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Coronavirus
(COVID-19)

Information Center

All Frequently Asked Questions

Last Updated: Sep 24, 2021 at 4:01 pm

Below is a cumulative list of all frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to COVID-19. For a list related to a specific audience, you can review those FAQs on the students and families page, the Lehigh faculty and staff page, or the campus visitors page.

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Fall 2021

Contact tracing is done for all students, faculty and staff who test positive for COVID. For students, close contacts include roommates, suitemates, housemates, apartment mates and not fully vaccinated hallmates.  

Students who are not fully vaccinated (fully vaccinated is defined as two weeks after individuals receive the final dose of an FDA- or WHO-authorized or approved vaccine) and are identified as close contacts will be notified to quarantine and recommended to test. Students who are fully vaccinated and are identified as close contacts will be notified and recommended to test but do not need to quarantine.

For classrooms, the Provost’s Office will provide information to instructors and students when a student in their class tests positive. The name of the student case will not be shared with the instructors or other students. In these instances, everyone in the class will be directed to self-monitor for COVID symptoms. Anyone (students, faculty and staff) who was notified or believes they are a close contact may sign up for close contact testing here, even if they are not symptomatic. You must schedule an appointment through the link

If a student becomes symptomatic, they must contact the HWC at 610-758-3870 to get tested as soon as possible. They should not come to class or engage in group activities until receiving a confirmed negative test result. Symptomatic employees should contact the university’s Employee Health Nurse Case Manager from Lehigh Valley Health Network at 610-861-8080 ext. 23504 or at Christine.Wolfe@lvhn.org to arrange for symptomatic testing.

Yes. Lehigh is requiring students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated. Read more detail and stay up-to-date on the latest vaccination information, resources, and Lehigh policies on the Lehigh vaccination resource page

Yes. Surveillance testing will be required for unvaccinated community members who receive a medical or religious exemption from the COVID vaccination requirement. Throughout the semester, there may also be targeted surveillance testing conducted for vaccinated community members based on conditions such as increased case rates in the broader community or on campus. This will be communicated by the COVID Response Team.

 

Sports competitions and arts performances may be affected by COVID limitations, but we expect that we will have fans watching games and audiences watching performances in the fall. The operations of our intercollegiate athletics will be influenced by the regulations of the NCAA and Patriot League.

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 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.  

General Vaccine Information

Yes. Prior COVID illness does not qualify as an approved medical exemption from the Lehigh student COVID vaccination requirement. If you have questions about when it is safe for you to get the vaccine, contact the Health and Wellness Center to review your individual situation by sending a secure message through the Patient Portal

View the CDC's answers to frequently asked questions here and under "If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine?"  

Also under: "Can I get vaccinated against COVID-19 while I am currently sick with COVID-19?"

Additionally, recent studies point to vaccines generating stronger immune responses than getting COVID and likely protect better against viral variants:

  • Substantial Differences in SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Responses Elicited by Natural Infection and mRNA Vaccination - “The results show that naturally-exposed individuals mount a stronger anti-spike response upon vaccination than individuals that were not previously exposed ... Longitudinal specimens taken at approximately weekly intervals from 9 individuals show variation in the response to the mRNA vaccine, with some showing a vigorous response to the first dose (prime) and others requiring a subsequent dose (boost) to reach high anti-SARS-CoV-2 levels.”
  • Antibody response induced by mRNA vaccination differs from natural SARS-CoV-2 infection- “‘We should not assume that previously infected individuals are immune or that they cannot transmit the virus,’ write the authors. Thus, vaccination induces a more robust antibody response, and even people who have been previously infected may benefit from the vaccine.”
  • Risk of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection after natural infection- "The quality, quantity, and durability of protective immunity elicited by natural infection with SARS-CoV-2 are poor relative to the much higher levels of virus neutralising antibodies and T cells induced by the vaccines currently being administered globally.  Emergence of variants of SARS-CoV-2 with variable escape from natural and vaccine-induced immunity complicates matters further. Precise correlates of protection against SARS-CoV-2 are not known, but emerging variants of concern might shift immunity below a protective margin, prompting the need for updated vaccines. Interestingly, vaccine responses even after single dose are substantially enhanced in individuals with a history of infection with SARS-CoV-2. These data are all confirmation, if it were needed, that for SARS-CoV-2 the hope of protective immunity through natural infections might not be within our reach, and a global vaccination programme with high efficacy vaccines is the enduring solution..."  

 

No. You do not need to quarantine if you are fully vaccinated (meaning at least 2 weeks after the final dose of a COVID vaccine series) as long as you are not experiencing COVID-like symptoms (however, you must be fully vaccinated in order to be exempt from quarantine).  Students must upload a copy of their COVID vaccination card on the HWC health portal, including documentation of their full name, name of vaccine received, and the administration date for both doses.

Regardless of vaccination status, persons who exhibit new or unexplained symptoms of COVID-19 still need to isolate and be evaluated for COVID-19 testing. Close contacts who have not received the vaccine must follow existing quarantine guidance.

If you are experiencing COVID-like symptoms, whether you are unvaccinated or vaccinated--follow the established protocols, including contacting your medical provider to be tested, staying home and away from others to mitigate the risk of spreading the virus, and following any isolation protocols should you test positive for COVID. 

Visit the Vaccination Resources page on the Coronavirus Information Center for more information about Lehigh's policies. 

No. While an individual always has the option of sharing their vaccination status personally, the university will not share someone's vaccination status or personal information. Please also note that while widespread vaccination will provide for substantive protection from the virus, individuals may choose to wear masks or practice other health and safety protocols in various settings. For example, because someone is choosing to wear a mask (beyond any university requirements), complete the symptom checker, or complete other protocols is not necessarily indicative of their vaccination status. All members of the community are encouraged to treat one another with respect.     

No. Lehigh does not have a role in distributing the vaccine. COVID vaccines are now widely available. You can find vaccination locations here.

All Pennsylvanians age 16 and older are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. This includes all Lehigh students. More information about Pennsylvania’s vaccination process can be found on the PA Department of Health website. If you are not in Pennsylvania, check the rollout plan in your state.

Yes. The CDC says, “The federal government is providing the vaccine free of charge to all people living in the United States. Vaccination providers can be reimbursed for vaccine administration fees by the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund. No one can be denied a vaccine if they are unable to pay a vaccine administration fee.​”

Regarding Lehigh’s student insurance, Wellfleet provides the following information: “Wellfleet will waive all out-of-pocket costs for the COVID-19 vaccine. Student members will not be responsible for co-pays, deductibles and co-insurance regardless of which FDA-approved vaccine they receive.”

