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Coronavirus
(COVID-19)

Information Center

Isolation and Quarantine Protocol

Last Updated: Oct. 13, 2020 at 10:29 am

Lehigh University will use the key public health tools known as isolation and quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the campus community. This protocol is a detailed outline of how we will care for students who are suspected of having COVID-19 or have been diagnosed with COVID-19 based on a positive test result and require isolation as well as for students who have been exposed to COVID-19 and require quarantine.

Report Symptoms to the Health and Wellness Center

Isolation

Isolation is required for students who have tested positive for COVID-19. Isolation is the separation of someone who is ill with or has tested positive for COVID-19 from people who are not sick. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 typically isolate for at least 10 days (the duration of the infective period) from the time symptoms first appear or, in the case of an individual who has a positive test but has not had any symptoms, 10 days from the date that they were tested. Isolation may be required for longer periods depending on the course of symptoms.

CDC Isolation Guidelines

Isolation 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. 

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.

Lehigh-Required Isolation

Lehigh-required isolation involves assignment to a residence with zero public contact due to a COVID-19 diagnosis with or without active symptoms.

In this circumstance, the individual shall receive meals delivered to their door, cleaning supplies for their restroom and living space, bed linens, and check-ins with a HWC healthcare provider. The amount of time spent in isolation will be dependent on the presence of and duration of symptoms and medical provider’s guidance. At minimum, isolation is required for 10 days since the onset of symptoms. In the case of an individual who has a positive test but has not had any symptoms, isolation is required 10 days from the date of the test. If students develop symptoms, they will have a longer duration of isolation.

Faculty will readily accommodate students and help with a plan for continuing their studies during this time.

On-going Care of Students in Required Isolation Who Do Not Require Hospitalization

If the student lives on campus (in a building operated by Lehigh University):

  • Students are encouraged to follow the same CDC guidelines as noted above.

  • Students may not have visitors and may not leave their room except to receive medical care. If a student is having a medical emergency, they should call LUPD and EMS at 610-758-4200 immediately. Students should let dispatch know they are in isolation for exposure to COVID-19. For non-emergency medical concerns, students should call the HWC.

  • The HWC will communicate with the appropriate offices that a student has been diagnosed as a positive COVID-19 case and the student will be assigned a room for isolation.

  • Students will remain in the temporary space until the date cleared by the HWC.

  • Sheets, pillow, blanket, and towels will be placed in isolation spaces prior to a student’s arrival by Housing Services.

  • Dining Services will prepare food and beverages (water, juice, gatorade), which will be left outside the apartment door. Meals are delivered six days/week. For special dietary needs, please call Carrie Gerencher, on-campus registered dietitian, at 484-357-2258.

  • A face covering and health-related information will be given to the student by HWC at the time of testing.

  • Tissues, cleaning and sanitizing solution, hand soap, toilet paper, and paper towels will be available in isolation spaces.

  • Students assigned to isolation spaces should be cleaning the space regularly, twice per day, using cleaning supplies that have been provided.

  • Once an isolation room is vacated, the room will be fully cleaned using best-practice cleaning protocols related to COVID-19. This applies to all university-operated isolation spaces.

  • HWC staff will be in regular contact with all students living in isolation spaces.

  • Students who test positive for COVID-19 may be isolated together (e.g. “cohorting” of positive cases) in separate bedrooms with a shared bathroom.

  • Students with symptoms who are suspected of having COVID-19 who are awaiting test results need to be isolated, but will not be isolated with students who have a known positive COVID-19 test.

If the student requiring isolation (known or suspected COVID-19 case) lives off campus in the local community in a unit or house not owned or operated by Lehigh University (including SouthSide Commons):

  • Students with symptoms who are awaiting COVID-19 test results OR who have a positive COVID-19 test result will be instructed to self-isolate in their off-campus apartment. It is required that students must be in self-isolation and may not return to campus until cleared by the HWC. Any housemates living in the apartment will be made aware of the recommendation for their self-quarantine requirements by the Bethlehem Health Bureau or the HWC. Bethlehem Health Bureau will work with HWC for contact tracing and recommendations once there is a positive COVID-19 test result.

Quarantine

Quarantine is the separation of someone exposed to a COVID-19-positive individual from others to monitor the exposed person for signs of illness.

CDC Quarantine Guidelines

Quarantine 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:

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.

Lehigh-Required Quarantine

For COVID-19, quarantine lasts 14 days (the duration of the incubation period).

