Updated August 19, 2021

As part of the University’s ongoing plans for the academic year, the University has generated policies and protocols related to events and other in-person gatherings.

As with all of the University’s public-health guidelines throughout the past year, Colgate will continue to monitor the national, state, and local COVID-19 situation, and thus these guidelines remain subject to changes as needed. We thank you for your commitment to this community’s health, and for your understanding as we continue to navigate the fall 2021 semester together.

The Event Safety Group

As part of Colgate’s continuing policies and protocols, the Event Safety Group will continue to review gatherings with people from outside the campus community, including gatherings that are open to the public. The Event Safety Group will also answer questions and provide advice for all gathering organizers.

For events that will be attended only by Colgate University faculty, staff, students, and registered volunteers, there are currently no restrictions. All participants will follow current campus guidance for masking. When possible, gathering organizers are encouraged to implement the best practices detailed below.

Best Practices

While the following best practices — based on SMART principles of space, masks, air, reduce, and time — are not formal University requirements, gathering organizers are encouraged to enact them. 

  • When it conducts contact tracing of COVID-positive individuals, the Madison County Department of Health identifies “close contacts” as people who have been within 6 feet of a positive case for 15 minutes or longer. The distance expands to 12 feet for increased exhalation activities, including singing and exercise. 
  • To support contact tracing efforts, gathering organizers are encouraged to have attendees RSVP, to use a ticketing system, or utilize a sign-in sheet to confirm attendance.
  • Whenever possible, avoid filling the space to full capacity and provide designated physically distanced sections.
  • When using tents, consider providing additional seating outside of tents, weather permitting, to further spread out the gathering.
  • If people are sitting together at a group of tables, consider setting each table at least six feet away from any other table.
  • Whenever possible, limit receptions and cocktail hours to outdoor spaces to avoid people mingling without face coverings indoors.
  • Refer to colgate.edu/colgatetogether for current campus guidance for face coverings.
  • During indoor gatherings and outdoor gatherings where physical distancing cannot be maintained, it is recommended that attendees wear face coverings whenever they are not seated, including while in transit to or from their seat and while standing in lines.
  • Attendees may be encouraged to wear masks unless they are seated while eating or drinking, including while they are standing in lines. 
  • Gathering organizers are encouraged to avoid indoor receptions and cocktail hours where people eat and drink while mingling with others.
  • At this time, vocalists at indoor events are required to wear a mask while performing or practicing.
  • Performers using higher risk musical instruments such as bass trombones, oboes, and trumpets should use bell covers in indoor spaces.
  • Whenever possible, choose outdoor spaces instead of indoor spaces.
  • Weather permitting, limit the use of sidewalls on tents.
  • For indoor spaces, open windows whenever possible. 
  • If your space is equipped with HEPA air purifiers, ensure that they are turned on and running.
  • For long duration events, build more frequent breaks into the schedule.
  • If people are sitting together at tables, consider limiting the number of people seated together at the same table to six or fewer.
  • Encourage attendees to limit how frequently they eat with people from different households or family units.
  • Consider providing grab-and-go options for food and activities, as well as to-go containers for food, for attendees who want to limit the amount of time they spend in close contact with others without face coverings.

Events With Guests From Outside the Campus

For events with guests from outside the campus community, including gatherings that are open to the public, review of the event by the Event Safety Group is required. Expectations regarding safety practices must be clearly communicated to guests, including the following, at a minimum:

  • COVID-19 variants remain a persistent threat to individuals' health, and available vaccines show significant protection against these variants. It therefore remains important to vaccinate to protect yourself and our community. We expect all guests to be fully vaccinated prior to coming to campus, barring religious or medical exemption.
  • All unvaccinated individuals are expected to wear a face covering on campus while indoors and in any outdoor setting where physical distancing cannot be maintained. Refer to colgate.edu/colgatetogether for current campus guidance for face coverings.
  • Guests who are ill (including but not limited to symptoms commonly associated with COVID-19 and other communicable diseases), regardless of vaccination status, must cancel their visit to campus.

