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Coronavirus
(COVID-19)

Information Center

Health & Safety

Last Updated: Aug. 11, 2020 at 3:25 pm

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

The health and safety of our community is paramount. Lehigh has 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

We are enhancing our cleaning and disinfection protocols to maintain rigorous sanitization standards. Details such as turning off hand dryers and temporarily disabling some restroom faucets to maintain social distancing are being implemented. Non-bottle fill water fountains will be turned off. Classroom and lab space will be modified to comply with social distancing requirements. Cleaning schedules are being 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, 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 >

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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. It is recommended that all students discuss with their parents, primary caregivers and healthcare providers any existing health conditions that should be taken into account when making decisions about returning to campus in the fall. The university has identified housing options for isolation of ill students and quarantine for exposed students. Read our FAQs for information about testing, quarantine, and isolation.

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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Arrival Testing

As part of Lehigh’s health and safety plan for returning to campus, the university is requiring that individuals undergo COVID-19 testing. Proof of a negative test will be required to return to campus for the fall 2020 semester. Learn more about arrival testing >

Frequently Asked Questions

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. 

  • 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.

Any employee, student or visitor entering a University building must wear a cloth face covering to minimize risk to other building occupants and the Lehigh community. 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 but should be worn in public spaces even when others are not present. 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. In August, we will be providing a wellness/safety starter kit for all faculty, staff and students, which will include masks, hand sanitizer and other items. 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.

More information:

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

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

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

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

For all students, faculty, staff and visitors:

  • 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.

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

No, they do not need to present a negative test. However, each guest should complete the COVID-19 Self-Assessment and follow all directions provided with their individual QR code. Those who receive a red QR code will not be permitted to assist with move in. Families who do not have access to the tool through Hawkwatch may complete the web-based version.

After receiving notification and consulting with the Lehigh Health & Wellness Center, Environmental Health and Safety, Human Resources and additional University leadership, LU Facilities will determine the extent of a closure, if needed. LU Facilities will then direct the deep-cleaning and sanitization of the space based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Pennsylvania Department of Health protocols prior to re-opening. Facilities may rely on a third-party industrial disinfection provider to sanitize areas for COVID-19 as needed.

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

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

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.

Yes, if you are traveling through a hotspot state en route to campus, you are required to complete quarantine.  It is important for students and families to check the PA DOH travel restriction web page frequently, as the list of states on the list will likely continue to change.

The University may be able to assist students with high financial need in cases where the costs related to quarantining present a significant hardship to you and your family.  For more information, please visit: https://www2.lehigh.edu/financial-aid/emergency-financial-aid.

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:

Students living on- or off-campus who believe they have symptoms in line with COVID-19 should call the Lehigh Health and Wellness Center (HWC) at 610-758-3870. If you are living on campus, the HWC will assist with determining if you need to be relocated to on-campus isolation housing and the provisions for how you will receive care and support during the time you are isolating. If a student tests positive for COVID-19, including those living off-campus, the student must self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days (note the difference between quarantine and isolation). See additional details from the CDC about when you can be around other people (end isolation). In addition, once you have tested positive, you will be contacted by the local public health entity. In the case of Lehigh University, this is the Bethlehem Health Bureau. The Bethlehem Health Bureau will be managing contact tracing and notification and they will follow up with you, along with the HWC, until you recover.

For faculty and staff:

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

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

If a student tests positive for COVID-19, they must self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days. This means that you will be asked to stay in your apartment or room and not go out for anything except urgent medical care. See additional details from the CDC about when you can be around other people (end isolation). If you are living on campus, the Health and Wellness Center 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. In addition, once you have tested positive, you will be contacted by the local public health entity. In the case of Lehigh University, this is the Bethlehem Health Bureau. The Bethlehem Health Bureau will be managing contact tracing and notification and they will follow up with you, along with the HWC, until you recover.

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.

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.

*****Please refer to the updated message that was sent August 11. We have also prepared a FAQ specific to our pre-arrival and arrival testing program.*****

As part of our health and safety plan for returning to campus, we will be requiring COVID-19 testing for the following: 1. All undergraduate students who did not elect to be “fully remote”; 2. Graduate and professional students who are taking in-person classes; 3. All students who are living on campus; 4. All student-athletes participating in athletic activities 

Students will be required to do two separate tests. For students who will be living on campus and all athletes - the first test will be done prior to arrival on campus, followed by a second test that will be done on campus after arrival. For all other students, both tests will be done shortly after arrival on campus. The goal of testing all students attending in-person classes or accessing campus facilities prior to or soon after arrival on campus is to reduce the likelihood of a student arriving on campus who could transmit COVID-19 to members of the Lehigh campus and surrounding Bethlehem community. We are also exploring options for additional surveillance testing later in the semester. Learn more about arrival testing >

For questions:

  • If undergraduate students living on campus have any questions about receiving or sending back the mail kit, the status of your results, or about your virtual appointment, please reach out to Vault Health at covid@vaulthealth.com.
  • If you have questions about your test results once you have received them, please contact your primary care physician.
  • If you receive a positive test result, you should not travel and will not be able to immediately come to campus. Please contact the Lehigh Health and Wellness Center for additional guidance about isolation and next steps you will need to take to be cleared for arrival. It is likely that you will also hear from your local public health entity. 
  • For general information, please contact the COVID-19 Information Hotline: (888) 347-1966 (toll-free), 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. EDT | July 31–August 12.

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.