Colgate Together Digest Special Edition

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Dear Colgate Community,

Recent increases in positive COVID-19 tests on campus necessitate a return to modified Gate 1 restrictions with reevaluation on Monday, April 19. This has always been a part of the University’s plan if we detected an uptick in new cases and close contacts. This recommendation was made this afternoon by the Task Force on the Reopening of Campus and the Health Analytics Team, and is out of an abundance of caution to stem the spread of the virus. Barring an upward trend in positive cases, we are hoping for a transition out of this modified Gate 1 on Tuesday. 

Metrics that will be used to determine our Gate status next week include: a reduction in positive PCR tests; a reduction in the average number of close contacts; wastewater results that do not indicate spread; compliance with Commitment to Community Health and with this modified Gate; and Wendt capacity and staffing.  

The Data

As of this afternoon, there are now 19 students and one employee in isolation, and 14 employees and 134 students in close-contact quarantine. Currently, 47 students are at the Wendt University Inn, and 92 have returned home. Thirteen students are in quarantine in off-campus housing. As of midnight, a total of 47 out of 94 rooms at the Wendt are now occupied, and three of 15 rooms at 76 Broad Street are housing individuals in travel quarantine. 

Contact tracing of these new positive cases and close contacts does not reveal a common denominator. Infections have stemmed from gatherings, group dining, and travel. 

Avoid Travel and Guests

Gate 1 travel restrictions outlined in the Commitment to Community Health are now in effect. Travel requests can still be made through the Colgate Together website to accommodate vaccination appointments, medical appointments, or emergency personal requests. Any unapproved travel will be considered a violation of the Commitment to Community Health and will be adjudicated accordingly. 

As a reminder, guests are still not permitted on campus. This includes friends and family. 

Modified Gate 1 Guidance

  • All in-person classes will continue to meet in person. Professors, as always, have discretion over the mode of instruction. There has been no documented evidence of viral transmission in classrooms on campus with proper social distancing and face coverings. 
  • Starting this evening, all meals will return to a grab-and-go format at Frank Dining Hall, the Coop, and Donovan’s Pub. Menu offerings will be similar to the beginning of the semester, and students will be able to bring grocery bags to carry reusable green containers out of the dining venues. They can return the containers when they arrive for their next meal. To assist in our efforts to de-densify the dining halls, we encourage students to eat at the same dining venue they were assigned to during the spring universal quarantine. Unlike the universal quarantine, all three dining venues will remain open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Students will be asked to swipe their card to use their meal plan or pay the door rate.
  • Libraries will remain open with continued requirements for face coverings and physical distancing.
  • Physically distant, individual exercise or recreation activity is permitted with face coverings. Trudy Fitness Center and Lineberry Natatorium remain open with existing requirements for physical distancing and face coverings.
  • Club sports can continue to train together in groups of 10 or less. Competition has been suspended at this time. 
  • Groups of 10 or fewer people — ideally involving as few family units as possible to minimize the number of close contacts — may interact in outdoor locations or indoor recreation spaces, if they wear face coverings and maintain physical distance of 6 feet between people (12 feet if there is physical exercise or heavy breathing). 
  • Socializing will be permitted with the extended family unit in common rooms within one’s own residence hall, while following guidelines for face coverings and physical distancing. Students outside of the same direct family unit must not socialize within residence hall bedrooms or on residence hall floors with living quarters. 
  • No cross-residence hall visitation. Students in apartments and townhouses may continue utilizing their internal common spaces for socializing with extended family units but are not permitted to host guests and should still wear masks and maintain physical distancing.
  • All varsity sport programs that are participating in any organized activity will return to full athletic testing (3x per week antigen testing). Those participating in competitive seasons may continue to be subjected to higher-level testing in accordance with opponent needs.

Vaccine and Testing Updates

  • Regular PCR surveillance testing will continue as planned. If you are selected to receive PCR testing, please report to 113 Broad Street as instructed.
  • Faculty, staff, and students who have already received one dose of the Moderna vaccine and are scheduled for a second dose on campus in the weeks ahead, please plan on receiving your second dose as scheduled. Individuals in isolation or quarantine must wait until the conclusion of their quarantine or isolation period prior to receiving a second dose.
  • Starting tomorrow, Wednesday, April 14, Colgate will provide on-demand antigen testing at the Hall of Presidents for students planning to depart campus and for anyone with exposure concerns. It is not recommended that students return home at this time. If students choose to return home, they must first consult with their professors and work with their deans prior to departing. Students who voluntarily leave campus (as opposed to those who are quarantining at home as a result of being identified as a close contact) will not be allowed to return. Individuals seeking antigen testing must register for a time here.

End-of-Semester Considerations

We will continue our planning for commencement, but will, necessarily, aim our energies and focus now on moving the campus to a modified Gate 1 and addressing current health concerns. We will share updates on Colgate's commencement plans on or before April 19.

As we have mentioned before in previous communications, our hold on success has always been tenuous. In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, our vigilance must be as tenacious as the virus itself, and we must be as adaptable. 

The last time we were at Gate 1, there were months to go in the semester. At this point, there are mere weeks between us and the summer recess. I still believe that we can finish strong. Under the current circumstances, that means coming together to focus on our academic mission, our collective mental and physical health, and our commitment to the wellbeing of our community. I know that we can meet this challenge.

Stay strong,

Laura H. Jack
Vice President for Communications