3.18.20: Room and board, remote operations, and other information

This communication includes an update on credits issued to student accounts for Lehigh housing and dining plans, new guidance on meeting size and remote work for faculty and staff, and other information.

Dear Members of the Campus Community and Lehigh Families, 

This communication includes an update on credits issued to student accounts for Lehigh housing and dining plans, new guidance on meeting size and remote work for faculty and staff, and other information.

Status of COVID-19 at Lehigh

  • Nationally, there has been a focus on ensuring those who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 have the ability to be tested. Our Health and Wellness Center is focusing efforts on providing this capacity on campus to students, and remaining in contact with members of our community who may be in the process of being tested elsewhere, through their healthcare provider/entity. We will continue to keep the community informed of any positive cases of COVID-19 reported to our Health & Wellness Center.  

New Information

  • Room and board- We will be issuing credits to student accounts for Lehigh on-campus housing and Lehigh dining plan costs on a prorated basis for the time period students are not living in residence halls or using meal plans. Details will follow in an email on Friday, including information regarding how individual amounts are calculated. Students will have the ability to request a refund or allow the credit to be applied to future bills.  
  • Remote coursework update– In this first week of classes in this new mode of teaching and learning, we recognize there are some bumps that need to be worked out with regard to live instruction, questions around grading policies, and others. These items are under active discussion and faculty and students can expect to receive additional guidance through email addressing these questions. At this time, we have decided to provide the option for students to take their courses on a credit or no-credit basis. Students who choose to take their courses for a grade may still do so. Additional guidance will be provided through email by Friday.  
  • Remote work– At this time, staff and faculty who are able to work remotely should do so. Only staff and faculty who are considered essential to University operations AND who cannot perform these functions remotely should be coming onto campus. As communicated previously, supervisors should communicate with staff about who is considered essential and how this work will get done. As information and guidance at the state and federal level continues to evolve, additional guidance will be provided as necessary. See below for additional information.
  • New group size guidance- At this time, all non-essential gatherings of 10 or more people are strongly discouraged until communicated otherwise. Organizers should postpone meetings and events, or consider remote technology.
  • Commencement - The manner and timing of how Lehigh Commencement will be held are still under discussion. An update will be communicated by early April.


  • Students remaining on or near campus- We want to acknowledge students’ swift adaptation to an unforeseen set of circumstances and to provide specific guidance for those students who remain on or near campus for all or part of spring semester.
  • Students who were granted permission to remain in on campus housing received guidance in an email sent on Tuesday, March 17.
  • If you are currently residing in off campus housing, we ask that you work with your families to return home, if at all possible. While university offices are currently accessible via LU ID card access during business hours, services are very limited as staffs have begun to transition to remote workplaces. If you must remain in off campus housing, the same social distancing directives and guidance apply (avoid group meetings or gatherings.) Please stay in your house or apartment if you can. If you are required to venture out, be vigilant about keeping as much distance from others as possible.
  • Of course, you should continue to practice good hygiene as well, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control: wash your hands regularly and thoroughly; avoid touching your mouth and nose with unwashed hands; cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough; stay home if you are sick. You can learn more here.
  • We continue to monitor the evolving information from the CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH) on COVID-19 and remain in communication with the PA DOH, the Bethlehem Health Bureau, and local healthcare entities, and in consultation with health experts, regarding recommendations for the safety of our campus community.
  • This is a difficult time, and we are all experiencing some degree of anxiety about what the weeks to come will hold. In the meantime, the responsibility to fight this virus is shared by us all, and we appreciate your partnership as we work to support the wellness of our campus and our community.


  • As Lehigh moves to remote academic instruction, please encourage your students to practice social distancing in other ways as well - including limiting, or canceling entirely, social engagements, avoiding crowds, and ceasing unnecessary travel or contact that could put them or others at risk.

Faculty/staff – Update from Chris Halladay, AVP of Human Resources

  • Only staff who are considered essential to University operations AND who cannot perform these functions remotely should be coming onto campus. If you and your supervisor have determined you must be on campus, exercise good judgment in practicing social distancing and good hygiene, and please do not bring children or other visitors to campus.
  • Additional guidance for labs will be sent in a follow-up email.
  • Meetings and gatherings are limited to ten or fewer people. Organizers should postpone meetings and events and use remote technology (e.g., Zoom, conference calls) when possible.
  • Library and Technology Services offers workshops designed to help you continue your work from off campus. You may also refer to their guide for supervisors and staff regarding remote work. Read the guide for ensuring business continuity while working remotely.
  • We recognize this is a difficult time for faculty and staff who are needing to make many adjustments to not only their work but also their personal lives. Your Lehigh benefits include behavioral health coverage. To access these services under Lehigh's medical plan call the number listed on the back of your Capital Blue Cross Card. In addition, Lehigh's Employee Assistance Program (Integrated Behavioral Health) can be helpful regardless of whether you participate in the Lehigh medical plan.

Modification of Services

  • Courier Services will modify its deliveries to accommodate the needs of individual departments beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020, until further notice. If the university’s plans change, it may reduce services to only support essential functions of Lehigh University. Please email Glenn Strause, Courier Services Manager, at ghs2@lehigh.edu if a department will be closed and working remotely. If Courier Services still has access to your building and mail drop, it will continue to deliver mail. It can also hold mail until contacted to resume service or until a pick up is arranged.
  • Incoming USPS: If your USPS carrier can deliver incoming mail, the carrier will continue to do so. If the carrier cannot access your building, incoming mail will be given to Lehigh’s couriers, who will then redeliver or hold the mail based on your request.
  • Incoming UPS and FedEx: Courier Services will have all campus deliveries rerouted to one central location, then deliver these packages based on your request.
  • The Lehigh University Bookstore (including the café) will be closed beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020, for two weeks. The Bookstore will reopen, unless otherwise directed, on Monday, March 30, 2020. While closed to the public, Bookstore staff will be available to answer questions, provide customer service support, and fulfill any online orders. (610) 758-3375; lehigh.bncollege.com

You may continue to check our central webpage dedicated to Lehigh COVID-19 updates: https://www2.lehigh.edu/news/updates-on-novel-coronavirus


University Leadership and Crisis Management Team