As we prepare to begin the 2022-23 academic year in a few short weeks, we hope you have had an enjoyable, safe and healthy summer.
We are fortunate to be in a very different place in terms of COVID than where we were even last summer. Vaccination and boosters have helped life get back to normal or as close to normal as possible, and our safety protocols have adapted.
While we are monitoring new variants such as omicron BA.5, we are optimistic our fall will look very similar to Spring 2022, with full campus activity. The COVID Response Team continues to meet to monitor conditions and will be communicating our status with students and families in the coming weeks.
With the expanded testing available across our state and nationwide, we do not anticipate requiring Lehigh surveillance testing for the fall; however, we continue to encourage individuals to utilize available testing (self- or physician-administered) if they feel sick or are a close contact. If you are a close contact, even if you are not required to quarantine because you are vaccinated/boosted, we encourage you to work/teach from home if feasible to monitor for symptoms, wear a mask, and test on the fifth day following exposure to mitigate the risk of transmission.
Lehigh’s occupational health nurse remains available for consultation with faculty and staff. If you test positive for COVID, please continue to utilize this resource and notify Christine Wolfe, RN. The Lehigh dashboard will be updated weekly with the reported positive COVID cases for students, faculty and staff; the Pennsylvania Department of Health dashboard is also updated weekly.
Our existing vaccination and booster requirement remains in place; we are not planning on requiring additional boosters at this time. We have streamlined our vaccination and booster documentation and exemption request processes in the Health and Wellness Center, Human Resources, and the Provost’s Office for new students, staff and faculty.
We also have updated our general visitors’ guidelines. The campus status page will continue to capture and report any operational changes such as these throughout the academic year.
For preventing not just the spread of COVID but also other serious diseases, the simple things that work, such as wearing a mask, washing hands and staying home and away from others when sick, are critical for all of us to remember and practice as we begin a new semester.
We are looking forward to a productive fall together.
-COVID Response Team