* Note: These guidelines follow current best practices for the prevention of the spread of SARS-CoV-2, and may be modified in the time period leading up to the Fall semester to reflect new information. It is important to note that the science on immune protection for individuals with prior COVID-19 is still developing; for this reason, individuals who have previously experienced COVID-19 are not exempt from the Commitment to Community Health policy, or any other public health precautions.

I. Health Strategy

i. EOC Health Analytics Team

The Colgate Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has established a Health Analytics Team for the ongoing monitoring and assessment of university infection control measures effectiveness and related campus community health status. This team meets daily to track the general health of the institution by analyzing data points including but not limited to the following:

  • COVID-19 health education training compliance reports (employee and student)
  • employee daily screening compliance rates
  • contact tracing software use  
  • personal protective equipment burn rates
  • cleaning and disinfection supplies burn rates
  • building / space cleaning and disinfection frequency (including hospital grade fogger systems)
  • number of students in self-monitoring, self-quarantine, and isolation protocols
  • number of employees on sick leave
  • total number of employee sick days
  • Student Health Services case counts
  • event management system (EMS) room reservation reports 
  • university sponsored travel reports

ii. Symptom Surveillance

Individuals intending to be on campus will be required to fill out a daily electronic health and symptoms questionnaire before entering campus.  Indication of particular symptoms may suggest a COVID-19 test is advisable and the individual will be provided additional information on how to obtain a test. 


  • A simple, mobile device-friendly, Colgate-specific health questionnaire will be available for daily monitoring of health and possible COVID-19 symptoms.  Automated responses should be programmed for ease of use and maximal efficiency of information transfer (indication of risk symptoms, instructions on how to obtain testing, etc).

iii. Face Coverings

Individuals on campus will be required to wear a (non-surgical) mask in any environment where a physical distance of 6 feet cannot be continuously maintained.

  • All employees must wear face covering while at work in accordance with CDC guidance.
  • Students must wear face coverings on campus in common areas, including classrooms.


  • Bulk procurement of face coverings (non-surgical masks) will be sourced through Campus Safety.

 Highly Recommended:

  • Colgate should establish disposable face-covering distribution points at key locations (Library, Coop, Frank, Persson, Olin, Ho, Lathrop; Huntington; Student Union).

iv. Personal hygiene

  • Individuals will be reminded to engage in frequent handwashing with soap and water for 20 seconds or more or to use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Individuals will be reminded to avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Individuals will be instructed to not share items such as phone, computers, desk or other work tools or equipment.
  • Faculty, staff and students will be instructed to disinfect their own work areas frequently and to clean frequently touched surfaces, such as computer keyboard and phones.


  • Bulk procurement of cleaning and disinfectant supplies can be sourced through Environmental Health and Safety and the Facilities Department.
  • Adequate signage on building entrances and within dorms and restrooms.

Highly Recommended:

  • Colgate should establish hand sanitizing distribution stations at key locations (Library, Coop, Frank, Persson, Olin, Ho, Lathrop, Huntington, Student Union).

v. Physical Distancing

  • When possible, maintain a minimum six feet of distance from the nearest person as a normal practice.
  • Decrease contact between individuals by limiting in-person meetings and utilizing phone or video conferencing.


  • Colgate will establish physical distancing protocols according to CDC guidelines and reduce capacity for all areas to maintain physical distance requirements (classrooms, labs, dining venues, residence halls, offices, elevators, etc.).

Highly Recommended:

  • In work areas where safe distancing cannot be maintained, Colgate should provide physical barriers to avoid face-to-face contact.
  • Colgate should also arrange the flow of people through buildings to minimize contact. This includes designating doors as entrance or exit only, and marking hallways for travel in particular directions.

i. Testing

We aim to establish a multi-pronged approach to testing, including daily health surveys to monitor symptoms, baseline testing to identify positive individuals on return to campus, point-of-care rapid testing for symptomatic individuals, and surveillance testing throughout the year.  Our goal is to test individuals prior to and as they return to campus and to provide frequent testing during the academic year. Timely identification and isolation of positive individuals and their contacts is necessary to enhance the health and safety of the Colgate community.  These efforts are greatly facilitated by Colgate’s acquisition of a state-of-the-art Cepheid High Sensitivity Rapid qPCR diagnostic testing machine.


