Lehigh Suspends Practices After Students Test Positive for COVID

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Stabler Lehigh

A Lehigh University sign along Mountain Drive South directs traffic to Stabler Arena and other venues on the school’s Goodman Campus, where many sports team practices and games are held. Parts of the campus border Hellertown and Lower Saucon Township, and many Saucon Valley residents work at the university. (FILE PHOTO)

Lehigh University in Bethlehem has reported its first positive COVID-19 cases in students living on campus, as well as four new off-campus student cases of the disease.

In a community update published on the school’s website Tuesday, the school said the positive test results resulted in the identification of a number of student-athletes across several Lehigh teams who were close contacts requiring quarantine.

“Close contacts resulted from shared local personal travel and contact at informal gatherings, including meals,” the statement said.

Consequently, the university decided to temporarily suspended all athletics training and practices; a decision it said “will be reviewed as new information becomes available.”

It also noted that “Lehigh Athletics has implemented robust safety and training procedures, including limiting the number of student-athletes training at any given time and participating in ongoing surveillance testing.”

The first student who tested positive did so after leaving the Lehigh campus on Saturday, Sept. 26, school officials said. That student notified the university’s Health and Wellness Center Monday evening about the pending test.

The second student who tested positive was living on campus, is under the care of Health and Wellness Center staff and has been relocated to isolation housing, the statement said.

“Those who came into close contact—defined by the CDC as being within six feet for 15 minutes or longer—are in the process of being notified to quarantine, are being relocated if necessary, and will be tested,” it continued.

School officials said there was no known additional exposure or other contact on campus from the two cases.

“All positive COVID-19 cases are investigated to determine if there is a wider campus or community safety issue,” Lehigh announced. “If so, an alert to appropriate groups or a campus-wide alert will be issued.”

More information about the school’s COVID-19 protocols can be found on its COVID-19 dashboard, which has been established for the purpose of communicating updated case information.

COVID-19 has continued to spread within educational institutions, since classes resumed in late August.

Last week, Saucon Valley High School was temporarily closed for five days after a student and a faculty member both tested positive for COVID-19 within a one-week period.

Students and teachers are scheduled to resume in-person instruction on Thursday, Oct. 1.

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