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CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)


This site is retained for archival purposes. Please visit the Returning to Campus page after June 15 for all information about Fall 2020.

Plan and Response

If your questions are not answered below, please call the Student COVID-19 Hotline at 1-844-508-6085 during normal business hours.

Hamilton College is closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak and following guidance from the U.S. Department of State, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New York State Department of Health, and the Oneida County Health Department. The Hamilton Emergency Response Team (HERT) is actively managing our readiness and response to the coronavirus epidemic. Health and safety continue to be the College’s top priorities in our decisions and support.

This webpage catalogs important information for our College community, but is not intended to serve as a single point of reference about the rapidly evolving situation. 

 

Campus Operations

When can students return to campus to collect their belongings? [REVISED, May 14]

Students received an email on May 12 from Residence Life about the pick-up process that will begin on May 20. The number of students who can retrieve their belongings at one time is limited, so students will need to sign up and be confirmed for a date and time.

Will there be a housing shortage if those originally planning to study off campus in the fall are on campus? [NEW, May 14]

Hamilton is working on a housing plan to accommodate all students who plan to be on campus for 2020-21.

The original deadline for a decision to take a leave in the fall was in early March. Is there flexibility around that? [NEW, May 14]

So far, the College has not made any changes to the Leave of Absence policy for students; requests are being considered on a case-by-case basis.

Will Commencement, Reunion Weekend, and other traditional end-of-year observances take place? [REVISED, May 8]

With deep regret, President Wippman announced on April 7 that the in-person Commencement ceremony, originally scheduled for May 24, has been postponed, but a virtual ceremony has been planned for the same date and time. A new date for an in-person ceremony will be scheduled once it is safe and appropriate to do so. Seniors have been asked to provide suggestions and input.

The president also announced to alumni the equally difficult decision to postpone Reunions, originally set for the second weekend in June. The Advancement Office is working with class planning committees and considering a variety of options to help alumni connect with each other and with the College in light of this change.

Will Hamilton be hiring seasonal workers this summer? [NEW, April 21]

We do not anticipate hiring any student workers for the summer unless their job responsibilities are deemed essential.

When will housing selection take place for the 2020-21 academic year? [NEW, April 13]

The housing selection process was originally scheduled to begin on Tuesday, April 14, but has been postponed. There are a number of factors affecting this decision, including forecasting the College’s housing capacity based on projected enrollment, the possible need to reserve some rooms for future quarantine spaces, and the desire to accommodate our students who may need to change their current plans to study off campus next semester. We want housing selection to go smoothly, and for that to be possible, we need some additional planning time. Residential Life will let students know as soon as we have a revised schedule. Thank you for your patience.

What extra safety precautions are in place for essential personnel who must work on campus? [NEW, April 7]

Consistent with Hamilton’s move on March 23 to Minimal Operating Status the College has a small number of essential personnel on campus to care for the safety of our remaining students, facilities and grounds. They have limited contact with others but wear PPE for all campus work. Anyone working closer than six feet from another person must wear a surgical mask. Masks have been delivered to those essential personnel who are still coming to campus to work.

What is Hamilton doing to address the financial uncertainty created by the pandemic [NEW, April 6]

Hamilton has three major sources of revenue: tuition, income earned from the endowment, and fundraising. All of them are under strain. Fortunately, the College is better positioned than most to face whatever comes, as a result of careful budgeting, skilled investment management, and generous support from alumni and other donors. Even in the best-case scenario, however, we know we must reduce spending on anything that is not essential to the support of our students and the fulfillment of our academic mission. That effort is already under way. We are, with very limited exceptions, not filling open positions, pausing non-critical capital projects, and directing each division to identify other ways to save money. As the full financial impact of the pandemic becomes more evident we may need to identify future cost-reductions. Those will be shared with the campus community as soon as possible.

Are counseling services still available to students? [REVISED, March 30]

Our staff in the Counseling Center is organizing to continue supporting you while operating within New York State laws. As a reminder, you have 24/7/365 access from anywhere in the world to “In-the-Moment” support by calling 315-859-4340 and pressing option 2, which will connect you with an on-call counselor. In addition, the Counseling Center has posted a list of resources for “navigating this uncertain time.” Students can also join “Wellness Zooms” the week of March 30 at 12:15 p.m. Eastern time.

Should employees come to work? [REVISED, March 23]

As you have likely heard, Governor Cuomo has signed a new executive order mandating that “all non-essential businesses statewide must close in-office personnel functions effective at 8PM on Sunday, March 22.” Higher education is not considered an essential business. To comply with the order, the College moved immediately to Minimal Operating Status. All employees should now be working remotely. Exceptions must be approved by a senior staff member in consultation with the COVID-19 Task Force, and will be granted only for employees who must be on campus to support the students still in residence here, facilitate delivery of remote instruction, or preserve facilities and basic operations (e.g., taking care of research animals, maintaining sensitive equipment, etc.).

