Colgate University is closely monitoring the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. Due to the rapidly changing nature of this situation, all information below is subject to modification at any time. 

All Colgate employees in non-essential roles are now required to work remotely (not on campus). Employees should assume that they are in a non-essential role unless notified by their supervisor that they have been deemed essential. Appropriate procedures for safety and social distancing should be followed by all employees.

If you have questions for consideration for the staff FAQ, please send them to humres@colgate.edu

Visitors to Campus

The University aims to limit all guests on campus as much as possible. Even so, some vendors will have to visit campus in the interest of supporting the current campus's operations and small community of remaining student residents. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Caring for Self and Family

Employees and their dependents who are enrolled in Colgate’s health insurance plan are able to take advantage of TeleMedicine at no cost (there is no co-pay for these services). Telemedicine can be used:  

  • Instead of going to urgent care or the emergency room for minor and non-life-threatening conditions.
  • Whenever your primary care doctor is not available.
  • When traveling for work or on vacation.

Employees should proactively enroll in this service by registering at ExcellusBCBS.com/member or by calling 1-866-692-5045.

Questions regarding TeleMedicine can be directed to Human Resources at ext. 7565 or Relph Benefit Advisors at 1-800-836-0026 ext. 510.

The University asks supervisors to establish work plans that allow for as many employees as is practical to work remotely, effective immediately, until further notice. This supports the University's work to encourage social distancing, and to provide more flexibility for parents and caregivers who need to provide for children dismissed from local schools and daycares in response to COVID-19. Plans for remote working will vary by department. Divisional vice presidents will communicate directly with employees in their division.

Business Continuity

We face a remarkable challenge trying to balance the health and safety of staff and faculty while considering the continuity of services to the community that we support. The University will ask supervisors to establish work plans that allow for as many employees as is practical to work remotely, effective immediately, until further notice. This move will support the University's work to encourage social distancing, and to provide more flexibility for parents and caregivers who need to provide for children dismissed from local schools and daycares in response to COVID-19. Plans for remote working will vary by department. Additional guidance will be provided online as it becomes available. 

The rationale for this decision is to lower the risk for the whole community, including for those employees who are physically needed on campus for day-to-day activities and student support. “Risk” includes the rate of infection spread and the demands on local health resources. Thus, the decision is not only about reducing the individual risk for those who can work remotely, but also for those who will be on campus and in contact with others. We reduce the risk for everyone by having fewer people on campus.

In all cases, when employees are working remotely, any and all equipment and materials must be stored in safe and secure locations. If you are using any of the software applications that require a VPN connection, you will need to first make a VPN connection for cyber security reasons.

  1. Record your regular hours of work on your time sheet.
  2. If you are ill and unavailable to perform any work, you should record sick time for that period. Communicate your sick time with your supervisor following the normal protocols. 
  3. If you unexpectedly cannot be available to work or you need to take vacation time, you should notify your supervisor and record it as vacation on your time sheet. 

If you are using vacation or sick time, you will not be expected to perform any Colgate work for that period. If your vacation balance is at the maximum accrual, you should work with your supervisor to schedule vacation time during the pay period.

It is important that you complete your time sheet in accordance with the payroll deadlines. Friday, April 10, is a University-observed half-day holiday for Good Friday. Eligible hourly employees should indicate the half-day holiday earn code on their time sheet for April 10.

Employees who are on or had a planned disability, Paid Family Leave or Family Medical Leave must continue in that status as applicable until released from their physician, since the employee will not be available to work.
 

  • Think about your essential business functions and how you would ensure continuity of operations if you were missing a number of employees or even just one or two key employees.
  • Employees should be cross-trained to ensure essential functions can be covered even if a key employee or key employees are absent. 
  • Spend time thinking about alternative suppliers or additional storage to guarantee business continuity if your suppliers were unable to provide their current level of service.
  • Evaluate whether any employees could work from home, and if so, whether the systems and equipment needed are in place to facilitate secure telework (e.g. laptops, VPN, network access,  voicemail, supplies, etc.)

University-sponsored international travel is prohibited and domestic travel for faculty, staff, and students must be approved by the Executive Group of the Emergency Operation Committee (EG) on a case-by-case basis through Sunday, April 19. Requests for exceptions should be sent to your divisional vice president, who will bring it to the EG for consideration.