The CDC outlines guidelines for vaccinated domestic and international travelers and the PA DOH current travel guidance page can be found here. For Lehigh-specific polices, refer to the travel and transportation page

Refer to the PA DOH website for information about vaccine providers in your area.

The Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) has compiled safety information for COVID vaccines, including information for specific vaccines. The CDC also has information about adverse effects here. According to the CDC, adverse events that have been reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) are accepted, even if it is not clear the vaccine caused the problem. The CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and other federal agencies will continue to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.

 

Faculty or staff should not request information about students’ vaccination status. If a student volunteers such information, faculty must not ask about the reasons why a student is or is not vaccinated. The university will not share confidential health information.

Faculty/Staff Vaccine Requirement

Faculty and staff requesting a medical exemption will be required to provide information about the specific medical issue that prevents them from safely being vaccinated. Medical exemption requests must be accompanied by documentation from a treating physician. Medical exemption requests will be reviewed by a committee comprising representation from the Provost’s Office, Human Resources, and medical professionals.

Faculty and staff requesting a religious exemption are asked to provide a brief personal statement explaining why the COVID-19 vaccine is against their religious beliefs and why they are requesting this religious exemption (including any supporting documentation of their belief from a religious body). Their statement must also indicate whether other immunizations are against their religious beliefs (in other words, do they also object to the flu or other vaccines for religious reasons, or do they only object to COVID). Religious exemptions are granted for those who have demonstrated sincerely held religious beliefs against vaccination and who submitted the required documentation to support their request. Social, political, and economic beliefs and philosophies, or personal preferences, do not constitute religious beliefs. Religious exemptions will be reviewed by a Religious Exemption Request Review Committee, a separate review committee comprising faculty and staff representatives, including the Chaplain’s Office and Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator.

 

All faculty and staff are required to be fully vaccinated and submit their vaccination status or request a medical or religious exemption from the vaccination requirement using the COVID-19 Vaccine Certification Form they received via email by Monday, August 30, 2021. Faculty and staff are asked to certify that the information they provided is truthful and accurate. The university may follow up to request additional verification at any time, including asking for a copy of vaccination cards.

 

Faculty with questions about medical exemptions or general information related to the process for submitting vaccination information should contact the Provost’s Office at provost@lehigh.edu and staff should contact Human Resources at inhro@lehigh.edu. For questions related to religious exemptions, contact the Religious Exemptions Request Review Committee by emailing increp@lehigh.edu.

 

Providing confirmation of vaccination signifies that faculty and staff attest to the accuracy and truthfulness of the information provided. While this system will allow us to collect vaccination information expediently at the beginning of the semester, the university may ask for follow-up documentation (vaccination card) and verification. The university also is aware of general reports nationally and globally of vaccination cards being fabricated illegally; any such action by a Lehigh community member would be cause for termination (for faculty and staff) and suspension or expulsion (for students).  

 

The safety and well-being of the Lehigh community are our highest priority as we strive to provide the educational environment and workplace that students, faculty and staff expect. While no vaccine provides a guarantee against infection, COVID vaccination is effective at preventing serious illness and death and continues to be the best protection against the spread of new and more contagious variants of the virus.

In addition, widespread vaccination will support the health and safety of the campus community and help us to achieve and sustain a safe and successful semester with more normal activity on campus, including in-person classes, in-person events, full density, and other elements of the full campus experience.

All faculty and staff were required to confirm that they are fully vaccinated or are in the process of becoming fully vaccinated or apply for a medical or religious exemption by Monday, August 30, 2021. Faculty and staff received an email on August 17 with instructions on how to complete this process. If you have not received this email, please contact invax@lehigh.edu.

Further information about the rigor of testing and trials to receive EUA approval is available on the FDA website. Data collected thus far indicate the COVID vaccines approved in the U.S. are very safe and effective at preventing hospitalization and death from COVID. Exemptions are available for students, faculty and staff who have a medical condition or sincerely held religious belief that supports exemption from the Lehigh COVID vaccination requirement. On August 23, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, now marketed as Comirnaty, for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older.

Faculty and staff received an email on August 17 with instructions on how to complete this process. If you have not received this email, please contact invax@lehigh.edu.

Faculty requesting a medical exemption will be required to provide information about the specific medical issue that prevents them from safely being vaccinated. For faculty, these requests will be reviewed by the Provost’s office, in consultation with medical professionals. For staff, the process will be similar, with the Office of Human Resources reviewing the requests in consultation with medical professionals. Religious exemptions will be reviewed by a Religious Exemption Request Review Committee, a separate review committee comprising faculty and staff representatives, the Chaplain’s Office, and the Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator.

Anyone who is partially vaccinated and in the process of actively pursuing full COVID vaccination, or who receives an approved medical or religious exemption and is unvaccinated, will be required to:

  • Participate in mandatory COVID surveillance testing
  • Follow CDC guidelines for quarantining if they are identified as a close contact of a person who tested positive for COVID
  • Continue to wear a mask indoors, even if the universal masking requirement is lifted 
  • Complete a daily symptom self-assessment to gain building access
     

Vaccination is the most effective way to protect our community and allow for a return to normal campus operations. Noncompliance with the vaccination requirement will result in employees not having access to campus facilities and will be addressed at the college and stem level as a violation of workplace and university policy. 

Student Vaccine Requirement

Students with individual questions about their personal situation should send the Health and Wellness Center a secure message through the Health Center Portal - this is preferable to email and will help facilitate a prompt response.

 

All students must complete their final dose of an approved COVID vaccine at least 14 days prior to their planned return to campus (or receive an approved exemption). Please be aware that failure to submit verification of vaccination or a medical/religious exemption request by the August 4 deadline will result in a “Hold” being placed on students’ accounts. For students living on campus, failure to complete all required immunizations and documentation could delay your arrival and check-in. If you have not yet been vaccinated, or if you have been vaccinated and have not yet uploaded a copy of your vaccination card, please do so as soon as possible by following these instructions.