How are College operations changing? [REVISED, March 21]

Hamilton is transitioning from a Reduced Operations Status to a Minimal Operations Status until further notice. 

Will students be able to return to campus this summer? [NEW, March 18]

The projections are not reliable enough to make such a decision yet. The College will monitor the situation and notify students as soon as a decision is made.

What about sports? [NEW, March 18]

NESCAC competitions, including conference championships, are canceled for the 2020 spring season. 

What do I need to work from home? [NEW, March 18]

LITS has put together a webpage to answer your questions about the technology you’ll need to work remotely.

Is the campus currently open to visitors? [REVISED, March 17]

With the March 17 decision to extend remote learning for the remainder of the spring semester, scheduled visits have been canceled through May 31. A limited number of students have been given permission to remain on campus due to extenuating circumstances. Faculty and staff should check with their supervisors and department chairs to determine if they should report to campus or work from home.

 

Academic Program

What options are being considered for the fall semester? [NEW, May 14]

Hamilton's first choice is to resume on time and on campus this fall, if it is safe to do so, however, it is still too early to predict with any confidence what the fall will bring. The College is planning for a wide range of possible outcomes, from an on-time, on-campus start to a semester or more of remote instruction. The Academic Continuity Advisory Group was tasked by President Wippman with studying options for fulfilling Hamilton’s academic mission in widely different scenarios not under our control. For each scenario, committee members have assessed major implications, not only for delivering the curriculum, but for athletics and financial aid, and each scenario has been annotated with a list of governing authorities to be consulted if necessary. President Wippman reported in recent town hall meetings that a decision about the fall semester probably will not be made until this summer when more information is available about testing, tracing, and ensuring the safety of community members. We remain hopeful for a best-case scenario: on-campus instruction with full enrollment in the fall.

How will remote learning affect the College’s grading policy for the Spring 2020 semester [NEW, April 10]

Hamilton’s faculty recognizes that online education is experienced disproportionately by our students who are learning in varied and often inequitable circumstances. Such inequities are minimized when all students are on campus with the same relative access to the same resources. The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent move to remote learning make equal access unachievable for many of our students. The challenge for our faculty, therefore, was to find an equitable solution for students working in inequitable situations, knowing that there was no perfect solution.

The faculty voted to adopt a credit/no credit/incomplete grading policy for all courses except those originally graded as satisfactory/unsatisfactory. These grades will not contribute to student’s GPA, but courses for which a student receives credit will count toward the student’s concentration, minor, and any other collegewide requirement (without adding to the maximum permitted number of credit/ no credit courses). Any student who earns two no-credit grades this semester will be subject to academic probation; three no-credit grades makes a student subject to suspension.

Hamilton’s policy is the same as, or similar to, many of its peer colleges.

What will happen to the Dean’s List for the Spring 2020 term? [NEW, April 10]

A Dean’s List will not be named for the Spring 2020 semester. A notation on student transcripts will indicate that the pandemic affected normal grading practices, thereby providing appropriate context for students who would normally achieve this academic honor.

How will the change in grading affect Latin honors, departmental honors, and election to Phi Beta Kappa? [NEW April 10]

Latin honors for this year’s senior class will be based on the final cumulative grade point average after the Fall 2019 term. Latin honors in the future will be calculated on all terms that have normal graded credits; the Spring 2020 term will have no impact on that cumulative grade point average. Hamilton’s academic departments and programs and the local chapter of Phi Beta Kappa are exploring ways to ensure that our selection processes can accommodate the disruption in grading. The national Phi Beta Kappa Society has given chapters “the discretion to adapt their processes to respond to these unprecedented circumstances in order to offer membership to those who have earned election in the Spring of 2020.”

Are plans for summer research, internships, and experiential learning going forward? [NEW, April 7]

Hamilton remains committed to endowment-funded stipends and grants already awarded for summer research, internships, and experiential learning if they can be completed remotely and without travel this spring and summer.

Unfortunately, any travel connected with these funds will not be approved due to the social distancing and stay-at-home measures in place to contain the spread of COVID-19. This means that until further notice, Hamilton funds may not be used to pay for or reimburse spring or summer 2020 travel, regardless of the terms in the award letter. Examples that fall under this policy include traveling to pursue research, attending an event related to your research, presenting papers at conferences, and being onsite for an internship or mentorship.

For similar safety reasons, students will not be allowed to conduct research or activities on campus. This applies to all awards. If a student’s original plan included on-campus research, the students may change the plan to conduct the research remotely if the supervisor agrees.

If fees or expenses have already been realized, Hamilton will evaluate them on a case-by-case basis. We do not want students to be held responsible for non-refundable expenses, and sometimes we can help negotiate refunds or deferrals. Please contact Kim Reale (kreale@hamilton.edu) for assistance.

