COVID-19 Testing and Tracing

Testing and contact tracing are key tools in the effort to protect the health of the Colgate community.

In Case of Illness or Suspected Illness

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guide to symptoms of COVID-19

If you develop:

  • Fever greater than 100.4℉ or 38℃, or;
  • Cough, or;
  • Trouble breathing or;
  • Any other symptoms associated with COVID-19 including: headache, fatigue, dizziness, eye irritation, nasal congestion/runny nose, sore throat, nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, loss of taste/smell, muscle aches, chills/shakes, confusion, or chest pain.

Take these steps:

  • Do not go out in public
  • Do not go to a doctor’s office or hospital without calling ahead.
  • Call the Student Health Center at 315-228-7750
  • Describe your symptoms and concerns
  • Anticipate that you may need to wait for a nurse or provider to call you back.

If the Student Health Center is not open (evenings and weekends):

  • Contact Community Memorial Hospital Emergency Department at 315-824-6090 and ask for the Emergency Department. Tell them about your symptoms.

If you are instructed to come to the Student Health Center or hospital:

  • Wash your hands prior to leaving your housing.
  • Wear a mask when leaving your housing.
  • If you need transportation, Call Campus Safety at 315-228-7333 for transportation.  Tell them you are seeking medical care for COVID like symptoms.
  • Campus Safety has the ability to call 911 if that is felt to be a safer mode of transport.

Medical Emergencies

If you are experiencing a medical emergency (severe shortness of breath, severe chest pain, severe constant lightheadedness, confusion, or any symptoms that cannot wait for a return phone call), call 911.

If you develop:

  • Fever greater than 100.4℉ or 38℃, or;
  • Cough, or;
  • Trouble breathing, or;
  • Any other symptoms associated with COVID-19 including: headache, fatigue, dizziness, eye irritation, nasal congestion/runny nose, sore throat, nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, loss of taste/smell, muscle aches, chills/shakes, confusion, or chest pain.

Take these steps:

  • Do not go out in public
  • Do not go to a doctor’s office or hospital without calling ahead.
  • Call your personal physician
  • Describe your symptoms and concerns
  • Anticipate that you may need to wait for a nurse or provider to call you back.

If you do not have access to a physician you can call the Student Health Center at 315-228-7750.

  • Describe your symptoms and concerns.
  • Anticipate that you may need to wait for a nurse or provider to call you back.

If you cannot reach the Student Health Center and do not have a physician.

  • Contact your local urgent care or emergency department.
  • Describe your symptoms and concerns.

If you are instructed to come to a medical office or hospital:

  • Wash your hands prior to leaving your housing.
  • Wear a mask when leaving your housing.
  • Avoid public transportation unless absolutely necessary.

Medical Emergencies

If you are experiencing a medical emergency (severe shortness of breath, severe chest pain, severe constant lightheadedness, confusion, or any symptoms that cannot wait for a return phone call), call 911.

Employees who do not feel well

  • Do not report to work
  • Contact your supervisor to address staffing concerns
  • Seek appropriate medical care

If you are concerned you may have COVID-19

  • Contact your primary care provider
  • If you do not have a primary care provider, consider evaluation through an urgent care center close to home; call first, do not walk in.
  • SUNY Upstate has a very helpful COVID-19 Emergency line at 315-464-3979. They will be able to help guide your next steps.

Your healthcare provider will determine if testing for COVID-19 is necessary.

If deemed necessary, the cost of testing is fully covered by Colgate's healthcare plan. See:

Benefit Updates During COVID-19 Disruption

Employees with COVID-19

An employee who tests positive for COVID-19, is diagnosed with COVID-19 but not tested, or who has symptoms consistent with COVID-19: Colgate requests that you notify your supervisor or HR so that appropriate work accommodations can be made and contact tracing can be started.

Conditions for Returning to Work:

  • At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without fever-reducing medication.
  • Respiratory or other symptoms have improved.
  • It has been at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared.
  • If someone has tested positive for COVID-19, they must be given clearance by the Department of Health for a return to work.
  • The individual may also be required to provide a fitness for duty certification from their health care provider.

