3.16.20: Lehigh COVID-19 update

This update includes resources for students to aid in this adjustment, information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with new travel and event guidance, updates on available campus resources, changes to building access and hours, and other important information.

Dear Members of the Campus Community and Lehigh Families,

Thank you for your patience and cooperation on this first day of remote coursework at Lehigh, which is a new mode of learning for all of us. While it will take some time for students, faculty and staff to adjust, and there may be bumps along the way, we will work through these issues together as a community. 

This update includes resources for students to aid in this adjustment, information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with new travel and event guidance, updates on available campus resources, changes to building access and hours, and other important information. 

Status of COVID-19 at Lehigh

  • As of this date and time, there are NO SUSPECTED OR CONFIRMED CASES OF COVID-19 reported to our Health & Wellness Center. 

New Information

  • Earlier this afternoon, Governor Tom Wolf closed all nonessential businesses in Pennsylvania for two weeks. We are evaluating the impact on the university and will provide updates as necessary.  
  • Over the weekend, the City of Bethlehem’s Health Bureau received a report that there is one presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in the City of Bethlehem. The Bethlehem Health Bureau is investigating the case to identify individuals who were close contacts so they can be quarantined and monitored for 14 days.
  • As we communicated previously, to mitigate the risk of bringing COVID-19 to campus, all faculty, staff, students, and visitors who traveled to countries designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a “Warning Level 3” country should self-monitor for 14 days and be symptom-free before coming to campus. The United Kingdom and Ireland were added to the Europe travel ban by President Trump to take effect today, Monday.
  • The full list of countries is as follows: Austria, Belgium, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, the United Kingdom, Vatican City
  • We continue to monitor the flow of people on campus and to adjust operations to encourage social distancing. Please note that for this reason, access to in-person campus resources will be significantly limited.
    • Access to on-campus residence halls will be turned off as of 5:00 p.m. today, unless the student has applied for, and received, permission to live on campus. Access to Coxe Hall is available to all students between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. for the International Affairs Office.
    • Beginning Tuesday, March 17, campus buildings will be locked and accessible only by card access.
    • Taylor Gym will be closed for cleaning until further notice.
    • Linderman Library is closed. Check the website for the hours for Fairchild-Martindale Library.
    • Parking and Transportation Services has made the following changes to the parking policies and transportation schedules. These changes are intended to provide individuals with direct access to locations and to help eliminate unnecessary personal contact and travel between locations during a time when social distancing is encouraged.
    • We encourage all members of the campus community who remain in the area to practice social distancing and other preventative health measures that support not only the health of campus, but also the greater community. This includes exercising good judgment with regard to limiting in-person social contact and visits to local businesses, restaurants, and other local establishments.
    • The Health & Wellness Center will remain open, but will offer limited on-campus services. To be seen at the Health & Wellness Center you must call 610-758-3870 to schedule an appointment. Do not walk into the Health & Wellness Center without calling first. Read more. The HWC will be making additional consultation services available remotely.
  • Remote coursework updates:
    • We are looking into possibilities for expanded Pass/Fail (Credit/No Credit) options for courses this semester and should be able to report on these by the end of this week.
    • We have received questions regarding exam fees - please note that Lehigh students will NOT be required to pay any fee to take their exams. Although in many cases not required, any costs associated with using tools such as test proctoring services will be covered by the university.
  • The CDC is now recommending that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.
  • At this time, all non-essential gatherings of 25 or more people are strongly discouraged, and events for 50 (previously 100) or more individuals are prohibited through at least the end of the academic year on Wednesday, May 13.
  • Planning for Lehigh Commencement is still under discussion.

Resources for Students

  • Remote instruction - As Lehigh begins remote instruction, LTS has created Preparing for Remote Learning: Ten Crucial Steps for Students, a guide that provides crucial steps Lehigh students should take to help maintain academic productivity.
  • Academic resources - The Office of Registration and Academic Services has prepared a page with detailed information regarding academics, general services and more.
  • Mental Health Support- During periods of change and uncertainty, the manner in which you cope with stress can go a long way toward ensuring that you are taking positive and helpful actions in managing your mental and physical health in a manner that promotes self-efficacy and well-being. There are simple and effective ways to take care of yourself during this time of uncertainty. Recognize the things you can control in your life, and when it comes to physical health - proper handwashing, coughing and sneezing into elbows, staying hydrated, good nutrition, and getting a good night's sleep - are all effective.  Try and stay connected to your daily routine, which can provide a sense of normalcy, share your thoughts and feelings with others, which can promote connection and meaning, and stay physical and exercise as a strategy for relieving stress. Although it's important to keep yourself informed by visiting reputable websites, remember to limit time on social media or news sites that are upsetting as they can become a generative source of anxiety and apprehension.
  • Students who are feeling overwhelmed with worry or anxiety can seek support from a range of resources, including Residence Life and Dean of Students staff, the University Counseling & Psychological Center, and the Health & Wellness Center.
  • Please check the website and individual office pages for instructions about how to access various services remotely. The website is being updated frequently with this information. 

Parents

  • You may continue to check our central webpage dedicated to Lehigh COVID-19 updates: https://www2.lehigh.edu/news/updates-on-novel-coronavirus
  • As Lehigh moves to remote academic instruction, please encourage your students to practice social distancing in other ways as well - including limiting social engagements, avoiding crowds, and ceasing unnecessary travel or contact that could put them or others at risk.

Faculty and staff

Reminders

Sincerely,

University Leadership and Crisis Management Team