What resources are available to assist faculty members with remote learning? [NEW, March 26]

Library and Information Technology Services has compiled a variety of resources for faculty and placed them together on a webpage titled “When Classes Can’t Meet.” You can also find virtual teaching tips online, including blog posts from Dean of Faculty Suzanne Keen and others.

What services and electronic resources are available to assist students with remote learning? [NEW, March 26]

No matter where they are located, students can still access the library’s research services and electronic resources.

What technology support is available for employees working from home? [NEW, March 26]

The Help Desk is still your first stop for technology needs, but LITS has an expanded webpage to assist faculty and staff working remotely.

Will the College’s grading system change to pass/fail this semester? [NEW, March 20]

A faculty committee is studying the issue and the faculty will likely address it at the April 7 faculty meeting.

Will class scheduling be adjusted in consideration of students in varying time zones? [NEW, March 20]

For most classes, times will remain as currently scheduled. The faculty are exploring options to assist students with time zone and other issues, including recording classes for later viewing or offering all or part of a class asynchronously.

How will studio art, theatre, and dance classes and classes that include labs be delivered? [REVISED, March 20]

The faculty are exploring a range of creative options for offering such classes virtually, and we hope to have more information to share soon.

How long will remote learning last? [NEW, March 17]

President Wippman announced today, March 17, that Hamilton will extend remote learning for the remainder of the spring semester. It is set to begin at the conclusion of spring break on Monday, March 30. 

What if I don't have a computer or reliable internet access for online learning?

LITS will provide equipment and domestic mobile hotspots to students who do not have laptops or access to reliable high-speed internet. In some cases the equipment will be mailed to a student's home. We want to be sure students can participate fully when the College begins remote learning. Please contact the LITS Help Desk (helpdesk@hamilton.edu; 315-859-4181) for more information. International students should also contact the Help Desk with questions.

 

Financial Aid and Student Accounts

Are Hamilton students eligible for CARES Act funding? [NEW, May 7]

Congress recently passed the CARES Act, which includes the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, to provide funds to colleges and universities for the purpose of assisting students with unexpected expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus.

Hamilton College is distributing these funds to Title IV eligible financial aid recipients. These funds are to be used to assist with food, housing, course materials, technology, and healthcare costs. At this point, the IRS indicates the payment is taxable to recipients, but there have been requests for reconsideration so this may change. [Update: The IRS has confirmed that emergency grants provided to students through the CARES Act are not taxable.]

Students who previously enrolled in direct deposit for Accounts Payable payments, such as a room and board refund, will have this payment directly deposited to their account by May 22, at the latest. Students who have not yet enrolled in direct deposit may do so online by 11 p.m. on May 10 and this payment will be deposited to their account. Otherwise, a check will be issued and sent to the student’s home address.

Will students be refunded any part of their comprehensive fees for Spring 2020? [REVISED, April 7]

Students who were charged room and board for spring semester will receive a credit on their spring semester account. The credit represents a 52 percent reduction in the room and board fee of $7,180, and will be adjusted for those students receiving financial aid. The financial aid adjustment is based on the percentage of costs that the family is asked to pay for the current academic year. The credit will be shown on your next bill statement available in CASHnet, the College’s online billing system.

If a senior has a positive account balance after this credit is applied, a refund payment will be issued. Checks will be mailed to the senior’s home on Friday, April 3, unless the senior has enrolled in Direct Deposit for Accounts Payable. For seniors enrolled in Direct Deposit, the refund will be credited to their bank account. Students wishing to enroll in Direct Deposit may do so online by Wednesday, April 1. The normal wait for the next disbursement cycle will be waived due to extenuating circumstances.

Credit balances for students returning in the fall will automatically be applied to next semester’s charges. If you should require the refund now, and any outstanding balance is paid, you may request a refund by emailing student accounts at stuaccts@hamilton.edu. Your refund will be processed during the normal weekly refund process.

For families that have a payment plan, we will automatically reduce your remaining payment plan payment(s) by the applicable credit created by this refund process.

The College is not offering a refund for the student activities fee because most of those funds have already been spent and some activities will continue remotely.

Will I receive a room and board credit for studying abroad this semester if I was enrolled in a non-Hamilton program? [NEW, March 27]

When studying abroad with a third-party partner, the third-party bills Hamilton tuition and required fees such as room and board.  Hamilton charges each student accordingly and, when applicable, awards financial aid. We are now working with these individual third-party partners to determine if they will reimburse Hamilton so that we can calculate the refunds or credits (if any) that are due our students. We expect many third-party partners will reimburse Hamilton for the unused portion of our students’ room and board charges when their programs were suspended, but in some cases the reimbursement process may extend into the summer. As reimbursements are received, Hamilton will credit the student’s account, adjusting for financial aid as needed. Such credits will be determined after taking into account any outstanding balance a student may have, including any amounts due on a monthly payment plan. Once completed, refunds will be issued to seniors for credit balances. Resulting credit balances for other students will roll forward to the fall semester. Returning students may request a refund, however, by sending an email to the Students Accounts Office at stuaccts@hamilton.edu. Since we are working with dozens of individual third-party providers, this process may take several months. Thank you for your patience.