Employee Quarantine & Isolation

The University has prepared guidelines for employees who are required to quarantine or isolate due to illness, positive testing, or close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

About employee quarantine and isolation

Notify Colgate if You Have Been Tested

If you are a member of the University community, please let us know if you are being tested or if you tested positive for COVID-19. This will help us assess the impact on our community. Email us at shscovid19@colgate.edu.

Employees should also notify their supervisor.

Respecting Medical Privacy

In accordance with federal law related to health information, individuals and their testing results cannot be publicly identified. Please respect their privacy — even if you believe you know some individuals' results — so they can focus completely on their health.

As a community, we must do everything we can to support these individuals and one another through this difficult time.

Spring 2021: Pre-Arrival Testing

All students planning to participate in on-campus instruction in the spring semester will be required to submit a negative COVID-19 test prior to returning to campus.

Students Not on Campus During Winter Break

Colgate is providing at-home test kits to all returning students. These kits must be completed on January 11, 12, or 13. Students who will be on campus through the entire winter break should not pick up an at-home test kit, and should see additional information below.

Students on campus in the fall

Students currently on campus for the fall semester will pick up their test kit at the University mailroom. These test kits should not be completed until January 11, 12, or 13, and students should take extra care in ensuring that the kits are not forgotten on campus when departing for the break. Students will be responsible for arranging their own replacement or testing alternative if the provided test is forgotten, misplaced, or used too early.

Students studying remotely in the fall, but returning in the spring

Students who are not on campus this fall, but who will be returning to an on-campus status for the spring semester will receive an at-home test kit by mail. These test kits should not be completed until January 11, 12, or 13. Students will be responsible for arranging their own replacement or testing alternative if the provided test is forgotten, misplaced, or used too early.

Please pick up your pre-arrival test kit for the spring semester from mail services prior to departing campus for the fall semester. Take the kit home with you over winter break.

Colgate has issued one kit per student. If you lose your kit or leave it behind, you will be responsible for finding and funding an alternate testing option before you return to the University for the spring semester.

Take your test and return it on January 11, 12, or 13.

  1. Keep the test kit box. You will need it to submit your sample
  2. Activate your kit online at letsgetchecked.com/activate.
    If you do not activate your kit, your test will not be processed. Use your Colgate e-mail address when activating your kit so that the University can match your results to your record.
  3. Fill out the information on the biohazard/specimen bag.
  4. Take a photo of this information, including the alpha code and numerical code.
  5. Save the enclosed patient ID card, which includes the alpha code and numerical code.
  6. Schedule your pickup with UPS online or call 1-800-742-5877. Or, make plans to bring your kit to a UPS store.
  7. The same day as your scheduled UPS pick up or drop off, collect your sample. Follow the instructions in the kit.
  8. Place sample in biohazard/specimen bag. Fold the flap to seal it.
  9. Place bag in test box.
  10. Place the test box in the UPS return envelope provided.
  11. Submit your test box via UPS.
  12. If you have problems or concerns, contact Let's Get Checked directly at 929-376-0056 (8 a.m.–8 p.m. ET) or email client-inquiries@letsgetchecked.com.

Student-athletes who are leaving campus but returning to campus prior to the conclusion of the winter break should pick up an at-home test kit at mail services. Student-athletes should consult with the coaches to understand the timing of when they should take their tests prior to returning to campus.

The University is providing each student with a single test kit that should be used January 11, 12, or 13. Students who do not retrieve their test kit prior to departing campus, forget their test kit on campus, lose their test kit, or use their test kit prior to the dates listed must arrange for their own replacement kits, and are responsible for both the cost of the kit, and for ensuring the results are submitted to Student Health Services prior to their arrival on campus for the spring semester.

Students may:

  • Purchase a new at-home test kit from Let's Get Checked (this is the same service as is being used for the kits provided by the University)
  • Purchase at-home testing from another at-home service
  • Arrange for testing at a health care provider such as a primary care physician, urgent care center, or local department of health.

