Many students were traveling across the country and internationally for spring break when the coronavirus pandemic led Lehigh to send students home to take classes remotely for the rest of the semester.
Some of these students, whether for travel reasons or the required 14-day self-quarantine period, have been unable to collect their things and move out of their on-campus residences.
Students who were unable to move out of their on-campus residences by March 22 were allowed to leave their belongings in university housing.
After this period, Housing Services will then help these students find a time to move out later in the semester.
Madeleine Moos, ‘21, had intended to visit friends who were studying abroad during spring break. She and other Lehigh students ended up traveling to Spain and Portugal before their trip was cut short, and they returned to the United States.
When Moos returned, she knew she needed to adhere to the 14-day quarantine period recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and take precautions to ensure the safety of her family.
“My dad and my sister have very compromised immune systems, so it was non-negotiable that I couldn’t go near them at all.” Moos said. “It ended up working out that my friend and I get to stay in a house by ourselves.”
Since returning from her trip, Moos said she hasn’t been allowed to visit campus because of the quarantine, and therefore hasn’t been able to move out of her on-campus residence. After the 14-day period is over, she said she hopes to get her things from Lehigh in small increments over the course of the next few months.
Madison McGrady, ‘21, also traveled to Europe over spring break and has been in self-quarantine since returning to the U.S. When she heard Lehigh was transitioning to online classes, she said she was concerned about how she was going to get her things from her room.
“I was definitely worried at first because my laptop and all of my books were still there,” McGrady said. “With classes starting so soon after, I was worried about being able to keep up with school.”
Although McGrady herself couldn’t go to campus because of the quarantine, her mom was able to go and retrieve most of her things. McGrady said Lehigh has been helpful and accommodating with her situation.
“Lehigh has been super understanding with letting me keep the bed and the rug in the room,” McGrady said. “They have been really awesome and completely reasonable with everything that’s going on.”
Abbey Poulin, ‘23, had also planned to travel to Europe for spring break, but due to the developing travel restrictions, the trip was canceled and she traveled home to Portland, Oregon, instead.
Poulin, who lives in a dorm on campus, only packed the things she needed for spring break as she traveled home. She was home in Oregon when the announcement was made that classes would be conducted remotely for the rest of the semester.
Although she is not in quarantine, Poulin said she has not been able to travel back to Bethlehem to move out and doesn’t think she will be able to in the near future. Her roommate was able to send her notebooks and things she needed for classes, but the majority of her belongings remain at Lehigh.
“All of my clothes and everything else is there,” Poulin said. “I don’t really know when I am going to get back to it right now.”
Poulin said although it’s been hard because she feels like she needs these things, it is not the biggest problem considering the current climate due to the pandemic.
She said the situation is stressful due to the multiple unknowns of when she will be able to travel back and how she will move out. Poulin said she is looking forward to learning more information about how she might eventually be able to get her things.
As Lehigh’s response to the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop, it is uncertain how new mandates will affect the move out.
“We are currently working our way through this ever-changing situation,” Kathryn Kresge, associate director of Housing Services, said in an email.
Kresge said in the email she would recommend that a student looking to move their belongings out should contact the Housing Services office directly.