When planning on-campus events with outside guests, best practices detailed above should still be considered. However, one of the five event options detailed below must be selected: 

  • Indoor attendance is limited to no more than 50% of the space’s standard capacity, or:
  • The total number of attendees will be limited such that at least six feet of distance can be maintained between individuals who are not members of the same party/household/family (i.e. approximately 100 square feet per attendee or 250 square feet per group of 4 attendees).
  • All attendees are required to wear face coverings.
  • For indoor events, attendees 12 years of age or older from outside the campus community must present documentation showing that they are fully vaccinated, have recently recovered after a positive COVID-19 test, or have had a recent negative test. 
  • Attendees from the campus community can either present the same documentation or their ‘Gate card, indicating that they fall under the University’s vaccination and testing requirements.
  • In lieu of requiring documentation, event organizers may instead require attendees two years of age or older from outside the campus community who are ineligible for vaccination due to age to wear face coverings.
  • Acceptable documentation includes:
    • proof of complete COVID-19 vaccination with the Moderna, Pfizer, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine (at least two weeks after a second dose of the two-dose Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or the single-dose J&J vaccine),
    • a positive COVID-19 test, dated between 14 and 90 days prior to the start of the program,
    • a negative PCR test, taken no earlier than 72 hours prior to the start of the program, or
    • a negative antigen test, taken no earlier than 24 hours prior to the start of the program.
  • Gathering is entirely outdoors and physical distancing is possible and attendees are expected to wear masks where physical distancing cannot be maintained, including while in transit to and from their seats, when waiting in lines, and in indoor spaces (e.g. restrooms).
  • If one of the above options cannot be followed or if there are additional considerations (due to an event’s size or duration, for example), the gathering organizer must submit an event plan, including a detailed section on public health and safety measures, for review by the Emergency Operations Center. Please submit as soon as possible and at least one week prior to the proposed event.

Additional Considerations

Children’s camps, field trips, community outreach activities, and other gatherings with children in attendance can operate on campus as follows:

  • Children who are not fully vaccinated should maintain three feet of physical distance while seated in a classroom setting. All children, employees, and volunteers who are not fully vaccinated should maintain six feet of physical distance in other settings, including both indoor and outdoor spaces, unless safety or the core activity requires a shorter distance. When possible, children should also wear face coverings.
  • Prior to agreeing to host field trips, community outreach activities, etc., University employees and students should request a list of policies that the school or group would like University employees and students to follow during the activity. If the University agrees to host the activity, University employees and students should follow the school or group’s policy whenever it is more restrictive than the University’s policy, possibly including face covering and physical distancing requirements for fully vaccinated individuals.

Guests will not be allowed in Colgate dining facilities at this time.

To help protect the health and safety of alumni, parents, and friends of the University, the University reserves the right to require additional guidelines for off-campus gatherings in areas with localized outbreaks or low vaccination rates or in other instances where the University determines that additional guidelines are in the best interest of the health and safety of the campus.

To this end, all offices and departments organizing gatherings off-campus should notify the Event Safety Group by emailing Cody Tipton at ctipton@colgate.edu and Serenity McCracken at smccracken@colgate.edu, in addition to maintaining a list of off-campus gatherings.

In addition to following local and state guidance, all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, are strongly recommended to wear a face covering while indoors and in any setting where physical distancing cannot be maintained in areas with substantial or high levels of community transmission.

About the Event Safety Group

Event Safety Group membership includes staff from the ALANA Cultural Center; the Center for Leadership and Student Involvement (CLSI); Conference Services and Summer Programs; the Department of Theater; Facilities; Information Technology Services (ITS); the Max Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education; the Office of the Chaplains; the Physical Education, Recreation and Athletics (PERA) Division; and University Events.

Representatives from the Event Safety Group will meet with the EOC regularly to review any changes to CDC or NYS guidelines, to make recommendations for policies and procedures for any additional issues that they foresee to the Executive Group (EG), and to ask the EOC staff to provide policies or clarifications for any issues that they encounter.