  • Required monitoring of symptoms (daily, automated health surveys) must be done in conjunction with regular testing.
  • Baseline testing of all individuals prior to return to campus, upon return to campus, and 7-10 days after. (Aegis Sciences or similar diagnostic service).
  • Rapid point-of-care testing for all individuals identified as symptomatic. (Cepheid technology, on campus).
  • Provide financial assistance to symptomatic individuals for whom insurance or the New York State does not cover COVID testing.
  • Establish clearly defined measures that will indicate when the number of infections may be increasing beyond an acceptable level.

Highly Recommended:

  • Routine surveillance testing throughout year - on campus (i.e. Biology department and/or other vendor):
    • wastewater and/or
    • pooled/batched sampling of individuals, in both targeted (i.e. particular individuals with enhanced risk of exposure) and random (i.e. x% of each residence per week) manner
  • Increase access to flu vaccines for the community to mitigate seasonal flu outbreaks.
  • Consider requiring flu vaccines for all students, in line with our requirement for other vaccines (meningitis, measles, mumps, etc.).

ii. Contact Tracing

The EOC is developing a Colgate community contact tracing program that will combine technological advances in tracing with traditional in-person contact tracing efforts coordinated by the Madison County Board of Health. This program will be based on CDC best practices and will assist the university in notifying people who were potentially exposed to an infected individual. 


  • Coordination with contact tracing programs organized by Madison County Board of Health.


  • EOC should continue to explore emerging Bluetooth-enabled contact tracing phone apps to supplement manual contact tracing. We recommend the consideration that this be mandatory for students, in line with other requirements to facilitate community health, if feasible.

Once a positive case is identified on Colgate’s campus, it will be essential to address the medical, educational and other needs of all individuals in self-quarantine or isolation in a timely manner that maximizes their privacy and reinforces the importance to them of remaining in self-quarantine/isolation. In addition, in order to mitigate the likelihood or magnitude of an outbreak on campus it will be essential to utilize our contact tracing, self-quarantine, isolation, and other health strategies in accordance with guidelines from CDC, New York State and Madison County.

i. Treatment

Treatment will be administered by Student Health Services in accordance with best practices (as designated by CDC guidelines).

ii. Self-quarantine and Isolation

To facilitate the health and safety of the Colgate community, individuals who test positive will enter mandatory isolation, while individuals identified as having experienced close contact with the positive individual will enter mandatory self-quarantine. These efforts are greatly facilitated by Colgate’s acquisition of the nearby Wendt University Inn for isolation and self-quarantine space and will be done in accordance with guidelines from CDC, NY State and Madison County.

  • Students who are identified as having come into close contact (as defined by CDC and New York State guidelines) with an individual who tests positive for COVID-19 must enter and remain in self-quarantine in designated self-quarantine space (i.e. Wendt University Inn), their dormitory room (if appropriate), or other residential space (on Colgate or private property) for up to 14 days.
    • If possible, students indicated for self-quarantine and who live within five driving hours from Hamilton will be asked to return home within 48 hours of identification as having a “close contact,” and complete the remainder of their self-quarantine there, which will conserve self-quarantine and isolation space on campus for students who live further distances from campus. 
  • Faculty and staff who are identified as having come into close contact (as defined by CDC and New York State guidelines) with an individual who tested positive must enter and remain in self-quarantine in their primary residences for 14 days.
  • Individuals in self-quarantine must complete daily health surveys to monitor symptoms.
  • Any individual in self-quarantine who exhibits symptoms must be tested for SARS-CoV-2. If the individual tests positive, they must then be moved to designated isolation spaces (students) or isolate in their primary residence (faculty/staff).
  • After 14 days, self-quarantined individuals may return to in-person classes and activities.
  • Individuals who test positive will be housed at the Wendt University Inn (or other designated isolation location), unless their symptoms require hospitalization.
  • Individuals in isolation must perform daily health surveys and will undergo treatment as appropriate.
  • Individuals in isolation may return to in-person classes and activities after they have met CDC and New York State guidelines (currently 3 days with no fever; and symptoms improved and 10 days since symptoms first appeared)


