Virus Cases Surge To All-Time High


Colgate University

As virus cases surge, the University is now requiring masking in all University-operated indoor spaces and encouraging grab-and-go dining.

*Disclaimer: this article includes the most recent updates of COVID-19 cases and university protocols as of Sept. 7 at 7 P.M.*

Just two weeks after students returned to campus for the fall semester, student cases of Covid-19 have surged to an all-time high on campus, with 58 active cases among the student body as of 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 6, according to Colgate’s Health Analytics Dashboard. The spike comes despite the University’s universal vaccine requirement and over 95% rate of full vaccination among students, faculty and staff. The case count of 58 stands as the highest total number of cases on campus at one time in the entirety of both the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters. There are two active cases amongst faculty and staff.

According to the dashboard, Community Memorial Hospital’s metric which measures available beds, staffing, and overall capacity stands at “high alert,” trending towards “very high alert,” the most serious classification available. Student Health Services’ alert level is also trending towards “very high alert.” Student Quarantine and Isolation levels stand at “high alert”. Rapid testing was available to the University community on September 6 behind James B. Colgate Hall (the Hall of Presidents).

At this time, the University announced that masking will be required indoors at all times, regardless of vaccination status, except for when students or faculty are alone in private offices or dorm rooms. There have been no official mandates on events put in place, but Laura Jack, Vice President for Communications, stressed that the university is highly discouraging large in-person gatherings for the next two weeks, in addition to encouraging students to take advantage of grab-and-go dining options at Frank Dining Hall and the Coop. 

According to the Panhellenic Council, sorority recruitment is postponed for at least two weeks. At this time, the Interfraternity Council (IFC) has also pushed their recruitment for at least two weeks, under guidance from University administration and CLSI. Recruitment was set to begin Wednesday, Sept. 7 and there has been no confirmed date or time for when recruitment will take place with the mode of operation remaining undisclosed. 

As of Sunday, Sept. 5, the Office of Residential Life had canceled its Broad Street Open House, and various clubs had canceled their in-person gatherings. DDT, an on-campus hip-hop dance group, canceled their auditions that day.

Director of Student Health Services Dr. Merill Miller announced that in addition to increasing COVID-19 cases, several other illnesses – strep throat and RSV – are circulating in increased numbers across campus. Miller specifically stressed that testing for asymptomatic, vaccinated individuals who are not close contacts is not required. Testing will be by appointment only, prioritizing close contacts and for individuals for whom “testing is warranted,” Miller wrote in an email to the community on Sept. 7. Rapid testing was also available to the University community on September 6 behind James B. Colgate Hall.

Organizations on campus are following in line with University guidelines. The Swinging ‘Gates, a female a capella group, began requiring masks at their rehearsals out of an abundance of caution prior to the indoor mask mandate, according to Administrative Director Gege Pflager.

“I’m mostly just worried that the school will shut everything down,” Pflager said. “I hope that if people are exposed or feel sick they make the best decisions for themselves and those around them. We are wearing masks at rehearsals whenever we see a cause for concern and just hope that this rise in cases does not continue throughout the semester.”