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Coronavirus
(COVID-19)

Information Center

Health & Safety

Last Updated: Oct. 19, 2020 at 1:38 pm

Enhanced sanitization, social distancing and shared actions to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 will support a safe Lehigh residential experience.

Experiencing COVID-19 Symptoms?

Require 24/7 Supplemental Health Services?

Questions about Isolation and Quarantine?

The health and safety of our community is paramount. Lehigh conducted a comprehensive review of sanitization measures and operations in every area of the university with a focus on enacting the most current and best health practices in the prevention, evaluation and management of COVID-19. We also call on our students, faculty and staff to work together to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 through following four pillars: social distancing, cloth face coverings, personal hygiene and self-monitoring of symptoms with a strict stay-at-home policy for those who are sick. These measures taken by each member of our community serve to protect all of us collectively and enable us to fulfill our mission as a residential educational institution.

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Cleaning, Disinfection & Social Distancing

Our cleaning and disinfection protocols follow rigorous sanitization standards. Details such as turning off hand dryers and temporarily disabling some restroom faucets to maintain social distancing were implemented. Non-bottle fill water fountains were turned off. Classroom and lab space were modified to comply with social distancing requirements. Cleaning schedules were adjusted based on the activity in each building, with a focus on daily cleaning and sanitizing of all entrances, common spaces, food service areas, classrooms, restrooms and high-traffic buildings on campus. Read more on our Facilities & Operations information page>

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Mitigating the Spread of COVID-19

Coronavirus, the virus that causes COVID-19, is primarily spread through the airborne transmission of infected droplets from person to person. There is also some level of transmission likely from contaminated objects. Close contact with large numbers of people increases that risk further. This is why face coverings, hand washing and social distancing are key safety practices. All students accessing Lehigh’s campus will receive a Wellness Kit including two cloth face coverings, hand-sanitizer and a thermometer. Students, faculty and staff will be required to complete training before returning and to follow proper health protocols when on campus, including:

  • Completing a daily self-screening (download the Hawkwatch app to access)
  • Maintaining 6’ social distancing
  • Wearing a cloth face covering in any public space and in any circumstance where interacting with others on campus. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is requiring the use of cloth face coverings when in public. Coverings may be removed when working in a private, single-occupancy office or when eating.
  • Washing hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Viruses that cause respiratory infections can live on your hands and regular hand washing can help protect you from getting sick
  • Avoiding touching your face
  • Covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing

For more specific guidelines, please visit PA Department of Health’s resource, “Help Stop the Spread

HawkWatch app

Hawkwatch App – COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool

The COVID-19 Self-Assessment tool, available through Hawkwatch, helps you assess your symptoms, if applicable, and determine a recommended course of action based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Students, faculty, staff and visitors are required to complete a self-assessment each day before coming to campus. View a step by step guide on how to use Hawkwatch's COVID-19 Self-Assessment tool >

Wellness Kit

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Student Health

The Lehigh Health and Wellness Center (LU HWC) continues to closely follow the guidance provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH), the Bethlehem Health Bureau, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College Health Association (ACHA) to remain current with evolving recommendations and to implement best practices. 

Visit the Health and Wellness Center website for additional information. 

Read about support services and wellness resources for the Lehigh community. 

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Surveillance Testing

As part of Lehigh’s health and safety plan, the university is requiring that individuals undergo COVID-19 testing. Learn more about surveillance COVID-19 testing >

Frequently Asked Questions

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. 

  • 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.

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 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.
  • 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.

More information:

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

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.

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.

Yes. Students 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.

Yes. Students 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.

 

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.

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.

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.

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.

Individuals can be exempt from testing for 12 weeks after a positive PCR test. If you have had a PCR test that documents COVID-19, you can provide the test result to the Health and Wellness Center via the HWC portal and send a secure message to the HWC via the portal to be exempted from testing. If your only documentation of COVID is an antibody test, you must still take a surveillance test.

Transportation to a LVHN Express Care Center will be made available from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for students 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 9-1-1.

Read more about Lehigh's LVHN partnership:
https://coronavirus.lehigh.edu/covid-19-student-health-guide

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 12 weeks after a positive PCR test.

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.

All students, faculty, and staff are required to complete training, complete 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.

Lehigh currently utilizes four modes of testing:

1) Diagnostic testing for symptomatic students seen at the Health and Wellness Center, also called “point of care testing” or rapid testing. Specimen collection is done at the Health and Wellness Center for students presenting COVID-19 related symptoms. The test is processed at the Health and Wellness Center and has a one hour turn-around time. Due to limitations on the availability of test kits, we prioritize these tests for symptomatic students.

2) Specimen collection outside the entrance of the Health and Wellness Center at the Health and Wellness Center tent. This is for asymptomatic close contacts of positive cases. These specimens are sent by courier to HNL Lab Medicine for processing. Turn around time has been 24 hours for the most part, though at times may be longer. This allows for a larger volume of students to be tested.

3) Surveillance testing for asymptomatic students. Students should NOT use this surveillance testing as a way to obtain a test if they are having symptoms or believe they have been a close contact of a positive case. Students are emailed if required to participate in surveillance testing. 

4) Outside testing. Students may be referred by the Health and Wellness Center or reach out on their own to the 24/7 Lehigh Valley Health Network Nurse Information Line that is working collaboratively with the Lehigh Health and Wellness Center for assessment of symptoms and referral for testing at three different LVHN locations off-campus.

All students, on and off-campus, fully remote or not, have access to each of these forms of testing.

Why are some forms of testing utilized over others depending on the situation?

Rapid or diagnostic tests are utilized primarily for students experiencing symptoms. It is important for symptomatic students and Health and Wellness Center staff to know test results quickly so they can make treatment recommendations appropriately and to isolate the student, if necessary, so the potential for spread of the virus to others can be reduced.

Asymptomatic close contacts of students are placed in quarantine for a 14-day period due to the two-to-14-day incubation period of the virus, and as such should have significantly limited close contact with others during this period. Given the limitations on the numbers of rapid tests that Health and Wellness Center can perform, and the need to do high volumes of testing of asymptomatic close contacts, the Health and Wellness Center has utilized HNL Lab Medicine for processing these tests. The same decision principles around testing apply for on-campus as for off-campus students.

Extending into the Thanksgiving break, Lehigh will offer accommodation to on-campus students who require isolation or quarantine due to a positive test result. 


Lehigh strongly encourages that a student not travel after receiving a positive test result. If you must leave campus during the required isolation period, you should follow the directions and guidance provided by the Health and Wellness Center. The HWC’s current recommendation is that students who test positive may travel if they are able to do so by private vehicle, but they should not use public transportation, which includes plane, train, bus, or rideshare. If you have a vulnerable family member at home, you should complete your isolation period at Lehigh or at a location where you can isolate without risking exposure of others. Read more.

According to the CDC:

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

More about Quarantine-

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

Who needs to quarantine?

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

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

More about Isolation-

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

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

You can be with others after

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

Read more.

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.

Yes. On November 17 and 18, we will offer voluntary COVID-19 exit testing to any student living in residence halls and off-campus students who are not fully remote. These tests are not required; however, if you would like to take a test during these days, you must sign up in advance. Students will receive via email a link to sign up for one of these tests, which are not offered on a walk-in basis. Read more.