  • Act in accordance with best practices and recommendations from CDC, New York State and Madison County guidelines.
  • Coordination with Student Health Services, EOC, and EHS.
  • Meals will be delivered to any student in self-quarantine or isolation regardless of their meal plan status at that time (these 42 meals will be applied to a student’s account). This does not apply to students who self-quarantine or isolate at home with parents or guardians.
  • Colgate community members in self-quarantine or isolation for COVID-19 or other health reasons, either on campus or off campus, will not be penalized for adhering to best health practices.
  • Students in self-quarantine or isolation will be loaned the technology needed to continue their education remotely.
  • Faculty in self-quarantine or isolation will be loaned the technology needed to continue to administer their courses. However, depending on a faculty member’s situation other options for continuing the learning objectives of their courses will be pursued in accordance with the Provost and Dean of Faculty office. These options may include: canceling one or multiple class sessions, designating a different faculty member to teach the course in their absence, canceling the course, etc.
  • Staff in self-quarantine or isolation should follow guidance for remote work or return to on-campus work from the Phased Return to On-Campus Work plan developed by the EOC.
  • The privacy of individuals in self-quarantine or isolation will be protected.

Official University Policies and Statements regarding reopening and disease prevention and mitigation should be clarified by the appropriate University Offices. Additionally, the local community should be engaged in multi-layered and on-going conversations:

  1. to enhance community understanding of the virus and its challenges; and
  2. to foster ongoing exchange of information in recognition of the interdependence of all elements within the community. 


  • Build a frequently asked questions (FAQ) webpage to clearly convey up-to-date public health guidance.
  • Designate and support a “COVID-19 Point of Contact” as recommended by the CDC.
  • Regular discussions with the Village Board, Town Board, Hamilton Central School, Community Memorial Hospital should continue through the summer and the academic year. 

Highly Recommended:

  • Education Unlimited, the Lifelong Learning Program, the PCD, the Hamilton Public Library, and the Upstate Institute should work this summer and throughout the school year to enhance local understanding of the virus and support coordinated efforts to mitigate infections within the entire community.

II. Education

We support faculty choice of the appropriate pedagogy to be used in their classroom for student instruction, learning and research within the context of limiting infection and spread of the virus among the Colgate community.

All courses:

  • Facilitate physical distancing in classrooms; allow instructors to choose how to do so that best fits their course, consistent with generally-applicable requirements implemented by the university:
    • Large classes, for which physical distancing may prove difficult, should consider online instruction, with possible opportunities for in-person interactions with smaller groups.
    • Provide support, if possible, to allow instructors to teach in a larger classroom to accommodate physical distancing.
    • Take advantage of outdoor spaces for teaching to increase physical distancing.
    • Face coverings are universally required in all instructional settings.
    • All instructors should plan that some students may need to be accommodated remotely due to potential need for self-quarantine and/or isolation during the semester, or due to underlying risk factors that preclude in-person instruction.
  • Some instructors may opt to teach remotely for personal and/health reasons.
  • Faculty will be encouraged to review course requirements and classroom policies to support our adapted educational environment this fall (e.g., attendance policies, testing policies, accessibility, pass times, etc.).
  • If classroom spaces are expanded beyond the traditional academic quad, we recommend that class times be adjusted to accommodate longer travel times between classes.
  • Given the lack of breaks in the Academic Calendar, faculty members should be mindful of the increased strain on students and incorporate short period(s) with no academic responsibilities into their syllabi, as best fits with their pedagogical considerations.


