3.11.21: An Update From the COVID-19 Response Team
Dear Members of the Lehigh Community and Lehigh Families,
A year ago today, the university temporarily switched to distance learning and later completely to distance learning. To mark the full year of the COVID-19 pandemic, we acknowledge the work and efforts of our community and recognize that this anniversary creates difficult emotions for many people. While we look forward to a time when wider vaccination will greatly reduce the risk of infection, we are grateful that you continue to work for health and safety.
The results of ongoing surveillance tests today show that our COVID-19 positivity rate is slightly higher than 1% for the general student population. We would also like to acknowledge the great work done by our athletics teams who have not reported positive surveillance tests in the past week.
With these persistently low rates, we are maintaining campus operations at this point and will be opening more rooms and activities next week as planned. We will continue to closely monitor this slight increase in overall student positivity rate (which was previously below 1%) and encourage students and community members to remain vigilant with social distancing, double masking, and practicing our other safety protocols. The virus can spread quickly, especially in environments where face coverings are not worn – both in individual interactions and in larger groups.
Meal reminders for the next week
Next week we will be eating personally from Monday to Wednesday (March 15 to 17) on a trial basis and returning to take away on Thursday (March 18). Tests the following week will indicate if positivity rates have stayed low enough to continue personal eating. It is currently planned to reopen the personal meal no earlier than Wednesday, March 24th. Again, the reopening will depend on the positivity rate of the advanced tests in the resident population over the next week.
Please remember the safety precautions for personal dining. Always observe social distancing, double mask unless you are eating, observe socially distant seating arrangements (don’t move seats closer or push tables together), avoid gathering in groups, and leave The dining room when you are done eating (do not use it as a place to hang out without masks).
We have found that face-coverings are worn well on campus and in campus buildings such as libraries, and we thank the students for their cooperation. As you may have seen, the opening hours of the Fairchild Martindale Library have recently been extended. Please follow these security protocols at all times in public areas and workrooms so that we can continue to securely provide this additional access.
Travel and wellness week
Finally, some news about travel and the upcoming wellness week ran out this week. We linked the following and reminded students that it is them should not Travel away from Bethlehem by the end of the semester.
We have made good progress over the past few days and weeks. Thank you for doing your part in maintaining these improvements and preventing the virus from spreading on our campus and in the greater Bethlehem community.
– COVID-19 Response Team