10.13.21: An Update From the COVID Response Team

A message sent to members of the Lehigh community and Lehigh families. 

Dear Members of the Lehigh Community and Lehigh Families, 

This week, case counts continue to remain low, with 0 active cases for students living on and off campus and 2 active cases for faculty and staff. There are no new updates to the campus status; however, we wanted to share some reminders regarding mask-wearing on campus. 

CDC Mask Guidance Still In Effect:

  • The CDC recommends mask-wearing for locations where community transmission is substantial or high. Northampton County is still noted as an area with high transmission, reporting 681 new cases over the last 7 days as of the most recent October 11 report. 

  • The current transmission level in the County is more than 4.4 times the moderate transmission level (defined as between 10-49.99 new cases per 100,000 people over 7 days). 

  • Given this guidance, masks continue to be required indoors in public spaces at Lehigh for both unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals, including in classrooms, shared offices, laboratories, meeting spaces and fitness areas, as well as on buses. 

Outdoor Gatherings Over Founder’s Day Weekend:

  • As we approach Founder’s Day Weekend featuring the Presidential Inauguration, there will be more visitors and events on campus. 

  • We encourage all members of the community to wear masks, even outdoors when gathering in large groups. 

  • As always, please follow any specific mask and health/safety instructions provided by event organizers.  

Classrooms:

  • In classrooms, mask-wearing continues to be an important component of fostering a safe and healthy learning environment for all students, faculty and instructors. Wearing masks continues to be mandatory in all indoor spaces and one of the best elements of protection against infection. 

  • Faculty and instructors should continue to enforce the mask requirement at all times, and food and drink continue to be prohibited in the classroom. Faculty should ask students to leave class if they violate masking guidelines. Faculty or students may report violations of the masking policy. 

  • Faculty and instructors have the latitude to shift seating as allowable by their assigned room configuration and space. For example, faculty and instructors may ask students to not sit in all or some of the front row of a classroom if there is room and they wish to spread out seating. 

  • If students exhibit symptoms of COVID in the classroom, the instructor may ask them to leave the classroom.

COVID Symptoms (Source: CDC): 

  • Fever or chills

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle or body aches

  • Headache

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • Sore throat

  • Congestion or runny nose

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • The CDC says this list does not include all possible symptoms. Read more

As we approach the colder months, mask-wearing, staying home when sick, washing your hands and following other good hygiene practices remain the best way to prevent spreading COVID as well as other illnesses. Allergies and the flu are increasingly prevalent at this time of the year. When in doubt about whether or not your symptoms are COVID-related, it is always a good idea to get tested or to consult with a medical professional for guidance. 

-COVID Response Team