  • The Task Force on Remote Learning should develop a list of blended/hybrid instruction best-practices that could serve different pedagogies.
  • Classrooms should be fitted with technology to enable blended/hybrid instruction.
  • IT/CLTR should be available to work with faculty to develop blended/hybrid/remote instruction capability best-suited for their pedagogy.
  • Physical guides (signs, tape on floors) should be installed to promote physical distancing and optimal traffic flow in high density hallways.
  • Classrooms should be cleaned in between classes (facilitated by faculty, students, or student workers), and hand sanitizer should be available in all classrooms.
  • Students who exhibit any symptoms of communicable disease (including COVID-19) should not come to class and contact Student Health Services.
    • Individuals will not be penalized for adhering to best health and safety practices.
  • A frequently asked question (FAQ) web page should be developed for instructors to facilitate these preparations.

Highly Recommended:

  • Additional protections should be made available in instructional spaces as warranted by context (e.g., where physical distancing is more challenging), including without limitation plexiglass shields and additional PPE. 
  • Meetings with students, including office hours, should be conducted remotely when feasible.
  • Before Drop/Add, the Provost and Dean of the Faculty office should inquire with faculty on the format of their classes so that we have an inventory of in-person and remote classes prior to students’ return to campus. During Drop/Add, listed courses should indicate whether they will be conducted remotely, or could facilitate remote learning, so that students choosing to remain off-campus may opt to enroll in classes better suited to their requirements. 
  • Outdoor classroom spaces should be identified and considered for different types of classrooms.
    • Discussion – physically-distanced seating.
    • Lecture and discussion – portable blackboard or white board and physically-distanced seating.
    • Technology enhanced classroom – portable system that allows projection of computer or portable computer board and physically-distanced seating.
    • Spaces should be reserved in advance.
    • Material discussed in outdoor classes (and all classes) should be available to any students that could not be present due to health reasons.

Additional learning environments:

  • Computer Labs
    • Close computer labs that are not essential for educational programs.
    • Consider moving computer-based courses into a virtual space.
    • Have students use their own computer in an in-person setting instead of a university computer.
    • Cleaning of university computers in between classes.
    • Have software required for classroom learning available in a central repository for student use and/or install required classroom software on student computers to facilitate remote learning.
  • Laboratories
    • Labs vary widely and appropriate precautions must be tailored to the course.
    • Physical distancing opportunities should be created through staggered participation, greater spacing, less partner work, etc.
    • One individual should be designated to operate commonly used machinery where feasible.
    • Use of common equipment should be minimized, and equipment should be sanitized prior to and after each use, where feasible.
    • Virtual labs should be used when possible.
    • Appropriate PPE should be worn when in person. Face coverings, lab coat, and disposable gloves are required. Face shields are recommended.
      • Opportunities to provide individuals with designated lab coats should be explored.
    • Additional health safety training may be necessary to facilitate safe laboratory usage during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Art and Film and Media Studios
    • Studios in the AHUM and UNST vary widely and appropriate precautions must be tailored to the specific course, and also projects (printing vs painting; media vs photography) within courses.
    • Physical distancing opportunities should be created through staggered participation, greater spacing, less partner and collaborative work, etc.
    • Designate one individual to operate commonly used equipment and to handle storage of materials where possible.
    • Use virtual studio instruction when possible.
    • When in person, appropriate PPE should be worn. Face shields and disposable gloves are recommended for studios that require close contact between students and instructors, and among students.
  •  Performance-based Courses
    • Performance courses in Theatre, Music and perhaps Physical Education vary widely and appropriate precautions must be tailored to the specific course, and also projects (ex. Hip Hop vs. movement) within courses.
    • Physical distancing opportunities should be created through staggered participation, greater spacing, less partner and group work, etc. 
    • Virtual performance instruction should be used when appropriate and possible.
    • When in person, appropriate PPE should be worn. Face shields are recommended for performance that require close contact between students and instructor, and among students.
  • Libraries (Cooley and Case Geyer)
    • Libraries should be accessible for educational needs as much as possible given adherence to safety standards.
    • Physical distancing should be maintained.
    • Common areas should be regularly cleaned.
    • Masks are required at all times.

