11.5.20: Upcoming Required COVID-19 Surveillance Testing and Voluntary Exit Testing

A message to students

Dear Students,

Our next mandatory surveillance testing dates are November 9 and 10 in the STEPS tent and the Tamerler Courtyard tent near Zoellner Arts Center. Participants for these tests are randomly selected. If you are selected for this testing session, you must schedule an appointment and come for your test at the scheduled time, unless you meet one of the following exceptions: 

  • Students who have had a positive test in the previous three months, or who are currently in isolation or quarantine, or who are awaiting test results should not come for surveillance testing. Students should upload any test results from any non-Lehigh test locations on the HWC patient portal.

  • Students who are experiencing symptoms or believe that they have been a close contact of someone with COVID-19 should not do this surveillance testing, but should contact the HWC for appropriate testing. 

  • If you have left the Bethlehem area and will not return for the remainder of the semester, you do not need to be tested. Please email inopen@lehigh.edu to be removed from the list for these testing dates. 

If you have any questions about whether you should do this testing, please send the HWC a secure message through the HWC patient portal

Mandatory Surveillance Testing - Nov. 9 and 10

Some students already were selected for these dates earlier this semester, and additional students have received an email to sign up this week. If you have already signed up for one of these dates, please reference the email you received when you signed up for your scheduled date and time. If you have questions about your appointment, please email inopen@lehigh.edu

Some students may choose to use a test on November 9 or 10 as an “exit test” prior to returning home for Thanksgiving if they plan to depart campus 2-3 days after these test dates. If you plan to do this, please remember to be vigilant about following the established health and safety guidelines from the time you take your test until your return home. A negative test indicates only that you were negative at the time of the test and does not guarantee that you will remain virus-free in the days that follow. Wear a mask, practice social distancing, and avoid social gatherings as you prepare to return to your families. In addition to indicating their move-out date via a survey, on-campus students should inform their Gryphon of their departure. 

Voluntary COVID-19 Exit Testing

On November 17 and 18, we will offer voluntary COVID-19 exit testing to any student living in residence halls and off-campus students who are not fully remote. (Residence halls will close on Monday, November 23, at 3:00 p.m.) These tests are not required; however, if you would like to take a test during these days, you must sign up in advance. Please watch your Lehigh email next week for a link to sign up for one of these tests. These tests are not offered on a walk-in basis. 

Extending into the Thanksgiving break, Lehigh will offer accommodation to on-campus students who require isolation or quarantine due to a positive test result. 

Lehigh strongly encourages that a student not travel after receiving a positive test result. If you must leave campus during the required isolation period, you should follow the directions and guidance provided by the Health and Wellness Center. The HWC’s current recommendation is that students who test positive may travel if they are able to do so by private vehicle, but they should not use public transportation, which includes plane, train, bus, or rideshare. If you have a vulnerable family member at home, you should complete your isolation period at Lehigh or at a location where you can isolate without risking exposure of others.  

Guidance for All Students

We urge all students living both on and off campus to continue to follow the recommended health and safety guidelines, such as wearing face coverings and practicing social distancing, and to be extra vigilant in the days and weeks leading up to the scheduled break and holidays, especially if you plan to return home to your families. 

Also remember that a negative test does not indicate that you are not infected or that you will not get infected in the coming days. It only indicates that you are not shedding detectable levels of the virus at the time that you took the test. Given the incubation time of the virus, tests will likely be negative for 2-3 days after the initial infection. Thus, for a safe return home for Thanksgiving, students should limit close contacts as much as possible for the 10-14 days before beginning close contact with friends or family, especially those who are at high risk. This is especially important if traveling by air, via public transportation or by other means that result in close contact with large numbers of people. 

This year it is particularly important for everyone to get a flu shot. LVHN is providing free flu vaccines for all Lehigh University students, staff, faculty, and contracted employees on November 19 at the STEPS tent from 9am - 4pm. Registration is required. Register for an appointment here.

Over the break, the Health and Wellness Center will remain open and all students can continue to utilize its services, as well as the 24/7 LVHN nurse line and COVID-19 testing resource. 

As you prepare to travel home in the days and weeks ahead, the most effective measures you can take to prevent spreading the virus to friends and loved ones are to continue wearing a face covering in public, practice social distancing, and practice responsible health behaviors such as washing your hands frequently and being thoughtful in your decisions and actions. 


Nathan Urban, Ph.D.

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs


David Rubenstein, Psy.D.

Executive Director, Health and Wellness Center