4.21.21: Fall 2021 Plans and COVID Vaccines

Dear Members of the Lehigh Community and Lehigh Families,

Towards the end of this semester and summer, we would like to keep you informed of our plans for the months ahead and fall.

Our goal is to provide all Lehigh students with the richest, most engaging educational experience. As we have previously describedWe plan to hold undergraduate courses in person this fall, with the exception of a few cases where distance learning will take in students who cannot be on campus due to visa issues or medical accommodation. Dormitories and Greek houses have normal occupancy rates. We will also have separate accommodations for students who are receiving COVID and need to be isolated. We are planning a solid range of club activities, sports competitions and artistic performances with spectators and audiences.

The university has decided that a COVID vaccine will be required for all Lehigh undergraduate and graduate students participating in programs and activities on campus this fall. This requirement will work similarly to our existing requirements for other vaccinations and will be implemented for students living on campus starting this summer. All students who have access to campus are subject to this requirement, but it does not apply to students participating in programs that are fully online or that never meet on campus. Any vaccine currently approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will meet this requirement.

As with our other required vaccinations, students can request an exemption for medical or religious reasons. Information on the requirements for such exemptions is provided by the Lehigh Health and Wellness Center.

All over the world and on our campus, the COVID-19 vaccination is important to enable a return to normal life. Currently, anyone in the United States aged 16 and over can be vaccinated. Safe and effective vaccines are currently widely used in the United States. Not only does vaccination prevent serious illness and death, but there is growing evidence that vaccination greatly reduces the likelihood that a person may be an asymptomatic carrier of COVID. Data from countries where vaccination rates are highest show that mortality and hospitalization rates decrease with vaccination. Achieving widespread vaccination is therefore an important step in enabling a faster return to normal campus activities, including hosting larger personal events and expanding options for restaurants and other activities.

Some guidelines will change as more people are vaccinated. Currently, students, faculties, and staff who have been fully vaccinated do not need to be quarantined or tested if identified as a person’s close contact with COVID-19 as long as they remain asymptomatic. In addition, based on current guidelines, we are eliminating the mandatory surveillance tests for students who are fully vaccinated. People with symptoms, even those who are fully vaccinated, still need to have diagnostic tests. We can also change the face cover requirements for vaccinated individuals.

Students should complete their vaccination schedule or apply for an exemption before arriving on campus in the fall. When students arrive in the fall before full vaccination, the health and wellness center connects students with resources to get vaccinated.

We know that by fall, some of our international students will be vaccinated with one of the many non-FDA-cleared vaccines currently in use around the world. We will still need to be vaccinated with a US approved vaccine. We assume that many international students will want to be vaccinated upon arrival, even if they have already received another vaccine, provided that it meets the established health and safety guidelines. Otherwise, students who received a non-US FDA cleared vaccine can also apply for a medical exemption. For more information for international students, please contact the Office of International Students and Scholars.

Summer housing and residential summer programs also require vaccination

All students, including non-Lehigh students who plan to reside in Lehigh after June 1st, must also be vaccinated. Students living in dormitories on campus must be vaccinated starting July 1st. Optional Lehigh-sponsored summer programs held off campus may also require a vaccination to attend.

In addition to the student vaccination requirements, we strongly encourage all members of the Lehigh community, including faculty and staff, to get vaccinated. We have developed a website Give guidance about vaccination options. Our entire community will benefit from widespread vaccination. Please consider getting a vaccine if you haven’t already.

The safety and well-being of the Lehigh community is our top priority as we strive to provide our students with the best possible educational opportunities. We look forward to returning to a more typical campus experience. Thank you for your support as we work to make this possible.

For more information about the Lehigh vaccination, including frequently asked questions, see https://coronavirus.lehigh.edu/vaccination-resources.

With best regards,

Nathan Urban

Provost & Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Patricia Johnson

Vice President for Finance & Administration

Ricardo Hall

Vice President for Student Affairs

David Rubenstein

Managing director, health and wellness center

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