What Has Changed in This Document

Updated October 22, 2020

  • Added references to the NYS Cluster Initiative in locations that previously referred to only NYS Phase IV Regions
  • Additional headers in the Employee Personal Travel section to enhance clarity
  • Added information about personal travel on cruises
  • Addition of Employee Personal Travel Checklist
  • Removal/revision of several links to NYS web pages that have changed or been discontinued over time
  • Revised language in the Campus Guest Policy to clarify policy and procedure

Please read this policy in its entirety. 

The best way to mitigate the risk of an outbreak of COVID-19 at Colgate University and in the Greater Hamilton Community (Community) is to create a stable population, where travel in and out of the Community is effectively controlled and/or limited. Anytime Community members travel outside of the Community, they serve as a possible vector for the disease and increase the risk of contracting the disease themselves and spreading it to the rest of the Community. Therefore, with these guidelines, we hope to limit the risks associated with community transmission.

Faculty, staff, and students are strongly advised to avoid all nonessential travel.

Certain forms of travel are unavoidable for the operation of the University and for personal reasons that cannot be postponed, such as family emergencies. Although these circumstances are expected to be few in occurrence, those who travel under such circumstances need to follow these guidelines and all applicable government-issued travel guidance to minimize the risk of personal infection and community transmission. Additional provisions apply to University-sponsored travel.

Commuting

When an employee’s on-campus presence is necessary for effective University operations, it is considered essential travel; nonetheless, all members of the Community who commute to campus are advised to carefully monitor changing travel restrictions. Staff and faculty who reside outside the Central New York region should travel to campus only if their local residential area meets New York State (NYS) Phase IV reopening criteria and is not classified as part of the NYS Cluster Action Initiative. Members of the Community (faculty and staff) should discuss their commuting status with their department chair or supervisor(s).

Prohibited University-Sponsored Travel

University-sponsored travel is prohibited to locations that meet any of the following criteria, unless exceptions are granted, as noted below.

Essential University-Sponsored Travel

University-sponsored travel may, from time to time, become essential. The below procedures must be followed for funding and approval of essential University-sponsored travel:

All Community Members 

  • Requests for essential University-sponsored travel must be made by completing the Request for Essential University-Sponsored Travel Form. All requests will be reviewed by the Risk Management and the Budget Office, and for faculty, will include the Dean of Faculty/Provost. 
  • Community members approved for essential University-sponsored travel must continue to uphold the Commitment to Community Health (student commitment | employee commitment) for the duration of approved travel to and from campus. This includes physical distance whenever practicable, the use of face coverings, frequent handwashing, and avoidance of “close contact” with known SARS-CoV-2 positive individuals. For travel considerations and tips please visit the CDC Travel Tips.
  • Community members who intend to travel outside of a NYS Phase IV area or within a region categorized as part of the NYS Cluster Action Initiative should discuss a plan for their return to campus with their supervisor/department chair in advance of departure, because there may be a need to quarantine for 14 days before reporting back to work.
  • Travelers must comply with all applicable government-issued travel advisories and restrictions which may include testing, a 14-day self-quarantine prior to travel or upon return, or similar restrictions. Of note, NYS has issued travel advisories and has designated Restricted States. Community members traveling to a Restricted State should discuss a plan for their return to campus with their supervisor/department chair in advance of departure, because, in accordance with NYS issued travel advisories, they will need to quarantine for 14 days before reporting back to work. The interstate travel advisory above is enforceable under Public Health Law § 12, allowing for civil penalties of up to $10,000.
  • All travelers must carefully monitor changing travel restrictions both nationally and internationally. 
  • It is recommended that all Community members endeavor to make their trips away from campus as short as possible in terms of nights away. They should choose forms of transportation, lodging, dining, and other activities that put them in contact with the fewest number of people as possible.
  • After travel, Community members are encouraged to self-quarantine and monitor their health for 14 days or limit contact with others, where possible, and seek testing if travel was to an area with infection levels greater than within the Community, even if not specifically required by travel advisories. 

Faculty

  • Essential travel for faculty is defined as travel that is required for purposes of teaching and curricular development, or to preserve critical scholarly activity that cannot be postponed and for which travel is necessary. 
  • Travel to attend professional or educational conferences is currently defined as non-essential. However, exemptions from this policy may be granted by the Office of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty so that faculty can continue their pursuit of academic excellence. While seriously considering the health and safety of the Community, the Office of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty will work to support these essential travel requests for faculty at the rank of assistant and associate professor. 
  • Essential faculty University-sponsored travel, once approved, must be registered through off-campus study.  
  • Exceptions for University-sponsorship for prohibited travel may be considered on a case-by-case basis for those who will not return to campus for an extended period of time (e.g., sabbatical leave).

