Hello, Colgate Community.

The Task Force on Reopening the Colgate Campus has continued to meet weekly since the start of the spring semester, both with the Health Analytics Team and independently, to assess the current health status of the Colgate community and to discuss when, how, and if we can move from a pandemic response towards a posture of treating SARS-CoV-2 as an endemic pathogen. This shift can be seen elsewhere; for example the Madison County Department of Health is no longer tracking case numbers but rather focusing on vaccination and hospitalization trends. The Task Force acknowledges that such a shift should not be taken as an indication that “the pandemic is over,” but that our campus community’s very high vaccination and booster rate allows us to operate in a space where infections pose low levels of risk to the health of the community. Colgate will continue to update the HAT dashboard, and wish those in isolation a rapid recovery. 

Today I have updates from the Executive Group and the Task Force on three issues - changes to masking requirements, protocols related to the upcoming spring break, and the University's isolation spaces.

Governor Hochul lifted the statewide mask-or-vaccine requirement for indoor businesses. The mask requirement remains in effect statewide for specific settings like health care facilities, nursing homes, and schools. Colgate is lifting the current mask mandate on campus, effective Wednesday, Feb. 16 at 8 a.m., with these important exceptions:

  • A faculty or staff member may require a student or colleague to wear masks within their classrooms or offices. Faculty or staff members may require masks for programs and events held inside classrooms or other campus spaces as well.
  • Faculty should inform their students of their specific classroom plan and expectations on or before Wednesday at 8 a.m. when the changes to the mask mandate are set to go into effect.
  • Masks must be worn at all times inside Student Health Services.
  • Masks must be worn when riding the Colgate Cruiser, in accordance with federal regulations for public transit.
  • Masks must be worn when attending large indoor gatherings, where required by the event organizer.
  • Village or Town of Hamilton businesses may require masks at their discretion and students are expected to comply, per the Commitment to Community Health.

Faculty, staff, and students can continue to wear a mask if they choose, or require it in their office or classroom. The Task Force emphasizes that proper use of a well-fitting, high quality mask (such as an N95 or KN95) greatly reduces the personal risk of infection, whether or not others are masked. This effect is likely to be even greater in vaccinated, boosted individuals. 

All members of the Colgate community should carry a mask with them at all times in order to respond to these requests and requirements. There are KN95 masks available at campus safety. The Task Force also strongly recommends masks for all guests regardless of vaccination status.  

As has always been the case, those who are not fully vaccinated (inclusive of boosters per the University's definition of full vaccination) are required to be masked at all times while indoors in public spaces, and individuals exiting quarantine and isolation may also be required to wear masks for a defined period of time. Continued weekly testing of unvaccinated individuals provides another layer of protection against transmission on campus.

Spring Break
Based on high vaccination and booster rates, the Task Force and Executive Group will continue to offer optional testing for anyone seeking such information in the weeks before and after spring break. 

Please note that unvaccinated students and employees must continue testing weekly, including prior to and following spring break. Students who are departing campus for international or domestic travel will be responsible for securing their own required testing for airlines or destinations. Local testing resources can be found on the Madison County Department of Health web page.

Isolation Space
At this time, the Task Force and the Executive Group are monitoring available isolation space on the campus. Specifically, both groups will be looking to determine when the Wendt University Inn can be removed as isolation space. We will continue to consider our isolation capacity and will notify the campus community of any changes to isolation spaces or practices.

The Colgate community pulled together to respond to COVID-19 for almost two years now.  We have learned a lot as individuals, and as a community, during this public health response. Colgate Together has taught us the importance of flexibility, adaptation, and our own responsibility to community health. We must continue to remain cognizant of an evolving pandemic, and importantly, to make choices for ourselves in relation to our community. 

Until next week,

Laura H. Jack
Vice President for Communications 

Take Note

The Village of Hamilton will be conducting its annual fire/life safety inspections at all University-owned properties, starting Tuesday, Feb. 22. The Fire Safety Department asks all students to review their spaces for code compliance. Common violations have included covered smoke detectors, evidence of smoking indoors, candles (lit or unlit), obstructed sprinkler heads, items on sprinkler pipes, use of extension cords without circuit breaker/overload protection, propped fire doors, blocked exits, and improper storage of flammables (e.g. propane tanks). Please contact Fire Safety Manager Gary Bridge at x6531 or email gbridge@colagte.edu with any questions. 

Testing is available to students by appointment — Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m in the Clark room. Please sign up online.

Seniors, have questions about how Commencement Weekend works and what you need to do? Pick up your Torch Medal, grab a tasty treat, and get your Senior Checklist questions answered at the Class of 2022 Graduation Fair. Tomorrow, Feb. 15, 2022 from 10:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.at the Hall of Presidents.