This will not be a normal academic year and many of the activities that you have come to enjoy will not be possible. Much of the freedom and autonomy of personal behaviors must be supplanted with a commitment to community health. The University depends on it in order to continue offering in person residential education. The people of the village, town, and county rely on it for employment and economic health. With this preface, the Commitment to Community Health is a new policy in effect immediately and until further notice.
Commitment to Community Health
I acknowledge that safeguarding the health of the Colgate University and Hamilton communities will require a shared and steadfast commitment from all of us to modify the ways we live, learn, and work on and off campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. The University has invested significant resources to keep the Colgate community and me safe, providing for testing, contact tracing and personal protective equipment, as well as reconfiguring spaces and providing medical resources. As a member of the Colgate community, I understand that I must also play my part in maintaining the health and safety of the Colgate and Hamilton communities. I understand that the reason to follow these policies and to engage in social distancing and other precautions asked of me by the University, is not only to protect myself from a disease that can have short-term implications and unknown long-term ramifications, but also to reduce the danger that I pose to my peers, my professors, and Colgate’s staff and to the community, including those who are immunocompromised, elderly, and caring for those who are at risk. In short, I understand that my behaviors directly impact others’ wellbeing.
I also understand that my or any community member’s failure to scrupulously adhere to these expectations makes it more likely that students will not be able to stay on campus for the duration of the semester and/or return for the following term. Because of the potentially severe public health effects of noncompliance, those who do not adhere to these expectations will face significant disciplinary consequences, including parental notification, loss of the privilege to live in residence (for students living in University-owned housing), forfeiture to come on to campus (for students living in privately-owned housing), suspension or even expulsion. Compliance with these expectations is non-negotiable. Community members who cannot commit to this policy should continue with remote instruction and are asked not to return to the Colgate campus this academic year.
I understand that, per the Colgate University Code of Student Conduct (excerpted below), I must comply with these directives.
Colgate expects that its students will not lie, steal, cheat, or engage in dishonest or unlawful behavior, including behavior that damages University property, the personal property of another individual, public property, or any other behavior that inflicts physical or emotional harm on oneself, another person, or the community. In addition, students will not engage in behaviors that impede other students’ opportunity to learn, or a faculty member’s ability to teach, or that interferes with the academic objectives of the University. Colgate students must abide by all University policies and procedures and comply with directions of University officials acting in performance of their duties.
In order to return to campus and participate in in-person instruction, I commit to the following:
I understand that I will need to complete the Colgate University online COVID-19 health education course prior to arrival. This course, while brief, is important to ensure a baseline understanding of SARS-CoV2, how it is transmitted, and how to prevent its spread within the community.
Each student, faculty, and staff member will be provided with two University issued face masks. All community members must wear a mask while on the Colgate campus and while visiting businesses within the Village of Hamilton. I understand that I must wear a University-issued or CDC-compliant face covering under the following conditions:
- When in the library
- When in class and in all classrooms
- When walking around campus if I cannot or may not be able to maintain 6 feet of separation between myself and others
- When walking throughout residence hall common spaces, including hallways, etc.
- In an academic department, laboratory, campus office, or any indoor space where Colgate’s academic or administrative work is being conducted with staff, faculty, or students present
- When in communal gatherings or meetings, (whether formal or informal) where two or more people are present
- On the Colgate shuttle
- Anytime I am in an enclosed space encountering people and unable to maintain 6 feet of separation between myself and others
- When visiting businesses or other public buildings within the Village of Hamilton, the Town of Hamilton, and the Town of Madison.
In the spirit of preserving the health of the entire community and this commitment to community health, students, faculty, and staff are expected to kindly remind others to wear a face covering if they are not wearing one in a required setting. It is recommended that all students carry an extra face mask while on campus. If a community member does not have a face mask, they can be directed to visit Campus Safety or Student Health Services on campus to obtain a face mask.
I understand that physical distancing is designed to limit the spread of a disease by reducing the opportunities for close contact between people. Therefore, I will do my best to maintain a safe physical distance of six feet or more in all settings.
I also understand that if someone tests positive for COVID-19, with whom I have had close contact, I will be required to quarantine for 14 days. Therefore, maintaining physical distance not only helps to eliminate spread of the virus within the community, it will also help to ensure that I do not need to self-isolate because I am identified later as someone who meets the definition of a “close contact.”
