Important information for the spring semester

Back to Updates & Messages: COVID-19

Dear Students,

As we move closer to spring arrival days on Jan. 22 and 23, I am writing today to share a number of important details about the upcoming semester and to provide a link to a new online checklist to help keep track of the various forms and requirements that all students need to complete prior to the start of the new semester. 

Personalized Checklist

Please take a moment to visit your personalized checklist to familiarize yourself with the items that need to be completed prior to arrival. The checklist includes links to and information about your status regarding:

  • Reviewing and signing the updated Commitment to Community Health
  • Taking the newly updated COVID-19 health education course
  • Registration for on-campus arrival windows
  • Pre-arrival COVID-19 testing
  • Meal plans during the universal arrival quarantine
  • And more

Review the checklist periodically as the semester approaches to ensure that you have fulfilled all applicable requirements by Jan. 15. 

Data displayed in the checklist refreshes periodically and may not reflect a recent action you have taken. If you find that an item you have completed is not reflected in your checklist, please wait 24 hours and check again. If you still find that an item you completed is appearing as incomplete on your checklist, or if you have any other questions, please email for assistance.

Visit your personalized checklist

Spring Commitment to Community Health

During the spring semester, all students — whether returning or studying remotely — must read and sign the new, revised Commitment to Community Health.

Review and sign the commitment

Spring Semester COVID-19 Health Education

Prior to the start of the semester, all students — whether returning or learning remotely — must complete the updated health education course. You must be logged into your Colgate Gmail account when you take the course, which should take no longer than 40 minutes to complete. You are not required to complete the course all at once; you may pause and resume at any time. There is also information in this course about downloading COVID Alert NY, a voluntary, anonymous, exposure-notification smartphone app. Log in to the course via the link in your personalized checklist.

At-Home COVID-19 Test Kits

Your Let’s Get Checked at-home test kits must be registered with your Colgate email address. Using a Colgate email address is important: it will allow the University to monitor test results and will assist in tracking down information should a kit become lost in the mail. Complete and mail your test on Jan. 11, 12, or 13.

International students and students who have remained on campus throughout the break will receive information about testing details later this week. 

If you studied remotely during the fall semester and plan to study on campus this semester, you should receive your at-home test kit in the mail by the end of this week, if you haven’t received it already.

Universal Quarantine

Per the communication I sent to you in mid-December, students will again be required to participate in a universal quarantine upon arrival. Although New York State guidelines for people traveling from out of state have been revised several times and may be revised again before your arrival, the Task Force on Reopening and the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) believe that the universal quarantine, combined with two rounds of on-campus testing, is a key component in creating a campus largely devoid of SARS-CoV-2 and also in avoiding widespread transmission prior to the receipt of initial on-campus testing results. 

Two significant alterations for the universal quarantine this spring semester are that meals will be grab-and-go from dining facilities instead of being delivered to each residence hall, and you will be able to pick up your own packages from the mailroom after scheduling a specific pick-up time. The end of the universal quarantine will be timed according to the return of the results from the second on-campus test. Therefore, the exact duration of the universal quarantine is less tied to a specific time and associated instead with the results from the second on-campus test. Universal quarantine may potentially conclude in fewer than 14 days, pending the results of the second round of on-campus tests. 

A Note on Vaccines

As vaccinations are now being rolled out across the country, Colgate is working with state and local public health agencies to plan for eventual distribution of the vaccines as they become available. At this time, and based on the current New York State phased plan for vaccinations, it is not expected that students would receive the vaccine until much later in the semester. Additional information will be shared with the community as plans solidify at the state and county levels. 

Inclement Weather

Spring arrival can sometimes be complicated by the unpredictable nature of winter in upstate New York. Rest assured that members of the University's Office of Environmental Health and Safety are tasked with regularly monitoring weather patterns in the region. Should any adjustments need to be made for arrival, we will communicate with you as needed. If you do not receive a communication about changes, it is safe to assume that arrival days are proceeding as planned.

Thank You  

This fall, the Colgate community did a remarkable job upholding the Commitment to Community Health and creating a safe and welcoming place for all to live and learn. The pandemic has challenged people globally in a manner unique in our lifetimes. These difficult challenges have affected us all personally, creating circumstances and experiences both on campus and at home that are very different than what we would choose. Some of these are challenges we face as individuals, while many we face as a community. 

Continuing to work together and support one another as you did in the fall semester, bolstered by that collective success, I know we can create an even more dynamic spring semester filled with learning, research, discovery, and connection. It will require your continued vigilance as I know we’re all tired of this pandemic but the effort is worth it, and it paid off last semester. My colleagues and I are excited to see you back on campus — we have missed your presence here.


Paul J. McLoughlin II, PhD
Vice President and Dean of the College