COVID-19 Readiness and Operations Plan
Hamilton’s pandemic protocols are based on consultations with experts in infectious disease, review of the latest studies and scientific developments, modeling of different scenarios, discussions with peer institutions, and our own recent past experience. Of necessity, our protocols will be modified as conditions change, but our goal is to provide our students with the best possible education and residential experience, while keeping our community safe and whole.
Hamilton College students and employees must be fully vaccinated to study or work on campus, unless they have an approved religious or medical exemption, and anyone entering campus buildings also must be fully vaccinated. “Fully vaccinated” for this purpose means having had an initial primary series followed by a booster. Per CDC guidelines, anyone aged 50 or over is strongly encouraged to get a booster.
COVID-19 Testing & Precautions
Students and employees who have been away for the summer are strongly encouraged to take a COVID-19 test before returning to campus (PCR tests within 72 hours prior, rapid antigen tests within 24 hours prior). Both PCR and rapid antigen tests are readily available in most areas of the country, including at local pharmacies, and may be ordered free of charge at covid.gov/tests (expect a longer delivery time). This step will help protect our community and enable you to isolate at home rather than on campus should you test positive.
The College will no longer operate the campus Testing Center or conduct regular surveillance testing but may resume it if circumstances warrant it.
Once students return to campus, they should contact the Health Center to obtain a COVID-19 test if they have symptoms. Students are asked to bring at least two rapid antigen test kits with them to campus and replenish them over the academic year as needed. A limited number of rapid test kits will be available for pick up at the Health Center.
Students who test positive using a rapid test should:
- Note the date on a piece of paper, take a photo of it with the test result, and upload the image to the Student Health portal so that it can be added to their medical record
- Begin required isolation
If a student would like to discuss a medical concern, they may call the Health Center at 315-859-4111; after hours and on weekends, students should follow the prompts to speak with the on-call nurse. For medical emergencies, call Campus Safety at 315-859-4000 to activate an emergency response.
Employees who test positive at home should contact their supervisor and Human Resources.
- The use of masks on campus is optional outdoors and indoors for students, faculty, staff, and members of the public who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Fully vaccinated means an initial primary vaccine series and at least one booster.
- Organizers of events and faculty teaching classes or labs or holding office hours may require masks at their discretion.
- Masks will continue to be required at Health Services.
- Those experiencing COVID-19-related symptoms or considered to be close contacts of someone infected with COVID-19 should continue to mask.
- Individuals, including visitors, who are not fully vaccinated must wear a mask indoors.
- Hamilton remains a “mask-friendly” campus—please support members of our community who make this choice.
Isolation and Quarantine
Students who test positive for COVID-19 should go home to isolate if within reason and they meet other criteria. Students who cannot go home will isolate in their rooms. They may pick up grab-and-go food from the dining halls and may use community bathrooms, but they must wear a high-quality, well-fitting medical grade mask (no cloth masks or gaiters) whenever they are outside their room. Students may be moved to an alternate location if they have a roommate who is immunocompromised or otherwise at high risk, as verified by, and at the discretion of, the Health Center. Employees must isolate at home.
Although the CDC recently changed its guidance for isolation and quarantine, New York State has not. Per New York State regulations, anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 must stay in isolation for a minimum of 5 full days following a positive test (Day 0). After Day 5, they may resume attending classes, work, and other activities in person as long as they are fever-free for at least 24 hours, have abating symptoms, and wear a mask until after Day 10. Please note that it is possible for individuals to continue to test positive long after Day 5.
New York State no longer requires close contacts who are fully vaccinated to quarantine unless they have symptoms. If you know that you have come in close contact with someone who tested positive, you are encouraged to monitor for symptoms and take a test approximately five days after exposure (sooner if symptomatic).
All campus buildings are open to the public. Visitors who are not fully vaccinated must wear a mask indoors.
Notifications about positive cases will only be distributed if there is a significant risk of exposure or if the campus operating status changes.
People with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms, ranging from mild to severe illness. The CDC reports the following symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus:
|• Chills, feeling feverish, or temperature at or above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
• Muscle or body aches
|• New loss of taste or smell
• Sore throat
• Congestion or runny nose
• Nausea or vomiting
Students who have symptoms should call the Health Center to schedule a test. Employees who have symptoms should contact their health provider. Hamilton's Human Resources Office can also provide information about facilities in the region where employees can obtain a COVID-19 test. Authorization from a health provider may be required by the testing site.