4.2.21: A Message From the COVID-19 Response Team

Dear Members of the Lehigh Community and Lehigh Families,

Following our recent report of a spike in cases in and around Northampton County, we’ve seen an increase in the COVID-19 positivity rate for surveillance tests for students in the Bethlehem area.

This moderate increase to a positivity rate of around 2% affects the following five consecutive weeks with positivity rates below 1%.

We continue to monitor the results of ongoing monitoring and symptomatic testing and we encourage all members of the community to use this information to take action and remain vigilant so that we can mitigate its further spread and prevent this spike in certain cases becomes a trend or a tip.

Actions:

  • All students in the Bethlehem area were required to take surveillance tests this week and these will continue until next week.

  • Faculty and staff were emailed a link to register for voluntary surveillance testing starting April 5th.

  • We will keep the current campus status until we can determine whether this increase is a sustainable trend.

  • If the rates are consistently above 2%, we can increase security measures on campus. If they flatten or wane, we can continue to pursue plans to further reduce campus restrictions during the spring semester.

  • Noteworthy from last week’s surveillance tests and to raise awareness is the positivity rate for Students in dormitories were slightly higher than for off-campus students. Students living in dormitories should remain vigilant and follow established safety protocols.

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

  • When meeting with others, prioritize outdoor gatherings where the risk of transmission is lower, and be sure to still use a double mask.

If we proceed carefully now, we hope that we can continue on a good path and continue to resume successful campus activities. Stay safe and thank you for doing your part to ensure our collective health and wellbeing on campus and in the South Bethlehem community.

Further reading:

Resources:

– COVID-19 Response Team

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