Instructions for submitting the results of such tests will be provided here soon.

Students Remaining on Campus During Winter Break

Students and employees who remain on campus through the entire winter break will continue to be included in surveillance testing of 10% of the on-campus population. They will also receive on-campus testing from student health services prior to the start of the spring semester (January 12 and 13), meaning these students do not need an at-home test kit.

Students who will be remaining on campus through the conclusion of fall semester, but who will be departing campus for the period between semesters will be included in the ongoing surveillance testing so long as they remain on campus. Prior to leaving campus, these students should pick up at-home test kits for use on January 11, 12, or 13 to satisfy the pre-arrival testing requirement before they return to campus for the spring semester.

Read more about Colgate's plans for the spring 2021 semester
 

If Selected for Surveillance Testing

Each week, a 6% sample of individuals in the campus community will be selected for surveillance testing. Participation in the surveillance testing protocol is an important part of the Commitment to Community Health.

Students, faculty, and staff who are selected for surveillance testing will:

  1. Receive an email notifying them that they have been selected.
  2. Sign up for a testing appointment; the link to sign up will be provided in the email notifying them of their selection.
  3. Go to their testing appointment at Andy Kerr Stadium (view location on map) at the scheduled appointment time. Face masks and 6 feet of physical distancing are required throughout the testing procedure.
  4. Receive testing results through the Aegis Science Corporation patient portal using a unique lab requisition number provided at the time of testing.

Testing for Worried and Well Students

Colgate's surveillance testing strategy regularly tests a variable 6% sample of individuals in the campus community, and leverages wastewater testing to monitor for early signs of outbreak that may lead to additional targeted individual testing.

Nevertheless, individual circumstances may compel some students to desire an individual test beyond the University's testing strategy. Such students may opt to arrange for their own at-home testing, recognizing that they will be responsible for the cost, and that it may not be covered by many insurance plans. 

The following is a list of at home testing companies that can be used if you are feeling as though you want to be tested but do not have symptoms.

All of these kits require the completion of a questionnaire and a reason for testing. They include the option to honestly answer regarding risks associated with living in a congregate setting, including:

  • "There have been cases in my community"
  • “I live or work in a place where people reside, meet, or gather in close proximity, which may include a healthcare setting, office building, homeless shelter, assisted living facility, group home, prison, detention center, school, or workplace.”
  • “Potential Exposure. I live or work in a place where people reside, meet, or gather in close proximity.”

 

Note: Table may require left/right scrolling in some views

Company Cost Source Turn around time after
sample received in lab
Pay up front Bill to insurance
LGC $119 Nasal 24-72 hrs Yes Itemized receipt provided so you can request reimbursement from your insurance
Pixel $119 Nasal 24-48 hrs Not necessary They will bill to your insurance
Quest $129 Nasal 24-48 hrs Yes You would need to pursue reimbursement from your insurance
Everlywell $109 Nasl 72 hrs Yes You would need to pursue reimbursement from your insurance
Picture $119 Nasal 1-2 days Yes You would need to pursue reimbursement from your insurance
P23 $142 Saliva Email when test is ready Yes You would need to pursue reimbursement from your insurance
Vault $150 Saliva 48-72 hrs
Telehealth visit used to collect the sample
Yes Itemized receipt provided so you can request reimbursement from your insurance
Vitagene $129 Saliva 72 hrs Yes Itemized receipt provided so you can request reimbursement from your insurance
hims&hers $150 Saliva 3-5 days Yes You would need to pursue reimbursement from your insurance

 

If you are experiencing symptoms: Please see the information above about what to do in case of illness or suspected illness and seek care rather than arranging for an at-home test.

The Madison County Department of Health offers several locations for individuals to receive testing. Some locations are reserved for testing of those displaying symptoms, or who are known to have been exposed to the virus. Other locations are open to anyone.

See the Department of Health's website for more information.

If you have been identified as a known close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, there are protocols in place for you to receive testing, and you do not need to arrange your own at-home test kit.

