As with the fall 2020 term, the spring 2021 semester will not be a normal semester, and  many of the activities that you have come to enjoy will not be possible. Much of the freedom and autonomy of personal behaviors must be supplanted with a commitment to community health. This is what a community is and what a community does to care and support one another.

The University depends on compliance in order to offer in-person residential education and to be able to remain in residence for the duration of the semester. The people of the village, town, and county rely on this for employment and economic health. With this preface, the Commitment to Community Health will continue to be in effect for the duration of the spring semester. While vaccinations are starting to be administered to front-line healthcare personnel and other high-risk individuals, the current vaccination schedule will not have an effect on the need for mask wearing, physical distancing, and other considerations this semester. 

All students, including those who are in remote status, will be required to acknowledge  receipt and sign this commitment by Jan. 15, 2021, in order to enroll in classes this spring semester. All students, including those in remote status, are also required to complete an updated Colgate University online COVID-19 health education course prior to Jan. 15, 2021.

Commitment to Community Health

I acknowledge that safeguarding the health of the Colgate University and Hamilton communities will require a shared and steadfast commitment by everyone to modify the ways we live, learn, and work on and off campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. The University has invested significant resources to keep the Colgate community and me safe, providing for testing, contact tracing, and personal protective equipment, as well as reconfiguring spaces and providing medical resources. As a member of the Colgate community, I understand that I must also play my part in maintaining the health and safety of the Colgate and Hamilton communities. 

I understand that the reason to follow these policies and to engage in physical distancing and other precautions asked of me by the University is not only to protect myself from a disease that can have short-term implications and unknown long-term ramifications, but also to reduce the danger that I pose to my peers, my professors, and Colgate’s staff and to the community, including those who are immunocompromised, elderly, and caring for those who are at risk. In short, I understand that my behaviors directly impact others’ wellbeing.

I also understand that my or any community member’s failure to scrupulously adhere to these expectations makes it more likely that students will not be able to remain on campus for the duration of the semester and/or return for the following term. Because of the potentially severe public health effects of noncompliance, those who do not adhere to these expectations will face significant disciplinary consequences, including possible parental notification, loss of the privilege to live in residence (for students living in University-owned housing), forfeiture of the ability to come on to campus (for students living in privately owned housing), suspension, or even expulsion. 

Compliance with these expectations and the parameters outlined in the Gates of Reopening is non-negotiable. Community members who cannot commit to this policy should continue with remote instruction and are asked not to return to the Colgate campus during the spring semester.

I understand that, per the Colgate University Code of Student Conduct (excerpted below), I must comply with these directives.

Colgate expects that its students will not lie, steal, cheat, or engage in dishonest or unlawful behavior, including behavior that damages University property, the personal property of another individual, public property, or any other behavior that inflicts physical or emotional harm on oneself, another person, or the community. In addition, students will not engage in behaviors that impede other students’ opportunity to learn, or a faculty member’s ability to teach, or that interfere with the academic objectives of the University. Colgate students must abide by all University policies and procedures and comply with directions of University officials acting in performance of their duties.
(Student Handbook, 2020–2021)

In order to return to campus and participate in in-person instruction, I commit to the following:

Health Education

I understand that, whether I am on campus or remote this term, I will need to complete the Colgate University online COVID-19 health education course prior to arrival on campus or by Jan. 15, 2021, whichever comes first. This course, while brief, is important to ensure a baseline understanding of SARS-CoV-2, how it is transmitted, and how to prevent its spread within the community. It has been updated with new information since the fall 2020 course.