Will I receive a room and board credit for studying abroad if I was enrolled in a Hamilton program? [NEW, March 27]

Yes. The Student Accounts and Financial Aid offices are working together to determine room and board reimbursements for students enrolled in Hamilton’s study abroad programs in France and Spain. Hamilton will credit a student’s account for a portion of room and board fees, adjusted for financial aid (if applicable).  Such credits will be determined after taking into account any outstanding balance a student may have, including any amounts due on a monthly payment plan. Once completed, refunds will be issued to seniors and non-Hamilton students for credit balances. Resulting credit balances for other students will roll forward to the fall semester. Returning students may request a refund, however, by sending an email to the Students Accounts Office at stuaccts@hamilton.edu.

How can I check my account and when will any credits be applied? [NEW, March 24]

Informational Student Account Statements are now available electronically, and they reflect the adjusted credit for room, board, and — if applicable — campus employment expectations for financial aid recipients. Please note that adjustments are still being received from various campus offices, such as athletics and transportation. Future monthly statements will reflect those changes. If you are enrolled in the monthly payment plan, the Student Accounts staff will reduce your scheduled payments once these adjustments are credited to your account, and you will be notified of remaining amounts due for your next payment. Electronic statements may be accessed on the Student Accounts webpage.

How were the adjustments calculated for student accounts? [NEW, March 24]

For information on how adjustments were calculated for student accounts please visit this webpage.

What will happen to the Hill Card and Store Dollar accounts for seniors? [NEW, March 24]

Seniors with Hill Card and Store Dollar account balances have had credits applied to their current statement. Seniors who are now in a refund status will have their refund automatically processed on April 3.

What is happening with overdue account balances? [NEW, March 24]

Hamilton has suspended interest charges and financial holds for overdue account balances until June 1, 2020.

What about my campus job/work-study [REVISED, March 20]

Students who have student employment as an expectation in their financial aid award will have their scholarship increased to cover 50 percent of their student employment expectation for the spring semester. In addition, a limited number of students may be authorized to continue their work assignments remotely. Please contact your campus supervisor to see if you qualify to work remotely.

Why are students receiving reminders about monthly bills? [NEW, March 18]

If you signed up for monthly billing, you will continue to receive reminders about monthly payments. Classes are not canceled, therefore tuition still applies. A schedule for pro-rating and crediting accounts for room and board, or refunds for seniors, will be communicated as soon as possible.

How does the closure affect students receiving financial aid?

Hamilton is continuing to operate by offering classes online, so there is no change to students’ financial aid.

I elected Hamilton’s Student Health Insurance Plan. Does it cover me now that I am studying remotely?

Yes, the Student Health Insurance Plan covers you during semester breaks, summer vacation, and even if you’re traveling or studying abroad. You’ll be covered for the period for which you are enrolled and premiums are paid.

Off-Campus Study

The Off-Campus Study Office is in continuous contact with Hamilton students who are currently studying abroad and with the College’s third-party partners. Parents with students currently abroad may reach the office directly (315-859-4022) at any time.

What is the status of Hamilton’s off-campus study programs for the Fall 2020 Semester? [REVISED, July 1]

All Hamilton-sponsored off-campus study programs have been suspended for the fall 2020 semester due to the coronavirus pandemic. These include Hamilton study-abroad programs in China, Spain, and France, and domestic programs in New York City and Washington, D.C. 

Have any decisions been made about off-campus study for the spring 2021 semester? [NEW, May 14]

Thus far, the College has focused on off-campus study options for the fall and has not yet turned to spring programs. That being said, Hamilton is currently planning to sponsor its spring off-campus programs. Students interested in studying on programs sponsored by other colleges should check directly with those colleges.

Will I receive a room and board credit for studying abroad if I was enrolled in a Hamilton program? [NEW, March 27]

Yes. The Student Accounts and Financial Aid offices are working together to determine room and board reimbursements for students enrolled in Hamilton’s study abroad programs in France and Spain. Hamilton will credit a student’s account for a portion of room and board fees, adjusted for financial aid (if applicable).  Such credits will be determined after taking into account any outstanding balance a student may have, including any amounts due on a monthly payment plan. Once completed, refunds will be issued to seniors and non-Hamilton students for credit balances. Resulting credit balances for other students will roll forward to the fall semester. Returning students may request a refund, however, by sending an email to the Students Accounts Office at stuaccts@hamilton.edu.

 

Travel

Is Hamilton placing any restrictions on employee travel?

