As COVID-19 vaccinations become increasingly available, Lehigh Health and Wellness staff is preparing for implications on the university community. (Anna Simoneau/ BW Staff)

Lehigh announces new round of COVID-19 surveillance and exit testing


With Thanksgiving approaching, the Health and Wellness Center announced a new round of required random COVID-19 surveillance testing and voluntary exit testing in a Nov. 5 campus-wide email. 

Nov. 9 and 10 have been designated as mandatory surveillance testing dates for those selected for random testing. If chosen, students must schedule an appointment with the Health Center to get tested. 

Testing will occur in the STEPS tent and near Zoellner Arts Center

Students who have had a positive test result in the previous three months, are currently in isolation or quarantine, or are awaiting test results are exempt from surveillance testing. The Health Center has asked, however, that they submit any test results from non-Lehigh test locations to its patient portal. 

Students who are currently experiencing symptoms are also not to participate in surveillance testing but should contact the Health Center to arrange for appropriate testing. 

Those who have already departed from Bethlehem for the semester do not need to be tested either. 

The email said students who are tested on Nov. 9 or 10 may use that test as an “exit test” if they plan to depart campus two to three days after receiving it. 

“If you plan to do this, please remember to be vigilant about following the established health and safety guidelines from the time you take your test until you return home,” the email said.

The Health Center will also be offering voluntary exit testing on Nov. 17 and 18, by appointment only, to all on-campus students and off-campus students who are not fully remote. A link to sign up will be sent via email in the next few days.

“For a safe return home for Thanksgiving, students should limit close contacts as much as possible for the 10 to 14 days before beginning close contact with friends or family, especially those who are at high risk,” the email said. 

Extending into Thanksgiving break, Lehigh will also offer accommodations to on-campus students who require isolation or quarantine due to a positive result. The university strongly encourages students not to travel if they have received a positive test result. 

On Nov. 19, Lehigh Valley Health Network will be providing free flu vaccines for all Lehigh students, staff, faculty and contracted employees at the STEPS tent, the email said. Registration is required. The Health Center will also remain open to students over Thanksgiving break. 

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