Spring Arrival Information

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Dear Students,

As final examinations conclude this Friday and a well-deserved winter recess begins, I write today to share a number of details related to the upcoming spring semester. 

As we have said throughout this academic year, these are our plans as they stand right now; they are subject to change based on public health conditions and guidance from our local, state, and federal public health officials. 

Please note that some of the information contained within this message is not yet reflected on the Colgate website, but we wanted to share these details as soon as possible to assist with your travel plans. Continue to visit colgate.edu/colgatetogether in the days and weeks ahead as content is updated and new information is added. 

Spring Semester Arrival

Arrival days for the spring semester are currently planned for Friday and Saturday, Jan. 22 and 23. All students planning to participate in in-person instruction, whether they are living on campus or in private off-campus housing, must report to the lobby of the Class of ’65 Arena to register upon arrival. Having every student arrive on only one of these two days and check in upon arrival are critical components for returning and remaining on campus for the entirety of the spring semester. 

Just as we managed student arrival in the fall, the spring will also have designated time slots for arrival to reduce congestion and to ensure that on-campus testing occurs according to a student’s arrival date. Please register now for an arrival day and time slot

Arrival Quarantine

The data from the fall semester underscored the importance of a universal quarantine in containing the COVID-19 virus on campus; therefore, as previously announced, students will once 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 the end of January, the Task Force and the 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 these initial testing results being returned. 

One significant alteration for the universal quarantine this spring semester is that meals will be grab-and-go from dining facilities instead of being delivered to each residence hall, and students will be able to pick up their own packages from the mailroom after scheduling a specific pick-up time. The end of the universal quarantine will also be timed according to the return of the results from the second on-campus test such that the duration of the universal quarantine is less tied to time and associated instead with the results from the second on-campus test. Once positive individuals and close contacts have been identified following the second on-campus test results, universal quarantine will conclude, the University will move from Gate 0 to Gate 1.

Increased Surveillance Testing

This semester, surveillance testing will be aligned with the Gates, and consequently, testing will be more frequent in Gates 1 and 2 and will taper to the frequency of 10 to 15 percent of the community in the later Gates. During Gates 1 and 2, the entire Colgate community will be tested every two weeks. This is a commitment to test approximately 1,500 individuals each week during the first two Gates. This increased frequency is planned due to the current widespread nature and prevalence of the virus nationwide and the Task Force’s response to anticipating larger numbers of cases within the campus population as a result. By testing more faculty, staff, and students more often, the goal is to ensure that the virus doesn’t spread quickly before being identified within the population. Wastewater testing will continue throughout the semester. Targeted testing will also be utilized if circumstances warrant non-randomized testing. Students will also be required to be tested according to this schedule or will forego campus access and be required to study remotely. 

Scheduled Break Days

To provide opportunities for rejuvenation and a respite from courses during the spring semester, Colgate is creating two new break days for all faculty and students on Friday, Feb. 12, and Friday, March 12, 2021. The final day of in-person instruction is Friday, April 30.

Travel, Guests, and Personal Cars

As in the fall, students will be prohibited from traveling out of the local community unless absolutely necessary. This includes the scheduled break days as outlined in the previous section. Students may travel (beginning with Gate 1) locally within the Village and Town of Hamilton. This includes downtown Hamilton and all the businesses on 12B up to and including Price Chopper. It does not include the towns of Madison, Morrisville, Cazenovia, or other areas within Madison County or beyond.  Should students need to make an emergency trip outside of the local area, they must first register and receive approval to do so by completing an online request. They may be required to quarantine upon return.

Guests are still not permitted on campus. This includes family members, and the Commitment to Community Health now makes this prohibition more explicit. Students should avoid meeting guests from outside of Hamilton anywhere within the Hamilton community, including downtown restaurants and shops. Should a parent or guardian need to come to campus to deliver an essential item (e.g. medication) or to pick up a student, the parent or guardian must register the visit with the Office of Campus Safety and receive approval.

There has been a modification to personal vehicle use for the spring semester. Students are still permitted to use their vehicle to travel locally for groceries or errands, including to pick up packages on campus once they have registered for a pick-up time. The use of personal vehicles is restricted to one person per vehicle in order to minimize spread that would come from close contacts. Because enforcement of roommates or indirect family units is impossible, compliance with the Commitment to Community Health still requires one person per vehicle. The modification is that students will be able to use and park their personal vehicle on campus Monday through Friday after 4:30 p.m. and all day on weekends. There remains no parking on campus for personal vehicles, with the exception of after 4:30 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends, except for the designated parking spots for package pick-up outside of the Coop. Of note, the only case of confirmed spread of SARS-CoV-2 during the fall semester was associated with sharing a vehicle.

Commitment to Community Health

As was required in the fall, we will once again ask every member of our campus community to sign an updated Commitment to Community Health. This year has always been about Colgate Together. The Dean of the College Division worked diligently this fall to protect the health of our campus community, but we need your help to achieve this ongoing goal. It will require your continued persistence and perhaps more reminders to your peers as we grow fatigued with this virus in our midst. Our long-term success requires the same selflessness you exhibited this fall. 

We accomplished what many other colleges and universities were unable to do because of your steadfast commitment to mask wearing, physical distancing, and not gathering in large groups. We all need to come together again this fall, now more than ever with national infection rates rising and hospital resources stretched, to follow the community health measures that we demonstrated can work to keep this campus healthy. In short, we will rely on you even more than we did in the fall to enforce this public health compact.

In addition, the University will continue to keep confidential online reports of violations but will move away from anonymous online reporting. This will help facilitate the gathering of additional information for campus officials who are tasked with investigating these reports. The Dean of the College Division will continue to do our part in keeping the University community safe this spring while also hoping that, with your help, we can return to our primary role as educators.

Student Checklist

Colgate is creating a new online student checklist to assist with completing the various tasks that are required to support a successful return to campus in January 2021. 

Your required tasks include signing an updated Commitment to Community Health, completing an updated health education course, submitting your pre-arrival COVID-19 tests, making quarantine meal selections, registering your day and time for arrival, and reviewing information about shuttle service from Syracuse’s Hancock International Airport. The checklist will also include prompts for preparing to come to campus, noting academic and personal supplies to bring, and things to consider and do to prepare yourself for the possibility of needing to enter isolation or close contact quarantine. The University will once again house students in isolation or quarantine at the University Inn, or alternative locations as permitted by the Madison County Department of Health.

Instructions for logging into this new checklist will be shared in a future communication. Please watch for this communication and take care to meet the requirements outlined on this checklist.

Thank you

The national news offers both good news about vaccinations later this spring and summer as well as stark reminders that we are not at the end of this public health crisis. Current hospitalizations and fatalities underscore that returning to in-person onstruction with COVID-19 requires the same diligence and steadfast commitment to one another. True normal is in sight, but to arrive there as safely as possible, we must remain Colgate Together, especially as you return to Hamilton for in-person instruction. As we said in the fall, a return to campus is not a return to normal; we are several months away from returning to a pre-pandemic Colgate experience.

We have learned much from the fall semester — that includes experiencing the joy that comes with the success of working together so we could be together. Thank you for making it possible, and thank you in advance for adhering to the guidance and policies in place for the spring semester. 

Happy Holidays, and enjoy your winter recess. You’ve earned it.

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