1.27.21: Information for international graduate students

A message sent to international graduate students.

Dear Students,

Welcome to Bethlehem! Whether you are already here or will be arriving shortly, we wanted to take a moment to review Lehigh’s pre-arrival and arrival requirements for spring 2021.

All students arriving from international locations are required to quarantine for 10 days immediately

upon arrival, and to participate in the two consecutive rounds of Lehigh arrival testing and subsequent

surveillance testing. The 10-day quarantine is mandatory. A negative pre-arrival test does not eliminate the quarantine requirement. 

During this quarantine, you should not leave your residence. “Fresh-air breaks” or exercise outside alone or with another person where social distancing is observed (smaller groups of 2-3 total are preferable if walking with a “buddy” for safety) is allowed while wearing a mask. During quarantine:

  • Do not leave your residence otherwise except for emergency or health-related reasons, such as filling a prescription or seeking medical care.
  • Avoid gathering in groups in common spaces or eating with other people.
  • Do not walk to the dining hall in groups.
  • Do not share water bottles, cups or utensils.
  • Remember to wear a face covering, especially if you share a suite or apartment with others.

The goal of quarantining in the beginning of the semester is to minimize the risk of interactions where the spread of the virus is possible, particularly after travel and before full arrival testing is completed. Around 40% of COVID cases are asymptomatic which means we must take extra precaution to keep everyone safe. We realize this may be a challenge, but we appreciate your help in keeping our campus and Bethlehem community safe. We all must work together to have a successful spring semester. We want to help you get through this time so you are able to join the Lehigh community as soon as possible.

Important Notice:

As of January 26, the CDC will require all air passengers arriving to the U.S. from a foreign country to get tested no more than three days before their flight departs and to provide proof of the negative result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 to the airline before boarding the flight. This required pre-travel test meets Lehigh’s requirements for pre-arrival testing.

On January 25, 2021, President Biden signed a proclamation continuing the suspension of entry of certain travelers from the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Brazil, China, and Iran, and expanding restrictions to include travelers from South Africa. However, students traveling from the Schengen Area, the UK, and Ireland with a valid F-1 visa are automatically considered for a national interest exception to travel.

New Graduate Students:

  • The arrival deadline is February 12, 2021. Please communicate with your department and with OISS to make special arrangements.
  • You must be registered for at least one in-person/hybrid course. SEVP regulations require new international students to participate in some form of in-person study in order to maintain your F-1 student status. Dissertation and thesis sections are defined as in-person courses. You must arrange how often and where to meet to discuss progress with your dissertation/thesis director. FLEX- Classroom also counts as in -person study. Please contact  intnl@lehigh.edu if you have any questions about meeting the in-person study requirement.
  • The deadline to enroll in Lehigh’s health insurance plan is February 5, 2021. As an international student you are required to be enrolled in health insurance. If you believe you qualify for a waiver, please email intnl@lehigh.edu.   

Continuing Graduate Students:

  • Graduate students taking in-person classes and/or living in Lehigh housing should follow the same rules as undergraduate students living off campus in the Bethlehem area and accessing campus. 
  • Graduate students who are not taking in-person courses or accessing campus, and who are not living in Lehigh housing, even if they are living in Bethlehem, are not required to participate in surveillance testing. You should follow the safety plans established by their supervisor, department chair or lab PI and are not required to complete mandatory surveillance testing to gain access. lab to consult with their adviser about COVID-19 lab protocols.

If you have further questions regarding quarantine, please sign into your Lehigh patient portal where you can submit questions for the Health and Wellness Center staff to answer. If you are not feeling well, please email or call the Health Center at inluhc@lehigh.edu or 610-758-3870. 


Cheryl Matherly

Vice President/Vice Provost for International Affairs


Caroline Neal

Intercultural Programs Coordinator


Kathleen Hutnik

Associate Dean for Graduate Student Life