomores as request rooms. If this occurs, we will implement a housing lottery to make assignments based on the spaces available.

Undergraduate students not wanting to access campus in any way may request to be designated as “fully remote” and receive a 10 percent reduction in tuition. This reduction does not apply to graduate programs. Those who request to be fully remote forgo access to in-person classes; spaces such as libraries, gyms, campus buildings, and outdoor facilities such as patios and tent space; and participation in any on-campus activities such as student organization-sponsored programs or events, possible spring semester athletic events, or any increased campus access that may occur as the semester progresses. Fully remote students will not be able to enter any campus buildings and will not have swipe-card access to campus facilities. All students, regardless of status, will maintain access to the Lehigh Health and Wellness Center.

All staff and faculty will be provided with a care kit that will include two cloth face coverings. You will be responsible for keeping them clean and replacing them if they are lost or destroyed. You may use your own personal face coverings if you prefer. Visitors must provide their own cloth face coverings.

 

More specialized PPE, if required to perform your work, will be provided by the University. This would include employees in the Health & Wellness Center, Sports Medicine, LUPD, Facilities, and other units that are at higher risk for exposure to an infected person or contaminated space. PPE can be acquired from Purchasing at the University labstore via this link where order forms for non-research related PPEs will be available by July 15.

 

PPE that is required for specific research activities independent of COVID-19 requirements are to be provided by the researcher, as per standard-operating procedure.

 

Individual departments and units will be responsible for acquiring supplemental cleaning and sanitizing supplies for their spaces. Departments may either order supplies directly or work with the University purchasing department, which is currently building an inventory of supplies. The University will fund all COVID-related cleaning products. All cleaning and sanitization products should meet CDC requirements.

No. Spring Break, previously scheduled for March 15-19, will be canceled. We encourage students to stay on campus as much as possible once they arrive for the spring semester, as this will reduce the risk of infection and transmission of the coronavirus.