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Coronavirus
(COVID-19)

Information Center

All Frequently Asked Questions

Last Updated: May 12, 2021 at 3:10 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

Incoming first-year students may utilize the resources found on the First-Year Experience website

Yes. Learn more about Fall 2021 orientation opportunities here

Yes. The large tents assembled on campus near Zoellner (AC Tamerler Courtyard Tent), STEPS (AC STEPS Lawn Tent), the University Center (AC Bell Tower Bungalow Tent) and Iacocca will be available for reservation. Organizations and student advisors will be able to reserve them via 25Live for special events and recreational activities following the approved limits on gatherings. 

Yes. Move-in for first-year students will occur between Monday, August 16, and Thursday, August 19. 

In the midst of this challenging semester, we are looking forward with a sense of optimism to Fall 2021. With the prospect of widespread vaccinations for COVID, we anticipate that infection rates will be significantly lower. This allows us to plan for the restoration of a more typical Lehigh experience with in-person classes, traditional housing, social interactions, cultural activities and events.

Yes. Our fall plans are subject to changes due to the spread of the virus, vaccination rates and external factors.

We anticipate the fall semester will begin as planned on August 23 for undergraduate and graduate students and that classes will be primarily in person. We intend to build on what we have learned regarding remote teaching and will incorporate technology and remote learning where appropriate.

A robust residential experience has long been an important part of the Lehigh undergraduate student experience. We are planning for on-campus housing similar to the system that was in place pre-pandemic, with students having the option to live in single, double, triple and quad rooms in the residence halls. We also anticipate that the Greek houses will be available to these organizations. Isolation housing will still be available for students who contract COVID, as no vaccine is 100% effective.

Stay up-to-date on the latest vaccination information, resources, and Lehigh policies on the Lehigh vaccination resource page

Yes. We anticipate that we will continue to use COVID testing as a tool for assessing and promoting the health of our campus. High-reliability rapid testing may supplant the current approach as its quality improves.

Large in-person gatherings will likely resume within some limits based on state guidelines and recommendations from health officials. Restrictions on gathering size may affect our largest events, especially those held indoors. For example, audience size at sports competitions and arts performances may be limited. The operations of our intercollegiate athletics will be influenced by NCAA and Patriot League regulations. We are planning for other fall events, such as The Rally, Convocation and Founder’s Weekend, to be in-person with modifications such as density reductions if needed.

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.

In many offices and functions across the university, we have learned how to work remotely with great success. We are reviewing our policies and best practices on remote work to determine how we can improve flexibility and efficiency through the expansion of remote work opportunities for faculty and staff. New policies governing remote work will be in place by the fall. We cannot understate, though, the value of being together. With safety protocols in place, routine in-person interactions and meetings will help to connect people to each other and to Lehigh in ways that are not easy to replicate remotely. Read more about the two-stage transition to the phased resumption of on-campus work

We expect travel will gradually return to normal, and we are in the process of developing guidelines around how we will gradually restore the usual processes for booking and approval of university-sponsored travel. Travel to areas where COVID or COVID variants are more common or where vaccination is not prevalent may still require specific approval. Quarantining or testing requirements following travel may continue in these situations.

We anticipate there will be some limited opportunities for students to study abroad during the fall semester; study abroad staff will communicate with students as we learn more about which countries and programs will reopen to U.S. students.

Guests will be welcome on campus. Seminar speakers will begin to make in-person visits. Conferences and other events in which large numbers of people from across the country gather may need to follow testing procedures. We anticipate that weddings will again be held in the church.

Academics

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.

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

 

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

 

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

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 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.

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.

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

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.

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

  • 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.

For students:

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

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

For faculty and staff:

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

 

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

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.

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 six feet of an infected individual for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. The Health and Wellness Center is testing students who are close contacts and may refer you to the outdoor testing tent established for this purpose. The lab turnaround time for these tests is between 24 and 48 hours. Close contacts are placed on quarantine for 14 days from the date of last close contact. Demonstrating a negative COVID-19 test does not eliminate the need to quarantine.

Lehigh provided guidance to students, faculty and staff to limit travel. We do not encourage or recommend leaving campus, especially if quarantining or isolating, but recognize there may be extenuating circumstances in which returning to your home and family may be necessary. Students living on or access campus must follow the Return to Campus Protocol before returning to or regaining access to campus. In addition, students should also follow any restrictions directed by the Commonwealth around leaving and returning to PA.

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. If you are randomly selected for surveillance testing and believe your prior positive test result exempts you from the test, please upload your positive test result to the HWC portal and send a secure message to the HWC via the portal to request exemption. You may be exempt from testing for 90 days after a positive PCR test.