Medical exemption requests are being reviewed by the Health and Wellness Center (HWC).  Students will be notified by the HWC if additional supporting documentation is required or if the request is approved or denied. Religious exemption requests will be reviewed by the Religious Exemption Request Review Committee, a separate review committee comprising staff from Student Affairs, the Chaplain’s Office, and the Equal Opportunity Compliance Office. Students who have requested or plan to request a religious exemption will receive a secure message from the Health and Wellness Center with instructions about next steps.  Be on the lookout for this information (by the week of 8/2 for those who already have submitted their request) and please promptly submit the requested information as instructed to the Religious Exemption Request Review Committee so that your request can be reviewed and approved or denied. 

For students who request a religious exemption, please review the university policy as outlined below. 

For students requesting a religious exemption from the student COVID vaccination requirement, the following considerations apply:

We will grant a religious exemption from vaccination for students who have demonstrated sincerely held religious beliefs against vaccination and who have submitted the required documentation to support their request.

●        Social, political, and economic beliefs and philosophies, or personal preferences alone, do not constitute religious beliefs.

●        Students requesting this exemption understand and agree that they are assuming all potential risks of non-vaccination, including the risk of death due to COVID. Please read information about the vaccine here and on the CDC website. 

●        Students with an approved exemption will be required to comply with the university’s COVID-19 surveillance testing program and other preventive measures including, but not limited to, masking, social distancing and isolation/quarantine protocols, as determined by the university.

●        In the event of an outbreak on or near campus, all students who are not fully vaccinated with an FDA or WHO authorized vaccine, including those students with an approved exemption, may be temporarily excluded from all campus facilities and activities, for their protection, until the outbreak is determined to be over.

●        None of the restrictions or limitations imposed by the university for the safety of students and other community members will entitle students to any reduction in tuition, housing or other fees.

Religious exemption requests will be reviewed by the Religious Exemption Request Review Committee, a separate review committee comprising staff from Student Affairs, the Chaplain’s Office, and the Equal Opportunity Compliance Office.

Students who requested a religious exemption will receive instructions for the information they are required to submit to the Religious Exemption Request Review Committee so their request can be reviewed and approved or denied.  

Students requesting a religious exemption are asked to provide a brief personal statement below explaining why the COVID-19 vaccine is against their religious beliefs and why they are requesting this religious exemption (including any supporting documentation of their belief from a religious body). Their statement must also indicate whether other immunizations are against their religious beliefs (in other words if they submitted an exemption request for other Lehigh-required immunizations this year or in the past).  

Faculty or staff should not request information about students’ vaccination status. If a student volunteers such information, faculty must not ask about the reasons why a student is or is not vaccinated. The university will not share confidential health information.

Students requesting a medical exemption are required to provide a written letter from their treating health provider documenting the medical indication for exemption and a recommendation that they not be vaccinated. 

Students should upload a copy of their COVID vaccination card on the HWC health portal, including documentation of their full name, name of vaccine received, and the administration date for both doses.

Students with questions about a medical exemption should contact the Health and Wellness Center by sending a secure message through the Patient Portal.

Students with questions about a religious exemption should contact the Religious Exemption Request Review Committee by emailing increp@lehigh.edu. 

Any students whose requests are denied will be required to schedule their first vaccine dose within seven calendar days of receiving the university’s decision.

Students who have submitted an exemption request and decided to proceed with getting vaccinated should inform the Health and Wellness Center and/or the Religious Exemption Request Review Committee that you are withdrawing your request and you should upload your verification of vaccination to the Health and Wellness Center Patient Portal https://studentaffairs.lehigh.edu/content/how-find-covid-19-immunization-history-or-exemption-form as soon as possible upon completion of first dose.

Upon receiving your first vaccine dose, the HWC will approve a time-limited exemption to allow you time to be fully vaccinated.  During that time, students will be considered “not fully vaccinated” and must follow all university protocols for unvaccinated students at https://coronavirus.lehigh.edu/vaccination-resources#exemption.

 

The safety and well-being of the Lehigh community are our highest priority as we strive to provide the educational environment and workplace that students, faculty and staff expect. While no vaccine provides a guarantee against infection, COVID vaccination is effective at preventing serious illness and death and continues to be the best protection against the spread of new and more contagious variants of the virus.

In addition, widespread vaccination will support the health and safety of the campus community and help us to achieve and sustain a safe and successful semester with more normal activity on campus, including in-person classes, in-person events, full density, and other elements of the full campus experience.

  • Lehigh undergraduate and graduate students participating in programs and activities on campus. This requirement will operate similarly to our existing requirements for other immunizations.
  • This requirement does NOT apply to students participating in programs that are fully online or which never meet on campus. 
  • This requirement also applies to summer programs and all students, including non-Lehigh students, who request to live in Lehigh housing.
  • Optional summer programs held away from campus may also require vaccination in order to participate.

Further information about the rigor of testing and trials to receive EUA approval is available on the FDA website. Data collected thus far indicate the COVID vaccines approved in the U.S. are very safe and effective at preventing hospitalization and death from COVID. Exemptions are available for students, faculty and staff who have a medical condition or sincerely held religious belief that supports exemption from the Lehigh COVID vaccination requirement. On August 23, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, now marketed as Comirnaty, for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older.

Any vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or under the WHO - Emergency Use Listing will satisfy this requirement.

Yes. As with our other required immunizations, students may request an exemption for medical or religious reasons.

Students now have access to the COVID vaccine exemption request form on the HWC website. Follow the directions for requesting an exemption

 

Yes. Students should upload a copy of their COVID vaccination card on the Health and Wellness Center health portal, including documentation of their full name, the name of the vaccine received, and the administration date for both doses.

All undergraduate and graduate students are required to submit verification of full COVID vaccination to the HWC no later than Wednesday, August 4. You must complete your final dose of an approved COVID vaccine at least 14 days prior to your planned return to campus. Any vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or under the WHO - Emergency Use Listing will satisfy this requirement. If you have already submitted verification of full vaccination, there is no further action for you to take. 

 

If you are requesting a medical or religious exemption from the student COVID vaccine requirement, follow the directions on the HWC website. This must be completed no later than Wednesday, August 4

In limited cases, students may receive a university-approved medical or religious exemption from the COVID vaccination requirement. Unvaccinated students will be required to:

  • Participate in mandatory COVID surveillance testing
  • Follow CDC guidelines for quarantining if they are identified as a close contact of a person who tested positive for COVID. ***Please note that quarantine space will be extremely limited on campus and will be prioritized for required isolation space for on-campus students with COVID. Unvaccinated students should be aware that, if they are identified as a close contact, they may be asked to quarantine at an alternative location.***
  • Complete a daily symptom self-assessment

Students exempted from COVID vaccination will have access to campus facilities and services, including classrooms, housing and dining, with potential additional health and safety measures in place. Masks are required in all indoor public and common spaces regardless of vaccination status. If COVID infection rates or adverse campus conditions necessitate, additional mitigation protocols may be applied for unvaccinated students, including limiting their access to Lehigh residence halls or campus buildings or limiting their participation in in-person activities. This information is provided to students during the process of requesting an exemption. 

