4.8.21: A Message From the COVID-19 Response Team
Dear Members of the Lehigh Community and Lehigh Families,
The results of this week’s surveillance tests to date on all students living in the Bethlehem area show a 0.6% positivity rate and there are two cases of active faculties / staff. This is a hopeful indication that we have mitigated the moderate increase in cases we saw last week and can resume some additional activities on campus.
When the weather gets better, outdoor gatherings are a safer way to connect with others. With the test positivity rate improving this week, we’re cautiously cautiously opening the outdoor activities further:
Informal gatherings– Effective immediately, informal outdoor gatherings are approved for 25 people or less (previously the limit was 15). The limit on informal indoor gatherings stays 10 people or less.
Formal meetings– Effective immediately, Outdoor gatherings that are overseen by Lehigh staff / faculties and are therefore considered “formal meetings” are approved for 75 people or less. Formal indoor gatherings The people supervised by Lehigh staff / faculties are permitted for a maximum of 25 people, with all safety and social distancing measures in place, e.g. B. Meetings or small group events at Lehigh facilities. Larger gatherings (indoor or outdoor) require the approval of the CRT.
We recently approved several outdoor events and in-person activities, including fitness classes, and encouraged students and community members to use these opportunities to socialize while continuing to follow all health and safety protocols. The Campus Event Advisory Group (CEAG) will continue to review inquiries about student events and activities from student organizations. Please note that the outdoor tent sites can still be reserved.
COVID surveillance tests
Next week we will be going back to surveillance testing, which is where 50-60% of students living in the Bethlehem area live unless the COVID positivity rate increases significantly, which warrants improved testing.
Updated information on vaccination opportunities has been shared with faculties, staff, and RAs / TAs / GAs approved in Phase 1B of the Pennsylvania vaccine rollout. Students received an update earlier today. The Lehigh Valley Health Network is now offering vaccines to all college students who live in a community. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, starting April 19, all Pennsylvanians 16 and over – including undergraduate and graduate students – will be able to be vaccinated.
We strongly encourage all community members to get vaccinated if they are able. Vaccination is the most effective measure and instrument to protect ourselves and each other from the virus and to ensure that we can restore a more normal living, learning and working environment. The data shows that all currently available vaccines are also 100% effective in preventing serious illness and death from COVID.
The COVID Response Team is reviewing and implementing changes to the Lehigh protocols for fully vaccinated individuals. For example, under CDC guidelines, Lehigh does not currently require fully vaccinated individuals to come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for quarantine the virus (unless they develop symptoms). Updates and information will be posted on Lehigh’s dedicated vaccination website. You can also find the latest news below.
If the COVID-19 infection rate rises on campus, the COVID-19 response team can reverse course when opening gatherings or step up other mitigation measures. However, we are optimistic that with COVID-19 infection rates constant or declining and the expansion of vaccination options, our community can move closer and closer to a more normal life on campus.