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

For all undergraduate and graduate students:

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

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

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

For faculty and staff:

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

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

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

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

Refer to our COVID-19 Testing Options page for information about the tests available to on- and off-campus students. 

Yes. Anyone entering a University building must wear a cloth face covering to minimize risk to other building occupants and the Lehigh community. This policy is informed by guidance from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the CDC, and Pennsylvania Department of Health and tailored to the unique context of our residential and University community.

On the Lehigh campus:

  • Face coverings are required to be worn over your mouth and nose in any public area, and in any circumstance where interacting with others on campus. At Lehigh, we consider this to include all of our buildings as well as outdoor spaces where social distancing may not be possible at all times, such as on campus walkways and waiting areas. Individuals who are alone outdoors are not required to wear a mask; however, individuals should continue to wear face coverings when < 6 ft of another person and always carry a mask with them for this reason. 
  • Coverings may be removed when working in a private, single-occupancy office with the door closed or when eating, but should be worn in public spaces even when others are not present.
  • If you are sharing an office with another person, even if you are socially distanced, you should wear a mask at all times. 
  • A face covering is not a substitute for social distancing. Everyone should still be striving to maintain a six-foot distance between each other at all times.
  • Since we often do not know when situations will require them, cloth face coverings and appropriate PPE should be kept with you at all times on campus.
  • We provided a wellness/safety starter kit for all faculty, staff and students, which includes masks, hand sanitizer and other items.

Double-masking:

  • We strongly recommend double-masking whenever you are near others. This is now recommended by the CDC, and evidence shows that well-fitting double masks (such as a surgical mask worn under a cloth face covering) offer more protection against the virus than a single covering. 

More information:

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.

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.

  • 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.

Read Lehigh's isolation and quarantine policy, including information about the CDC's and PADOH's recently updated quarantining guidelines. 

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. Transportation to a LVHN Express Care Center will be made available for students who are living on campus by calling 610-758-4295. 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.

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.

All students, faculty, and staff are required to complete all necessary training and health requirements such as testing and quarantining before returning, and follow proper health protocols when on campus.

For all students, faculty, staff and visitors:

  • Students who left campus or the Bethlehem area overnight or longer must follow the travel and return to campus protocol.
  • A daily self-screening is required before coming to campus (download the Hawkwatch app to access the tool).
  • All are encouraged to wash their hands frequently and take proper health precautions, such as staying home when sick
  • The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is requiring the use of cloth face coverings when in public. On the Lehigh campus, face coverings are required to be worn in any public area, and in any circumstance where interacting with others on campus. At Lehigh, we consider this to include all of our buildings as well as outdoor spaces such as campus walkways, where social distancing is not possible. Coverings may be removed when working in a private, single-occupancy office or when eating.
  • A face covering is not a substitute for social distancing. Everyone should still be striving to maintain a six-foot distance between each other at all times.

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

Students who are living in on-campus housing, who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19, will be able to self-quarantine in the residence halls either on their current residence hall floor (if the contact was another student on that floor) or in separate quarantine housing as determined by the LU HWC, the university and Bethlehem Health Bureau. Students who are living in off-campus housing will not be provided with on-campus quarantine housing if they have had close contact with someone with COVID-19. Read more

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.

Yes. Students quarantining who have not tested positive may utilize the socially distanced take out process to pick up meals. This process is designed to minimize contact with others and follows all appropriate health and safety protocols, including limiting the number of students gathering and incorporating socially distancing queuing as necessary. Students place their takeout containers through a small opening on a tray, which dining staff then uses to place the food on; the server then puts the tray (never touching the takeout container) through the opening for the student to take. Both students and staff are wearing masks and staff are behind glass. Students are in and out of the dining halls within 10-15 minutes and stand socially distanced while in the dining hall. 

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

  • 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.

Read Lehigh's isolation and quarantine policy, including information about the CDC's and PADOH's recently updated quarantining guidelines. 

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 inopen@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 six feet of an infected individual for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. The Health and Wellness Center is testing students who are close contacts and may refer you to the outdoor testing tent established for this purpose. The lab turnaround time for these tests is between 24 and 48 hours. Close contacts are placed on quarantine for 14 days from the date of last close contact. Demonstrating a negative COVID-19 test does not eliminate the need to quarantine.

Refer to the available options here

No. You do not need to quarantine after completing all doses of the COVID vaccine 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.

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.

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.  You need to complete the full 14 days of quarantine. 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.