All College-funded international travel and all nonessential business travel by employees are suspended effectively immediately. Personal travel overseas and to areas that have experienced outbreaks of the virus is strongly discouraged, and those with underlying health conditions should exercise extra precautions.

If I travel for a personal matter, why should I register with the College?

Registering your personal travel with the College, whether you visit another region, another state, or another country, will allow Hamilton to assess risk and provide appropriate support both for travelers and our community. A webpage has been created for you to register your travel plans.

 

Admission & Campus Visitors

Is the Hamilton campus open to admission and other visitors? [REVISED, May 28]

Unfortunately, due to the College’s Minimal Operating Status during the pandemic, Admission is not able to host information sessions, campus tours, interviews, or group visits until further notice. However, we encourage you to take advantage of our virtual visit options, including video information sessions, chats with current students, online interviews, and other events. If you’d like to speak with an admission officer, or even a current student, to hear more about Hamilton’s campus, culture, and student experience, feel free to contact the Admission Office at 315-859-4457 or admission@hamilton.edu.

How is Hamilton adjusting its admission practices in light of the COVID-19 pandemic? [NEW, May 11]

Hamilton’s admission officers are ready to assist prospective students and their families, and the College has developed a number of commitments to provide clarity and relief for students graduating from high school in 2021.

Has Hamilton changed its standardized testing requirement in light of the COVID-19 pandemic [NEW, April 8]

Yes. Given the cancellation of spring 2020 SAT and ACT exams, the uncertainty of future test dates, and the extraordinary circumstances faced by many of our prospective families, Hamilton has temporarily changed its testing stance from “test flexible” to “test optional” for all first-year and transfer applicants for the 2021-22 academic year. Applicants may still choose to submit standardized testing scores, but they will not be required to apply for admission. (Please note that some applicants for whom English is not their native language will still be required to submit the results of an English-language proficiency exam.)

 

Off-Campus & Alumni Events

Are regional alumni events still taking place? Is Reunion Weekend still on? [REVISED April 7]

Hamilton’s Advancement Office has canceled all in-person regional events through May 15. Reunion Weekend 2020 has also been postponed. The Advancement Office is working with class planning committees and considering a variety of options to help alumni connect with each other and with the College in light of this change.

Symptoms of Coronavirus

Updated list of symptoms [NEW, April 27]

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated the list of symptoms it says could be signs of the coronavirus. In addition to fever, cough, and shortness of breath, the CDC now says chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and a new loss of taste or smell may all be symptoms associated with COVID-19.

How do I know if I have been exposed to coronavirus?

Unless you have come in contact with someone known to have been diagnosed with coronavirus or you have traveled to a country with high numbers of confirmed cases, your risk for being exposed is low. If you experience symptoms, you should take precautions to prevent spreading germs and see a healthcare professional.

What should I do if I have the symptoms associated with coronavirus?

For students on campus, call the Health Center for guidance. If you are at home, please contact your healthcare provider. Faculty and staff members should contact their personal healthcare providers. To limit the risk of contagion, officials advise that you do not go to any healthcare facility as a walk-in patient without calling ahead.

Will I be tested for coronavirus if I have the symptoms?

Test kits for coronavirus are limited but are now available across all 50 states according to the CDC on March 9. Hamilton's health center does not have test kits and therefore will refer you to a local healthcare provider who has access to the test kit.

 

Reducing Risk of Exposure

What preventative actions does the CDC recommend to reduce the risk of developing the flu or other respiratory diseases?

Preventative actions include:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • When you are sick, stay home.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

What additional measures have been instituted to protect the campus community from illness?

In addition to educating community members about the steps they can take to reduce their risk of exposure to the coronavirus, the College’s Facilities Management team and food-service provider have instituted additional measures to protect the campus community from illness.

  • Facilities Management personnel began enhanced cleaning operations in December because of the flu season, and those protocols are continuing. FM workers are also cleaning additional public areas more frequently and with higher intensity. Much of that work is being performed in the early morning hours (starting at 4 a.m.).
  • Facilities Management already has personnel trained in enhanced disinfectant techniques because of the norovirus outbreak in 2018. Additional personnel are being trained to follow these protocols, and arrangements have been made for more support should it become necessary.
  • Bon Appetit, Hamilton’s food-service provider, has taken steps to further reduce the possibility that the virus could be spread in College dining facilities (e.g., replacing serving utensils every 30 minutes, removing salt and pepper shakers on tables, etc.).

Are there quarantine requirements for people who travel to countries that have reported cases of coronavirus?

Effective March 3, the New York State Department of Health requires that students, faculty, and staff members returning from currently impacted countries or regions of impacted countries be quarantined for 14 days upon return. Quarantine should be at home, if that is an option. Hamilton is making necessary arrangements in the event a quarantine must be managed on campus.

