4.2.21: A Message 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, 

Following our latest message about an uptick in cases for Northampton County and surrounding areas, we have begun to see an increase in the COVID-19 positivity rate for surveillance testing for students in the Bethlehem area. 

This moderate increase to approximately a 2% positivity rate is concerning following five consecutive weeks of positivity rates below 1%. 

We are continuing to monitor the results of ongoing surveillance and symptomatic testing and would encourage all members of the community to use this information to take action and stay vigilant so we can mitigate further spread and prevent this uptick from becoming a trend or spike in cases. 

Actions:

  • All students in the Bethlehem area were required to complete surveillance testing this week, which will continue through next week. 

  • Faculty and staff received a link by email to register for voluntary surveillance testing beginning April 5. 

  • We will maintain the current campus status until we can determine if this increase is a lasting trend. 

  • If rates begin to consistently be above 2%, we may increase safety measures on campus. If they level off or decline, we can continue plans to further lessen campus restrictions as the spring semester progresses.  

  • Of note from this past week’s surveillance testing and for awareness, the positivity rate for residential students was slightly higher than for off-campus students. Students living in residence halls should remain vigilant and follow the established safety protocols.

  • We remind all members of the campus community to double mask, social distance, follow all health and safety protocols, and be thoughtful in your interactions and gatherings with others. 

  • If you gather with others, prioritize outdoor gatherings where the risk of transmission is lower, and be sure to still double-mask. 

By taking careful action now, we are hopeful that we can continue on a good path and pursue the further resumption of campus activity that has been successful. Stay safe, and thank you for doing your part to ensure our collective health and well-being on campus and in the South Bethlehem community. 

Further Reading:

Resources:

 

-COVID-19 Response Team