12.8.20: Important Travel Information and Reminders During Break Housing

A message from Housing Services sent to students living in semester break housing 

Dear Residential Student, 

We hope this email finds you safe and well. 

For the duration of the time you are residing in semester break housing, we wanted to provide important information regarding travel and reminders during your time on campus:

  • Given the increase in positive COVID-19 cases and increasing travel restrictions across the country, we are continuing to strongly discourage nonessential travel away from the area.  Pennsylvania has also issued a stay-at-home advisory in response to the recent surge in positive cases. If you must travel, please familiarize yourself with the Return to Campus testing protocol, explained in further detail below. 
  • We continue to emphasize the importance of social distancing, wearing face coverings, and practicing good hand hygiene.
  • Please be reminded that visitors are not permitted in the residence halls.
  • All health and safety protocols remain in effect in the residence halls and any campus buildings and spaces accessible by residential students. 
  • As you know, access to buildings (such as libraries and the gym) has been limited since before the Thanksgiving break. Building access may continue to be limited, particularly over the scheduled winter break when the University is closed. The University and COVID-19 Response Team are continuing to assess conditions and any changes will be communicated. If conditions allow, we anticipate Taylor Gym’s Welch Fitness Center will be accessible during limited hours (by appointment) to on-campus students only beginning after Monday, January 4.  More detailed information will be available on the Taylor Gym website.
  • Surveillance testing will continue in a limited capacity and continues to be mandatory. If you are selected, please be sure to follow all directions for getting tested.

***Important Action if Traveling***

Please refer to the full Return to Campus Protocol and the requirements before deciding to travel. Be aware that we are observing longer turnaround times for COVID-19 test results, which could impact your ability to follow Lehigh’s or Pennsylvania’s testing requirements for returning to the Commonwealth. Additionally, the University is closed from December 24, 2020, to January 1, 2021. Requests to return will not be processed during this time or over the holiday weekend.  The Health and Wellness Center will be closed, with an on-call provider available for urgent medical issues. Refer to the Health and Wellness Center website for hours and urgent care locations.

For residential students who must travel away from the immediate area (defined as Northampton, Lehigh and Bucks Counties), you should take the following steps:

  • Notify Housing Services by emailing inhouse@lehigh.edu, instead of notifying your Gryphon, as was required during the first half of the semester.
  • In your email, please include the date you are leaving campus, where you are traveling (city, state), and your requested date of return.
  • If you are leaving Pennsylvania, be sure to follow all testing and quarantining protocols as outlined by PA for returning to the Commonwealth in addition to the Lehigh requirements described below. Any new changes will apply, so it is important that you check for updates. Currently, the Commonwealth requires Pennsylvanians visiting other states or anyone who visits from another state to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entering the Commonwealth or after arriving in the Commonwealth. If someone cannot get a test or chooses not to, they must quarantine. 
  • In all cases, including leaving PA or leaving the immediate area but staying in PA, Lehigh’s requirement is you must demonstrate two negative PCR COVID-19 tests at your own cost at least five days apart (but no more than seven days apart) before returning to campus housing or accessing campus.
  • The second test should be taken no more than 10 days before returning to campus. (If leaving PA, your test to return to the Commonwealth—which would need to be negative within 72 hours prior to entering the Commonwealth or after arriving in the Commonwealth—could be used to fulfill this requirement.)
  • Students should upload their two negative test results to the Health and Wellness Center health portal. Do not email a copy of your report.
  • Your report must include the following for proper processing by the Health and Wellness Center: Your name, the date of your test, the type of test (noting that it was a PCR test), and your results
  • Your second test must be uploaded at least two business days prior to your planned arrival on campus to allow time for the process required to reactivate your campus access. Please note that this process may take longer given volume and/or if you have uploaded your test results in the evening or on a weekend. Again, please be advised that the University is closed from December 24, 2020, to January 1, 2021. Requests to return will not be processed during this time. 
  • Once the Health and Wellness Center has confirmed your two negative test results, undergraduate students living on campus will receive notification via email from Housing Services indicating that you are cleared to return to campus. When you have received this clearance from Housing Services, you may return to campus. Please do not come to campus until you have received this clearance.
  • Read the full protocol on the website.

The pre-arrival requirements for all students in the Spring semester, distinct from the Return to Campus Policy, will be communicated by the University closer to the start of the spring semester.

Thank you for your cooperation and support, and be safe and well!  


-Housing Services