Congregating in communal areas of campus in large groups is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to residence hall lounges, social spaces, kitchens, lobbies, corridors, study rooms/spaces, dining tables, etc. All students who are congregating in a communal space in small groups (fewer than 5), must wear a mask, per the policy.
I understand that, due to the need for physical distance between individuals and the prohibition of large social gatherings, that there will be no social registration of parties for the duration of the fall 2020 term. Violations of this policy will be considered a flagrant defiance of the Commitment to Community Health policy and will lead to serious implications for the responsible organization and individual students.
Testing and Health Checks
I understand that one of the key ways to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in the Colgate and Hamilton community is for the population to be regularly tested for the virus. Therefore, I agree to the following:
- I will comply with all of the testing regimens that Colgate requires. I understand that Colgate will require all students to submit a negative COVID-19 test, taken just before arrival to campus in order to minimize positive cases from arriving on campus. Test kits will be mailed to students’ primary home address in early August with instructions.
- Colgate will test all students upon arrival on campus (to identify any positive cases that may not have been detected during the pre-test), again 7-10 days after arrival and at regular periods thereafter. Testing is not optional.
- I will comply with medical professionals when they give me instructions as a result of my test, including the possibility of self-isolating or quarantining in an off-campus location for up to 14 days.
- Daily health check during the first 14 days following arrival and if instructed to do so at a later point in the semester based on the results of surveillance testing.
- Before leaving my room each day, I will honestly and consistently assess how I am feeling and quarantine myself if I have any symptoms or signs of the virus.
I understand that accurate contact tracing of COVID-19 cases is vital for maintaining the health and safety of the Colgate and Hamilton community. I will comply honestly, accurately, and quickly with any contact tracing requests I receive. Again, in order to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the University must be able to test and quickly identify and isolate positive and suspected cases.
I understand that it may be important for the University to contact me and will provide the University with a phone number where I can be reached, including by text message. I also understand that the University may provide this information to the Department of Health to assist with contact tracing.
Quarantine and Self- Isolation
NY State Executive Order 205 requires students from more than 30+ states to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival into NY state. In addition, the NY State Department of Health does not permit students to cohabitate with students from non-restricted states during this mandatory quarantine period. As a result, Colgate has instituted a universal quarantine requirement of all students, from all states and countries, for the first 14 days. I understand that this quarantine is not optional and will occur during the first two weeks of courses (thereby requiring the first course sessions to be taught remotely). The University will permit periods of time outside, during scheduled periods, but that I must otherwise remain quarantined in my room. For students residing in University-owned housing, meals will be delivered during this universal quarantine period.
Compliance with the initial universal quarantine is essential. Should a student test positive on the second test (conducted between 7-10 days), any student who is identified as a “close contact” of the positive student will be required to quarantine for an additional 14 days. Thus, vigilance with the initial 14-day quarantine will minimize the amount of time in quarantine for all students.
I understand that in the event of possible exposure to SARS-CoV-2 or a positive COVID-19 test, I will be required to quarantine or self-isolate for up to an additional 14 days, at any point during the semester. I will follow all University procedures for quarantine/self-isolation provided to me by the University and the New York State Health Department.
Isolation and quarantine requires me to remain in my room for up to 14 days, thereby limiting my exposure to others. (Outside walks are permitted in specific locations and under the direction of the University.) During isolation or quarantine, I will not attend in-person classes, events, meetings, or extracurricular activities. I will not enter any dining hall or building other than my own residence hall (meals would be delivered to students who are not isolating or quarantining at home). I will quarantine if I am experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or if I have been identified as a known contact to someone who tests positive for COVID-19. If I have tested positive for COVID-19, I will be required to self-isolate. I will remain in quarantine or self-isolation until directed by a University staff member that it is safe to resume movement around campus. I understand that quarantine and isolation will require me to relocate to a site off-campus (with transportation and meals provided by the University).
Travel and Guests
I understand that I must follow Colgate’s COVID-19 Travel Policy, including avoiding any non-essential travel outside of the local area (Village of Hamilton, and Towns of Hamilton and Madison). Additionally, to further limit the possibility of transmission from outside of the Hamilton community, I understand that no guests will be permitted in University residences. Should a parent or guardian need to come to campus to deliver an essential item (e.g. medication) or to pick up a student, I understand that my parent or guardian must first register their visit with the Office of Campus Safety.