Undergraduate courses are being held in person except for a small number of cases in which remote instruction is accommodating students who cannot be on campus because of visa issues or medical accommodations. Some graduate programs are completely online and students enrolled in these programs who will never come to campus do not need to be vaccinated. Students who have COVID-related concerns or questions about accommodations should reach out to Disability Support Services

We understand that by this fall, some of our international students will already have been vaccinated with one of the many non-US-FDA-approved vaccines currently being used globally. Students must receive one of the vaccines authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or by the World Health Organization-Emergency Use Listing or request an exemption for medical or religious reasons. The list of approved vaccines may evolve and the current list will apply. More specific information for international students is available in these messages from OISS (scroll to the message that applies to you) and on the website FAQ for international students. For questions about the exemptions process or about your individual vaccination schedule and plan, please send a secure message through the Health and Wellness Center patient portal. 

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has a resource explaining emergency use authorization, or “EUA.” To receive an EUA, the vaccines were required to adhere to rigorous standards, testing and multiple trials. To explain the speed of vaccine development, the FDA says: 

“In public health emergencies, such as a pandemic, the development process may be atypical. For example, as demonstrated by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. government has coalesced government agencies, international counterparts, academia, nonprofit organizations and pharmaceutical companies to develop a coordinated strategy for prioritizing and speeding development of the most promising vaccines. In addition, the federal government has made investments in the necessary manufacturing capacity at its own risk, giving companies confidence that they can invest aggressively in development and allowing faster distribution of an eventual vaccine. However, efforts to speed vaccine development to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have not sacrificed scientific standards, integrity of the vaccine review process, or safety.

Academics

If an instructor becomes symptomatic or receives a positive COVID test result, the instructor should shift the class to remote instruction until the instructor receives a confirmed negative test result or, in the case of a positive test, is cleared to return to work. If the instructor is too sick to teach, the class can be rescheduled or an alternative instructor can be found. 

 

Normal cleaning processes will resume. Recent CDC guidance reported that in most cases cleaning alone removes virus particles on surfaces. Disinfection will be required in high risk/high contact areas like eatery entrances, the health center, testing areas, or if someone who is positive for COVID-19 has been in a specific location within the last 24 hours.

If the percentage of students in isolation for COVID in a class (section) is greater than 30%, the instructor can move to remote instruction until students return from isolation. Isolation typically lasts 10 days after a positive test result. If the instructor becomes symptomatic or receives a positive COVID test result, the instructor should shift the class to remote instruction until the instructor receives a confirmed negative test result or, in the case of a positive test, is cleared to return to work. Alternatively, if the instructor is too sick to teach, the class can be rescheduled or an alternative instructor can be found.

Based on data from Lehigh and across the country, we have no evidence that in-person instruction while masked is a significant source of transmission. Instructors who choose to shift to remote-only instruction should: 1. send an email to their chair indicating their plan for instruction for the coming week and 2. inform students of this planned shift. Faculty should indicate to students how they plan to support students who need to be in isolation. We understand that some students are hesitant to report a positive test for fear of falling behind in classes. All faculty have been instructed to work with students to ensure their ability to keep up with coursework if they need to quarantine or isolate. 

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.

Provost Urban provided guidance in the message linked here.

Students may need to provide a copy of messages they are sent from the Health and Wellness Center, which includes confirmation of their isolation/quarantine start and end dates, to their faculty and instructors. Some instructors may require this information to excuse a student from class.

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 any missed coursework. Faculty will accommodate quarantining/isolation needs throughout the semester.

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.

Undergraduate courses are being held in person except for a small number of cases in which remote instruction is accommodating students who cannot be on campus because of visa issues or medical accommodations. Some graduate programs are completely online and students enrolled in these programs who will never come to campus do not need to be vaccinated. Students who have COVID-related concerns or questions about accommodations should reach out to Disability Support Services

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.

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.

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.

Athletics

Sports competitions and arts performances may be affected by COVID limitations, but we expect that we will have fans watching games and audiences watching performances in the fall. The operations of our intercollegiate athletics will be influenced by the regulations of the NCAA and Patriot League.

Events, Meetings and Gatherings

Health & Safety

Yes, they will remain in place for the fall semester.

Provost Urban provided guidance in the message linked here.

Our community has emphasized the importance of vaccination, and more than 95% of students are fully or partially vaccinated. Because of this high vaccination rate, we are prioritizing contact tracing on and off campus for higher-risk contacts, which includes not fully vaccinated students living in residence halls and both vaccinated and not fully vaccinated roommates in traditional residence halls, suitemates in apartment-style living, and intimate partners. While there has not been evidence of transmission occurring in classrooms, contact tracing is also conducted when a student or faculty member in a class tests positive for COVID.  For classrooms, the Provost’s Office will provide information to instructors and students when a student in their class tests positive. The name of the student case will not be shared with the instructors or other students. In these instances, everyone in the class will be directed to self-monitor for COVID symptoms. If a student becomes symptomatic, they must contact the HWC at 610-758-3870 to get tested as soon as possible. They should not come to class or engage in group activities until receiving a confirmed negative test result. Symptomatic employees should contact the university’s Employee Health Nurse Case Manager from Lehigh Valley Health Network at 610-861-8080 ext. 23504 or at Christine.Wolfe@lvhn.org to arrange for symptomatic testing.

No. Studies show that people infected with COVID may be contagious for up to 10 days after symptom onset; therefore, CDC guidance and our policy is that people must remain in isolation for 10 days following a positive test or symptom onset. We have received questions regarding whether a negative test following a positive test would be sufficient to end isolation or to show that a positive test was a false positive. A positive PCR test (which includes all of the testing options offered by Lehigh) is a true positive per medical guidance. Getting a follow-up test after having a confirmed positive test result puts other medical providers who are administering the follow-up test at risk of getting COVID, reduces testing availability and is not sufficient for eliminating or reducing the length of the required isolation period. A positive test from Vault or testing through the Health and Wellness Center (HWC) is positive and will be treated as such through the duration of the isolation period. For more information, visit the CDC website


This guidance also applies to individuals who are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic. Fully vaccinated asymptomatic individuals can spread the virus, so a lack of COVID-related symptoms does not mean you are not spreading COVID if you test positive.

