An announcement came out to the campus community on Jan. 6 stating arrival information for the spring semester. The majority of classes will be held remotely for the first week. (Megan Burke/B&W Staff)

BREAKING: First week of classes for the spring semester to be held remotely

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Update (Jan. 6, 5:25 p.m.): Updated to include comments from Provost Nathan Urban.

The first week of the spring semester at Lehigh will be taught virtually for the majority of classes, with some exceptions upon instructor request. 

An announcement came out to the campus community on Jan. 6, stating the updated arrival information.

Provost Nathan Urban said there was no prior general announcement to faculty instructing them to plan for a remote first week of teaching. 

“It will be some additional work and some additional time and effort but I think that in the interest of trying to make sure that we can both preserve the best possible education and protect people’s health and safety, this is what we need to be doing,” Urban said.

He said for an instructor to get an exemption from the remote week of classes, they must make a request to their dean, which will eventually then go to Urban for review. 

He said for an exemption they are asking instructors to provide information about why it is critical their particular class be in-person for the first week and talk about the ways in which the instructor will accommodate students who can’t be there in-person. Urban said additionally, the instructor will have to verify that the proper health and safety protocols will be taken within the classroom.

In-person instruction is expected to begin the second week of class, starting Jan. 31.   

Students will be allowed to arrive at on-campus housing at the regularly planned time and all students will receive a Lehigh-administered COVID-19 test upon arrival.

Urban said the school has obtained a large number of antigen COVID-19 tests for the testing of all students when they arrive on campus.

“We wanted to make sure that we could get some results very quickly when students arrive, so that when necessary we can isolate students as quickly as possible,” he said.

Depending on the availability of testing and the spread of Omicron, the announcement said Lehigh may require pre-arrival testing. A negative test result will be required before participating in academic or social activities at school. 

Graduate students who are already accessing campus throughout the duration of winter break will be provided with a test the week of Jan. 17. 

Throughout the first week, starting Jan. 23, all dining services will be takeout.

Masks continue to be required indoors, and Lehigh is recommending that the community wear disposable surgical masks, KN-95 or KF-94, because of their increased effectiveness. 

The announcement also said spring recruitment for fraternities and sororities will be conducted virtually for the second straight year.

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