Posted March 17, 2020 (updated March 27, 2020)

To the Lafayette Community:

As the dynamic changes and impact of the COVID-19 virus continue to affect our community, we are committed to providing frequent communication. To that end, we will post regular updates to the website and send emails alerting you to new information. As you may know, some important federal and state guidance has appeared in the last two days. The CDC released new guidelines limiting the recommended size of gatherings over the next eight weeks, and Governor Wolf held a press conference in which he announced a statewide quarantine that calls for shutting down all nonessential businesses for the next two weeks. In response, we have strengthened our remote work expectations for faculty and staff and are limiting and adjusting many of the services available on campus.

Please see important updates in the following areas:

Strengthening our Remote Campus Environment: Limited Building Access, Adjusted Services, Increased Social Distance Measures, and Employee Information

On Sunday, March 15, the CDC recommended the elimination of all special events involving 50 or more people for the next eight weeks. On Monday March 16, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf strongly urged non-essential businesses across the state to close for at least 14 days to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The College is committed to supporting this effort through social distancing and by moving to a remote work environment as much as possible. By Thursday evening, the College is requesting that only faculty and staff who have been approved to remain on campus by the division head are able to do so. Therefore the College is:

  • Limiting access to buildings and encouraging faculty, students and staff not to gather in groups.
  • Requesting that after Wednesday March 18, faculty students and staff do not visit offices, laboratories, computer labs or classrooms without permission from their department head through April 5.
  • Transitioning Skillman Library to only online services beginning Thursday, March 19.
  • Continuing to provide dining services to students on campus but starting on Thursday, March 19, food will only be available in Upper Farinon as grab and go from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Canceling all scheduled events on campus through May 6. (Update: All in-person College-sponsored campus and regional events have been cancelled through May 31. For more information, see the campus events policy.)
  • Instructing essential employees who have been asked to continue to work on campus to stay home if they are sick or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. They will be paid, and their allotted sick time will not be charged. Additionally, essential employees who experience significant childcare challenges between now and April 5 should advise their supervisor of this and discuss their circumstances and availability. With their supervisor’s approval, for the period between now and April 5, 2020, they will not be charged vacation or sick time for this purpose. As circumstances continue to evolve, we will revisit this issue.

Health Services Update: Instructions for Students

The College remains vigilant as the impact of COVID-19 evolves and we transition into a new phase of community spread. I anticipate significant local activity of the virus in the coming weeks. The number of confirmed cases will rapidly escalate in the region as more testing becomes available in our area. The turnaround time for testing is still 3-5 days; rapid testing is coming soon.

We are fortunate to have outstanding health networks in our area and they are taking extraordinary measures and using innovative ways to screen, access, and test for COVID-19 — St. Luke’s University Health Network and Lehigh Valley Health Network.

If you are a student on campus and you feel sick with fever and cough:

  • During the hours of 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, please call ahead to the Health Center at 610-330-5001. The Health Center is sending specimens to commercial laboratories for testing.
  • If you would like to connect with a doctor from your smartphone, tablet, or computer when the Health Center is closed, you can access a provider via a video visit at any time.
  • When the Health Center is closed please notify Public Safety at 610-330-5330 and a phone assessment will occur. Local health networks have free 24/7 hotlines to assist you: St. Luke’s University Health Network and Lehigh Valley Health Network

We encourage students who are sick with fever and cough to get tested. If a provider determines that you have symptoms that are concerning for COVID-19, the College may recommend transitioning to a living space allocated for this purpose.

This is a stressful and challenging time for everyone. Stay strong, stay calm and continue to take steps outlined by the Centers for Disease Control to keep our campus healthy and follow College updates on the COVID-19 website.


Dr. Jeff Goldstein, MD
Director of Health Services

Library Update: Remote Services Available and Library Closing Details

Due to concerns related to COVID-19, Skillman Library will close as of 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18, and remain closed until further notice. Kirby Library will also be closed until further notice.

While the library buildings are closed, the good news is that the library staff are available virtually to support your work. Our online digital collections offer a wide variety of sources for teaching, learning and research, including journal articles, reference sources, ebooks, and streaming video. The Libraries can often arrange access to additional items such as specific ebook titles on request. Interlibrary loan for materials that can be filled digitally, including articles and book chapters, will continue, and we are available by email, chat, phone, or GoogleMeet to help with your research.

A remote services page is available at We strongly encourage you to contact us at if you need assistance locating resources. Special Collections & College Archives can be reached at

While we are closed, we ask you to refrain from returning books to the exterior book drop at Skillman. Any books that are returned will be placed in a three-week quarantine to be safe, so you might as well keep them and enjoy! Materials with due dates between March 21 and April 5 will be automatically renewed.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or any member of the library staff.

Anne Houston
Dean of Libraries


Advice and FAQ for Students to Help Prepare for Remote Instruction

We hope you all are doing well during this eventful time. This week the Lafayette faculty and staff are working intensively to prepare for the transition to two weeks of remote learning that will begin the Monday after spring break.

We recognize that you may be facing difficult circumstances in many arenas as we adapt to new ways of teaching and learning. This will be an adjustment for faculty members and staff as well! Our success in this transition will depend on our ability to be patient and flexible with each other.

For questions specifically related to your classes, your course instructor is your best point of contact. We have compiled answers to general questions you may have on your mind.

We wish you good luck, and hope that you find ways to enjoy the remainder of spring break.

John Meier, Provost
Michael Olin, Dean of Advising
Jamila Bookwala, Dean of the Faculty
Tracie Addy, Associate Dean for Faculty Support, and Director of CITLS
Markus Dubischar, Associate Dean of the Curriculum

At this time, we are continuing to prepare to resume on-campus instruction beginning April 6, and to hold Commencement as scheduled. We will keep you posted on any changes to those plans. We encourage everyone to take a day this week to arrange your space for studying and working from home. Please direct questions you may have to; we will respond to your email as soon as we can, and we will continue to add information to as appropriate.

Be well and stay safe.

Lafayette’s COVID-19 Response Team