Faculty or staff should not request information about students’ vaccination status. If a student volunteers such information, faculty must not ask about the reasons why a student is or is not vaccinated. The university will not share confidential health information.

  • Masks are required indoors in public spaces for both unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals, including in classrooms, shared offices, laboratories, meeting spaces and fitness areas, as well as on buses.
  • Masks are also encouraged for indoor off-campus gatherings.
  • Outdoors, masks are not required but are strongly encouraged in settings where social distancing between individuals or family groups is not possible.
  • Organizers of outdoor events have the latitude to require masks at their outdoor events, recognizing that venue size and density may be factors.
  • Meetings and events with food are discouraged unless they are taking place outdoors.
  • For any social interactions, even in outdoor settings, be mindful of social distancing and consider wearing a face mask for additional mitigation of transmission.
  • Masks may be removed when people are alone in any space. 
  • Masks may be removed while dining in designated dining areas (if in-person dining is occurring).
  • Roommates and suitemates are not required to wear masks in their private rooms but all students living in the residence halls should wear a mask in hallways and other common areas. 
  • Face coverings should be worn over your mouth and nose. 
  • A face shield is NOT an appropriate substitute for a face covering/mask (read more under "Other Types of Face Protection.")

The emergence of the more contagious Delta variant of COVID-19, and evidence that vaccinated people infected with this variant can spread the virus to others, has led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to update its mask guidance.  We have updated our masking policy in response to this change from the CDC. 

We will continue to monitor data and guidance from the CDC and other public health sources, especially as it relates to data on new variants. We will also continue to monitor local transmission rates in Northampton County, as the CDC has advised, and on campus and in South Bethlehem. In addition, we continue to strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated. Even with this new information, the data continue to show that full vaccination is our best course of defense against serious illness from COVID and the threat of new variants. 

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.

Please email the Bursar’s office at Bursar@lehigh.edu . When making your insurance decision, please consider what is a better choice for you and your individual situation. If you have coverage at home but not when physically on campus and are identifying yourself as a remote student, during this time we are making an exception to allow enrollment for spring only.

Regardless of your housing status and/or mode of instruction selection, you must Waive or Confirm enrollment in the student health insurance plan at https://www.universityhealthplans.com/letters/letter.cgi?group_id=4 . The Student Health Insurance policy guidelines are available at: https://financeadmin.lehigh.edu/HealthInsurance.

Yes. Supplemental to our Health and Wellness Center, we have partnered with the Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) to provide access to their 24/7 nurse triage line (1-888-402-LVHN). Speak with a nurse to assess COVID and other symptoms, to answer your questions, and discuss your testing options. A video visit is also an option. Additional information is available in the guide published here. 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. If you are experiencing a true medical emergency and need to visit the hospital or emergency department, you should call 9-1-1. 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.

Yes. General visitors and contractors should continue completing a symptom screening using the website or through the Hawkwatch app. Admissions visitors should follow the most current directions provided by the Admissions Office.

Roommates and suitemates are not required to wear masks in their private rooms, but all students living in the residence halls should wear a mask in hallways and other common areas.

 

No. In the interest of further reducing the potential for transmission, masks must be worn in classes at all times, with no exception for eating or drinking.

Contact tracing is done for all students, faculty and staff who test positive for COVID. For students, close contacts include roommates, suitemates, housemates, apartment mates and not fully vaccinated hallmates.  

Students who are not fully vaccinated (fully vaccinated is defined as two weeks after individuals receive the final dose of an FDA- or WHO-authorized or approved vaccine) and are identified as close contacts will be notified to quarantine and recommended to test. Students who are fully vaccinated and are identified as close contacts will be notified and recommended to test but do not need to quarantine.

For classrooms, the Provost’s Office will provide information to instructors and students when a student in their class tests positive. The name of the student case will not be shared with the instructors or other students. In these instances, everyone in the class will be directed to self-monitor for COVID symptoms. Anyone (students, faculty and staff) who was notified or believes they are a close contact may sign up for close contact testing here, even if they are not symptomatic. You must schedule an appointment through the link

If a student becomes symptomatic, they must contact the HWC at 610-758-3870 to get tested as soon as possible. They should not come to class or engage in group activities until receiving a confirmed negative test result. Symptomatic employees should contact the university’s Employee Health Nurse Case Manager from Lehigh Valley Health Network at 610-861-8080 ext. 23504 or at Christine.Wolfe@lvhn.org to arrange for symptomatic testing.

If the percentage of students in isolation for COVID in a class (section) is greater than 30%, the instructor can move to remote instruction until students return from isolation. Isolation typically lasts 10 days after a positive test result. If the instructor becomes symptomatic or receives a positive COVID test result, the instructor should shift the class to remote instruction until the instructor receives a confirmed negative test result or, in the case of a positive test, is cleared to return to work. Alternatively, if the instructor is too sick to teach, the class can be rescheduled or an alternative instructor can be found.

Based on data from Lehigh and across the country, we have no evidence that in-person instruction while masked is a significant source of transmission. Instructors who choose to shift to remote-only instruction should: 1. send an email to their chair indicating their plan for instruction for the coming week and 2. inform students of this planned shift. Faculty should indicate to students how they plan to support students who need to be in isolation. We understand that some students are hesitant to report a positive test for fear of falling behind in classes. All faculty have been instructed to work with students to ensure their ability to keep up with coursework if they need to quarantine or isolate. 

If the Health & Wellness Center is closed, call the main number at 610-758-3870 to reach the clinician-on-call for non-emergent health advice. You will first reach an answering service. Please provide them with your name and phone number and you will receive a call back from the clinician-on-call (a registered nurse, nurse practitioner, or physician who works at the Health & Wellness Center). Alternatively, you can access Lehigh Valley Health Network’s 24/7 nurse triage line at 1-888-402-LVHN to 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 is available in the guide published here. 

In the case of a medical emergency, if you are on Lehigh's campus, call the Lehigh University Police Department (LUPD) at 610-758-4200. If you are not on Lehigh's campus, call 911. 

