11.2.20: Email to International Students

A message from the Office of International Students and Scholars

Dear students, 

On Thursday, October 29, you received a letter from Lehigh about the university’s plans for the spring 2021 semester. For the spring, Lehigh plans to modestly expand on-campus residential capacity; increase the number of courses that have and require in-person participation; and further expand our COVID-19 testing protocols as we look to increase the number of students on campus. 

While this message included some information about spring, we recognize that you likely have more questions specific to your status as an international student. We hope this email can provide answers.

Students Studying Remotely

While the university plans to increase the number of in-person courses, Lehigh will continue to make courses on the critical path to graduation available remotely so students can make progress towards their degree. We are also working on special advising and accommodations for international students regarding spring course registration. We will share more information about registering for the spring semester in the second week of November. 

Students in Lehigh in Residence

In mid-November, we will also share spring options for international first-year students currently in Lehigh in Residence.

Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors Currently “Studying Abroad” in Their Home Country

The Study Abroad Office has been collaborating with several campus partners, including the Office of International Students and Scholars, college dean’s offices, and academic advisors to give sophomores, juniors and seniors the option to study abroad in their home country of residence. This option may provide a residential experience and the opportunity to attend in-person courses. To support our significant Chinese national student community, we have identified several partner programs in China. We may be able to assist students who are seeking options in other countries.  For more information, contact the study abroad advisor for your college/major.

Students Currently Residing on Campus

All students currently living in residence halls can retain the same room for the spring. They do not need to apply for housing and do not need to remove their belongings from their current room before Thanksgiving break unless they choose not to return to on-campus housing for the spring. 

As is the case every year, we expect that some students will need to remain in campus housing over the semester break.  Housing Services will share information on how to apply for winter housing in the coming days. 

Winter Break Travel

We advise that international students remain in the United States over winter break and avoid traveling internationally. There are still delays at many U.S. embassies and consulates, as well as various travel restrictions. The situation is uncertain and can change at any time. If you have questions about your specific situation, please contact the Office of International Students and Scholars.

Students Planning to Come to Campus for the Spring Semester

New first year international students will have priority for on-campus housing in the spring semester.  Additional information regarding how to submit a housing application will follow from Housing Services . Also, we will inform you of the move-in dates. All undergraduate and graduate students living in the residence halls and/or accessing campus in the spring are required to follow a “return to campus” testing and quarantining protocol. Testing will be coordinated with residence hall move-in dates.

For More Information

We are hosting several virtual meetings for international students on COVID-19 and the spring semester.

Spring 2021 COVID-19 and Campus Health Briefing

Monday, November 9

8:30 am EST

With Nathan Urban, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost; David Rubenstein, executive director of the Health and Wellness Center; and Cheryl Matherly, vice president and vice provost for international affairs.  This meeting will focus on the university’s COVID-19 response plan, health and safety protocols (including for testing) in the spring, and assessment of the COVID-19 infection rates in Pennsylvania and in the US.  

Register here

Town Halls for First-Year Students

For students in Lehigh in Residence: Thursday, November 12, at 8:00 am EST 

For remote students: Friday, November 13, at 7:30 am EST

More information on registering coming soon

With Samba Dieng, director of International Students and Scholars, and other campus leadership.  These sessions will address registration for spring, US travel information, immigration questions, and other arrangement for spring. 

You will receive more specific information about the spring semester later in November, and we will also post updates on the Office of International Students and Scholars website. If you have any questions, please contact OISS at intnl@lehigh.edu.


Samba Dieng

Director, Office of International Students and Scholars


Cheryl Matherly

Vice President/Vice Provost for International Affairs