Face Coverings

Each student, faculty, and staff member has been provided University-issued face masks. An additional washable, reusable, and antimicrobial face covering has been provided in your return-to-campus welcome bag. All community members must wear a mask while on the Colgate campus and while visiting businesses within the Village of Hamilton. I understand that I must wear a University-issued or CDC-compliant face covering under the following conditions:

  • Any indoor or outdoor location on campus if I am not able to maintain 6 feet of separation between myself and others (and at least 12 feet while exercising)
  • Common areas of all buildings, including residence halls (e.g. hallways, stairwells, elevators, common spaces, etc.) 
  • Classrooms, seminar rooms, and lecture halls
  • Laboratories, studios, media labs, and other teaching spaces, when more than one person is present
  • Lounges, kitchenettes, and copier rooms
  • Communal gatherings or meetings, (whether formal or informal) where two or more people are present 
  • In a department office, personal office, or shared/communal office when more than one person is present
  • Libraries or other sitting/study areas
  • Dining halls, when not eating
  • All indoor athletic and recreation facilities
  • Colgate Cruiser
  • When visiting businesses or other public buildings within the Village of Hamilton and locations within the range of the Colgate shuttle

In the spirit of preserving the health of the entire community and this commitment to community health, students, faculty, and staff are expected to kindly remind others to wear a face covering if they are not wearing one in a required setting. It is recommended that all students carry an extra face mask while on campus. If a community member does not have a face mask, they can be directed to visit Campus Safety or Student Health Services on campus to obtain a face mask.

Physical Distancing

I understand that physical distancing is designed to limit the spread of a disease by reducing the opportunities for close contact between people. Therefore, I will do my best to maintain a safe physical distance of 6 feet or more in all settings and 12 feet while exercising, singing, or engaging in other increased-exhalation activities. 

I also understand that, if someone with whom I have had close contact tests positive for COVID-19, I will be required to quarantine in accordance with Colgate’s quarantine and isolation protocol, currently for 14 days. Therefore, maintaining physical distance not only helps to eliminate spread of the virus within the community, it will also help to ensure that I do not need to self-isolate because I am identified later as someone who meets the definition of a close contact.

Congregating in communal areas of campus in groups of any size must be done in accordance with the Gates of Reopening and always while masked and physically distanced. This includes, but is not limited to residence hall lounges, social spaces, kitchens, lobbies, corridors, study rooms/spaces, dining tables, etc. 

I understand that, due to the need for physical distance between individuals and the prohibition of large social gatherings, there will be no social registration or approval of parties for the duration of the spring 2021 term. Violations of this policy will be considered flagrant defiance of the Commitment to Community Health and will lead to serious implications for the responsible organization and individual students, per the University’s Relationship Statement.

Testing and Health Checks

I understand that one of the key ways to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in the Colgate and Hamilton community is for the population to be regularly tested for the virus. Therefore, I agree to the following:

  • I will comply with all of the testing regimens that Colgate requires. 
  • I understand that Colgate will require all students to submit a negative COVID-19 test, taken just before arrival on campus in order to minimize positive individuals from arriving on campus. At-home test kits have been provided for this purpose.
  • Colgate will test all students upon arrival on campus (to identify any positive cases that may not have been detected during the pre-test), again 7–10 days after arrival, and at regular periods thereafter. 
  • Testing is not optional. I will report for testing when called, which will be approximately every two weeks during the spring semester. Failure to report for testing places others at risk and may result in a student being required to depart campus and complete courses in remote format.
  • I will comply with medical professionals, or their designees, when they give me instructions as a result of my test, which may include isolating or quarantining in an off-campus location in accordance with Colgate’s quarantine and isolation protocol, currently for up to 14 days. 
  • I will complete a daily health check if instructed to do so in support of randomized campus surveillance screening and testing.
  • Before leaving my room each day, I will honestly and consistently assess how I am feeling and quarantine myself if I have any symptoms or signs of the virus.

Contact Tracing

I understand that accurate contact tracing of COVID-19 cases is vital for maintaining the health and safety of the Colgate and Hamilton communities. I will comply honestly, accurately, fully, and quickly with any contact tracing requests I receive. Again, in order to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the University must be able to test and quickly identify and isolate positive and suspected cases.

Mobile Phones

I understand that it may be important for the University to contact me and will provide the University with a phone number where I can be reached, including by text message. I also understand that the University may provide this information to the Department of Health to assist with contact tracing.