No. In fact, once an individual has tested positive, they should not be tested again for 90 days from the date symptoms started or the date of the positive test. (This policy is based on CDC guidance and reduces the rate of false positives.) For this reason, once the isolation period has been completed and an individual is cleared to return to work or school, evidence of a negative test is not required. When in doubt about when you are able to end isolation, always follow the guidance provided by the HWC (for students) or Lehigh’s LVHN occupational health nurse (for faculty and staff). 

 

In rare cases, ongoing symptoms could mean a longer isolation period is warranted, but in general, COVID-19 remains infectious no longer than 10 days after symptoms begin. 

  • The Health & Wellness Center remains open. To be seen at the Health & Wellness Center, call 610-758-3870 to schedule an appointment. Do not walk into the Health & Wellness Center without calling first. Visit the Health & Wellness Center website for additional information.
  • In these times of significant stress, counselors from University Counseling and Psychological Services are available for support and welcome and invite students to call the center to help address their concerns and anxiety to support their coping. They can be reached at 610-758-3880, or if this number is busy, please call 610-758-5183, Mon. - Fri. 8am-5pm. Overnight on-call services are also available and students can be connected to a clinician calling this same number.
  • Visit our "Coping with COVID-19" resource page for support services and wellness resources for the Lehigh community.

If you are experiencing COVID-like symptoms, whether you are unvaccinated or vaccinated--follow the established protocols, including contacting your medical provider to be tested, staying home and away from others to mitigate the risk of spreading the virus, and following any isolation protocols should you test positive for COVID. 

Visit the Vaccination Resources page on the Coronavirus Information Center for more information about Lehigh's policies. 

Masks are required in all indoor public and common spaces regardless of vaccination status. This requirement applies to all students, faculty, staff and visitors.

Students may need to provide a copy of messages they are sent from the Health and Wellness Center, which includes confirmation of their isolation/quarantine start and end dates, to their faculty and instructors. Some instructors may require this information to excuse a student from class.

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. 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, Christine Wolfe, RN, at 610-861-8080 ext. 23504 or Christine.Wolfe@lvhn.org and notify her of your condition.

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. 

At this time, Lehigh University is not requiring any COVID-19 antibody test documentation.  However, we recommend that you keep your COVID-19 testing documentation in case the Lehigh University requirements should change. When providing your information to the Health and Wellness Center, you may be asked additional questions about your diagnosis to help keep your records up-to-date and allow us to provide the most comprehensive care possible. 

For positive results, yesStudents should upload a copy of the report of their POSITIVE test results on the Health and Wellness Center patient portal. Faculty and staff should follow the process established through Lehigh's occupational health provider. Students should contact the Lehigh Health and Wellness Center at 610-758-3870 for additional guidance about isolation and next steps to be cleared for arrival. It is likely that individuals will also hear from their local public health entity.

For negative results, no. You do not need to upload your negative test results. Remember that the results only indicate that the coronavirus was not detected on the day you took the test. You must continue to keep vigilant: wear a cloth face covering, maintain proper social distancing, wash your hands frequently, self-monitor symptoms (complete the self-screening tool if coming to campus) and absolutely stay-at-home if you don’t feel well or have other symptoms.

A close contact is defined by the CDC as someone who was within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more within 2 days prior to illness onset, regardless of whether the contact was wearing a mask. Fully vaccinated individuals are not required to quarantine but at this time may still be referred to be tested. If not fully vaccinated and required to quarantine, demonstrating a negative COVID-19 test does not eliminate the need to quarantine. As part of Lehigh’s contact tracing policy, not fully vaccinated roommates, suitemates, housemates, apartment mates and hallmates are also required to quarantine. This aligns with CDC guidance, which supports some additional mitigation measures for educational congregate settings: “Known close contacts of a positive individual, such as roommates, suitemates, those sharing an apartment, instructors with in-person contact and colleagues of faculty/staff should be quarantined and tested for SARS-CoV-2. All quarantined individuals should follow existing CDC guidance, stay in their current place of residence (in a separate room, if possible) or make alternative housing arrangements, and monitor their health for the prescribed quarantine period after last contact with a person who has COVID-19.”

See additional resources:

If an instructor becomes symptomatic or receives a positive COVID test result, the instructor should shift the class to remote instruction until the instructor receives a confirmed negative test result or, in the case of a positive test, is cleared to return to work. If the instructor is too sick to teach, the class can be rescheduled or an alternative instructor can be found. 

 

Vaccinated or unvaccinated students, faculty and staff who were notified or who believe they are a close contact of someone who tested positive for the virus and are not experiencing significant symptoms may sign up for close contact testing here. Previously, this was only open to students and is now additionally available to faculty and staff. Students who are symptomatic should call the HWC at 610-758-3870 to get tested as soon as possible. Faculty and staff who are symptomatic should call the university’s Employee Health Nurse Case Manager from Lehigh Valley Health Network at 610-861-8080 ext. 23504.

 

 

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. Remember that if you receive a positive test result from testing conducted outside of the HWC, you must report your result by uploading it to the Patient Portal. This applies if you live on or off campus.

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 contacting the university’s Employee Health Nurse Case Manager from Lehigh Valley Health Network, Christine Wolfe, RN, at 610-861-8080 ext. 23504 or Christine.Wolfe@lvhn.org. Christine serves as the key point of contact for Lehigh employees for any health concerns related to COVID-19. She 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. Christine must clear you for your return to work, and she will do so depending on your particular condition and using the most updated CDC guidance at the time.

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 Christine Wolfe 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.

  • Isolation (minimum 10 days) separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. Read more from the CDC about how to "Isolate If You Are Sick," including information about how long you should isolate. 
  • Quarantine (14 days) separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. Read more from the CDC about "When to Quarantine," including a chart with guidance about when to start and end quarantine under various scenarios. The CDC provides options to shorten quarantine, which might include a 10-day quarantine combined with testing. Lehigh students, faculty and staff should follow the guidance provided by the Health and Wellness Center (for students) and Lehigh’s occupational health nurse from LVHN (for faculty and staff).

Read Lehigh's isolation and quarantine policy.

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

During the week, students who are experiencing symptoms can be tested at the Health and Wellness Center. Results are usually available within an hour. Our Health and Wellness Center has additional staff to support those who are reporting symptoms and need to be tested, but there may be cases where the Health and Wellness Center refers you to a partner clinic to be tested.

