Information Center

Return to Campus Protocol

Last Updated: Nov. 24, 2020 at 1:00 pm

This protocol outlines COVID-19 related guidance for undergraduate students who traveled outside of the area (defined as Northampton, Lehigh, and Bucks Counties) for an extended period of time, such as overnight, and applies to all students living on campus or accessing campus. The policy does not apply to students who left campus briefly (e.g., picking up a prescription at the pharmacy). Given the fluidity of changing conditions, this protocol may be updated, and any new changes should be followed. In addition, students should also follow any restrictions directed by the Commonwealth around leaving and returning to PA.

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. Undergraduate students living in on-campus housing must notify their Gryphon before leaving their 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.

Graduate students should refer to the policy updated November 20, 2020.

Before returning to campus, all undergraduate students will be required to:

  • Follow all testing and quarantining protocols as outlined by PA if leaving and returning to the commonwealth. Any new changes will apply, so it is important that you check for updates.
  • You are asked to demonstrate two negative PCR COVID-19 tests at your own cost at least five days apart (but no more than seven days apart) before returning to campus housing or accessing campus.
  • The second test should be taken no more than 10 days before returning to campus.
  • Antigen tests are not acceptable to fulfill this requirement.
  • Students should upload their two negative test results to the Health and Wellness Center health portal. Do not email a copy of your report.
  • All students, faculty and staff have the option of ordering COVID-19 tests directly from Vault Health saliva test. As long as it is a PCR test, your test may be a saliva or nasal test.
  • Students who test positive (if testing was performed outside of the Health and Wellness Center) should upload a copy of the report of their POSITIVE test results on the Health and Wellness Center patient portal. Do not email a copy of your report.
  • Your report must include the following for proper processing by the Health and Wellness Center:
    • Your name
    • The date of your test
    • The type of test (noting that it was a PCR test)
    • Your results
  • If you recently recovered from a positive COVID-19 diagnosis 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 Health and Wellness Center patient portal for review prior to your return.
  • If you were identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19, you are expected to complete one PCR COVID-19 test no sooner than at least 2-3 days after the last date of close contact with the known case and no later than 14 days after the last date of close contact (we recognize in these limited circumstances that it may be more than seven days between tests for those who competed quarantine and/or received your first test at the Health and Wellness Center as a close contact). You must also complete a second PCR test prior to returning to campus. You must complete your 14-day quarantine and be cleared by the Health and Wellness Center prior to returning to campus.
  • Your second test must be uploaded at least two business days prior to your planned arrival on campus to allow time for the process required to reactivate your campus access. Please note that this process may take longer given volume and/or if you have uploaded your test results in the evening or on a weekend.  
  • Once the Health and Wellness Center has confirmed your two negative test results, undergraduate students living on campus will receive notification via email from Housing Services indicating that you are cleared to return to campus. When you have received this clearance from Housing Services, you may return to campus. Please do not come to campus until you have received this clearance. 

The University may be able to assist students with high financial need in cases where costs present a significant hardship to you or your family. For more information, please visit our Emergency Financial Aid page >