Colgate also encourages all members of the University community to avoid unnecessary personal travel to any destination, either domestic or international.

If you become sick while traveling, notify your supervisor and promptly call a healthcare provider for advice.
 

The university recognizes student employment provides important skill development, hands-on learning opportunities, and income for our students. For students who remain on campus, their employment may continue based on departmental needs.

We encourage supervisors to find remote work, where possible, for student employees who leave campus for the remainder of this semester. Supervisors can exercise discretion in scheduling (while continuing to adhere to student employment guidelines) and should set clear expectations for ongoing communication.

We ask that every effort be made to provide students who wish to continue working with viable options to do so. Please contact student employment with any questions at ext. 6442 or via email at studentemployment@colgate.edu

Consult the COVID-19 FAQs on the Send and Receive Mail page for more information.

Contact Tamala Flack (tflack@colgate.edu) to discuss your specific needs and circumstances.

More information about disability services during COVID-19

Potential Exposure or Illness

Colgate University is following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and New York State in managing concerns about exposure. People who have been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case should call the N.Y. State Department of Health toll-free hotline at 888-364-3065.

If quarantine is recommended by a physician or public health official, the employee should contact Human Resources or complete this form. If an employee in quarantine is well enough to work, and the nature of the work allows for telework, the employee may work from home. If the work does not allow for telework, the University will compensate the employee for their time, typically this will be for two weeks, or as long as appropriate documentation is supplied. 

Should an employee need to stay home to care for a family member, the employee may use up to 10 days of sick time. When absences exceed one week, employees should contact Human Resources to discuss paid family leave and family medical leave eligibility. If the nature of the employee’s work allows for telework, this option should be explored first with the employee’s supervisor and then with Human Resources.

If your minor child is ordered to isolate or quarantine and you are unable to work remotely while you provide care, please contact Human Resource or complete this form.

We urge all employees to stay home from work if they have signs of any illness, including any employee who is sick with symptoms that could be COVID-19.

Employees who stay home due to personal illness are not expected to work and should be focused on getting healthy.

Should an employee be placed in quarantine or isolation as part of the COVID-19 outbreak and is unable to work remotely, the University will provide sick time in accordance with the NYS Paid Sick Leave program. The employee should complete the online form to notify Human Resources.

Absences greater than one week for any reason should be reported to Human Resources, as they may qualify for disability and/or family medical leave.
 

Employees may return to work once they have been cleared by their doctor or a public health official. In some cases, documentation may be required.

Again, we urge all employees to stay home from work if they have signs of any illness. 

Concerns related to a co-worker appearing to be exhibiting COVID-19-like symptoms should be addressed with the supervisor and/or Human Resources.

COVID-19 is more dangerous to those who are on chemotherapy, have heart problems, diabetes, or those with compromised immune systems. We are committed to the safety and wellbeing of our employees. Those with conditions that make them more vulnerable, or who have family members with compromised immune systems, may request to work remotely. Supervisors will work with Human Resources to accommodate these requests. Documentation will be required but we will work to streamline these processes. Employees should err on the side of caution if they have concerns about their health or the health of their families

Accommodations for individuals with medical documentation who cannot work remotely will be handled on a case-by-case basis, with a strong commitment to ensuring the safety of vulnerable staff.

Messages for Employees

Dear Colgate Faculty and Staff,

I write today to provide more details and guidance with respect to how Colgate is planning to practice increased fiscal responsibility during the COVID-19 pandemic. This information goes deeper into some of the steps outlined by Vice President Hope last week, while also introducing a few additional measures designed to help minimize the potential impact of limited operations on campus.