Supplemental to the Health and Wellness Center, we have partnered with the Lehigh Valley Health Network 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. 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. 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.

You can find information about Lehigh's Surveillance Testing program on our FAQ created specifically for testing.

International Students

The Office of International Students and Scholars has developed a page that answers questions specific to international students.

Isolation and Quarantine

If you have any questions regarding your housing or dining needs during your isolation or quarantine, email inisohsg@lehigh.edu or call 610-758-3500.

If you have questions related to specific medical concerns or symptoms, call the Health and Wellness Center at 610-758-3870 or contact us through the HWC secure message portal.

For questions about surveillance testing, contact inlutest@lehigh.edu.

Visit the isolation and quarantine section of the FAQ for additional answers to questions specific to isolation and quarantining. Consult our COVID-19 Contacts page for contact information not found here.

A close contact is defined by the CDC as someone who was within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more within 2 days prior to illness onset, regardless of whether the contact was wearing a mask. Fully vaccinated individuals are not required to quarantine but at this time may still be referred to be tested. If not fully vaccinated and required to quarantine, demonstrating a negative COVID-19 test does not eliminate the need to quarantine. As part of Lehigh’s contact tracing policy, not fully vaccinated roommates, suitemates, housemates, apartment mates and hallmates are also required to quarantine. This aligns with CDC guidance, which supports some additional mitigation measures for educational congregate settings: “Known close contacts of a positive individual, such as roommates, suitemates, those sharing an apartment, instructors with in-person contact and colleagues of faculty/staff should be quarantined and tested for SARS-CoV-2. All quarantined individuals should follow existing CDC guidance, stay in their current place of residence (in a separate room, if possible) or make alternative housing arrangements, and monitor their health for the prescribed quarantine period after last contact with a person who has COVID-19.”

See additional resources:

Students may need to provide a copy of messages they are sent from the Health and Wellness Center, which includes confirmation of their isolation/quarantine start and end dates, to their faculty and instructors. Some instructors may require this information to excuse a student from class.

Refer to our isolation and quarantining protocol for what to expect if you live on or off campus. 

No. Negative tests do not "test you out" of quarantine if you were identified as having come in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated. If a person who is a close contact has a test during that time and tests positive, then they become a case and must be in isolation starting from the date of the test (or onset of symptoms) for 10 days. Isolation (required for at least 10 days) is for people suspected of having COVID-19 and who are either awaiting a test or confirmed to be a positive case. Read Lehigh’s isolation and quarantine protocol.

Students who completed their isolation or quarantine at home must first be cleared by the Health and Wellness Center (HWC) contact tracing team to return. 

Upon return, students who completed quarantine at home (did not test positive) need to sign up for an on-campus surveillance test to be completed as soon as possible and will not be required to complete another quarantine period while awaiting a test result.

If a student is in quarantine, the mail center will hold the package for the student to pick up after quarantine is over. If it’s a time-sensitive matter, then the student can delegate someone to pick up the package. They can send an email to mailcenter@lehigh.edu stating the name of the person picking up the package so they know they have been provided permission.

No. You do not need to quarantine if you are fully vaccinated (meaning at least 2 weeks after the final dose of a COVID vaccine series) as long as you are not experiencing COVID-like symptoms (however, you must be fully vaccinated in order to be exempt from quarantine).  Students must upload a copy of their COVID vaccination card on the HWC health portal, including documentation of their full name, name of vaccine received, and the administration date for both doses.

Regardless of vaccination status, persons who exhibit new or unexplained symptoms of COVID-19 still need to isolate and be evaluated for COVID-19 testing. Close contacts who have not received the vaccine must follow existing quarantine guidance.

Unvaccinated students or not fully vaccinated students (meaning it has not been 2 weeks after the final dose of a COVID vaccine series) who have been identified as a close contact or who believe that they have been in close contact with a person with COVID in the classroom need to quarantine per Lehigh policy and should schedule a close contact test here. Fully vaccinated students are not required to quarantine, as long as they are not experiencing COVID-like symptoms. Those experiencing symptoms, vaccinated or unvaccinated, must contact the HWC at 610-758-3870 to get tested as soon as possible.

No. In fact, once an individual has tested positive, they should not be tested again for 90 days from the date symptoms started or the date of the positive test. (This policy is based on CDC guidance and reduces the rate of false positives.) For this reason, once the isolation period has been completed and an individual is cleared to return to work or school, evidence of a negative test is not required. When in doubt about when you are able to end isolation, always follow the guidance provided by the HWC (for students) or Lehigh’s LVHN occupational health nurse (for faculty and staff). 

 

In rare cases, ongoing symptoms could mean a longer isolation period is warranted, but in general, COVID-19 remains infectious no longer than 10 days after symptoms begin. 

No. Space on campus is very limited given the health and safety protocols in place, such as low-density occupancy. Students living off campus will be required to self-isolate in their off-campus residence. We urge students and families to consider this when making decisions about living in the Bethlehem area in off-campus housing instead of remaining home.  All students will have access to services from the Health and Wellness Center and access to treatment, including through telemedicine.

  • Isolation (minimum 10 days) separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. Read more from the CDC about how to "Isolate If You Are Sick," including information about how long you should isolate. 
  • Quarantine (14 days) separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. Read more from the CDC about "When to Quarantine," including a chart with guidance about when to start and end quarantine under various scenarios. The CDC provides options to shorten quarantine, which might include a 10-day quarantine combined with testing. Lehigh students, faculty and staff should follow the guidance provided by the Health and Wellness Center (for students) and Lehigh’s occupational health nurse from LVHN (for faculty and staff).

Read Lehigh's isolation and quarantine policy.

No. Studies show that people infected with COVID may be contagious for up to 10 days after symptom onset; therefore, CDC guidance and our policy is that people must remain in isolation for 10 days following a positive test or symptom onset. We have received questions regarding whether a negative test following a positive test would be sufficient to end isolation or to show that a positive test was a false positive. A positive PCR test (which includes all of the testing options offered by Lehigh) is a true positive per medical guidance. Getting a follow-up test after having a confirmed positive test result puts other medical providers who are administering the follow-up test at risk of getting COVID, reduces testing availability and is not sufficient for eliminating or reducing the length of the required isolation period. A positive test from Vault or testing through the Health and Wellness Center (HWC) is positive and will be treated as such through the duration of the isolation period. For more information, visit the CDC website


This guidance also applies to individuals who are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic. Fully vaccinated asymptomatic individuals can spread the virus, so a lack of COVID-related symptoms does not mean you are not spreading COVID if you test positive.

