On May 5 Colgate announced that all students and employees will be required to have an up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination. The following are FAQs for students as they plan their return to the campus.

Public health has been the guiding principle in all of our decisions throughout this pandemic, and it is with this in mind that Colgate requires up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination for all new and returning students on campus effective May 17, 2021.

Find your preferred vaccine option for free at a location near you through vaccines.gov.

Proof of vaccination can be uploaded to the myColgateHealth Patient Portal, faxed to 315-228-6823, or emailed to studenthealth@colgate.edu (please be aware that email is not a secure way of sending information and confidentiality can not be guaranteed). Proof of vaccination includes a legible copy of your vaccine card.

Submission of proof of vaccination or of documentation of medical or religious exemption must be submitted on or before July 6, 2021.

Vaccination status will be checked at student arrival and Student Health Services will be available at that time to assist you with making a vaccination appointment.

Effective August 2, vaccinated students will not be required to be tested once they arrive on campus for the fall semester. Testing protocols are subject to change based on state and federal guidance.

Contact Student Health Services and someone will advise you and assist with making an appointment to complete your vaccine series. You will be expected to follow face covering and physical distancing requirements until you are fully vaccinated (two weeks after receiving the final dose).

At this time, if you have received all recommended doses of a COVID-19 vaccine listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization, then you meet the requirement and do not need additional doses of an FDA-authorized vaccine. 

If you have been vaccinated with a vaccine that is not authorized by the FDA or WHO, you will be offered an FDA-authorized vaccine, assuming a minimum of 28 days has passed since your last dose of a different COVID-19 vaccine. You will be expected to follow face covering, physical distancing, and testing requirements until you are fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine.

Expectations will be clearly communicated to the campus community when or if boosters are available and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Completed requests for medical or religious exemptions can be uploaded to the myColgateHealth Patient Portal, faxed to 315-228-6823, or emailed to studenthealth@colgate.edu (please be aware that email is not a secure way of sending information and confidentiality can not be guaranteed).

A sincerely held religious belief and how this belief relates to your decision not to receive the vaccination. 

Students unable or unwilling to show proof of vaccination or meet one of the exemptions, may take a leave of absence for the 2021–22 academic year. Please inform your administrative dean as soon as possible, but no later than July 19, if you determine that you will be taking a leave of absence.

Incoming students may request a one-year deferral of their enrollment. Students interested in requesting deferred admission must contact the Office of Admission. A Request to Defer Admission form will then be added to the student’s applicant portal, and this form must be submitted by July 19. The form includes space for a 500-word explanation for the purpose of the deferred enrollment request. Upon approval, the student will be required to pay an additional, non-refundable $500 deposit (total $1000 non-refundable deposit) to confirm and finalize their plans to defer their enrollment for one year.

Students who fail to meet the requirements for submitting proof of vaccination or a medical or religious exemption will not be permitted to remain on campus or to access campus resources.

Upon arrival to campus, unvaccinated students will be required to take a rapid test at check-in and to schedule two PCR tests. As face covering requirements and physical distancing restrictions are lifted in most settings for the fully vaccinated campus population, they are expected for unvaccinated individuals. Unvaccinated students who are exempt from receiving the vaccine will also be required to participate in weekly surveillance testing throughout the semester. This is subject to change based on state and federal guidance.

A: Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “that’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible — although rare — that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again. Studies have shown that vaccination provides a strong boost in protection in people who have recovered from COVID-19.” Learn more on the CDC FAQ page.

Any failure to report for required testing without making prior arrangements with Student Health Services will be considered a violation of the Commitment to Community Health. Per the Colgate University Code of Student Conduct, at any time during enrollment and regardless of location, students must “abide by all University policies and procedures and comply with directions of University officials acting in performance of their duties.” Failure to comply with these requirements may result in referral to the University Student Conduct Board.

The records you share in relation to this policy — as with all medical records — will be stored securely and accessed only by those with a need to know. We are committed to maintaining the privacy of your medical information. Read the Student Health Services Patient Rights and Responsibilities and Confidentiality policies for more information.

No. The mRNA from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines never enter the nucleus of the cell, where our DNA is kept. J&J uses a modified version of a different, harmless virus to deliver important protection-building instructions in the form of genetic material that does not integrate into a person’s DNA. At the end of either process, our bodies have learned how to protect against future infection from COVID-19 if the real virus enters our bodies. The takeaway: Opt for whatever vaccine is available to you. They’re all safe, effective, and vetted.
SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control

Effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection vary unpredictably from minor to deadly — even in young people. Our Commitment to Community Health helps to keep spread to a minimum, but SARS-CoV-2 immunity is the key to returning to normal in the fall. “No virus has ever eliminated itself by inducing natural immunity in a large percentage of the population. Only herd immunity induced by vaccination can eliminate viruses, as has now been shown for smallpox and two of the three different types of poliovirus.”
SOURCE: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

If you are a college student studying in New York State, you can be vaccinated here, even if your permanent residence is elsewhere. Just be sure, when you sign up for your first shot, that you will be in the area to receive your second dose. Don’t let out-of-state residency prevent you from signing up for vaccination if you are otherwise eligible.

No. Because these vaccines do not use live strains of the virus, you will not show as positive on tests for current infection. (The CDC notes that your new immune response might result in a positive on some antibody tests, showing that you have “some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.”)