All members of the Colgate Community should minimize travel in and out of Hamilton, with priority given to essential work-related travel and travel that is fundamental to the University’s operation and educational mission. The university should not hold events that would facilitate a large influx of people from outside the community (i.e. Homecoming, Parent’s Weekend, etc.).  When travelling to and from Hamilton, all members of the Colgate community should take steps to mitigate their risk of exposure and take appropriate steps to protect others. Safety guidelines, as outlined in the section on Health Strategies, below, should be followed, to the greatest degree possible, in the course of movement within the campus and travel within the Hamilton community. Knowing that admission visits may need to resume in the upcoming year, the Task Force also wishes to highlight the risk that on-campus admissions tours may present, and strongly encourage efforts to minimize contact between on-campus constituents and outside visitors.  For instance, a protocol for on-site health screenings of campus tour groups (e.g. screening questionnaire, temperature checks, etc.), in accordance with the New York State Interim Guidance for Higher Education, should be implemented before admission tours commence. 

Guidelines for essential travel will be developed and communicated later this summer, understanding that there are certain types of travel that are essential to the University’s mission or operation (e.g. research, professional conferences, field work, admission visits, advancement function, etc.). Similarly, recognizing that employees may choose personal travel within the next academic year, the Task Force will develop guidelines to help faculty and staff consider and minimize their risks of exposure, to closely monitor their health upon return and/or have access to testing. These guidelines, as with all of the Task Force’s recommendations, will be developed with a community public health frame and directly connected to the science behind the SARS-CoV-2 virus.  


  • Students are expected to remain in Hamilton throughout the current semester except as required by University organized trips or as necessitated by personal or family emergencies.
  • Persons responsible for transporting students to campus should keep the transition as brief as possible at the beginning and conclusion of on-campus residence.  See section below on “Move-in Logistics.”
  • Visits to campus by family and friends of members of the Colgate community (students, faculty, and staff) are discouraged in the two weeks leading to the opening of the semester and generally throughout the semester.
  • Following the Provost and Dean of the Faculty guidelines, hosting of guests, invited speakers and artists, consultants, and alums, etc. from outside the university should generally take place virtually (guidelines should also specify grounds for exceptions).

Highly Recommended:

  • Students are prohibited from or strongly encouraged not to use cars on or off campus.
  • Colgate Shuttle Transit Service should be enhanced to discourage use of automobiles on campus, while also being physically modified to support the guidelines articulated in the section on Health Strategies. 
  • When and where feasible, faculty and staff work from home should be supported by the university.

Procedural Recommendations:

  • Following the Provost and Dean of the Faculty guidelines,[1] travel for professional reasons should be evaluated in light of health and safety risks to the individual as well as the entire community relative to the professional merits of the travel.
  • Following the Provost and Dean of the Faculty guidelines regarding health and safety and risk management, international off campus study programs are suspended during the Fall 2020 semester.
  • Faculty and staff seeking to implement community-based curricular programs, field laboratories and research (both student research and faculty research), physical education, etc. should work with the Dean of the Faculty and introduce mitigation procedures to help protect the health and safety of participants.
  • During the Fall semester, co-curricular programs (for example, COVE programs, Upstate Institute, Outdoor Education, club sports, etc.) seeking to hold events or implement programs or activities off-campus should work with the Dean of the College and Division of Physical Education, Recreation and Athletics to implement mitigation procedures necessary for health and safety of participants.

[1]Or guidelines implemented by a dedicated Event Safety Group or risk management committee or office, as outlined in the Phased Return to On-Campus Work Plan (Appendix E).

III. Facilities & Campus Operations

The Task Force recognizes that the potential spread of SARS-CoV-2 requires changes to standard operating procedures in the organization of, and cleaning and maintenance required for, campus facilities.

Changes will include:

  • Implementation of expanded campus wide cleaning and sanitation.
  • Enhanced use of personal protective equipment (PPE) by all custodial staff including nitrile gloves, gowns / lab coats, face coverings, and face shields.
  • More frequent cleaning in all buildings and spaces.
  • Use of disinfection products approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use against COVID-19.
  • Purchase of hospital grade disinfection systems (foggers) for use in prioritized spaces, including health care areas, gym facilities, locker rooms, dining areas, residential hall bathrooms, and common spaces.
  • Focused cleaning and disinfection on high touch point surfaces and objects (ex. Doorknobs, handles, light switches, desks, tables, countertops, keyboards / keypads, phones, keyboards, faucets / sinks, and toilets).
  • Cleaning and disinfection of all university vehicles between use.
  • Cleaning and disinfection of university shuttles (Colgate Cruiser) between service routes.