  1. University credit cards: Effective Monday, March 23, the monthly credit limit for expenditures will be reduced to $1,000. Requests for a (temporary) higher limit should be emailed directly to Tom O’Neill, controller (toneill@colgate.edu). Employees with credit card transactions more than 30 days past due have until Friday, March 27, to complete and submit reports through Concur. After that date, the accounting office will review and submit reports, charging the card holder's Banner home code. This will allow finance and administration to obtain a clearer picture of expenditures to date. It is expected that cardholders will diligently complete all future reports. Reports should be filed within 30 days of the expenditure being recorded on the credit card.
  2. Travel: Employees who have incurred airline charges for cancelled flights will be reimbursed. Requests should be submitted through Concur with supporting documentation from the airline or provider. If documentation cannot be obtained, complete a missing receipt affidavit describing the steps taken to seek reimbursement. University sponsored international travel is prohibited and domestic travel for faculty, staff, and students must be approved by the Executive Group (EG) of the Emergency Operation Center on a case-by-case basis through Sunday, May 10. No travel or travel-related expenses should be arranged after May 10 unless it can be cancelled without penalty. Effective immediately, all individual business-related airline and train travel must be processed through CBT, the University's preferred provider.
  3. Invoices/disbursement vouchers: No paper requests for payment should be submitted to accounting. Invoices/disbursement vouchers should be scanned, (cell phone pictures are acceptable) and forwarded to accounting@colgate.edu. The accounting office will be notifying vendors that invoices should be sent electronically.
  4. New contracts: Contracts can be arranged for the fall 2020 term (e.g. guest lecturers for fall) if they can be cancelled without penalty and do not require non-refundable deposits. Force Majeure language and other necessary contracting terms can be added to contracts after discussion with the Office of Risk Management via email (riskmanagement@colgate.edu).
  5. Overtime: Any overtime will need prior approval from your dean/VP or designee. This approval should be emailed to the controller at toneill@colgate.edu (including an estimate of overtime hours approved) beforehand.
  6. Equipment purchases: Aside from purchases already approved to help manage the COVID-19 health crisis, any equipment purchases greater than $2,500 will need prior approval from finance and administration. Please contact John Collins at jhcollins@colgate.edu.
  7. Home office: Jabber can be used for phone calls, and equipment can be borrowed from the ITS help desk. Wifi hotspots are also available from ITS. Cell phone bills, home internet bills, and ITS equipment for home offices will not be reimbursed.
  8. Food and entertainment: Food and entertainment expenses must be approved by your VP or their designee.

Effective immediately, we ask that departments only make essential purchases. We understand that some areas will incur unanticipated expenditures related to COVID-19, and, conversely, other areas may generate savings with the recent changes that have been implemented. This is not a time to spend unused funds just because they appear to be available.

Please also only order supplies and materials that are absolutely necessary to maintain business continuity for the remainder of the fiscal year.

Regards,
Tom O’Neill
Controller 

Dear Colgate Staff and Faculty,

Colgate University has taken extraordinary precautions to safeguard the health and safety of faculty, staff, students, and the local community in response to the COVID-19 health crisis. While there are many questions that remain to be answered, I would like to provide more guidance and information related to the economic impact on Colgate, and what it will likely mean for our community in the months ahead.

While the full impact of COVID-19 is still unknown, the university has taken many steps that will place additional pressures on our immediate and long-term financial resources. One financial decision in particular surrounding room and board reductions, will significantly impact our revenue for the 2019-20 fiscal year. Initial estimates are for a  $8.5-$10 million loss in the current fiscal year. 

Like many other departments across campus, the staff in finance and administration is working diligently to find solutions to mitigate the funding gap that will result in the current year. It is important to note that the University will continue to operate and offer services to students, albeit with significant modifications. Colgate has also established plans to pay all employees through at least June 30. In order to ensure this plan's success, our campus community must rally together in support of a number of new steps to increase our fiscal prudence. 

Regularly scheduled casual wage employees who can work remotely will do so and be paid for their hours. Those who cannot should consult with their supervisors about the possibility of contributing in other ways to the university’s efforts during this unusual time.

While the overall financial health of the institution is strong, a loss of this magnitude will nonetheless be difficult. The University is somewhat limited in terms of the options we have to control expenditures at this stage in the fiscal year, but there are steps we can take to help manage this financial challenge. Therefore: 

  1. Starting today, we ask that departments only make essential purchases. We understand that some areas will incur unanticipated expenditures related to COVID-19 and conversely, other areas may generate savings with the recent changes that have been implemented. This is not a time to spend unused funds just because they appear to be available. We also encourage everyone to complete any outstanding concur reports to help with our projections.
  2. Any overtime will need prior approval from your Dean/VP or designee.
  3. University-sponsored international travel is prohibited and domestic travel for faculty, staff, and students must be approved by the Executive Group of the Emergency Operation Committee (EG) on a case-by-case basis through Sunday, May 10. No travel or travel-related expenses should be arranged for after May 10 unless it can be cancelled without penalty.
  4. Aside from equipment purchases already approved to help manage the COVID-19 health crisis, any equipment purchases greater than $2,500 will need prior approval from Finance and Administration.
  5. Only order supplies and materials that are absolutely necessary to maintain business continuity for the remainder of the fiscal year. Purchasing card limits will be lowered in order to support the University’s efforts to constrain spending during this challenging period.
  6. A hiring freeze for new and vacant positions is now in place until further notice. Human Resources will review all in-process searches on a case-by-case basis to determine if they should proceed. 

