In an email to the campus community on March 5, Lehigh University’s COVD-19 Response Team announced that due to COVID-19 positivity rates continuing to drop, Lehigh will further resume some campus activities.
Surveillance testing for the week of March 1 has yielded a positivity rate of under one percent. As of March 5, there are 15 new cases during the week of March 1 and 29 total active cases.
Effective immediately, the limit on the gathering size for indoor spaces will double from five to 10. Social-distancing and mask-wearing are still required for all gatherings, and classrooms will continue to follow approved in-person class sizes.
Between March 15 and March 17, the university will open in-person dining options on a trial basis. During this period, Lehigh will increase testing among the residential student population to determine if more dining in-person dining options can open.
As a follow up to last week’s email, Phase I of Taylor Gym’s reopening will begin on March 15 for students who are not remote with required double masking and a no eating/drinking policy in place.
Lehigh Athletics will allow pre-approved spectators to attend outdoor sporting events, effective immediately. If there is no concerning evidence of COVID-19 transmission at these events, Lehigh plans to permit students as spectators in future events.
In the email, the response team said positivity rates will need to continue to remain low for these changes to remain in effect. If the campus positivity rate is consistently above two percent, Lehigh will consider reversing these decisions.
“We do want to stress that now is not the time to stop being careful, as no one wants a reversal of our collective hard work,” the email said. “Double masking, social distancing, and following our established community health and safety protocols will allow us to preserve our progress and even further open up activities if positivity rates continue to remain low.”