Update From Colgate University for the Hamilton Community

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Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

Now that classes have resumed at Colgate and our second round of arrival testing is drawing to an end, I write with an update from campus.

Colgate’s COVID-19 response for the 2020–21 academic year relies on mandatory vaccination and arrival testing to create the safest possible environment in which to conduct in-person instruction. We also strongly encourage our community to wear masks in any public location, indoors or outdoors, where physical distance cannot be maintained. You may reference our full masking guidelines on our website.

Vaccination efforts began on campus as early as last spring, and we now can report a combined 96% vaccination rate across all segments of our community. A limited number of medical and religious exemptions have been granted — these individuals are required, for their safety, to wear masks and receive weekly tests.

Students were strongly encouraged to take an at-home test before traveling to Colgate. This voluntary effort helped us to identify and address several positive cases of COVID from a distance. During preorientation and our arrival period, the University conducted thousands of COVID tests, including optional surveillance tests for faculty and staff members. Through all of our efforts on campus, we have identified 14 student cases, and four employees have also tested positive. View these and other data on the Health Analytics Team Dashboard, which we continue to update on a daily basis. In keeping with our fall semester plans, most students who tested positive have returned home to quarantine. A few have remained in specially designated University housing. We look forward to seeing them all back on campus as soon as they have recovered.

Given our combination of high vaccination and low positivity rates, the University is moving forward with in-person events. The Events Safety Group, Emergency Operations Center, Executive Group, and Task Force on Reopening the Colgate Campus have created a set of event guidelines that promote the wellbeing of both the campus community and the surrounding area. These guidelines are tailored by event size and location, and they can be found on our website.

For events with guests from outside the campus community, including gatherings that are open to the public, an Event Safety Group review is required. Expectations regarding safety practices must be clearly communicated to guests. In some cases, attendees 12 years of age or older from outside the campus community will be required to present documentation showing that they are fully vaccinated, have recently recovered after a positive COVID-19 test, or have had a recent negative test. With these guidelines in place, the University looks forward to the return of athletic competition, homecoming weekend, and family weekend this fall. These events bring life to campus and vitality to the village — we hope that you will join the festivities and celebrate with us.

In communicating our extensive plans and guidelines, we remind our students that many faculty and staff members are the parents of young children, who cannot yet be vaccinated. While vaccines are widely available, safe, and effective, some of those we encounter in our daily lives might be medically unable to receive them. We must exercise the utmost care for each other, knowing that the decisions we make can have an impact on the most vulnerable individuals in Hamilton and elsewhere around the region.

Our campus vaccination rate is remarkable, and it will provide a sense of normalcy we have not seen since the winter of 2020. Yet, our event guidelines show that a complete return to life as we knew it is still something to which we aspire. We continue to confront COVID together; to strongly recommend the wearing of masks, the maintaining of distance, the frequent washing of hands and cleaning of spaces. We continue to celebrate our successes and embrace our commitment to community health. We continue to work closely with the Madison County Department of Health and thank them for their partnership. And, as ever, we thank you for being our partners, too, in this important work.


Laura H. Jack
Vice President for Communications
Acting Chief Diversity Officer