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Coronavirus
(COVID-19)

Information Center

Health & Safety

Last Updated: Jul. 6, 2021 at 1:45 pm

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?

Help Stop the Spread of COVID-19

Each of us has a critical role to play, and we need to work with one another to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 in our community.

Mitigating the Spread of COVID-19

Mitigating the spread of COVID-19 is everyone's responsibility. Getting vaccinated is one of the best individual actions you can take to support the health and safety of the entire community.

COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool on HawkWatch

Students, faculty, staff and contractors are required to assess any potentially COVID-related symptoms and take appropriate action.

COVID-19 Vaccination Resources

This page provides a compilation of resources regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and information about Lehigh-related vaccination policies.

Health and Wellness Center

The Lehigh Health and Wellness Center (LU HWC) provides services for students.

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions marked with a bell emoji have been added recently.

For students:

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

For students who are experiencing symptoms, we have partnered with the Lehigh Valley Health Network as a supplemental resource to provide access to their 24/7 nurse triage line (1-888-402-LVHN). Speak with a nurse to assess COVID and other symptoms, answer your questions, and discuss your testing options. A video visit is also an option. Additional information will be published on our website. For those who are tested at an alternate location, be aware that if you are not taking a rapid test, your results may take several days to be processed. If you receive a positive test from an outside source, be sure to let the Health and Wellness Center know and to upload your results on your health center portal.

For faculty and staff:

Faculty or staff members with symptoms should stay home and notify your supervisor or department chair. If you arrive on campus and begin to feel symptoms consistent with COVID-19, immediately notify your supervisor or department chair and go home. You should contact your primary care physician first and follow their advice, including scheduling a COVID-19 test, if recommended. This testing can be done by your Primary Care Physician or can be coordinated through our occupational health services partnership with Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN). Any faculty or staff member who has been on campus or in close proximity to other Lehigh community members and receives a positive COVID-19 test result should self-isolate, follow a primary care physician’s advice, contact the university’s Employee Health Nurse Case Manager from Lehigh Valley Health Network, Christine Wolfe, RN, at 610-861-8080 ext. 23504 or Christine.Wolfe@lvhn.org and notify her of your condition.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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.

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

 

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

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.

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

Yes. Supplemental to our Health and Wellness Center, we have partnered with the Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) to provide access to their 24/7 nurse triage line (1-888-402-LVHN). Speak with a nurse to assess COVID and other symptoms, to answer your questions, and discuss your testing options. A video visit is also an option. Additional information is available in the guide published here. For those who are tested at an alternate location, be aware that if you are not taking a rapid test, your results may take several days to be processed. If you are experiencing a true medical emergency and need to visit the hospital or emergency department, you should call 9-1-1. If you receive a positive test from an outside source, be sure to let the Health and Wellness Center know and to upload your results on your health center portal.

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

For all undergraduate and graduate students:

If a student tests positive for COVID-19, including those living off-campus, the student must self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days. Refer to our isolation and quarantining protocol for what to expect if you live on or off campus. Remember that if you receive a positive test result from testing conducted outside of the HWC, you must report your result by uploading it to the Patient Portal. This applies if you live on or off campus.

For faculty and staff:

Any faculty or staff member who has been on campus or in close proximity to other Lehigh community members and receives a positive COVID-19 test result should self-isolate, follow a primary care physician’s advice, notify your supervisor or department chair of your absence, and notify Lehigh by contacting the university’s Employee Health Nurse Case Manager from Lehigh Valley Health Network, Christine Wolfe, RN, at 610-861-8080 ext. 23504 or Christine.Wolfe@lvhn.org. Christine serves as the key point of contact for Lehigh employees for any health concerns related to COVID-19. She facilitates care through recovery and return to work for any employees who suspect exposure or may test positive for COVID-19, working closely with Lehigh Human Resources throughout the process. Christine must clear you for your return to work, and she will do so depending on your particular condition and using the most updated CDC guidance at the time.

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

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

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

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

See additional resources:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read Lehigh's isolation and quarantine policy.

During the 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.

Provost Urban provided guidance in the message linked here.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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