2.16.22: Masks in Libraries

A message sent to members of the Lehigh community. 

Dear Members of the Lehigh Community, 

We are writing to share updates to the masking policy in the Lehigh libraries: some areas in the library will transition to being mask-optional beginning tomorrow, Thursday, February 17, 2022.

This change is possible because of declines in case counts and hospitalization rates in the region and low positivity rates in the campus community. Taking this step first in the library allows us to accommodate both people who wish to remain in a masked environment and those who are comfortable in spaces where masking is optional. Those who prefer to be in a fully masked area will continue to have that option in this new arrangement. Masks will continue to be strictly required in all library entrances, elevators, hallways, service desks, and other specific rooms. The current masking protocols remain in place in all other locations (outside the library) at this time.

Read more detail here about which locations are mask-optional and mask-required and other information specific to the libraries and library staff. 

Up until this point, Lehigh has required masking in all areas indoors, with the exception of a temporary lift in masking over the summer when campus was de-densified and case counts were low. 

The COVID Response Team is continuing to discuss potential updates to the university’s overall masking policy given our low case counts, small numbers of severe cases and high rates of vaccination and boosters.

High-quality and well-fitted face coverings continue to provide an effective additional layer of protection against COVID, especially when there is a spike in cases on campus or in crowded areas. We will continue to be responsive and make shifts when needed as we did last summer when the spread of the Delta variant resulted in a spike in cases and we re-implemented our mask requirement.

If case counts remain low, we anticipate applying similar flexibility in our masking protocols in other areas across campus. Any further changes will be communicated by The COVID Response team by the week of Feb. 28.

In any campus spaces, please continue to be mindful and attentive to the concerns of fellow students and colleagues and to the protocols in place, including any shifts as communicated by our teams in the libraries regarding these updates. 

-COVID Response Team