Research & Graduate Studies

Graduate students can find up-to-date information on the Frequently Asked Questions (updated 12/9/20) and also the Graduate Education page. Please visit this page for details about graduate student funding and the work of teaching assistants, research assistants and graduate assistants, as well as information about financial need, health and wellness, and other available support.

Visit the Office of Research and Graduate Studies page for more specific information. Email with additional questions.

Residential Life & Campus Resources

Counselors from University Counseling and Psychological Services are available for support and welcome and invite students to call the center to help address their concerns and anxiety to support their coping. They can be reached at 610-758-3880, or if this number is busy, please call 610-758-5183, Mon. - Fri. 8am-5pm. Overnight on-call services are also available and students can be connected to a clinician calling this same number.

Roommates and suitemates are not required to wear masks in their private rooms, but all students living in the residence halls should wear a mask in hallways and other common areas.

 

Refer to the latest information update on the Transportation & Travel page.

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 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.  

Study Abroad

Many programs have eliminated their Fall 2021 programs, but are hoping to open up in the spring. ITAC will continue to monitor conditions that will affect study abroad programs directed by our partner providers.

Travel & Transportation

If you develop symptoms during or after travel:

  • Students contact the Health and Wellness Center at 610-758-3870 as soon as possible or prior to your return to campus. 
  • Faculty and staff should contact the university’s Employee Health Nurse Case Manager from Lehigh Valley Health Network, Christine Wolfe, RN, at 610-861-8080 ext. 23504 or Christine.Wolfe@lvhn.org and notify her of your condition.

Refer to the latest information update on the Transportation & Travel page.

Many programs have eliminated their Fall 2021 programs, but are hoping to open up in the spring. ITAC will continue to monitor conditions that will affect study abroad programs directed by our partner providers.

The CDC outlines guidelines for vaccinated domestic and international travelers and the PA DOH current travel guidance page can be found here. For Lehigh-specific polices, refer to the travel and transportation page

Working at Lehigh

With the exception of structured activities such as lecture and laboratory classes, we will limit all gatherings to no more than 25 people in attendance indoors and encourage outdoor gatherings over indoor gatherings whenever possible. 

 

Normal cleaning processes will resume. Recent CDC guidance reported that in most cases cleaning alone removes virus particles on surfaces. Disinfection will be required in high risk/high contact areas like eatery entrances, the health center, testing areas, or if someone who is positive for COVID-19 has been in a specific location within the last 24 hours.

We would advise managers of units or supervisors of spaces to contact Facilities via incovmod@lehigh.edu for assistance in addressing any questions or concerns about their workspace(s). 

Yes, they will remain in place for the fall semester.

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

We are limiting plexiglass to areas marked by frequent transactions or similar places of high interaction.  The dividers at these locations will remain in place at present.  We are not installing plexiglass at general locations at this time.

If you are vaccinated, LVHN offers COVID testing for those without symptoms and for those experiencing symptoms. You can obtain a test at many local health centers and pharmacies as well. See the Pennsylvania Department of Health site or Lehigh’s HWC site for lists of local testing resources. For insurance purposes, it may be important to obtain a test in your county of residence or via your primary healthcare provider. 

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. 

For more information, visit the Human Resources website.

That is up to the discretion of the group or department scheduling the meeting.  The University is encouraging everyone to assess when in-person may be more effective than zoom, and vice-versa

Surgical masks will be available from the labstore, located in Seeley-Mudd free of charge to faculty and staff. The labstore is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 am to  2:00 pm (more info here). Deliveries can be arranged for departments or offices if travel to the labstore is not possible. 

 

  • Masks are required indoors in public spaces for both unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals, including in classrooms, shared offices, laboratories, meeting spaces and fitness areas, as well as on buses.
  • Masks are also encouraged for indoor off-campus gatherings.
  • Outdoors, masks are not required but are strongly encouraged in settings where social distancing between individuals or family groups is not possible.
  • Organizers of outdoor events have the latitude to require masks at their outdoor events, recognizing that venue size and density may be factors.
  • Meetings and events with food are discouraged unless they are taking place outdoors.
  • For any social interactions, even in outdoor settings, be mindful of social distancing and consider wearing a face mask for additional mitigation of transmission.
  • Masks may be removed when people are alone in any space. 
  • Masks may be removed while dining in designated dining areas (if in-person dining is occurring).
  • Roommates and suitemates are not required to wear masks in their private rooms but all students living in the residence halls should wear a mask in hallways and other common areas. 
  • Face coverings should be worn over your mouth and nose. 
  • A face shield is NOT an appropriate substitute for a face covering/mask (read more under "Other Types of Face Protection.")

The emergence of the more contagious Delta variant of COVID-19, and evidence that vaccinated people infected with this variant can spread the virus to others, has led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to update its mask guidance.  We have updated our masking policy in response to this change from the CDC. 

We will continue to monitor data and guidance from the CDC and other public health sources, especially as it relates to data on new variants. We will also continue to monitor local transmission rates in Northampton County, as the CDC has advised, and on campus and in South Bethlehem. In addition, we continue to strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated. Even with this new information, the data continue to show that full vaccination is our best course of defense against serious illness from COVID and the threat of new variants. 

Yes, we are continuing to maintain all our ventilation systems, including regularly scheduled filter replacement as per our regular operations. 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. If you have any questions on your system or space please contact your building manager to review.

Some staff members may still feel uncomfortable coming to campus due to concerns about their health. 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 by submitting these forms through email at incovada@lehigh.edu.

Request for Reasonable Accommodation

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 flexplace arrangements, flexible 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.

Staff may use any type of paid leave to accommodate the need to stay home or leave campus early. Staff have also been allotted an additional ten (10) days of sick leave if they exhaust their current available sick leave bank due to COVID19-related illness. The period during which the allotted additional sick leave may be used has been extended through December 31, 2021. Staff may also use their sick leave bank and the ten additional days (if their sick leave bank is exhausted) in order to care for a sick family member who lives in the employee’s home, and has a COVID19-related illness.

If you are out of work because you have been quarantined due to possible exposure to COVID19 or have tested positive for COVID19 yourself, follow the instructions regarding illness or exposure on the HR website.

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.

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 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.