Lehigh-required quarantine involves the following:

  • Students are quarantined in the designated housing location for 14 days. Students in quarantine may not attend classes or other campus activities. They may only pick up take-out meals and must immediately return to their residence. 

  • Students living in on-campus housing who have been exposed to a residence hall “hallmate” will maintain housing in their assigned residence hall room during the period of quarantine (single occupancy bedrooms, shared bathroom).

  • Students living in on-campus housing who have been exposed to a non-residence hall “hallmate” case (such as exposure to a student from another residence hall or exposure to a staff or community member with COVID-19) will be relocated to separate quarantine housing with a single bedroom and single bathroom. 

  • Students living in off-campus housing who had close contact with someone with COVID-19 will be instructed to quarantine in their off-campus housing. 

  • Students living in off-campus housing must be in quarantine and may not return to campus until cleared by the HWC. Any housemates living in the apartment will be made aware of the recommendation for their self-quarantine requirements by the Bethlehem Health Bureau or the HWC. Bethlehem Health Bureau will work with HWC for contact tracing and recommendations once there is a positive COVID-19 test result.

  • Specific recommendations for quarantine of particular individuals based on the nature of their particular exposure to COVID-19 will be determined by the Bethlehem Health Bureau and LU HWC through investigation and surveillance of current active COVID-19 cases. Such required quarantine involves no less than 14 days of confinement.

The On-going Care of Students in Mandated Quarantine

In mandated quarantine, students are expected to follow the CDC guidelines:

  • Students may not have visitors and may not leave their room except to receive medical care. If a student is having a medical emergency they should call LUPD and EMS at 610-758-4200 immediately. Students should let dispatch know they are in quarantine for exposure to COVID-19. For non-emergency medical concerns, students should call the HWC.

  • Students will be permitted to pick up take-out dining

  • In the instance of required quarantine on campus, the individuals shall receive cleaning supplies for their restroom and living space, and check-ins with an HWC healthcare provider. Cleaning procedures for restrooms for those quarantining in their residence hall are enhanced and more frequent.  

  • Faculty will readily accommodate students and help with a plan for continuing their studies during this time.

  • The HWC will follow-up with students as needed in accordance with CDC and PA DOH recommendations.

Additional Resources

Go Kit

It is important to note that if you are asked to isolate, you will not be able to leave your isolation space until released by the HWC.  It is recommended that all students assemble a “Go Kit” to have available should you need it.  Students may either bring their Go Kit to the HWC if they are not feeling well or showing symptoms of COVID 19 or you may ask another student to pick up your Go Kit from your room and deliver it to your isolation location (please request they leave it outside of your door so there is no contact).

The university is providing some items in all isolation rooms including:

  • Linens (2 sheets, pillow, pillowcase, 2 towels, washcloth)
  • Paper products (toilet paper, paper towels and tissues)
  • Wellness Kits (thermometer, hand sanitizer, 2 masks)
  • Cleaning supplies. Students should use the cleaning supplies regularly during their stay in isolation, including in bedrooms, common areas and bathrooms.

Supplies you may want to include in your Go Kit:

  • Academic Materials: All class materials, including academic books, notebooks, laptop and other necessary supplies.
  • Personal Medications: Prescribed medications you need for at least 10 days (the duration of the infective period).
  • Hygiene Supplies: Shampoo, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, feminine products, etc.
  • Technology Supplies: Phone charger, laptop charger and a back-up battery.
  • Comfort Food: Consider packing your favorite comfort snacks and drinks as well as a reusable water bottle. The university will be providing bagged/pre-prepared meals for you throughout your stay, but you may wish to bring along your own favorite snacks.
  • Self-Care Items to support your well-being: Art supplies, puzzles, crafts, playing cards, books
  • Blanket

CDC Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Travel, both domestic and international, can present risks associated with exposure to COVID-19. Although travel by the university has been limited, those coming from international locations 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 before accessing campus. Please be aware the list of hot spots in constantly changing and any changes will apply and should be followed. Individuals are not allowed to quarantine in a state listed by Pennsylvania as being a hotspot.​​​​​​

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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 preferable. You must notify your Gryphon before leaving your residence hall for an extended period of time. If you go home, also consider whether upon your return there will still be a quarantine in your residence hall. You must also follow the Return to Campus Protocol before returning to or access campus. 

 

No. Negative tests do not "test you out" of quarantine if you were identified as having come in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.  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.

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.

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.

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.

Refer to the available options here