Changes will include:

  • Renovations to Frank Dining Hall, including the addition of a grab and go section and a new retail location for coffee and baked goods at the front of the dining hall.  To discourage students from making multiple trips into the servery, we will also offer full meals at each station instead of a mixture of entrees and sides scattered throughout the venue.
  • To accommodate the large number of students that we serve in the Coop each day, all public spaces on the upper floor will be dedicated to dining services. To further redistribute the crowds that typically enter the Coop, we propose moving the grab and go cooler from the Coop servery to the Coop Conference Room. Finally, we will use the current TIA station near the entrance of the building for a mobile order pickup spot.
  • In the Chobani Cafe, we will make menu changes, including customizable yogurt creations and salads; additional bread options; larger selection of baked goods; and additional coffee options. We will also address concerns about dietary restrictions through these changes by making dairy-free and gluten-free alternatives available. In addition, we will create additional seating in the Theriot Flexible Room (room 565).
  • To address the de-densified nature within Frank Dining Hall and the Coop, we will open Donovan’s Pub for lunch five days per week and for dinner two additional nights per week. During lunch, there will be a new concept that would include items available for both meal plan swipes and retail sales. We are exploring the use of the Hall of Presidents for additional seating, adding 95 more chairs to the building, as well as creating outdoor seating. 
  • Because seating capacity will be significantly reduced at typical venues, we will create additional venues, including the Edge Cafe for Frank Dining Hall, the Ho Atrium for the Coop, and the Case Library Flex Room for the Hieber Cafe, as well as outdoor seating (perhaps with tents, picnic tables, and heaters) near all of our venues. To accommodate this, we are investigating options for sustainable reusable containers, and our menus at our traditional venues will include more grab-and-go options and food that is easily transportable.
  • In addition, we are exploring the purchase of a food truck and contracting with other food truck companies to create pop-up dining options at different locations around the upper campus (including the Edge and a common space in or near Olin Hall) so that students will be able to use meal swipes or purchase items outside of the traditional dining halls during peak periods.
  • Recognizing that physical distancing will create long lines in serveries and limited seating, we are investigating two potential systems for mobile ordering and/or reservations as well as contactless payment systems.
  • The Broad Street Houses, though not operated by Chartwells, will be required to operate with physical distancing and safety comparable to those of the University facilities overseen by Chartwells.

IV. Housing Strategy

All of Colgate’s residence halls are equipped for double occupancy. Triple rooms have been eliminated for the academic year. If allowed by appropriate federal, state, and/or local guidelines, roommates will be considered as a “family unit” and will self-quarantine in place if required following an identified close contact with a known COVID-19-positive individual, to prevent the risk of further transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to the student population. Otherwise, students will self-quarantine in identified spaces (such as the Wendt University Inn). Based on the increased size of the anticipated on-campus population due to the cancellation of fall off-campus study opportunities, we recommend modestly increasing allowances for off-campus housing and minimizing barriers that limit students choosing to pursue instruction remotely, should they feel uncomfortable with the inherent risks of on-campus residency. 


  • Colgate residences should be capped at double occupancy, eliminating triples where they existed.
  • Physical distancing guidelines should be facilitated in residence halls, including common spaces and kitchens.
  • Non-Colgate guests, or any overnight guest, should not be permitted within the residence halls.
  • Requirement of personal face coverings in common areas.

