Hello, Colgate Community. 

A week and a half into Gate 1, I write with some important details and updates. At the top here, I will tell you that we do not yet have enough data to move to Gate 2.

Now, I’ll share the reasons why. (It’s for safety and not a punishment.)

Yesterday, I sat in on another meeting of the Health Analytics Team. Their recommendations are based on 20 health and safety metrics. One is wastewater testing, and as of yesterday, four of our upper-campus waste lines were showing positive results — there are eight buildings tied to those four lines.

This could be due to some individuals who have returned from isolation and continue to shed viral RNA after their infection (though they are no longer able to transmit the virus). Or, it could be an indication of new infections. The latter possibility is a cause for concern, so further wastewater testing was conducted on the four lines this morning and will be processed today to see if the viral load has grown or decreased. 

Another measure comes from surveillance test results. Much like the 15 lb. kettlebell I ordered, hundreds of test kits are stuck on a FedEx vehicle in Tennessee due to storms. We are waiting for our testing lab to receive these samples so they can be processed and we can see results from the tests taken between last Friday and yesterday. Further proof that we are all interconnected: an ice storm in the south can have an impact on us here in Hamilton.

Remember, there is a lag between infection and a positive test result. So when we tested last Monday–Wednesday, we were looking at people who might have become positive during universal quarantine, but did not yet have a detectable viral load. Last Friday’s results, as well as those from Monday and Tuesday, are the best indication of any viral spread that would have occurred immediately following universal quarantine. 

A delay in surveillance test-result data plus potentially worrisome wastewater tests — that means we hold at Gate 1. This choice could prevent an outbreak that leads to a shutdown, as has happened at other colleges and universities within the last couple of weeks. We need to keep everyone safe, and that’s how thin our margin of success is right now.

To avoid compounding the test-delay problem, we will use rapid antigen tests tomorrow and Friday. They are not as sensitive and require a follow up for any positive results, but this stop-gap measure will help keep us moving and see some data. 

We all want to move Gates, and we all want an in-person experience this semester. Sometimes, these two desires are at odds. That doesn’t mean that we need to be at odds as a community. We share the good times and the challenging.

I have to say, I’m glad Gates aren’t people. Can you imagine how they would feel? We were all so happy to see Gate 1 a week and a half ago. Now we can’t wait to talk to the cuter cousin, who visits other residence halls and has legendary, distanced gatherings of 10 or fewer.

We’ll get there. Stay warm, and I’ll talk to you on Friday.

Laura H. Jack
Vice President for Communications

Take Note

Please note that the COVID testing site at 113 Broad Street closes daily for lunch from 12:15 p.m. to 1 p.m. Regular business hours are: Monday–Thursday, 8:30 a.m.–3 p.m., and Friday, 8:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. 

Introducing Colgate University Kudos (CUdos)! CUdos show appreciation and recognition of individuals, groups, organizations, and teams for exceptional contributions to our community. Any Colgate community member (faculty, staff, student) may submit a CUdos nomination. All students, on campus or remote, are eligible. Take a minute to recognize a student or classmate who warrants praise.

(Helpful tip: Participating in Random Act of Kindness Day, which is today, might just help you secure your CUdos. You’ll find recommendations and stories of kindness on the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation website.)

Join Colgate Geology Professor Joe Levy and his research students along with the Ho Tung Visualization Lab to witness the landing of the Mars rover Perseverance on Feb. 18 at 3 p.m. We will be telecasting the NASA feed, answering questions, playing a little trivia, and handing out door prizes. Register at https://tinyurl.com/colgatemars.

Physical Education course registration is at an all-time high, with 600 students participating in either Zoom, self-paced, or in-person classes this semester. Course offerings instruct on one or more of the eight Dimensions of Wellness. Check out the Gate Fitness schedule.

Club Sports began practices this week, in groups of 10 or fewer with supervision from a student first responder or trained intramural official. Clubs like volleyball, men’s and women’s hockey, figure skating, and more have all begun training. Learn more about playing intramural sports at Colgate.

A Closing Thought

In honor of Random Acts of Kindness Day, how about a random act of coloring? Download the page at randomactsofkindness.org.

Upcoming Events

Beginning Without a Mind: How the Concept of Intellectual Disability Undermines Epistemic Inclusion
Feb. 18
11:30 a.m.
This talk by Ashley Taylor, assistant professor of educational studies explores a significant barrier to cultivating epistemic inclusion within contexts regulated by able-minded normalcy. 

Summer Funding Strategy Session
Feb. 18
11:30 a.m.
Students applying for Summer Funding are encouraged to attend a Summer Funding strategy session that will provide tips and strategies on completing a competitive application.