Future Implications

Given the uncertain long-term impact of this COVID-19 crisis, we must plan ahead for a prolonged state of financial restraint. The 2020-21 operating budget plan also needs to be reconsidered. The FY21 budget is scheduled to be presented to the Board of Trustees in early May. A great deal of work still needs to take place but our approach will be to preserve as much capital as possible until we know our exposure to financial pressures relating to the pandemic.  

One example would be the still unknown impact on the behavior of prospective students and their families in the entering class of 2024.  Similarly, we are unsure how the global situation will influence the decisions or regulations associated with international students studying at Colgate. We have a significant international student population at Colgate and if the rules governing their studies in the United States are altered it could have serious financial implications. 

Endowment support represents approximately 25 percent of our operating revenue. We have well thought-out guidelines in place that govern our spending each year, but recent market activity will place additional pressure on our second largest revenue stream.

These are challenging times, but I am confident we can come together and all serve as good financial stewards, by carefully managing budgets, and by modifying behavior. I thank you in advance for your understanding and assistance as we band together as a community during this remarkable time in our University’s history.

Respectfully,
Joseph Hope
Vice President 
Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration and Chief Investment Officer

Dear Colgate Faculty and Staff Colleagues:

I write to provide an update on the financial planning that we are undertaking as we continue, through our EOC and its Executive Committee, to manage the many aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the campus and local community. As can surely be imagined, the strain on our resources caused by the extraordinary steps we are taking, combined with the significant loss of revenue from the reimbursement of students’ room and board and other fees, is considerable. The operating budget we have been working under this fiscal year has fundamentally shifted.

A group of financial administrators, working directly with the EOC, are continuing to monitor the costs of our responses and the implications of the anticipated revenue losses. They are working to create plans that will allow us to maintain the safety of this community and the education of our students, as well as the continued employment of our staff colleagues.

The plans and guidelines being generated by this group will allow us to continue to employ all of the University’s full- and part-time employees through the remainder of this fiscal year, at their standard salaries and wages.  In order to achieve this, however, we will be relying on all members of the community to be extremely prudent with all potential expenditures and plans. In the next day or so, we will be sending out to the campus specific new guidelines on purchases, travel expenses, credit cards, and searches. If the guidelines are zealously followed by every part of Colgate, we will be able to support our staff and colleagues throughout this period. I believe it is profoundly important that we do so.

This is not the inaugural third-century year we anticipated. It is, however, the one that we have been given. So, let us take care of each other and this University. Again, I thank you for your commitment to this important work, to your colleagues, and to our students.

Sincerely,

Brian W. Casey
President

Dear Colgate Employees,

Let me begin by thanking each of you for the tremendous work you are doing on campus during this time of global uncertainty due to COVID-19. I thank you for your patience today as we work to keep our community safe and informed. Your safety and wellbeing are our highest priority. 

By now you will have seen the message from President Casey. The increased risk of travel to and from campus made the decision to ask all students to leave campus by March 22 necessary. Instruction and classes will continue online. 

Colgate will still operate, and employees should report for work as usual unless instructed otherwise by a supervisor.

The human resources team is working with guidance from local and national health departments to ensure that we all have safe and healthy environments in which to learn and work. We are also developing guidelines in the event that some staff members need to enter quarantine, work from home, or care for a family member.

We have tried to anticipate many of your questions by creating this FAQ. 

Undoubtedly, there will need to be adjustments as this situation evolves. We will continue to send updates as new information emerges and as our strategies adjust.

Please feel free to call the human resources office at 315-228-7411, or send an email to humres@colgate.edu with your questions and concerns. We are here to support you. 

These are challenging times, but I am confident that, by working together, we can continue to support and maintain a healthy campus community. 


Sincerely,

Christopher Wells
Senior Advisor to the President; Assistant Dean for Administrative Advising