Quarantine and Isolation

As in the fall 2020 semester, Colgate has instituted a universal quarantine requirement for all students, from all states and countries. I understand that this quarantine is not optional and will occur for approximately 14 days (thereby requiring the first course sessions to be taught remotely). Compliance with the initial universal quarantine is essential and part of the strength of the University’s reopening plan. The University will permit periods of time for recreation (outdoors and at limited indoor locations), during scheduled periods, but I must otherwise remain quarantined in my room for the duration of the universal quarantine. For students residing in University-owned housing, meals and mail will be available for pick up. Students residing in privately owned housing should have groceries delivered, not have guests, and refrain from visiting any business or venue beyond their immediate apartment or the outdoor spaces on their property.

I understand that in the event of possible exposure to SARS-CoV-2 or a positive COVID-19 test, I will be required to quarantine or isolate in accordance with Colgate’s quarantine and isolation protocol, 14 days or more if symptoms appear, at any point during the semester. I will follow all University procedures for quarantine or isolation provided to me by the University and the Madison County Health Department.

Isolation and quarantine require me to remain in a designated location for up to 14 days, thereby limiting my exposure to others. (Outside walks are permitted in specific locations and under the direction of the University and healthcare professionals.) During isolation or quarantine, I will not attend in-person classes, events, meetings, or extracurricular activities. I will not host guests in my apartment or housing unit (room, townhouse, etc.). I will quarantine if I am experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or if I have been identified as a known contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19. If I have tested positive for COVID-19, I will be required to enter isolation for a period of up to 10 days. I will remain in quarantine or isolation until directed by a University staff member that it is safe to resume movement around campus. I understand that quarantine and isolation may require me to relocate to a site off campus (with transportation and meals provided by the University, and likely with little advance notice in order to address public health requirements).

Travel and Guests

I understand that I must follow Colgate’s COVID-19 Travel Policy, including no non-essential travel outside of the local area (Village and Town of Hamilton and locations within range of the Colgate shuttle). Students are expected to remain in the local area (the community) throughout the current semester except as required by academic university-sponsored essential travel (e.g. research project, field-based course requirements).

Students seeking a temporary exemption to this travel restriction must submit a request to the University and receive approval prior to departing campus. Students must submit their request either to their administrative dean or via the Request for Personal Travel Exemption form according to the guidelines outlined in the COVID-19 Travel Policy. 

Additionally, to further limit the possibility of transmission from outside of the Hamilton community, I understand that no guests will be permitted on campus without prior approval. Should a parent or guardian need to come to campus to deliver an essential item (e.g. medication) or to pick up a student, I understand that they must first register their visit using the University’s online visitor request form.

Personal Vehicles

To limit travel to and from the campus during the spring semester, student on-campus vehicle use will be limited to weekends and after 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, one person per vehicle. If students must use a car to arrive on campus, they will be required to park their vehicle in a satellite parking area. Vehicle use to travel out of the local area, as defined by the range of the Colgate shuttle, is not permitted unless granted approval in accordance with the travel policy as it may result in compromising the health of the entire University community.

Understanding that physical distancing is not possible while multiple people are in a personal vehicle, passengers are not permitted. Therefore, using personal vehicles on campus to pick up or drop off others for classes or other events will not be permitted. Students with a need for transportation to and from campus may use the cruiser (additional cruisers and routes have been added), walk, bike, or, if they have a medical need that warrants it, use the RideAssist program through campus safety.

Students are permitted to drive their vehicle on campus to retrieve packages once they register for a package pick-up time or at any time Monday–Friday after 4:30 p.m. or on the weekends.

Vaccination and Immune Status

Individuals who are vaccinated, or who may have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 previously, will need to follow all the same rules and policies as everyone else in the community. Current scientific knowledge offers no assurance that those who are vaccinated are not able to spread the SARS-CoV2 virus to others, even if they are protected from symptoms of COVID-19.  Similarly, prior infection with SARS-CoV-2 ought not exempt any member of the community from adherence to the Commitment to Community Health for current scientific knowledge has not necessarily shown immunity or whether one might continue to spread SARS-CoV-2 to others.