Staff

  • Staff requests for essential University-sponsored travel must be made by completing the Request for Essential University-Sponsored Travel Form. Requests must include the approval of the supervisor and Vice President. 
  • Essential travel for staff is defined as (1) traveling for work for the University that must be done away from campus, which cannot be postponed or moved to a virtual or local setting without causing harm to the operations of the university, or (2) accompanying students on approved essential student travel.
  • Travel to attend professional or educational conferences is currently defined as non-essential.

Student

  • Essential travel for students is defined as travel for academic credit that is necessary to meet a graduation requirement and that cannot be postponed or achieved through an alternative assignment. Students considering academic travel should confer with their advisor. The advisor can recommend the student’s essential travel request to the responsible department chair or program director head. The responsible department chair or program director head will make the final recommendation to the Office of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty, via Lesleigh Cushing, Associate Dean of the Faculty.
  • Essential student University-sponsored travel, once approved, must be registered with off-campus study.  
  • All off-campus travel for students participating in co-curricular and non-curricular activities supported by the University is currently defined as non-essential. Requests for exceptions for University-sponsored travel can be made through the advising or sponsoring department or division who may complete the Request for Essential University-Sponsored Travel Form. Requests must include the approval of the divisional Vice President. The Vice President will approve only if there is assurance that the site at which the student activity is operating with comparable health and safety precautions as Colgate University.

Personal Travel

While the University cannot restrict faculty and staff personal travel, for the overall health and well-being of the Community, the University is asking that we all remain vigilant in the practices set forth by NYS to maintain a healthy community. We also ask that you give due respect to the guidelines and practices established by the University in response to the novel coronavirus global pandemic. In addition, NYS has issued travel advisories and has designated Restricted States that might apply to your personal travel and/or guests from these restricted states. Therefore, all employees are strongly encouraged to: 

  • Please, on your own initiative, limit personal travel as much as possible.
  • Follow precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during their travel to and from campus, that are in keeping with the intent of the “Shared Commitment to Community Health” and expectation that community members will use physical distancing, face coverings, frequent handwashing, and avoid “close contact” with other individuals to mitigate risk.
  • Limit the duration of trips to the fewest number of nights away from the Community. Select transportation, lodging, dining, and other activities that involve contact with the fewest number of people possible.
  • Understand your responsibilities related to changing government-issued travel advisories, including registrations, fines, quarantine and self-monitoring. 
  • Understand the community impact as well as the effect on individual departments and monitor the changing restrictions under all applicable government-issued travel advisories.

Employees traveling to an in-state location that is not in Phase IV of reopening, traveling to a region identified in the NYS Cluster Action Initiative, who will be on a cruise ship (including river
cruises), or traveling to a state under the New York State travel advisory should notify their supervisor in advance, and submit this form to human resources

Employee Personal Travel

As your employer, Colgate University does not dictate the nature of your personal travel. However, as part of the commitment you have made to the health of the campus community, and with an understanding that your choices about personal travel and the resulting potential need to quarantine may impact your ability to perform your job duties, Colgate encourages employees to take the following steps when planning personal travel:

  1. Review NYS Guidance on restricted states and cruise ships, the current reopening classification of NYS regions, and whether your destination has been classified as part of the NYS Cluster Action Initiative
  2. For international travel please review the Department of State travel advisory levels by country, and CDC risk assessment levels.
  3. Determine whether or not you would need to quarantine upon your return. Keep in mind that restrictions can change daily, and a state not currently on New York’s travel advisory could become listed while you are away.
  4. Check travel restrictions and requirements at your destination.
  5. Consider carefully whether the benefits of travel outweigh the risks to you and your close contacts. Learn about how to protect yourself from COVID-19 when traveling, including precautions for different types of transportation.
  6. Discuss your plans in advance, including the period of any required quarantine, with your supervisor. As has always been the case, you must have your supervisor’s approval for any vacation or time off requests. 
  7. If you must quarantine upon return from your travels, fill out this form.
    1. Be aware that if your job requires you to be on campus, but the nature of your travel will require you to quarantine, you may be required to use sick leave, vacation time, or take time without pay to cover the period of your quarantine.


If you have questions related to personal travel, please feel free to contact the Human Resources Department. 
 

Travel May Impact Your Ability to Return to Work

All employees must be aware that personal travel may prevent them from returning to work on campus. The University will communicate and work with employees to identify appropriate solutions, allowing them to take their available vacation time during the COVID-19 pandemic, as reasonably permitted. Further, the University will endeavor to be as flexible as possible with employees who have already received approval for planned personal travel or who experience extenuating circumstances that would require travel.

