11.18.21: Reminder: COVID-19 Protocols for Staff and Faculty

A message sent to faculty and staff

Dear Colleagues,

Even though we are still seeing a low number of positive cases among our colleagues, the Lehigh Valley continues to see significant spread of the COVID-19 virus. Case numbers in Northampton County have been on the rise over the past several weeks. In the energetic hustle of the holidays, which typically includes indoor gatherings, community transmission may increase further. Here are some reminders about practices and resources available to our University community. 

What do I do if I am experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19?  

  1. Stay home—or, if you are on campus, immediately go home—and notify your supervisor or department chair. 
  2. Contact your primary care physician and follow their advice, including scheduling a COVID-19 test, if recommended.
  3. **Contact the university’s Employee Health Nurse Case Manager from Lehigh Valley Health Network, Christine Wolfe, RN, at Christine.Wolfe@lvhn.org or at 610-861-8080 ext. 23504 and notify her of your condition. You must contact Christine, as she will provide guidance, facilitate contact tracing if needed, and clear you for return to work. You can find more information about Lehigh’s partnership with LVHN here.   

What do I do if I test positive? 

Employees who have been on campus or in close proximity to other Lehigh community members must notify the Employee Health Nurse Care Manager, Christine Wolfe, RN, and notify Lehigh by following the instructions in the COVID-19 Return to Campus Employee Health Guide. You may not return to work until Christine clears you to do so. Christine serves as the key point of contact for Lehigh employees for any health concerns related to COVID-19 and facilitates care through recovery and return to work for any employees who suspect exposure or may test positive for COVID-19, working closely with Lehigh Human Resources throughout the process. This includes the facilitation of appropriate contact tracing. 

What do supervisors and department chairs do if an employee reports a positive test? 

Staff and faculty are not required to divulge that the reason for their absence is due to a COVID-19 isolation or quarantine. However, if they choose to share this with you, treat this as confidential information and follow up with Christine Wolfe or Human Resources to make sure the information and all services are being extended.

If a staff or faculty member has recently been on campus or in contact with colleagues, a supervisor or department chair may share with an office that a person who has tested positive has recently been in their workspace. If a colleague was in close contact with the positive case, they will be contacted by Christine Wolfe. If they do not hear from Christine, they are not considered a close contact but should still monitor their own health and, if necessary, schedule a close contact test

The supervisor or chair can share the information with a department administrator confidentially to ensure the execution of proper protocols. A supervisor, department chair or administrator can also contact Christine Wolfe to make sure all necessary steps are being taken to assist the staff member and notify appropriate parties of the situation.

What do I do if I test negative? 

If you have not been designated a close contact and are asymptomatic, there is nothing more you need to do. If you have been placed in quarantine, share your negative test result with Christine Wolfe, who will clear you for return to work once the recommended time has been complete. You may not return to work until she clears you to do so.

What do I do if I have been identified as a close contact or believe I am a close contact?  

If you are vaccinated, you are not required to quarantine, as long as you are asymptomatic. You should monitor your health for symptoms and sign up for close contact testing here. If you are unvaccinated, you are required to quarantine per Lehigh policy and should schedule a close contact test here.

What if I have questions or concerns during a holiday or while on vacation? If you contact Christine Wolfe on a holiday, expect that there will be a delay in responding. The best way to contact is via email with a description of your questions or concerns, which she can then respond to when she does return. If you are experiencing COVID-related symptoms, contact your primary care physician and follow their advice, including scheduling a COVID-19 test if recommended. 

Thank you for your attention to these protocols and for your efforts to keep our community safe and healthy. As you enjoy the upcoming holiday season, please continue to take good care of yourselves. 

Thank you, 

Chris Halladay

Associate Vice President, Human Resources

Nathan Urban

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs