Frequently Asked Questions

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Will research continue during the semester break?

Yes, please continue to follow the protocols established by your PI.

Will I have access to my building during the semester break?

Due to the increase in COVID-19 cases, campus buildings will remain closed through at least January 4th. Some graduate students may be granted exceptions. If you have a compelling need for campus access, please make a request through your department chair.

Please remember to complete the Declaration of Intention by December 22, 2020 in order to ensure that your ID card is programmed to allow approved access.

Will the libraries be open during the semester break?

Library availability will depend on the local and campus COVID-19 conditions. Please visit the LTS page on Library Hours for regular updates. However, many of the library services continue. Please check here for the latest updates.

Will the Health and Wellness Center be open during the semester break?

Yes. Please refer to the Health and Wellness Center site for details.

Will parking policies for graduate students change during the semester break?

Parking policies for Spring go into effect on January 1, 2021. Please refer to the Parking Office for information for your specific situation.

I live in Lehigh graduate housing. Can I have visitors?

Residents of Saucon Village may have overnight visitors. All visitors must follow the COVID-19 prevention guidelines required of all community members including completing the HawkWatch self-assessment app. Residents of Packer House and 220 West Packer Avenue are not allowed to have visitors due to increased chance of transmission because of shared bathrooms and kitchens. Current campus restrictions should always be followed. Students who are hosting visitors in their apartment are responsible for knowing the current university protocols and communicating them with their visitor(s).

I missed the Exit Testing, where can I get a test?

Please click here for testing sites.

Will the student health insurance cover the cost of tests available off campus?

Yes, if you are symptomatic. No, if you are asymptomatic.


Are graduate students required to have two negative COVID-19 tests prior to returning to campus?

No. Graduate students are required to follow the travel guidelines established for faculty and staff—that is, for anyone leaving Pennsylvania, we expect that you will follow all quarantining and testing guidelines upon returning to Pennsylvania as described by the Commonwealth. Read more. We expect that all members of the community will follow any PA orders/restrictions when leaving and returning to PA from out-of-state or internationally (these may include testing/quarantining requirements). The Lehigh graduate student rules for returning to campus will be in effect until January 31. The pre-arrival requirements for all students in the Spring semester, distinct from the Return to Campus Policy, will be communicated by the University closer to the start of the spring semester.

What if my housemate or apartment-mate travels out-of-state during the break? Am I required to quarantine, too?

No. However it is important to self-monitor and complete the daily COVID-19 health self-assessment. If your housemate or apartment-mate develops symptoms and tests positive, everyone in the house or apartment should quarantine and be tested.

What if I am starting at Lehigh for the first time in January?

Do I need to have two negative COVID tests or do I only need to quarantine? More information about testing and quarantine requirements for spring semester arrival will be available in January and will apply to students newly arriving in January.

I have family in the Lehigh Valley? Do I need to quarantine before returning to campus or my lab?

No. Please follow all safety protocols and stay home if you feel sick.

I will have an internship (or practicum) outside the Lehigh Valley and need access to campus on a regular basis, what should I do?

Monitor your health and complete the daily COVID-19 health self assessment. If you’re not sure what to do, please email to ask about your specific situation.

Are graduate students who live near campus but who access campus included in the surveillance testing in the spring?

Yes, please make sure to complete the Declaration of Intention for Spring which asks for your most current address and phone number so the University can contact you to schedule testing.

If the professor who I TA for decides to teach in person in the spring, do I have a choice to perform my duties remotely? Will that affect my funding?

You should not have to perform your TA duties if you are not comfortable or if you or a family member has an underlying health condition. You should try to work out accommodations directly with your professor or director of graduate studies. If conflicts arise, please contact Beth Dolan, deputy provost for graduate education or Kathleen Hutnik, associate dean for graduate life.

If the professor I am a TA for gets sick, do I need to take over the class? How are these decisions made?

The decision on how the class would be covered will be made on a case-by-case basis within the department. As above, if conflicts arise, please contact either Beth Dolan or Kathleen Hutnik.


Will the grading system for graduate students change?

The existing graduate grading system has enough flexibility built in to address the challenges students might face during the pandemic. Please see this archived email for additional information and explanation of that flexibility.

How does the SP (Satisfactory Progress) grade work?

Rules & Procedures of the Faculty states: “The grade SP may be assigned for coursework or projects that do not conform to standard terms (e.g., thesis, research courses, open learning, or multi-term project based learning coursework, etc.) when the student is making satisfactory progress; otherwise, the student should be assigned and F” (86). In Spring 2020, the SP is also available to any graduate course, even standard courses, if students are unable to complete course work or projects due to the change to on-line learning. “An SP grade will not be converted automatically but rather will remain until changed by the instructor or department chair when the instructor is not available. SP grades count towards credits completed but do not affect GPA until converted” (86). SP grades must be converted on the transcript for a student to graduate. Normally, “programs that want to apply the SP option need to designate the courses eligible for SP grades through the course curriculum approval/change process,” but for Spring 2020, this rule is lifted and the grade is available to any graduate course (86).

Can a graduate student taking an undergraduate course choose the CR grading option?

No. The CR grading option is not available for graduate students taking undergraduate courses. The CR grading option does not fit well with requirements for graduate courses, good standing, and graduate degrees. As Deputy Provost Beth Dolan explained in her message, the current graduate course grading structure provides flexible options to accommodate graduate students' situations.

Can an undergraduate student taking a graduate course choose the CR grading option?

Yes, but they should carefully think through the consequences of choosing this option. While we can assure a student that a course earning a CR grade will apply to Lehigh's undergraduate degree requirements, we do not make that same assurance for Lehigh's graduate degree requirements. If there is any possibility that an undergraduate student might want to count a course toward graduate program requirements, we advise against selecting the CR grading option.


What do I do if I’m struggling financially during this time?

You might be eligible for either a small grant or an interest-free loan up to $500 from the Graduate Life Office. Contact Kathleen Hutnik or Amy McCrae with questions.

Will I lose my funding if I become sick or quarantined?

If you are sick, call the Health and Wellness Center (610-758-3870) and follow their instructions. If you are a stipend-based TA/RA/GA your funding will continue during a short-term illness or quarantine. If your illness becomes long term, you might consider taking a leave of absence (contact Kathleen Hutnik).

I’m having trouble obtaining food because I’m sick or in quarantine. What can I do?

Contact the Graduate Life Office and we will brainstorm ways to address your individual situation.

Email Archive

  • Visit the Email Archive page to view University emails in regards to the Covid-19

Additional Support for Lehigh Faculty and TAs (Thursday, March 12) 

Covid 19 Information


Elizabeth A. Dolan
Deputy Provost for Graduate Education