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Hamilton College plans to operate as close to normal as possible this fall, with in-person classes and on-campus work. COVID-19 cases in the region are low, and students and employees will be vaccinated. We expect to start the semester in Blue status, as described in the College’s Campus Operating Grid. The grid outlines the additional precautions that will be implemented if the situation worsens.

Student Vaccination Requirement

Students are required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, unless they receive a medical or religious exemption, and must upload their vaccine information to the Student Health Portal before returning to campus. Questions should be directed to the Health Center at 315-859-4111 or healthcenter@hamilton.edu.

Employee Vaccination Requirement

Hamilton faculty and staff must be fully vaccinated by Thursday, Aug. 26, and update their current vaccine status unless they receive a medical or religious exemption. Contract employees who work regularly on the campus and have direct interactions with students and employees are also required to be fully vaccinated. Employees who choose not to be vaccinated may be eligible for up to six weeks of severance pay, depending on their years of service as of Aug. 26. Questions should be directed to the Human Resources Office at 315-859-4302.

COVID-19 Testing and Precautions

COVID-19 testingArrival testing for COVID-19 will not be required for students who are fully vaccinated. Students who are not vaccinated because of medical or religious exemptions will be tested on arrival and weekly thereafter. Students traveling from international locations who are unvaccinated will be required to quarantine in local hotels provided by the College and will be tested between days five and seven. Vaccinated travelers from international locations may come directly to campus and will be tested five to seven days after arriving. Employees who receive a medical or religious exemption from the vaccination requirement will be tested weekly. Testing and other precautions may shift as the pandemic evolves and public health guidance changes.

students fall 20Masking and Distancing

Unvaccinated students and employees are required to wear a mask when indoors, except when students are in their rooms, eating, or attending to personal hygiene, or when employees are alone in their offices. All unvaccinated people on the Hamilton campus must wear a face covering when within six feet of another person when outdoors. Vaccinated students and employees may also choose to wear masks while on campus, and the College will provide masks or other protective equipment to anyone upon request. Please refrain from making judgments when encountering someone on campus who is wearing a mask.

2019 Orientation LeadersThe Academic Calendar and Student Arrival

The academic calendar has been updated. Most first-year students will start to arrive on Tuesday, Aug. 17. Upperclass students will arrive on Tuesday, Aug. 24, and classes will begin on Thursday, Aug. 26.

Access to Facilities

All campus facilities will be open to students and employees. Vaccinated visitors may also enter campus buildings as normal. Parents who are fully vaccinated may help their students move in, but visitors (including parents) are discouraged from entering residence halls during the semester. Unvaccinated parents and other unvaccinated visitors to campus may not enter campus buildings and should wear a mask whenever they are within six feet of others outdoors (these are Hamilton policies that supersede NYS guidance). Admission tours may enter certain buildings on a formal route.

Classrooms and Conference Rooms

All meeting rooms will return to normal occupancy.

aerial view of athletic fieldsAthletics

Practices will be held as usual for intercollegiate teams and club sports. Competitions will be planned and occur under whatever NESCAC guidelines are in place at the time. At present, we expect parents and spectators who are vaccinated may attend all sporting events; unvaccinated parents and spectators may attend outdoor sporting events, but should wear masks whenever they are within six feet of others.


At the present time, large gatherings (more than 50 people) are permitted for official College functions. More detailed guidance will be provided closer to the start of the fall semester, but whenever possible large gatherings should take place outdoors.

Traveling Off Campus

Vaccinated students may travel off campus as needed. Unvaccinated students who need to travel out of the area must review their plans with the Dean of Students Office prior to traveling and may be required to quarantine in a local hotel through two COVID tests on return.

In addition, Hamilton is returning to more normal policies for College-sponsored travel. Service work and field trips for courses are permitted, and students performing service work should take precautions (e.g., wear a mask) when they are interacting with unvaccinated people. Hamilton programs in New York City, Washington, D.C., Paris, and Madrid are expected to be operating. Contingency plans are being developed for these locations. Professional travel for employees and visits to campus by job candidates may resume for vaccinated individuals.


The COVID-19 Steering Committee will only notify the campus about positive cases if there is a significant risk of exposure or if the campus operating status changes. Please consult the Fall 2021 FAQs for answers to common questions. You may also email questions to Karen Leach, chair of the COVID-19 Task Force (kleach@hamilton.edu).

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