Lehigh's U.N. partnership held a faculty panel to discuss President Donald Trump's recent speech at the United Nations. Students also had a chance to ask the faculty panel questions. (Shana Lichaw/B&W Staff)

Lehigh makes string of announcements related to COVID-19

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Lehigh confirms third COVID-19 case

An email sent earlier today from Lehigh’s Leadership and Crisis Management Team confirmed a third Lehigh student has tested positive for COVID-19. 

Like the previous two confirmed cases, the third case involves a student who was traveling abroad. The email said the student was traveling with their athletics team and is currently isolating at home while receiving medical attention.

The university said in the email it is in frequent communication with both the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Bethlehem Health Bureau.  

Lehigh announced in its email it is heeding Gov. Wolf’s March 19 order to close all “non-life-sustaining businesses.” The university said it has closed remaining offices and research facilities “not essential to supporting our approximately 230 students who remain on campus.” 

Housing, meal, parking credits and refunds

Pat Johnson, vice president for Finance and Administration, emailed Lehigh students earlier today regarding housing, parking, and meal plan credits and refunds. Students can choose to receive credit on their student accounts or refunds. Amounts for the credit and refunds were calculated from March 16 through the end of the semester. Refund amounts for housing and dining may be adjusted based on what is supported through financial aid packages. 

Housing and dining credit will be automatically applied to students accounts for the fall 2020 semester. Students must submit a form to the Bursar’s Office by April 3 if they would like to receive a refund check in lieu of credit. 

Unused meal swipes and dining dollars will be credited to student’s accounts, and are being calculated individually. 

GoldPLUS refunds are being processed once the final graduation list is determined. 

Parking Services will be issuing prorated parking permit refunds to students that are no longer on campus. Parking permit refunds are also being extended to students who live off campus with commuter permits for weekend and evening privileges. 

Work Study refunds 

Jennifer Mertz, director of Financial Aid, sent an email to all Lehigh work study students informing them that they will be able to earn their allotted amounts for the semester.

Students who are able to perform duties related to their job remotely will be able to do so in communication with their supervisors. Students can log hours normally through Lehigh’s online system.

Students who will not be able to complete work-study duties remotely will continue to get paid according to their normal hours. Students’ supervisors will approve those hours as usual, and students will continue to get paid either by direct deposit or through a mailed check.

International programs cancelled 

All international summer programs have been canceled through July 31, according to an email sent today by Lehigh Study Abroad. Previously, Lehigh encouraged all students studying abroad for the spring semester to return home. All summer programs set to take place in China and South Korea were also previously canceled. 

“This is not a decision we make lightly, but given the uncertainty of the current situation, it is necessary for the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff,” the email said.

Students enrolled in “faculty-led” abroad programs this summer will be refunded, the email said. The university encouraged students to seek flight refunds through the individual airline. 

The university has not decided on programs set to take place in August, the email said.

Second case of COVID-19 under investigation in Bethlehem 

Bethlehem Mayor Bob Donchez announced that the city is investigating a second possible case of COVID-19 in the Lehigh County portion of the city. 

There are 10 cases in Northampton County as of Friday evening, which would make this the 12th positive case in the Lehigh Valley, with one death, according to lehighvalleylive.com. South Bethlehem’s Wind Creek casino announced on March 19 that an employee tested positive for coronavirus. 

According to Donchez, the Bethlehem Health Bureau is identifying any individuals who have been in contact with the person, and will be quarantined for at least 14 days. 

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