Commitment Violations and Close Contact Numbers Prevent Colgate from Moving to Gate 2 of Reopening


Vice President for Communications Laura Jack announced in Monday’s ‘Colgate Together’ digest that the campus would not move forward into Gate 2 of reopening as planned on Tuesday, Sept. 22. The email cited metrics from the Health Analytics Dashboard and violations of the Commitment to Community Health (Commitment) last weekend as primary reasons for the Task Force on Reopening’s decision.

The dashboard shows a moderate alert and increasing trend for Commitment violations and a moderate alert for student quarantine/isolation space that remains 40 percent full from the 47 close contacts of three positive COVID-19 cases found in last week’s surveillance testing, which tests six percent of on-campus students, faculty and staff each week. In his video accompanying the email, President Brian Casey cited student behavior resulting in large numbers of close contacts as the primary concern preventing Colgate from moving forward. Casey recounted an interaction with a student who questioned why he seemed upset in last Friday’s video, despite the low number of cases as a positive indicator for reopening. 

“It’s what we learned after we learned of those infections that was alarming. We have three infections, but 40 students who were identified as close contacts to those who showed positive tests,” Casey said. “We see it’s the behavior patterns that lead to infection patterns. It’s the behavior we have to worry about, because if behavior leads to a large number of infections, if people gather in large groups, close to each other, with or without masks, then Colgate’s options get more and more limited.”

Since Colgate’s entrance into Gate 1 on Sept. 8, much concern has arisen about student conduct and violations to the Commitment. Since the arrival of students on campus, multiple update emails from Jack and Casey have informed the community of students sent home due to violations, including the two students who tested positive after leaving the Hamilton area following their isolation period.

“Because we are in this together, the choices of the few will have consequences for the many,” Jack said in last Fridays’ update, in which she announced that two of the positive cases at the time were students who violated the Commitment by leaving the Hamilton area.

Colgate’s failure to move to Gate 2 after the minimum required 14-day period in Gate 1 prevents fitness and recreation spaces, including Trucy Fitness Center, from reopening at this time. Students remain restricted from cross-residence visitation and gathering of more than 10 people with masks and social distancing.