Updated COVID testing guidance

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Dear Students,

We write today to share updated guidance related to the University’s plans for testing requirements for your spring semester return to campus at the end of the month. 

In light of current nationwide difficulties in obtaining timely COVID-19 testing, Colgate is no longer requiring pre-arrival PCR testing; that said, we strongly recommend that you make every effort to obtain a test prior to arrival

It is to your advantage to find out if you test positive before traveling to campus, because according to New York State and CDC guidance, anyone currently testing positive for COVID-19 must undergo a minimum 5-day isolation. Those who live within 300 miles of Hamilton must return home to isolate.

To that end, we recommend you prioritize options in this way

  1. Best: Take a PCR test in the 3 to 5 days before your planned return to campus.
  2. Second best: If a PCR test is not available, or your PCR results have not been received: We will accept a rapid at-home antigen test taken within 24 hours prior to return. An antigen test is also accepted if it was used to enter the United States. Make sure to take a photo of your results to share at check-in.
  3. Last resort: If you are unable to obtain any testing before returning to campus, and you feel well and are asymptomatic: You may return to campus. You will be tested for COVID-19, as part of baseline testing January 21–24.

The goal is to prevent COVID-19–infectious students from needing to enter isolation on campus or having to return home once they get to Hamilton. 

We are not asking for negative results to be submitted in advance; bring a copy of your PCR result or a time-stamped photo of your rapid at-home test with you to check-in. 

Please note that an antibody test is not a substitute for a COVID-19 test.

Prior Positive COVID-19 Tests and Exemptions
If you recently tested positive for COVID-19, you are exempt from testing for 90 days from the date of that positive test. Please complete this form for Student Health Services so that your record can be updated accordingly. 

Report a positive test

COVID-19 Boosters
Updated state and federal guidance is that any close contacts who are unvaccinated or fully vaccinated and eligible for a booster but not yet boosted, must quarantine for a minimum of 5 days. As a reminder, if you have not already done so, please make plans for receiving a booster during winter recess. As mentioned in our announcement of required boosters, ideally, all students should have received their booster by January 7, so that the dose will be fully effective when residence halls open again on January 22. The deadline for receiving a vaccine booster is February 1, 2022. Please note that any of the currently available booster vaccines (Pfizer/BnT, Moderna, or J&J/Janssen) will qualify for this requirement. 

Some people have asked about the COVID-19 booster deadline in relation to those who have recently had the virus. If your healthcare provider recommends delaying the booster, please tell Student Health Services at the same time you notify them that you have tested positive for COVID-19. Colgate will be holding regular booster clinics throughout the spring semester. 

Be well and enjoy the rest of your break
Colgate will be sharing additional details about arrival plans for the spring next week. Please keep an eye on your email, and should you have any questions be sure to send a note to covid19@colgate.edu and we will be happy to assist.

With regards,

Dr. Merrill Miller
University Physician
Director of Student Health Services

Dr. Ellen Larson 
University Physician