Information Center

Travel/Return to Campus Protocol

Last Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 1:59 pm

The below outlines the return to campus policy for students who were required to travel away from campus during the Spring 2021 Semester.

When Required:

The travel/return to campus protocol pertains specifically to travel away from campus (defined as outside of Northampton, Lehigh, and Bucks Counties) during the regular semester for an extended period of time (defined as more than 24 hours). Travel exclusively for medical appointments is excluded.

During the semester, students should not travel away from the Bethlehem area, 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. Students should refer to the isolation and quarantine policy for specific requirements regarding travel if you test positive for COVID-19 or are identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive).  

Who it Applies To:

  1. fully remote undergraduate students living in Bethlehem,
  2. undergraduate students living off campus in Bethlehem and accessing campus
  3. undergraduate students living in residence halls
  4. graduate students taking in-person classes
  5. graduate students living in Lehigh housing

Students who fall into the above categories who do not follow this process risk code of conduct violations, revocation of campus access, and loss of the tuition reduction for fully remote students. 

Student-athletes should refer to the guidelines for travel and testing communicated by Athletics. 

Graduate students not taking in-person classes who are accessing campus facilities, teaching classes or working on campus (e.g., in a lab) should follow the protocols for faculty and staff in these settings: that is, they must follow the safety plans established by their supervisor, department chair or lab PI and are not required to complete mandatory surveillance testing to gain access. 

Students who have not yet arrived to campus and are considered a late arrival should follow the proper protocols (distinct from this travel policy).  


  • Upon return from travel, students should quarantine and complete their next scheduled on-campus COVID-19 surveillance test as soon as possible. Email to arrange for testing upon your arrival back to campus. If you receive a negative test result sooner than 10 days, you may end quarantine.
  • During quarantine, students should stay in your room/residence, pick up meals only, and continue classes remotely, delaying in-person activities until receiving your negative test result. 
  • On-campus surveillance testing occurs weekly. This test will suffice as your travel test. Again, travel away from Lehigh and the Bethlehem area should be the exception, not the rule, and this system is meant to reduce the risk of students unknowingly contracting the virus when traveling and exposing others.
  • If for some reason you take a test other than the one provided on campus, you must still complete the on-campus surveillance testing as specified above. 
  • Adherence to this protocol is expected. Non-compliance with these processes will be considered code of conduct violations.

Other considerations-

  • Before traveling, students living in residence halls are encouraged to notify your Gryphon in case there is information they need to communicate with you. For example, it is always possible that your floor may be required to quarantine during the semester, and your Gryphon will be able to advise you if quarantine is put into place while you are away or when you plan to return.
  • Students who were placed on quarantine due to being a close contact and who completed quarantine at home must first be cleared by the Health and Wellness Center (HWC) contact tracing team to “end quarantine.” Upon return to Lehigh, you will 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 you have had a positive COVID-19 viral test (PCR or antigen) in the prior 90 days, including during your time away from Lehigh, and have completed your required isolation period, you do not need to take additional tests and do not need to have a negative follow-up test result to return to campus. You do need to upload a copy of this test report on the HWC patient portal and be cleared by HWC staff prior to your return. This lab report must include your full name, date of specimen collection, type of test (PCR or antigen), and test result.