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Coronavirus
(COVID-19)

Information Center

Frequently Asked Questions

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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.

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.  We will issue guidance for ways in which you can address these situations.  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 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.

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.

To support the safety and well-being of staff and faculty, Lehigh conducted an RFP process to review proposals from health care systems to provide occupational health services. Additional details about the services that will be available through our occupational health representative will be coming soon.

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:

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. If a student tests positive for COVID-19, including those living off-campus, the student must self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days (note the difference between quarantine and isolation). See additional details from the CDC about when you can be around other people (end isolation). In addition, once you have tested positive, you will be 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.

For faculty and staff:

Faculty and staff who test positive for COVID-19 should self-isolate, follow their primary care physician’s advice, and stay in touch with their supervisor, department chair or PI as they normally would when out sick.  If you test positive for COVID-19 and have been on campus or in close proximity with other Lehigh community members within fourteen days of experiencing symptoms or having a positive COVID test, you must notify Lehigh through this confidential survey to begin workplace contact tracing. Any questions regarding this process can be sent to Lehigh University Human Resources at intrace@lehigh.edu.

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.

 

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.

Per the Pennsylvania Governor’s order of July 16, 2020, indoor events and gatherings of more than 25 persons, and outdoor events and gatherings of more than 250 persons, are prohibited.  These rules are applicable to Lehigh affiliated events and gatherings. Non-Lehigh affiliated public gatherings are not permitted for the Fall semester, regardless of size. All events in general will be limited and subject to approval. See the Facilities & Operations page for more information, including a list of considerations.

Meetings should be held via Zoom, telephone, or by other device whenever possible. Non-academic gatherings that cannot be accomplished virtually should be limited to 25 people and social distancing must be maintained. Larger public gatherings will be limited and subject to approval. 

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. 

As shared in a university email regarding the reduction of expenses, while travel has been largely limited due to health and safety concerns, we will be limiting university travel for the foreseeable future. We understand that some travel will be required as we resume operations, but we ask that any travel that is non-essential be deferred. For all travel, please follow all required quarantining requirements before returning to campus.

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 academic semester will begin on Aug. 24. 

The Commencement Ceremony originally scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on Monday, May 18, 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 frequently, including answers to questions about regalia and other items.

Read the message from President Simon sent on March 31 >

Refer to the emails sent on June 22, June 9 and June 4 for information about the phased return to campus. Faculty, staff and graduate students are encouraged to continue working remotely through Aug. 2. Faculty, staff, and graduate students needing to return to on-campus work prior to July 6 must request permission and access from their department chair or supervisor and follow the instructions in the email sent June 9. More details for requirements under each phase of the opening plan, including the current “Open II” phase between June 25 and July 5, can be found in the June 22 communication from the Task Force to Safely Open the Lehigh campus.

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.

Since we announced our intention in mid-June to open our campus for the Fall semester, we have closely monitored local and national rates of COVID-19 infection, consulted with numerous health professionals and implemented significant measures to make our campus as safe as possible. The number of states considered high-risk with large COVID-19 case amounts continues to grow; many are areas where our students currently live, greatly impacting our quarantining capacity for those returning to campus. Access to testing has become more limited as resources are diverted to hotspots. We have been clear that the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and Bethlehem community will guide our decision-making. The arc of this pandemic is ever-evolving, as we all know. While we hold out hope for the Spring semester that conditions and trends will allow more members of our community to return, we do not know what the future holds. We are also prepared to act if conditions deteriorate.

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.

Travel, both domestic and international, can present risks associated with exposure to COVID-19. Those coming from countries listed by the CDC as level 2 and 3 and the states designated as “hot spots” by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania must self-quarantine for 14 days, either in Pennsylvania or another location not listed by the Commonwealth just prior to arriving on campus. 

We are asking that all students who elect to come to campus quarantine for 14 days in Pennsylvania or in a state that Pennsylvania doesn't designate as a "hotspot" before coming:

  • This list may have states added or removed as we approach the start of the semester; any changes will apply and should be followed.
  • We are requiring students to have completed the quarantine before returning to campus.
  • Students are not permitted to quarantine in a state listed by Pennsylvania as being a hotspot. 
  • Unfortunately, we will not accommodate or provide this space for arrivals on campus.
  • There may be cases where we can accommodate late arrivals for those who are completing this quarantine, or in cases where a state is added to the list shortly before arrival. Students in these cases should await approval and guidance from the University before making travel arrangements.
  • A negative test for COVID-19 prior to arrival will not eliminate the requirement for quarantine.
  • Faculty will accommodate students who must start classes remotely during this quarantine and will work to accommodate students who need to quarantine at any point throughout the semester.