Individual Student Decisions Regarding Fall 2020 Semester on Campus

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For the fall 2020 semester, Colgate is inviting students to the University campus for in-person learning. This, however, is not a return to operations as usual.

Colgate will need to have an accurate count of the number of students who will be on campus in order to develop the fall course schedule, to order adequate testing and other supplies, and to finalize housing assignments in accordance with public health and safety requirements.

The University recognizes that, for some students, a decision on whether to return to campus must account for personal considerations and circumstances. As noted in the Task Force on Reopening report, our fall semester will provide students the flexibility to remain at their primary residence and continue instruction in a remote format. 

This page is meant to outline key points that can help students to make that decision. Students should consider both their own personal health and safety concerns, as well as their willingness to commit to do their part in protecting the health and safety of the Colgate and regional community.

The deadline for students to indicate whether they will be studying remotely is July 9.

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The Nature of Instruction

On-Campus Instruction

Significant planning is underway to optimize conditions for on-campus instruction, including:

  • The addition of new class periods to the schedule to assist in de-densification of academic spaces throughout the day.
  • Additional time between class periods to allow for proper cleaning and sanitization.
  • Careful scheduling of classes in locations that allow for safe physical distancing between all instructors and students.

Bear in mind that, just as some students will participate in classes remotely during the fall semester, some faculty members will do the same, teaching some classes remotely despite the reopening of the campus. In addition, to ensure that students or faculty do not attend class if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, students and faculty may need to participate remotely for a period of time even if the class is being conducted in person.

Remote Instruction

Students who do not return to the campus for the fall semester will have the opportunity to participate in their courses remotely. Some courses will be taught in a mixed format — with some students remote, and others on campus — while others will be taught entirely in a remote format.

The specific format of remote instruction — synchronous or asynchronous, for example — for any given course will be determined by the course instructor based upon the content of the course and the makeup of the class participants.

Students who participate in courses remotely will work closely with their instructors and administrative dean to develop plans and schedules to maximize success.

Residency Requirement Exemption

The University Catalog outlines the following residency requirements for Colgate students to graduate:

“Matriculated students entering as first-year students are required to complete seven terms in academic residence at Colgate. Transfer students are required to complete a minimum of four terms in academic residence at Colgate. A student participating in a Colgate study group is considered to be “in academic residence” for the purposes of this requirement. One semester of participation in an approved program will also count toward this requirement.”

Students who elect to participate remotely in the fall 2020 semester should speak with their administrative dean about petitioning for relief from this requirement if they need the fall semester of residency in order to graduate this year. In order to receive this relief, with assistance from their administrative dean, a student would then submit a petition to the Petitions Committee who will look favorably on these petitions in light of the extraordinary circumstances.

Village and Local Housing

Students who elect to participate in the fall semester remotely must do so from their primary residence. Students are not permitted to elect this option as a means of living in privately-owned off-campus housing in the local community around campus. Anyone determined to be engaging in this practice will be charged for a full semester of on-campus housing and be subject to University discipline.

Campus Life

Returning to life on campus will not entail a return to usual operations. The University is taking steps in every aspect of campus life to mitigate the risks associated with the ongoing pandemic as much as is possible.

Details about how various aspects of campus life will be managed will be released online and through communications throughout the summer, as plans are finalized and implemented. These plans will be guided by the recommendations of the Task Force on the Reopening of the Colgate Campus, but may differ from those specific recommendations. In addition, new guidelines are being released by the CDC and the State of New York, and campus plans will be adjusted accordingly to align with evidence-based public health practices.

Commitment to Community Health

All students, faculty members, and staff members who return to the campus are required to review and sign a commitment to community health. This commitment outlines personal behaviors that are critical to maintaining community health and safety. Any student who is unable to commit to strictly adhering to the behaviors outlined in this commitment will not be permitted to return to the campus and should participate in the semester remotely.

Guidance for Making a Decision

The desire to know all details about the semester — the format of your specific classes, the precise nature of dining operations, etc. — prior to making a decision, is understandable; however, detailed plans for all areas of University operations will continue to develop on a rolling basis throughout the summer. 

Students should therefore focus on the following questions to determine whether they will return to campus in the fall or continue their studies remotely:

  • Do you have health issues or concerns that make a return to on-campus life particularly problematic?
  • Are there travel restrictions preventing you from traveling to campus, or from campus back home in the event of a closure?
  • Are you willing and able to strictly adhere to the Commitment to Community Health during your return to on-campus life?
  • Are you prepared to accommodate new and changing guidelines for life on campus that will continue to develop throughout the semester as global circumstances change over time?

Students may also wish to contact their administrative dean or academic adviser for assistance with any questions or concerns regarding this decision.

The following flowchart illustrates a series of questions students may want to consider when deciding whether to return to campus.

flow chart showing decision making process for staying on campus

Deadline for Decisions

We ask that students carefully review all the information above when making their decision.

Students who will be studying on campus need not take action at this time, but will be required to sign the Commitment to Community Health prior to returning to campus, and to strictly abide by it throughout the semester.

The deadline for students to indicate whether they will be studying remotely is July 9.

Submit your intention to participate remotely

If you indicate that you will participate in the fall 2020 semester remotely, you will be contacted by your administrative adviser to make an appointment to begin planning for a successful semester.