Accountability for the Student Commitment to Community Health

The health and safety of the Colgate University community requires a shared and steadfast commitment to modify the ways in which members of the community live, learn, and work on and off campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. The University has implemented significant measures designed to reduce risks of SARS CoV-2 spread within the community, such as providing for physical distancing, regular testing, contact tracing, and personal protective equipment, as well as reconfiguring spaces and providing medical resources. Compliance with the Commitment to Community Health in the fall helped the University remain in session for the duration of the semester.

The Commitment to Community Health sets forth behavioral expectations for students — expectations of individual student behavior that are necessary for these efforts to help reduce the chance that the University will need to close before the end of the semester and continue in remote-only format for instruction.  

We want to be transparent about our expectations and ask you to think carefully about your ability to consider the entire community’s health in your personal actions and decisions. Failure to scrupulously adhere to the expectations of the Student Commitment to Community Health poses potentially severe public health outcomes for other students, faculty, staff, and the Village of Hamilton. Failure to scrupulously adhere to the expectations of the Student Commitment to Community Health could have serious public health and economic consequences for Colgate and for the surrounding community. Students who fail to uphold their commitment also increase the likelihood that all students will not be able to stay on campus for the duration of the 2021 spring semester. Violators will forfeit their classroom privileges mid-term, which may result in involuntary withdrawal from the course. There are also personal consequences for choosing to return to Colgate in the spring and not adhering to these expectations. These consequences are described below.

Protective Measures

In the event of a student’s or organization’s suspected violation of the Commitment to Community Health, the Office of the Dean of the College will conduct an internal review of the incident. If it is concluded that the student(s) or organization(s) has violated the Commitment to Community Health, the student(s) or organization(s) may be issued a warning, parents or guardians may be notified, and, in the interest of protecting community health, more serious consequences will be imposed, including but not limited to the loss of the following privileges (as applicable):

  • loss of Gate Card or Wi-Fi access;
  • housing reassignment;
  • loss of the privilege to live in University-owned housing; or
  • forfeiture of campus access

In the event a student is reassigned to alternative housing, loses the privilege to reside in University housing, or loses permission to be on campus, the student may not be entitled to a reduction or refund of housing or meal plan costs. In addition, as is always the case, students who have been approved to live in privately owned off-campus housing and do not meet expectations for living within the Village of Hamilton may be reassigned to housing on-campus and will be charged a prorated on-campus housing fee. 

Loss of permission to be on campus may impact a student’s ability to remain in some or all of their courses or co-curricular activities and to access certain campus resources. This is necessary to protect other students on-campus and within classes from students who flagrantly violate the Commitment to Community Health off campus. If this sanction is imposed, a student will not be entitled to a reduction or refund of tuition or student fees.

These measures are meant to remedy the increased risk to the public health and, if implemented, are not disciplinary sanctions, will not appear on the student’s or organization’s disciplinary record, and are in addition to (and not in lieu of) potential disciplinary consequences or consequences permitted under a student’s housing contract with the University. A student or organization removed from University housing, reassigned, or prohibited from presence on campus may request reconsideration of these protective measures by submitting a request for reconsideration in writing to the dean of students within five days after receiving notice of imposition of the protective measures. The measures will remain in effect pending the review. The dean of students’ decision on review is final and is not subject to further appeal.

Disciplinary Consequences

In circumstances involving intentional or significant alleged violations of the Commitment to Community Health, the Office of the Dean of the College may, in addition to or in lieu of imposing consequences as described above, refer the matter to the disciplinary officer for potential disciplinary process. Sanctions imposed as part of a disciplinary process may include a range of sanctions, including suspension or even expulsion, in the most serious cases. Information on the disciplinary process can found at colgate.edu/conduct.