2.7.20: Novel Coronavirus and Student Absences from Class

The university senior leadership and medical professionals in the Health and Wellness Center continue to monitor the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak and to provide updates.

Story by

Mary Ellen Alu

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

The university senior leadership and medical professionals in the Health and Wellness Center have been monitoring the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak since it emerged, and continue to do so. Visit the website to read the latest updates and to find additional resources, including answers to frequently asked questions.

We will keep you informed of any developments in this situation. Related to the world health crisis of the novel Coroanvirus, I would like to remind us of our commitment to our Principles of our Equitable Community, particularly with respect to the temptation to project susceptibility to Coronavirus or responsibility for the disease on any members of our community. I ask for your help in reaffirming our collective commitment to the Principles, letting your students know that, and engaging should you see or hear actions or words contrary to those Principles.

We are also in the midst of influenza (flu) season. We have had and will have cases of flu, and we contin ue to advise the campus community to follow standard Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations for the prevention of flu and other respiratory viruses.

Among these recommendations is for an individual to stay home when they are sick to avoid infecting others (see: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/steps-when-sick.html) and (https://studentaffairs.lehigh.edu/content/flu-information). I hope students, staff, and faculty, will follow this advice and will remain cautious with self-care.

As I am sure you are aware, R & P states that "regular class attendance is an essential element of its academic operations" (See Rules and Procedures, section 3.2.5 on Attendance). I ask faculty to take the lead in talking to your students about missing class due to illness, and how they can make up work they have missed. While I understand there is some concern of misuse of “I had to miss class because I was sick,” a significant penalty for missing class or a large hurdle to overcome to make up work incentivizes students to come to class even when they should really stay home to avoid affecting others.

There are several ways for faculty to make class material available to absent students. One, which most faculty already use regularly, is through Course Site. Another tool, which is now widely available on campus, is Zoom, the video conferencing and recording platform. Anyone at Lehigh with a Lehigh username can host a Zoom meeting.

If you have not used Zoom before, I encourage you to take some time now to become familiar with its features (see: https://lts.lehigh.edu/services/explanation/zoom).

Thank you for joining us in our efforts to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our students, staff, and faculty.

Story by

Mary Ellen Alu