  • Student close contacts: Student health should contact you and will arrange testing. If you have been identified as a close contact but have not heard from health services, please contact Student Health Services.
  • Employee close contacts: The Department of Health will work with you to access testing. These at-home kits may be an option.

If you test positive through at-home testing, the Madison County Department of Health (or the county where you are currently residing) will be notified and will contact you.  

  • You should immediately begin self isolation.
  • If you are a student please contact the student health center so that we can help provide support and make sure that you are able to isolate appropriately.  
  • If you test positive, it is imperative that you both take care of yourself and that you take the appropriate steps to decrease the risk of spread within your community.

Contact Tracing

As necessary, contact tracing will be conducted in coordination with the Madison County Department of Health for close contacts of those who test positive.

When it conducts contact tracing of COVID-positive individuals, the Madison County Department of Public Health identifies “close contacts” as people who have been within 6 feet of a positive case for 10 minutes or longer. This definition is more stringent than CDC guidelines, which indicates a period of 15 minutes.

These New York state contact tracers will take into consideration the type of contact, (direct physical touching or otherwise), the duration of that contact, the relative proximity of the individuals, and whether the COVID-19-positive individual displayed symptoms such as coughing, which could increase the likelihood of transmission.

The consequences of being identified as a “close contact” are significant: a mandatory 14-day quarantine from the time the last contact was made.  These 14 days would be beyond Colgate's Universal Arrival Quarantine. 

Beyond these personal consequences, the increased risk of transmission that could be caused by multiple students making close contacts could lead to a rapid increase in the number of cases on campus. A “super spreader”-like scenario has already been seen at universities like UNC, Notre Dame, and Syracuse. Should this take place at Colgate, it would dramatically increase the likelihood that would Colgate need to re-close for a fully remote semester. 

For these reasons, students should:

  • Limit the number of individuals with whom they are “close contacts” beyond roommates. During the Universal Quarantine, students should have no close contacts other than their roommates.
  • Refrain from physical contact.
  • Stay 6 feet apart, especially when you are interacting with people for extended periods of time.
  • Reduce the number of people you are interacting with at any one time.
  • Continue wearing face coverings, making sure they cover both mouth and nose.

Students can keep making personal connections with friends and neighbors, but please do so from 6 feet apart!

Take Preventative Measures

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Hand sanitizer stations have been installed at the primary entry/exit of each building, as well as at large, indoor gathering spaces.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, even inside your home. If possible, maintain six feet between the person who is sick and other household members.
  • Keep at least six feet of distance between yourself and other people outside of your home.
  • Do not gather in groups — stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others — the cloth face cover is not a substitute for physical distancing.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

Students, faculty, and staff are required to wear face coverings that completely cover mouth and nose at all times when on and off campus, in both indoor and outdoor spaces, when physical distancing of 6 feet cannot occur. 

Colgate University will be providing two cloth face coverings to all students, free of charge. Students are expected to obtain additional face coverings as needed and to launder and care for their cloth masks according to the CDC’s instructions on use of and care for face coverings.

  • Individuals on campus will be required to wear a (non-surgical) mask in any environment where a physical distance of 6 feet cannot be continuously maintained.
  • Continue to hold meetings virtually whenever possible.
  • Use noncontact methods of greeting rather than shaking hands.
  • Avoid using others’ phones, desks, offices, work tools, and equipment when possible.

Testing Strategy

Colgate has approached its reopening with a layered and proactive strategy for COVID-19 testing. The core elements of this strategy are:

  1. Pre-arrival testing: The University required students, faculty, and staff to provide a negative test result from the days leading up to their return to campus.
  2. Arrival testing: All students were tested within 24 hours of their arrival on campus.
  3. Post-arrival testing: All students received a follow-up test 7–10 days following their arrival on campus.
  4. Ongoing surveillance testing: Throughout the semester, the University is conducting weekly sampled testing of 6% of the on-campus community. Additionally, the University is conducting regular wastewater monitoring for SARS-CoV-2 genomic RNA levels. This allows the University to add targeted surveillance testing at areas of possible concern.