What does the State of New York’s State of Emergency mean?

By executive order on March 7, Governor Cuomo declared a State disaster emergency for the State of New York. This allows for use of state aid to supplement local resources in preventing or alleviating damages, loss, hardship, or suffering. This particular state disaster emergency does not include a travel ban nor does it restrict visitors.

 

Community Notices

June 1, 2020: Reopening

Dear Colleagues,

Hamilton’s COVID-19 Task Force has developed a three-phased reopening of the campus beginning June 15, with the goal of welcoming students back to College Hill for in-person instruction in late August. Hamilton’s guide [view as PDF or webpage] generally lags the New York Forward Reopening Plan by two weeks, and we intend to proceed cautiously by limiting the number of employees on campus throughout the summer. The College’s guide is subject to change, and reverting to a previous operating status is possible if circumstances in the region or on campus do not evolve as anticipated.

Please familiarize yourself with the Hamilton guide and consult with your respective vice president about specifics pertaining to your department. A visitor policy and a plan to address employee safety and protection are also being developed and will be ready soon. In the future, a fourth reopening phase would return the College to normal operations, but even then, we may have to modify practices and protocols to maintain safety.

As noted in the College’s reopening guide, the health of the broader community and Hamilton’s ability to reopen and stay open depend on our ability to operate safely. We must all do our part to keep not just ourselves but our community healthy.

Thank you for your continued flexibility and patience as we work to navigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Karen

May 27, 2020: Hamilton College Academic Year in Sprain Fall 2020 Program Suspended

After much thought and consideration, and with profound disappointment, HCAYS has decided to suspend the program for Fall 2020.

In making this decision, we have considered many factors, such as evolving travel limitations, restrictive entry requirements, and most importantly, your safety. Our program philosophy – a personalized and complete cultural immersion and transformative educational experience – also factored highly in our decision. Even with the implementation of emerging best practices and the changes that we will incorporate to continue our program in the near future, Madrid would have to move to a more advanced phase in order for HCAYS to fulfill our academic and educational goals, while keeping everyone safe.

It has not been easy to make this decision due to many unknown potential risks, uncertainties, and evolving restrictions and regulations. As we consulted relevant parties and sources, we pondered the best and safest way to operate the program. We still do not have all the answers, and we are disappointed, as you must be, but we believe it is better to err on the side of safety and to give you as much advance notification as possible.

We are optimistic that the program will resume in Spring 2021 and that we will be able to make all the appropriate preparations during the fall semester, including, but not limited to: implementing rigorous cleaning and disinfecting protocols, requiring personal protection and face coverings, examining classroom capacity and revising class schedules, planning appropriate gathering spaces, and modifying travel practices.

We sincerely hope that you can defer your participation to the spring semester. If you decide to withdraw, however, we will refund any payments you have already made. Please let us know as soon as possible how you would like to proceed, and we will plan accordingly. Your visa application materials and passport will be returned via UPS express mail.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

We hope to see you in the spring semester. Please stay safe and healthy. ¡Cuídense mucho!

Sincerely,

HCAYS team

May 21, 2020: Message from President Wippman, Planning for the Fall

Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

On Sunday, we will celebrate our seniors’ successful completion of their Hamilton education. We take great pride in their accomplishments and in the strength and resilience they and all members of our community have shown in managing the challenges of a semester unlike any other.

If we have learned anything these past few months, it is just how much our students love being on campus. Students, we know you are eager to return, and we are just as eager to bring you back. And we can’t wait to welcome the Class of 2024 to College Hill.

We are still waiting for the green light from New York state officials, but our goal is to welcome all of you to campus this fall. We probably won’t have all the answers we need to finalize our plans for several weeks or more, but I want you to know how we are thinking about the decisions ahead.

Student Health and Safety
Keeping everyone safe remains our top priority. I hope you are already following the physical distancing and other advice of government officials and health professionals. We are daily incorporating emerging best practices into our reopening plans. Among the possibilities we are considering for the fall are regular health screenings, periodic diagnostic testing, carefully tailored physical distancing rules, and new health education programming. We have identified space on and off campus for isolation and quarantine purposes if needed. The rigorous cleaning and disinfectant protocols that Facilities Management instituted so effectively earlier this year will become standard practice in the future, so part of our planning includes ensuring we have adequate supplies of hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, personal protection equipment, and other cleaning materials. Face coverings are likely to become a regular feature of campus attire.

Academic Life
We pride ourselves on delivering a rigorous, personalized, transformative education, and we want this fall to be no exception. We are actively studying how best to do that in a world in which we are all advised to stay six feet apart. One consequence may be fewer people at any given time in classrooms, labs, studios, the library, and other spaces. We are examining every classroom to determine its capacity and exploring options from a revised class schedule to transforming large gathering spaces into temporary classrooms.

