Lehigh students wear masks on campus to abide by COVID-19 regulations. Several students were forced to remain at Lehigh over Thanksgiving break due to COVID-19 exposure or diagnosis. (Julia DePillis/B&W Staff)

Some students plan to return to Bethlehem after Thanksgiving break


With Thanksgiving break approaching, most Lehigh students living on campus are starting to pack up their belongings to go home for the long winter break.

But not everyone is leaving town for good. Many off campus and even some students living on campus, with permission, are either staying in Bethlehem through Thanksgiving or will return shortly after. 

Katy Kresge, associate director of residential operations, said a small number of students plan to arrive back to campus after break. She said the application to request on-campus housing was due on Nov. 13.

Kresge said they have received a total of 96 housing applications for Thanksgiving and winter break. Sixty of the 96 applications are students who applied to stay on campus during Thanksgiving, and the remaining 36 requested housing for only a portion of the two-month break, Kresge said. 

She said only two students have specified they will leave for Thanksgiving and return the following week. 

Kresge said on-campus applications are actively being reviewed by the Dean of Students Office and the Office of International Affairs, and there will be COVID-19 protocols for students returning after the break. 

“We will be communicating with students in the next few days about the logistics of their stay,” Kresge said. “If students are planning to leave campus and return, there will be testing and quarantine requirements that will be outlined in that communication.”

Due to leases unaffiliated with Lehigh, off-campus students have the freedom to create their own plan for break.

 Emily Frase, ‘23, lives in SouthSide Commons and plans to return to Bethlehem after Thanksgiving break. She said she went home for break already because her roommate contracted COVID-19. 

Frase said her friends will also return in a few weeks closer to finals and feels like she is more productive in her off-campus house.

   “I expect campus to be completely empty and have some off-campus students coming back and forth,” Frase said. 

Ellie Christman, ‘23, also lives in an off-campus house but doesn’t plan on coming back to Bethlehem after Thanksgiving. 

Christman said she has only been on campus a few times this semester and expects it to remain quiet over break.

“It’s not really worth it to return since there’s not much school left after Thanksgiving, and not many of my friends are coming back,” she said. 

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