Highly Recommended:

  • Students should refrain, or be prohibited, from visiting residences in which they are not occupants as much as possible. These restrictions should not apply to some students, such as those with personal care attendants (e.g. students with disabilities).
  • Frequent reminders of proper hand hygiene (verbally, posters, videos) with hand sanitizer widely available in common areas and rooms.
  • Enhanced cleaning in all common areas and high-touch surfaces, consistent with enhanced cleaning practices of other non-residential areas such as academic buildings.
  • Widely shared/posted information in common areas about COVID-19 prevention. CDC provides communications resources such as posters, videos, and more at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/communication/index.html. Posted information should be updated as appropriate or with significant changes.
  • Training on public health measures and signs/symptoms of COVID-19 for all live-in professionals, residential fellows, and Community Leaders (CLs).
  • Restrictions on events and social activities as per physical distancing guidance.
  • Reconfiguring seating in common areas to facilitate proper physical distancing.
  • Students with medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, immunosuppressive drug therapy including chronic systemic corticosteroid treatment, heart disease, HIV, and morbid obesity are at high risk for COVID-19 illness and complications. Colgate should communicate with students known to have such conditions, through Student Health Services, about these risks and whether these high-risk individuals should return to residence halls and other on-campus housing in the fall semester.
  • The University should adopt a housing strategy that will best facilitate the identification and reservation of potential self-quarantine spaces in on-campus residences.
  • The University should continue to seek other potential spaces for self-quarantine and/or isolation in the local vicinity.

The arrival of students is one of the most dangerous potential moments in the semester. To mitigate risks, symptomatic students will not be permitted to come to campus, students will be tested upon arrival onto campus, and there should be restrictions placed on how much time families are allowed to spend on campus and in the village of Hamilton. To this end, we recommend scheduled move-in time slots of 60-90 minutes.

i. Pre-arrival.


  • Prior to the anticipated arrival to campus, students must submit evidence of a negative SARS-CoV-2 PCR test that has been conducted within the past 5-10 days.  Students will be asked to submit this through either their health portal through Student Health Services or another mechanism identified by the EOC.  Students who receive a positive test result or who are experiencing COVID-19-related symptoms (e.g. fever, chills, sore throat, cough, new loss of taste or smell, headache, etc.) should not return to campus and should seek care from a primary care physician. 
    • Students testing positive for COVID-19 should not return to campus until after the CDC-recommended guidelines for ending isolation (currently 3 days with no fever; and symptoms improved and 10 days since symptoms first appeared), and have received clearance from Student Health Services.
    • As local restrictions on testing are highly variable, students should consult with a physician or local public health department to determine testing availability in their area.
    • Students with concerns about access to a test should notify Student Health Services no later than two weeks prior to arrival to allow the university to facilitate access to testing.
    • Students should identify early where they can access a test so they are prepared to have the test administered, with results back and sent to the University, within 24-72 hours prior to arrival on campus.

Highly Recommended:

  • Students, where feasible, should take precautions to not become exposed/infected in the two weeks prior to their return to campus. Students testing positive for COVID-19 upon arrival will be asked to return home for the isolation period or will be isolated in accordance with our isolation policy. 

ii. Move-In Day

Move-in Day is a highly risky period for COVID-19, with the potential of being a super spreader event. In order to decrease the risk, we propose the following restrictions:


  • Prior to arrival day, students will be required to submit a negative SARS-CoV-2 PCR administered within the previous 5-7 days to try to minimize the number of asymptomatic students who may arrive on campus. 
  • All students will sign up for a move-in window of a limited amount of time (say 60-90 minutes), which is the only time their families (and any other people besides the student) will be allowed on campus. These move-in windows will be set up so that only one family at a time will be moving into a particular locale to avoid crowding in hallways and doorways.

Highly Recommended:

  • All families should be encouraged to minimize the amount of time they spend in the Village of Hamilton to the extent that they are able. For example, families that live within 4 hours drive should not stay overnight. Families that need to stay overnight should understand that there will be limited lodging available in the village. 
  • We should implement a pre-move-in protocol. We should open up a “move-in period” from August 1-21. Families that live within four hours of campus should be encouraged, if not required, to move all of the students' belongings onto campus during a scheduled move-in day during this pre-move-in period. This will minimize the amount of time that families need to stay on campus during Move-in Day itself.
  • Regardless of when the move-in happens, all persons on campus and in the village of Hamilton should observe physical  distancing rules and wear face coverings. 
  • Upon arrival at Colgate, students will be given a COVID-19 test within the first 2 days. Until they receive a negative result from this test, students should use heightened precautions and minimize close contacts to prevent potential transmission.


