Dear Members of the Lehigh Community and Lehigh Families,
As we conclude the third week of the spring semester, we are continuing to see a manageable number of COVID cases on campus. As we continue surveillance testing across the whole student population, the current case counts we are seeing for students are expected, and cases are continuing to decrease in the broader Northampton County community. Vaccination and boosters also are continuing to provide significant protection. Most cases that have been reported to the university have not been severe.
Campus Status Change
Given continuing low numbers of cases and the very small number of cases of severe illness, we are removing the 25-person indoor gathering limit. All other protocols as noted on the campus status page, including mask-wearing indoors, will remain in place unless communicated otherwise, and we encourage meeting organizers and event planners to take into consideration current transmission rates as part of their plans and the noted rules for providing food. We are discussing further changes and more fully resuming additional activities and operations throughout the semester, assuming case counts are low. These will be communicated as they occur.
COVID has been with us for more than two years and we have learned a great deal about how to prevent its spread. Many aspects of managing this virus and the pandemic have become routine parts of our daily life. While COVID remains a serious virus, we believe our high rates of vaccination and boosters have reduced the impact on our campus, especially by reducing serious illness and death.
In recognition of this context, and while we would expect that some spikes in cases may continue to occur throughout the semester, our communications will shift their focus to providing significant operational changes and clarifying timely information. This may mean some weeks, the COVID Response Team will not share an update. We will only send email updates if there are significant changes in COVID-related conditions on campus or if we receive questions that necessitate broad clarification. As the semester progresses, testing and the regular monitoring of conditions will continue as university leaders prioritize the health and safety of the Lehigh and greater South Bethlehem communities.
We have heard your feedback that email and information fatigue is a challenge. By focusing our future updates on important new information, we hope to lighten the load in your inbox. On-demand sources of information, such as the dashboard, will continue to be updated daily for the immediate future, and the COVID Information website, including the campus status page, will continue to provide current COVID-related information and guidance. We will continue sharing important updates via Lehigh’s social channels. The regular avenues of support for students, faculty and staff remain in place to address COVID-related questions and concerns.
We recognize there may still be much ongoing anxiety, uncertainty, and hardships facing students, faculty, staff, and their families. Through practicing care for one another and continuing habits that promote health and safety, we have fortunately been able to establish, if not a new normal, a community environment that allows us to be together in person, continue regular activities, and adapt as conditions change. This does not mean we can let our guard down. We encourage everyone in the Lehigh community to keep up the good work, including following the protocols in place and staying informed.
Support services and wellness resources for the Lehigh community
Our fall semester together was possible because of the work and commitment of everyone in the Lehigh community, and we are grateful for the continued commitment and dedication of our students, faculty and staff to ensuring a successful spring semester and the remainder of the academic year.
-COVID Response Team