COVID-19 Testing and Tracing

Testing and contact tracing are key tools in the effort to protect the health of the Colgate 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 contact tracing is conducted following a positive COVID-19 test, close contacts are defined as people who have been within 6 feet of that positive case for 15 minutes or longer within 2 days prior to illness onset, regardless of whether the contact was wearing a mask. The distance expands to 12 feet for increased exhalation activities such as singing or exercising.

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.

Following a potential exposure, it would be a contact tracer who contacts you to determine if you are a close contact.

If you are exposed to COVID-19 you must follow the guidance outlined on our quarantine and isolation page.

Close Contact Quarantine Procedures

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.

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.

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

For medically necessary testing consistent with CDC guidelines, employees and their dependents covered under the Colgate Excellus health insurance plan will have their coinsurance cost for the COVID-19 test waived even if you have not met your coinsurance maximum. 

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:

Employees who test positive will be contacted by HR.

  • Stay home for five days.
  • If, on the morning of the 6th day you are symptom-free or symptoms are resolving (must be fever-free for 24 hours), then you will be required to take a rapid antigen test. A negative test will be required to return to work.
  • You may need to isolate longer than five days based on the progression of your symptoms. If you are moderately to severely immunocompromised, isolate for 10 days.
  • Employees may use an at-home test, or may come to the Colgate testing clinics, which will be held Monday, Wednesday, and Friday throughout the semester.
  • If released from isolation after day five, employees must continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public for five additional days.

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

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. Vaccination records, as with all medical records, will be stored securely and accessed only by those with a need to know. Please respect others’ privacy — even if you believe you know someone’s vaccination status or test results — so they can focus completely on their health.

As a community, we must do everything we can to support one another through this difficult time. We respect and support all members of our campus community who choose to continue to wear face coverings for a variety of reasons.

Testing for Worried and Well

Colgate's testing strategy currently includes required weekly testing for unvaccinated and partially vaccinated campus community members.

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

At this time, if you are not having symptoms and are not a close contact, no testing is necessary. We are prioritizing testing for students for whom a test is medically warranted. Worried-and-well testing will be offered for students on a limited basis, according to availability.

There are many local options 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 are experiencing symptoms: Please see the information above about what to do in case of illness or suspected illness and seek care.


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 an at-home rapid test is positive, communicate your results to your healthcare provider, who is responsible for reporting your test results to the state health department. 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.

Employee Insurance for COVID Tests

Physician and Pharmacy Tests

Colgate’s health insurance providers, Excellus and OptumRx, cover some COVID testing. Excellus provides coverage when a physician orders the test and deems it medically necessary. Testing is also offered at some pharmacy locations without an order from a physician. There is no out-of-pocket expense to the member if the pharmacy submits the claim directly to OptumRx; otherwise, it is the member’s responsibility.

Tests performed at Kinney Drugs in Hamilton and CVS in Clinton

  • Currently, the pharmacies at Kinney Drugs in Hamilton and CVS in Clinton will submit the claim with no cost to the member, simply show them your OptumRx ID card.

Tests Performed at Dougherty Pharmacy

  • Currently, Dougherty Pharmacy in Hamilton will not submit the claim to OptumRx for a rapid antigen test (costs $65). Therefore, the member is responsible for paying the full cost of the test at the time of service. The antigen test currently offered at Dougherty in Hamilton does not have the appropriate NDC and cannot be covered by Colgate’s plan, even if you submit it.
  • Dougherty Pharmacy in Morrisville has a molecular nasal swab test, and their pharmacy will submit to OptumRx for this.


Most pharmacies require an appointment for a COVID test. Please contact the pharmacy for appointment details.


Over-The-Counter Tests

Effective January 15, 2022, new federal regulatory guidance requires that medical plans must provide coverage for the cost of over-the-counter (OTC) at-home COVID-19 antigen tests, including tests obtained without a healthcare provider’s order or authorization.

Three Coverage Options

Visit a Walmart, Sam’s Club or Rite Aid pharmacy and simply go to the pharmacy counter, present your Optum prescription drug ID card, and ask to have your OTC at-home COVID-19 test kits submitted to your plan for coverage. Optum anticipates adding other pharmacies as they become operationally ready.

You can also purchase an OTC at-home COVID-19 test kit at other stores or online retailers. Keep your purchase receipt(s) to submit for reimbursement. To receive the quickest possible reimbursement of up to $12 per test*, submit an electronic claim form by visiting

If you prefer to submit your claim by mail, you can print a form at and then mail it in. Reimbursement applies up to $12 per test*. Please note: you will receive reimbursement more quickly if you submit an electronic claim.

*The reimbursement is for each test, not per box purchased. For example, if the box contains two test kits, the reimbursement will be up to $24.

Additional Information

Coverage includes OTC at-home COVID-19 test kits authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The most common tests are BinaxNOW™, Flowflex™, InteliSwab™, On/Go™ and QuickVue®.

Currently, the Carestart home test kits sold at Dougherty Pharmacy are not covered by Optum. This will change as carriers update their systems. If you purchase a kit that is not currently covered by our plan save your receipts so that you can submit for reimbursement if the test kits get approved for reimbursement.

Yes. Covered members can get up to 8 individual tests per month, e.g., a family of 4 would be eligible for 32 tests a month.

Visit or call OptumRx at 1-855-227-8568 for the latest updates and information.

The cost of OTC antigen test kits can be reimbursed through your flexible spending account if the cost of the test kit is greater than the reimbursement from the insurance carrier or if you do not request reimbursement from the insurance carrier. As a reminder, save all receipts.

If you have questions, contact Lifetime Benefit Solutions at 800-327-7130 or

Contact Relph Benefit Advisors/Alera at 1-800-836-0026 x 7400 to order a new id card.