If you have 14 days worth of clean laundry and it is possible to wait, please do so. For students who are quarantining--who do not have a positive COVID-19 diagnosis and are monitoring symptoms--it is permissible for you to load your clothes into the washer and dryer, return to your room, or pick up your laundry and return to your room, as long as you are wearing a face covering, wipe down the machines with a sanitizing cloth, and maintain a distance of six feet from others. Follow all procedures in place that support minimal gathering in the laundry room at any given time. Use Laundry Alert (sign in code: lu1473) to see which machines are in use and how many are available. The goal is to avoid interactions with others to minimize exposure, and the risk is low if you take these precautions. Those who are isolating as a result of testing positive for COVID-19 are not permitted to leave isolation housing.

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.

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.

Visitors are not permitted in the Packer/230 West Packer residences. Saucon Village residents living in graduate and non-traditional housing are currently permitted to have visitors in accordance with their lease terms. Visitors during this time are only permitted access to your personal living area and are not permitted to access other campus spaces or facilities. Current campus restrictions should always be followed. Students who are hosting visitors in their apartment are responsible for knowing the current university protocols and communicating them with their visitor(s). A visitor is required to complete a self-screening.

Residential Life & Campus Resources

Undergraduate students are not permitted to host visitors from off campus in any Lehigh residence hall, building or facility. 

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

Lehigh provided guidance to students, faculty and staff to limit travel. We do not encourage or recommend leaving campus, especially if quarantining or isolating, but recognize there may be extenuating circumstances in which returning to your home and family may be necessary. Students living on or access campus must follow the Return to Campus Protocol before returning to or regaining access to campus. In addition, students should also follow any restrictions directed by the Commonwealth around leaving and returning to PA.

Visitors are not permitted in the Packer/230 West Packer residences. Saucon Village residents living in graduate and non-traditional housing are currently permitted to have visitors in accordance with their lease terms. Visitors during this time are only permitted access to your personal living area and are not permitted to access other campus spaces or facilities. Current campus restrictions should always be followed. Students who are hosting visitors in their apartment are responsible for knowing the current university protocols and communicating them with their visitor(s). A visitor is required to complete a self-screening.

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.  
  • All faculty, staff, and graduate students are permitted access to the same buildings but 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 and surveillance testing locations, 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.

Yes. Students quarantining who have not tested positive may utilize the socially distanced take out process to pick up meals. This process is designed to minimize contact with others and follows all appropriate health and safety protocols, including limiting the number of students gathering and incorporating socially distancing queuing as necessary. Students place their takeout containers through a small opening on a tray, which dining staff then uses to place the food on; the server then puts the tray (never touching the takeout container) through the opening for the student to take. Both students and staff are wearing masks and staff are behind glass. Students are in and out of the dining halls within 10-15 minutes and stand socially distanced while in the dining hall. 

The opening of campus buildings and the numbers of people allowed in these buildings will be adjusted over the course of the semester as pandemic conditions change. When buildings like the library, fitness facilities are open, students in residence halls will have access to these campus facilities. The semester will start off with limited access to facilities, such as the library, as we resume the semester, determining what is safe, and adjusting throughout the semester as needed given changing conditions.

Those who live off-campus but are not fully remote will have similar access but not be allowed to live in on-campus housing. If there is a significant increase of COVID-19 cases in the surrounding area, this access may become more restricted.

Those students who choose the fully remote option and the associated tuition discount will only have in-person access to the Health and Wellness Center.

As always, students are expected to comply with the guidelines in the Code of Conduct and Community Commitments whether they are on or off campus. Now more than ever, it is imperative that off-campus students consider their impact on the South Bethlehem community. Students are expected to comply with local guidelines related to social distancing or other health measures, as well as the rest of the Code of Conduct. The sanctions related to violations could range from a warning to suspension/dissolution from the university depending on the severity of the case and the individual or organizations prior conduct record. 

 

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.

Yes. The Mail Center is accepting packages (effective immediately) for the fall semester and it is open to all students—on-campus and off, fully remote or not. Masks will be required, there are new hours and occupancy restrictions so plan accordingly. Visit mailcenter.lehigh.edu for more information.

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

We are working with study abroad providers in a number of countries to determine what options are available based on local conditions. 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

We ask all students to avoid travel as much as possible outside of the Bethlehem area once they arrive for the spring semester, except for emergency circumstances, as this will reduce the risk of infection and transmission of the coronavirus. This includes trips home to visit family and friends, and especially to other college campuses or for related social activities. 

