What Has Changed in This Document

Updated January 6, 2020

  • Updated the policy to reflect changes to New York State’s COVID-19 Travel Advisory, which includes revised testing and quarantine requirements for travelers to New York from non-contiguous states/territories and other countries. 
  • Policy was modified throughout for clarity regarding the New York State Cluster Action Initiative. 
  • Where this policy had referred to “prohibited” travel, the language has been changed to “restricted” to reflect that there is a process to request approval for travel to such areas.
  • The local area has been clearly defined.
  • A section was added on essential Athletics-related travel.
  • The campus guest policy has been updated.

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. For the purposes of this document, the Community is defined as the Village and Town of Hamilton, Colgate properties (within Madison County), and locations within the range of the Colgate Cruiser Shuttle Service. 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.


When an employee’s on-campus presence is necessary for effective University operations, commuting is considered essential travel; nonetheless, all members of the Community who commute to campus are advised to carefully monitor changing travel restrictions and University communications. Members of the Community (faculty and staff) must discuss their commuting status with their department chair or supervisor(s) and decisions may be dependent on NYS Cluster Zone designations, the Health Analytics Dashboard status, University operational status, and other public health factors. If staffing needs allow for employees to work from home, they should do so whenever possible.

University-Sponsored Travel

Restricted Locations

University-sponsored travel, which is distinct from commuting, to restricted locations requires approval as detailed in the next section. Note that all reservations of a Facilities Department vehicle will require approval, regardless of destination.

Restricted locations include:

Approval Process for University-Sponsored Travel to Restricted Locations

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 Risk Management, the Budget Office, and for faculty, will include a representative from the Office of the Dean of the Faculty/Provost. Staff requests must include the approval of the supervisor and Vice President.
  • Community members approved for essential University-sponsored travel must continue to uphold the Commitment to Community Health (student commitment | employee commitment) while traveling. 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.
  • Travelers must comply with all applicable government-issued travel advisories and restrictions. Community members who intend to travel to a restricted location, as outlined above, must 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 or undergo a series of tests to allow for a shorter quarantine period prior to returning to campus. Review of the approval request may include considering the University’s ability to support this testing. The New York State COVID-19 Travel Advisory 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. Travelers should choose forms of transportation, lodging, dining, and other activities that put them in contact with the fewest number of people as possible.
  • After any travel, Community members are encouraged to 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.


  • 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 restricted 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).


  • Essential travel for staff is defined as 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 accompanying students on approved essential student travel.
  • Travel to attend professional or educational conferences is currently defined as non-essential.


  • 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.


Intercollegiate varsity athletic travel is considered essential university-sponsored travel. To allow for this, the following will occur:

  • In accordance with NCAA regulations, student-athletes and athletic staff will be tested for SARS-CoV-2 three times per week in the week leading up to competition.
  • Prior to each contest, consultation must take place between Colgate medical staff and medical staff from the opposing team. Testing results of both teams and status of school operations must be  shared between schools and league administration.
  • The Health Analytics Team will review the data regarding both home and away contests to recommend to the division of Physical Education, Recreation and Athletics (PERA) whether or not to participate in a given contest.
  • Athletics must adhere to New York State guidelines for participation in intercollegiate (NCAA) athletics including conducting athletic competitions in areas that New York considers to be a cluster zone.
  • Every effort will be made to minimize any overnight trips and extra stops to decrease the chance of disease transmission in hotels and restaurants.
  • All intercollegiate athletic programs must travel under the supervision of athletic faculty (and will often be joined by certified athletic trainers).
  • Full adherence to the Commitment to Community Health must be followed at all times throughout travel. 

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. Employee personal travel and individual decisions may have an impact on the University's overall status. 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 travel to and from campus, that are in keeping with the intent of the 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, testing, 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 a location that requires quarantine must 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 asks employees to take the following steps when planning personal travel:

  1. Review the NYS COVID-19 Travel Advisory and consider 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.
  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.
    2. New York State outlines guidelines for testing protocols that allow travelers to quarantine for a shorter period of time following travel to a non-contiguous state. If an employee intends to pursue such testing following personal travel, they must coordinate and pay for such testing as personal expenses. The University will neither provide nor pay for testing following employee personal travel.

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

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.

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 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).

If employees do travel to an area covered by the NYS COVID-19 Travel Advisory (or have guests in their home from these areas), they must discuss a plan for their return to 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.

Employees who travel to an area that requires a 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 any 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 test provider online through New York State or your local 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 (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 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 Community, 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. Specific plans for quarantine and testing will be considered in the approval process.
  • Student on campus parking and vehicle use is limited to weekends and after 4:30 pm Monday through Friday. Drivers must travel alone, per the Commitment to Community Health. If a student must use a car to arrive on campus, they will be required to park their vehicle in a satellite parking area. Refer to the Parking Information website for additional parking requirements and guidance. 
    • 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 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.
  • When walking on campus is not feasible, students are expected to use the Colgate Cruiser Shuttle Service which is operating under new health and safety guidelines rather than personal vehicles. 
  • Students may be eligible for Campus Safety’s RideAssist program if they have a warranted medical need.

Campus Guests

  • To further limit the possibility of transmission from outside of the Community, no guests will be permitted on campus without approval, including family members. Meeting guests from outside of the Community anywhere within the Hamilton community, including downtown restaurants and shops must be avoided. 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.
  • Students are responsible, once guests are approved and registered, using the formal registration and approval process referenced above, for ensuring that the guest follows all the rules in the Commitment to Community Health while they are on campus. Guests on campus are expected to comply with all applicable travel advisories, the 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.
  • Hosting guests from outside the University (invited speakers and artists, consultants, and alumni, 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.