University’s Consideration of Vacation Time Requests

At the same time, we must take appropriate precautions, consistent with governmental requirements and guidance, to protect our workforce, our students, and other members of the Community. These precautions may require employees to, among other things, self-quarantine or self-isolate by using leave time or leave without pay for an extended period. Employees may also need to provide return-to-work documentation from their healthcare provider. The University reserves the right to deny vacation time, if it may require a post-travel self-quarantine period or other restrictions that could unreasonably delay an employee’s return to work (e.g., absence from work would create staffing coverage issues or other operational difficulties).

Planning With Your Supervisor

If employees do travel outside of a NYS Phase IV area, to an area identified in the NYS Cluster Action Initiative, or to a NYS designated Restricted State (or have guests in their home from these areas), they must discuss a plan for their return to work on campus with their supervisor/department chair in advance of departure because they may be required to quarantine for 14 days before reporting to work on campus. Quarantine applies to any person arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average. The advisory is enforceable under Public Health Law § 12, allowing for civil penalties of up to $10,000. The number of new cases, percentage of tests that were positive and many other helpful data points are always available at forward.ny.gov.

Use of Sick/Vacation Time and the Potential for Unpaid Leave

Employees who travel to an area that requires a self-quarantine period (at any point during their travel) and are unable to work remotely during that quarantine period, are required to use their sick time and are not eligible for any other paid benefits under the New York COVID-19 Leave Law. Arrangements for working remotely should be made in advance with your supervisor. 

After travel, Community members are encouraged to self-quarantine and monitor their health for 14 days or limit contact with others, where possible, and seek testing if travel was to an area with infection levels greater than within the Community, even if not specifically required by travel advisories. Because the University is not supporting individual testing requests, community members are encouraged to find a provider online through the Madison County Department of Health.

Please be sure to consider carefully the above information when making any personal travel plans. Again, this would include considering the possibility that you may not be able to resume working on campus upon your return to the Community, and how that may impact your sick time and vacation time balances.

Student Personal Travel

  • Students are expected to remain in the local area 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 below:
Consult Student's Administrative Dean Submit Request for Personal
Travel Exemption Form

Submit Request for Personal Travel Exemption

  • Following any approved travel outside of the Central New York region, the student may be required to enter the University's quarantine protocol upon return to campus, or make arrangements to transition to off-campus remote learning, as circumstances require.
  • Students are not permitted to use their cars on campus.
    • While student vehicle usage restrictions remain in effect, those students who need to use a vehicle for mail services package pickup only may park in one of three specially designated 15-minute spaces in the Gate House lot. Students must add their Colgate parking permit number to their package pickup reservation form — campus safety will be cross-checking permit numbers with scheduled pickup times. Be sure to travel alone, per the Commitment to Community Health. (And be careful crossing the road as you head to the mailroom to retrieve your packages.) 
  • Students who have cars will be required to park in a satellite parking area. Use of personal vehicles is only allowed for trips to local businesses, trips to the Colgate-owned Boathouse, in emergency situations, and/or to return home at the conclusion of the semester. 
  • When walking on campus is not feasible, students are expected to use the Colgate Shuttle Transit Service which will operate under new health and safety guidelines rather than personal vehicles. 
  • Students may use the Ride Assist through Campus Safety if they have a warranted medical need.

Campus Guests

  • Guests on campus are expected to comply with all applicable travel advisories, the “Shared Commitment to Community Health,” and carefully monitor changing restrictions.
  • Guests, including family members, alumni, and current students on leave and who are not currently studying on campus, are not permitted in any University-owned residence at any time this semester. This includes traditional residence halls, Broad Street houses, University apartments, and townhouses.
  • Parent/family member visits: Colgate is discouraging students from having visitors come to the Hamilton area and the campus. Parents and family members who have an essential reason for coming to Hamilton, such as dropping off essential items or assisting students in essential off-campus travel (e.g. isolation, medical, etc.), must receive approval prior to arriving through the Parent/Family Visitor Registration Form.
  • Hosting guests from outside the University (invited speakers and artists, consultants, and alums, etc.) is non-essential and must adhere to current Gathering Guidelines, potentially including consultation with the Event Safety Group.
  • While move-in and departure days for students are essential, all guests should endeavor to make their trips as short as possible, choosing forms of transportation, lodging, and dining that put them in contact with the fewest number of people. All students and guests are encouraged to limit close contacts in the two weeks in advance of these transition points.