9.29.21: Update from the COVID Response Team

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

Dear Members of the Lehigh Community and Lehigh Families, 

We appreciate the continued efforts of our community to follow all health and safety protocols, and are pleased to report that our case counts for students, faculty and staff remain low this week. Please see the dashboard, which is updated daily, for the most current data. 

Testing

Last week’s targeted surveillance testing of 10% of vaccinated students returned 0 positives. Given the high transmission rates in Northampton County, which reported 790 cases over the last 7 days as of September 29, we will continue this targeted testing in the coming weeks. This is in addition to our symptomatic testing and ongoing surveillance testing of unvaccinated students, faculty and staff. We are encouraged by our current low case counts and urge everyone to continue doing all they can to keep our community safe and healthy. 

In addition to the expanded surveillance testing, we will offer increased testing on October 4-6 for those who would like to be tested prior to Pacing Break. This testing will be available to students, faculty and staff. Sign up for an appointment at this link.  

Visit the Lehigh University COVID-19 Testing Types page to learn more about the types of testing Lehigh utilizes. 

Revised Guidance on Meetings and Food

Our current policy limits indoor gatherings to no more than 25 people, with the exception of activities supervised by faculty or staff (including classes) or otherwise approved by the CRT. Gatherings in large outdoor spaces may have higher attendance, and we continue to encourage outdoor gatherings over indoor gatherings whenever possible. These policies remain in place.

We have updated our guidance regarding providing food at meetings, events and gatherings, which previously recommended that food only be eaten at meetings taking place outside. Eating during the course of an indoor meeting, event or gathering is now permitted: 

  • ONLY during a non-essential portion of the meeting, event or gathering that participants can miss if they prefer not to eat in a room with others (for example, after a meeting has officially ended or during a break)

  • NOT during a mandatory or essential portion of the meeting, event or gathering

  • ONLY when participants can maintain a reasonable distance while eating

When planning meetings that involve food, please keep in mind that some participants will not be comfortable eating in a shared space. This should not limit their ability to participate fully in the meeting, and no one should feel pressure to participate in a part of a meeting or social gathering during which others are eating. 

Eating and drinking during class remain prohibited, as classes are a mandatory activity requiring participation for the duration of the meeting period. 

As a reminder, our low case numbers are not a reason to let our guard down. Mask-wearing while indoors, staying home when sick, seeking medical guidance and testing when appropriate, and reporting any positive outside tests to the university remain critical. COVID case rates within Northampton county have stabilized, but have not declined significantly and hospitals are still seeing high numbers of patients in their emergency departments. 

The campus status page continues to provide the latest campus information, and the frequently asked questions page offers more detailed information by topic. 

-COVID Response Team