3.11.21: An Update From the COVID-19 Response Team

A message sent to members of the Lehigh community and Lehigh families. 

Dear Members of the Lehigh Community and Lehigh Families, 

One year ago today, the university shifted to remote learning temporarily, later fully moving to remote learning. As we mark a full year of the COVID-19 pandemic, we acknowledge the work and efforts of our community and recognize this anniversary brings up difficult emotions for many. While we look forward with optimism toward a time when more widespread vaccination will greatly reduce the risk of infection, we are grateful for your continued vigilance in support of health and safety.

Today, results from ongoing surveillance testing show that our COVID-19 positivity rate is slightly higher than 1% for the general student population. We also would like to acknowledge the great work of our athletics teams who have reported zero positive surveillance tests in the last week. 

With these continued low rates, we are maintaining campus operations at this time and will move forward with opening additional spaces and activities next week as planned. We will continue to closely monitor this slight uptick in the overall student positivity rate (which was previously below 1%) and encourage students and community members to remain vigilant in social distancing, double masking, and practicing our other safety protocols. The virus can spread quickly, especially in settings where face coverings aren’t worn—both in one-on-one interactions as well as in larger group sizes. 

Dining Reminders for Next Week

Next week we will resume in-person dining Monday through Wednesday (March 15-17) on a trial basis, shifting back to take-out on Thursday (March 18). Testing the following week will indicate if positivity rates have remained low enough to continue in-person dining. The current plan is to reopen in-person dining again no earlier than Wednesday, March 24; again, reopening will be dependent on the positivity rate from expanded testing in the residential population next week. 

Please be reminded of the safety practices in place for in-person dining. Observe social distancing, double mask at all times unless eating, observe the socially distanced seating arrangements (do not move seats closer or push tables together), avoid congregating in groups, and leave the dining hall once finished eating (do not use it as a place to socialize without masks). 

We have seen good compliance with wearing face coverings on campus and in campus buildings such as the libraries and thank students for their cooperation. As you may have seen, the hours in the Fairchild-Martindale Library were recently extended; please continue following these safety protocols at all times in the public areas and study rooms so we can continue to provide this additional access safely. 

Travel and Wellness Week

Finally, this week several messages went out regarding travel and the upcoming Wellness Week. We’ve linked to those below and remind students that they should not travel away from the Bethlehem area until the end of the semester. 

We have made good progress in the past days and weeks. Thank you for doing your part to preserve these improvements and to prevent the spread of the virus in our campus and greater Bethlehem community.

Recent Communications

Resources

-COVID-19 Response Team