We know that Halloween is typically a time of celebration and socialization, and that during a normal semester many of you would be planning to attend parties or large gatherings this weekend. Unfortunately, this weekend cannot be what it might normally be. Please be thoughtful in your decisions and actions in the days ahead as they may affect the health and safety of your friends, as well as members of the Bethlehem community.
The choices you make now will also affect our ability to complete the fall semester on campus and move forward with our plans for spring. Our community has already experienced a brief setback with regard to an increase in COVID-19 cases on campus. Fortunately, thanks to increased attention to our health and safety protocols, we were able to begin to resume campus activity. We do not want to lose the momentum we’ve gained.
We must remain vigilant. What might seem like “just a party” can quickly become an opportunity for the spread of COVID-19 among you and your peers—and then possibly to other more vulnerable members of the community. Remember: An individual can carry the virus without experiencing any symptoms and easily pass it on to someone else.
We cannot understate the importance of following all health and safety protocols at all times. These include wearing a face covering, maintaining 6 feet of social distancing, and avoiding gatherings of more than 5 people. If an activity does not allow for these protocols, please do not participate. We invite students on campus to explore activities that do not involve gathering in groups of more than 5, including those listed on the Student Affairs events calendar.
Prior to the start of the semester, you signed a Student Social Contract, which outlined the university’s expectations of students living on campus or in an adjacent off-campus environment. These expectations include adherence to protocols designed to promote the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and South Bethlehem neighbors. Please be aware that LUPD and Bethlehem PD will respond to reports of unsafe behavior at residences and local establishments, and will conduct extra patrols of neighborhoods throughout Halloween weekend. We will continue to strictly enforce through the code of conduct process all COVID-19 related violations. If you observe people who are not meeting the expectations we have set for maintaining a safe environment, please report them here.
We are proud of how you have responded this fall to the challenges the pandemic has placed before all of us. We ask that you continue to do the right thing and exercise responsibility for your actions, which can have an immediate impact on the health and safety of others, as well as our ability to have a safe and successful remainder of the semester.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Vice President for Student Affairs
Chief of Police, Lehigh University Police Department