  • Members of the campus community must follow a new Commitment to Community Health policy (Appendix D) that emphasizes physical  distancing and following protocols for testing, tracing, and self-quarantine.
  • This commitment should emphasize that these behaviors are necessary not only for protecting one’s own health, but for protecting other people in the Colgate community (including the Village of Hamilton). For this reason, this policy is something more than just rules to follow: it is an important part of our social compact with each other and our community — an ethical commitment to protect one another.
  • There should be clear and serious consequences for noncompliance with the policy, because breaking any of the rules endangers other people.


  • The Commitment to Community Health policy should be shared with student leaders in small group meetings before sharing with the larger student population in order to get buy-in from students.
  • Bathroom use: Each group of people using a shared bathroom should set up a schedule to avoid using the space at the same time. If it is possible to designate facilities to each person (such as toilet stalls), that should be done. Every time a person uses the shared bathroom, they are responsible for cleaning it right after their use. 
  • Rules for shared kitchens/common rooms/other common spaces should be adopted and communicated broadly.
  • People should be encouraged to spend more time outside since indoor spaces are more conducive to contagion. Also, the more activities that take place outside, the easier it is to clean and sanitize within buildings. Colgate should invest in outdoor facilities for classes, small social gatherings, and recreation. Physical distance requirements will still apply outdoors, but it is easier to stay 6 feet away from people outside than inside a building. 

V. Athletics & Recreation

The Task Force recognizes that athletics is a crucial co-curricular activity for many students. Successful return to athletics and recreation requires policy and procedural alignment with federal, state, local, and university guidelines.

The Task Force has not yet considered fully the question of whether and how athletics should commence in the fall and recommends that the Return to Athletics and Recreation Group continue developing a comprehensive plan including specific procedures for safe return to athletic activity. At the President’s request, the Task Force will then provide feedback and input to ensure the group’s recommendations align with the core principles and guidelines of the Task Force’s recommendations to date.  The Interim Guidance for Higher Education for New York State has indicated that guidance for collegiate athletics is forthcoming. 

Thousands of students participate in club and intramural sports, fitness classes and activities, aquatics, and other opportunities for physical activity at Colgate. Research has shown positive effects of exercise on the immune system and many chronic diseases (including diabetes, obesity, and heart disease) that place individuals into higher risk groups for COVID -19. Exercise also has positive impacts on psychological well-being. However, recreation centers and programs enhance COVID-19 transmission risks. 

At this time, New York State Guidance for on-campus gyms and fitness centers has not been released so we have not issued recommendations in this area.

The Interim Guidance for Higher Education for New York State has indicated that guidance for collegiate athletics is forthcoming so we have not made recommendations here other than: 

  • Recreation staff will continue to plan for virtual and special programs that meet safety guidelines, including eSports and outdoor activities.
  • Facial coverings mandatory within all indoor facilities by personnel and participants. Facial coverings are not mandatory outdoors when physical distancing is possible.  
  • Enable staff and users to abide by necessary guidelines established by the university in particular regarding base camp kitchen, van travel, facial coverings, physical distancing, food preparation, climbing ropes etc.  
  • Keep yurt closed during this public health crisis due to its condition and university's ability to clean it properly.
  • Devise a procedure for returning a sick student back from a trip, potentially sending separate transportation.  
  • Climbing wall enhanced sanitizing procedures need to be determined prior to use.
  • Other on-campus activities, including but not limited to clubs, volunteer organizations, Greek Letter Organizations, and other groups, are similarly subject to guidelines for physical distancing, face coverings, and other public health measures.
  • Where possible, individual and group meetings should be conducted remotely to minimize transmission risk.
  • Group gatherings are subject to approval by the Dean of the College Office, Event Safety Group, or other appropriate risk management committee or office, as outlined in the Phased Return to On-Campus Work plan.
  • We recommend the Dean of the College Division continue working to develop guidelines and policies for these organizations that are congruent with the Task Force’s guidelines and other recommendations.