To limit travel to and from the campus during the fall semester, students will not be permitted to use cars on campus. In addition, several tents will be set up on-campus this semester, thereby eliminating several parking spaces on campus. If a student must use a car to arrive on campus, they will be required to park their vehicle in an satellite parking area and not access their vehicles except for trips to local stores and/or to return to their primary residence at the conclusion of the semester. Vehicle use for out of town weekend trips should be avoided and may result in compromising the health of the University community.
Understanding that physical distancing is not possible using personal vehicles as transportation caravans, and based on the vehicle policy that requires the use of cars for arrival and departure to campus only, no student vehicles will be permitted on campus for pick-up or drop off to classes or other events. Students with a need for transportation to and from campus may use the Cruiser shuttle (additional cruisers and routes have been added), walk, bike, or, if they have a medical need which warrants it, use the RideAssist program through Campus Safety.
Accountability for the Student Commitment to Community Health
The health and safety of the Colgate University community requires a shared and steadfast commitment to modify the ways in which members of the community live, learn, and work on and off campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. The University has implemented significant measures designed to reduce risks of SARS CoV-2 spread within the community, such as providing for physical distancing, regular testing, contact tracing and personal protective equipment, as well as reconfiguring spaces and providing medical resources. In addition, the Commitment to Community Health sets forth behavioral expectations for students - expectations of individual student behavior that are necessary for these efforts to help reduce the chance that the University will need to close before the end of the semester and continue in remote-only format for instruction.
We want to be transparent about our expectations and ask you to consider carefully your ability to consider the entire community’s health in your personal actions and decisions. Failure to scrupulously adhere to the expectations of the Student Commitment to Community Health poses potentially severe public health outcomes for other students, faculty, staff, and the Village of Hamilton. Failure to scrupulously adhere to the expectations of the Student Commitment to Community Health could have serious economic consequences for Colgate and for the surrounding community. Students who fail to uphold their commitment also increase the likelihood that all students will not be able to stay on campus for the duration of the fall 2020 term or return for the spring semester.. Violators will forfeit their classroom privileges mid-term, which would result in involuntary withdrawal from the course. There are also personal consequences for choosing to return to Colgate in the fall and not adhering to these expectations. These consequences are described below.
In the event of a student’s or organization’s suspected violation of the Commitment to Community Health, the Office of the Dean of the College will conduct a review. If it is concluded that that the student(s) or organization(s) has violated the Commitment to Community Health, the student(s) or organization(s) may be issued a warning, parents or guardians may be notified, and, in the interest of protecting community health, more serious consequences will be imposed, including but not limited to the loss of the following privileges (as applicable):
- housing reassignment;*
- loss of the privilege to live in University-owned housing;* or
- forfeiture of campus access#
* In the event a student is reassigned to different housing, loses the privilege to reside in University housing, or loses permission to be on campus, the student will not be entitled to a reduction or refund of housing or meal plan costs. In addition, as is always the case, students who have been approved to live in privately-owned off-campus housing and do not meet expectations for living within the Village of Hamilton, may be reassigned to housing on-campus and will be charged a prorated on-campus housing fee.
# Loss of permission to be on campus may impact a student’s ability to complete certain courses or co-curricular activities, and to access certain campus resources. This is necessary to protect other students on-campus and within classes from students who flagrantly violate the Commitment to Community Health off-campus. If this sanction is imposed, a student will not be entitled to a reduction or refund of tuition or student fees.
These measures are meant to remedy the increased risk to the public health and, if implemented, are not disciplinary sanctions, will not appear on the student’s or organization’s disciplinary record, and are in addition to (and not in lieu of) potential disciplinary consequences or consequences permitted under a student’s housing contract with the university. A student or organization who is removed from university housing, reassigned, or prohibited from presence on campus may request reconsideration of these protective measures by submitting a request for reconsideration in writing to the Dean of Students within five days after receiving notice of imposition of the protective measures. The measures will remain in effect pending the review. The Dean of Students’ decision on review is final and is not subject to further appeal.
In circumstances involving intentional or significant alleged violations of the Commitment to Community Health, the Office of the Dean of the College may, in addition to or in lieu of imposing consequences as described above, refer the matter to the Disciplinary Officer for potential disciplinary process. Sanctions imposed as part of a disciplinary process may include a range of sanctions, including suspension or even expulsion, in the most serious cases. Information on the disciplinary process can found at colgate.edu/conduct