All faculty members have been asked to prepare their courses for some form of hybrid or blended learning, in which some students are physically present and others join remotely. We think this approach offers the greatest flexibility. It enables us to meet the needs of students who cannot attend class in person, and prepares us for the possibility that we might have to return to remote instruction should a pandemic second wave occur.

Residential Life
Earlier this week, Terry Martinez announced that new student orientation is being modified in ways that we hope will preserve the richness of the orientation experience but still ensure student safety. We are also working on ways to meet physical distancing guidelines in the dining halls, residence halls, common areas, and study spaces throughout campus. The goal is to preserve the special and serendipitous learning and interaction that residential colleges foster so successfully, while doing everything we can to protect student health and safety. As part of this effort, we are building some modular housing units this summer, giving us greater flexibility in managing physical distancing requirements.

Extracurricular Activities and Athletics
I recognize that, for many of our students, the full breadth of a Hamilton education includes participating in student clubs, organizations, athletics, and the broad range of other programs that make for such a rich cocurricular and extracurricular experience. The impact of physical distancing requirements will, of course, vary depending on the activity. Intercollegiate athletics, in particular, involves a shared approach with other colleges, especially our NESCAC peers. Our Athletics Director, Jon Hind ’80, is chairing a committee of his NESCAC counterparts working on a plan for varsity sports in the fall. We will share more information on plans for athletics when Jon’s committee completes its work.

Moving Forward
We are doing everything we can to prepare for an on-time, in-person start, but our decisions must ultimately be guided by the advice of health professionals and directives from state and other public officials. Equally important, all members of our community will need to do their part. We can demonstrate the concern we have for one another by following the guidelines set forth by our colleagues on campus, public health authorities, and government officials.

Thank You
Over the past two months—has it really been only two months?—our students, faculty, and staff have met every challenge with ingenuity, resilience, and flexibility. That gives me confidence Hamilton will be ready for whatever the future brings. We talk often about this College as a place where people care deeply about one another. Never has that extraordinary sense of community been clearer to me than it is today. I know I can rely on the continued cooperation of everyone, on campus and off, to return Hamilton to being fully Hamilton.

Best wishes for a safe and healthy summer,

David

May 19, 2020: Message from Dean of Students, Congratulations, Students!

Dear Students,

Congratulations! You did it. You have made it to the end of a semester that was unimaginable when it began in January. There were some struggles along the way, but with patience and grace we all did what we needed to do to complete the academic year successfully. I know there are some of you who have not made it home, and several others who have been unable to leave campus. Adapting to a changed learning environment was challenging, certainly more so for some than others, but I hope you are as proud of what you accomplished as I am of the grit and resilience you demonstrated under difficult circumstances.

Our seniors are now participating remotely in senior week, and while class leaders planned events with every hope that classmates could spend time together, I know it lacks much of the spontaneity that happens from running into someone on Martin’s Way or sitting outside to absorb the last few moments of sun together on the Hill. Traditions serve as mile markers, accentuating points in time of a collective experience. While the Class of 2020 has missed many of these markers, I hope seniors will take a moment on Sunday to create a different kind of mile marker. I encourage each member of the class to participate in the ceremony by taking a picture donning the cap and tassel that was included in the gift box sent by the College, and then posting those photos and any other videos or celebratory moments that mark the occasion. Please observe the day as uniquely as possible, following a semester that was itself unique. Don’t let this moment pass without a special celebration with family and friends. I encourage all students to join us on Sunday and send congratulations and best wishes to the Class of 2020.

For those students continuing in the fall, I am grateful for the patience you have demonstrated as my student life colleagues plan for your return, wait for directives, and coordinate details while attending to our own families and working from our dining room tables. The moving-out process begins this week and will continue through the month of June, after which we will finalize packing and storage for the remaining rooms. Once that process is complete, housing selection will begin. In the meantime, plans are underway for New Student Orientation, which will look slightly different this year as we develop a program that keeps everyone safe. At the same time, we have begun reviewing our practices and policies following the new Title IX regulations set forth by the federal government earlier this month, and we will share that information during an upcoming town hall. More details to come. We are also preparing to incorporate physical distancing into our living and studying environments to keep our students, faculty, and staff safe and healthy. There are many details to work out, but I know I can count on our community to work together on these important priorities.

Finally, I send my deepest condolences to those of you who have lost family members during this time, and I hope those of you who have been infected by the virus are well on the road to recovery. This has been an incredibly confusing, sad, and challenging time. Please continue to reach out, to extend support, and to find ways to bring light to others. Until we see each other again, I wish you health, peace, and moments of laughter.

Please take care of yourself and each other,

Terry Martinez
Vice President and Dean of Students

May 14, 2020: Update, Hamilton College Continues Minimal Operating Status Until Further Notice

Dear Hamilton Employees,

Last week, Governor Cuomo indicated that New York was planning to reopen by region and in phases after May 15 as different parts of the state meet certain criteria. Oneida County falls into the Mohawk Valley Region, and education is among the industries in the fourth and final phase. Control Rooms throughout the state will monitor regional metrics and approve plans for reopening, which must include both testing capacity and contact tracing.