For students who must travel outside of Bethlehem during the semester, they should follow all requirements set by the PA DOH and Lehigh upon return, including testing and quarantining requirements. Read the requirements

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 Terri Latvis, the university’s Employee Health Nurse Case Manager from Lehigh Valley Health Network at 610-861-8080 ext. 21237 or Teresa.Latvis@lvhn.org.

We are working with study abroad providers in a number of countries to determine what options are available based on local conditions. 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

Tuition & Financial Aid

No, tuition will not be discounted during the semester as a result of temporarily limiting campus access or restricting the use of facilities. At the beginning of the semester, we advised students and families that campus access and activity may change throughout the semester given evolving conditions and to take this into account when making decisions about choosing "fully remote” status (which provides a 10 percent reduction in tuition) or “not fully remote” status (which allows access to campus facilities and does not provide a tuition reduction). We understand this is a decision families have to make individually when deciding whether to be fully remote or not. Any restrictions to campus activity or university facilities are implemented for the health and safety of the community and are continually revisited with the goal of reopening/resuming activity as soon as practicable (balancing health and safety as a priority).

If a student decides to leave there is no refund for housing or tuition, except as stated in the refund policy: a tuition refund is issued on a prorated basis if the withdrawal is before 60% of the semester has been completed. Housing refunds are not allowed unless we are able to find someone else to fill the accommodation.

Yes. There will be a 10-percent reduction in undergraduate tuition for the fall and spring semesters for those students who choose to take classes fully remotely. These students, whether they live in South Bethlehem or elsewhere, will not have in-person access to campus facilities, with the exception of the Health and Wellness Center. Please note: No one will automatically be considered fully remote. Students must have designated their fully remote status at the beginning of the semester in order to qualify. 

Need-based financial aid is based on the total cost of attendance; therefore, students receiving need-based aid will see their financial aid decreased to reflect the 10 percent reduction in tuition for those who choose the fully remote option. Students will be notified via email when their financial aid award has been updated and they can view their updated awards on the portal. If you are having trouble accessing your information on the portal, please follow these instructions.

If you have questions or concerns about your financial aid award, please contact the Office of Financial Aid at financialaid@lehigh.edu, or by calling 610-758-3181. 

This guidance may be helpful to reference:

On Campus - Access to on-campus facilities, no tuition reduction, housing is charged and financial aid is not adjusted

Off Campus and remote - No access to on-campus facilities, with the exception of the Health and Wellness Center, 10% tuition reduction, housing is not charged and financial aid is not adjusted

Off Campus and NOT remote - Access to on-campus facilities, no tuition reduction, housing is not charged and financial aid is not adjusted

At home/with family and remote - No access to on-campus facilities, with the exception of the Health and Wellness Center, 10% tuition reduction, housing is not charged and financial aid is adjusted based on the commuter allowance

At home/with family and NOT remote - Access to on-campus facilities, no tuition reduction, housing is not charged and financial aid is adjusted based on the commuter allowance

General Vaccine Information

The CDC says yes - view their 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?"  

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..."  

 

Increasing data shows that in addition to preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID, vaccinations are also effective in reducing the likelihood vaccinated individuals can spread the virus to others. 

References:

The Lancet indicates a 75% reduction in transmission two weeks after full vaccination:

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(21)00448-7/fulltext

The National Geographic reports vaccines block most COVID-19 transmission:

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/yes-vaccines-block-most-transmission-of-covid-19

 

No. You do not need to quarantine after completing all doses of the COVID vaccine 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.

As of April 21, 2021, the University has decided that a vaccine will be required this fall for all Lehigh undergraduate and graduate students participating in on-campus programs and activities. This requirement will operate similarly to our existing requirements for other immunizations and will begin to be implemented for students living on campus this summer. All students accessing campus will be subject to this requirement, but it will not apply to students participating in programs that are fully online or which never meet on campus. Read more about who this requirement applies to below. Students may request an exemption for medical or religious reasons by submitting your request to the Health and Wellness Center through the patient portal.  

While currently not required for faculty and staff, we strongly encourage all community members to get the vaccine now that everyone is eligible to do so.

No. Lehigh does not have a role in distributing the vaccine; however, we are staying current on the progress of its rollout. For distribution and eligibility information, please check your home state website or visit Pennsylvania’s vaccine rollout page.

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 an excellent resource compiling safety information for COVID vaccines, including information for specific vaccines. The CDC has information about adverse effects here

 

Working at Lehigh

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

 

 

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

 

Lehigh will be extending the additional sick leave provision (which had been set to expire on July 1) to June 30, 2021. 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 Human Resources COVID-19 Guidance page for further information.

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.