The College’s COVID-19 Task Force has been working for the last month on separate plans to reopen campus for summer and fall, including an Employee Safety/Protection Plan. Our plans will need to align with guidance from the new Mohawk Valley Control Room, as well as the state’s newly appointed Reimagine Education Advisory Council. We expect to bring some employees back to campus soon, but our priorities are to keep our community safe and to open the College this fall with students in residence, if it is safe to do so. With that in mind, the College will remain in Minimal Operating Status until further notice. We will re-evaluate our operating status on June 1, then continuously on a rolling two-week basis.

We want to thank you for meeting the request to manage budgets carefully and limit nonessential expenditures. Your actions have enabled the College to continue keeping our community whole and pay all benefits-eligible employees according to their normal schedule through the end of the fiscal year, June 30. We will need to continue heightened fiscal discipline until we know what the College’s tuition revenues will be.

Meanwhile, as always, please feel free to contact any member of the Task Force if you have questions. Monday, May 25 is Memorial Day, a federal and College holiday. After that we will observe summer hours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.), recognizing that some departments have already needed to incorporate flexibility into work schedules in our work-at-home status.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation, as well as all you are doing to support one another.

Karen Leach, chair, and members of the COVID-19 Task Force (in alphabetical order):

Barb Fluty
Jeff Landry
Herm Lehman
Tara McKee
Melissa Richards
Joe Shelley
Steve Stemkoski
Roger Wakeman
David Wippman

May 6, 2020: ACC 2020 Fall Program Canceled

With deep regret, Hamilton College has canceled the fall 2020 semester of its Associated Colleges in China program due to continuing travel restrictions, under enrollment, uncertainty when our host university will reopen, and ongoing concerns about the health and safety of participants. We are currently accepting applications for the spring 2021 semester.

We know the decision to cancel the fall semester is a disappointment to those who have been planning to pursue this deep immersion experience in Chinese language and culture, but we have reluctantly taken this step in the face of uncertainties that may jeopardize the ability of ACC to offer a complete academic program in the fall.

ACC intends to offer the spring 2021 semester in Beijing. We welcome students who planned to study with us this fall to move their application to the spring semester, providing that is an academically viable option. Students may transfer from the fall 2020 semester to the spring 2021 semester by notifying Nitsa Weld, ACC senior program coordinator, at acchina@hamilton.edu. In addition, students interested in applying for the spring semester should complete the application prior to the November 1, 2020, deadline.

Students often combine spring and summer sessions at ACC Beijing, with qualified students electing to participate in language immersion and a summer internship and seminar. If you are interested in the summer option alone or the combined spring/summer sessions, please notify the ACC program staff.

The decision affecting the fall semester was made after careful thought and with great reluctance. ACC appreciates students’ flexibility and understanding as we work to ensure a safe, comprehensive, and intensive Chinese language and cultural fluency program.

Questions may be directed to ACC Senior Program Coordinator Nitsa Weld at 315-859-4326 or Administrative Director Yin Zhang at 315-859-4519.

May 4, 2020: Update from Deans Keen and Martinez

Dear Hamilton Community,

Usually at this time of year we’d be attending senior project presentations, arts and theatre performances, athletic events, and other programs that mark the end of the academic year. The campus would be bustling with students completing papers and preparing for finals, eating on the patio outside of Commons, tossing Frisbees on Dunham Green, and lounging in Adirondack chairs on a sunny afternoon. We miss these opportunities to interact with students – as well as our faculty and staff colleagues – and to experience in person the ways in which a semester or more of student academic work and extracurricular activity come together in the final weeks.

We remain focused on attending to traditional year-end projects, even though we are not together on the Hill. In addition to our typical administrative work, we’re collaborating with colleagues on operating plans for summer and fall, based on what we know, and contingency plans to account for what we cannot know now. During the past 10 days we’ve held virtual forums for students admitted to the Class of 2024, as well as online sessions for staff, faculty, and current students. Many of you have shared similar questions and concerns:

Collecting student belongings. This week students will receive an email asking whether they would like to clean out their own rooms or have the College pack up their belongings and store, or ship, the boxes. Here in New York State, the governor’s PAUSE order remains in effect until May 15, and we do not yet know whether it will be extended. Once the restriction has been lifted, we will communicate a specific timeline for reuniting students with their belongings.

Celebrating seniors. We surveyed seniors about how they wish to celebrate Commencement and, overwhelmingly, they said they want to reunite where their Hamilton journey started – on College Hill. President Wippman promised to arrange an in-person Commencement once it is safe to do so, but we’ve also planned a virtual ceremony on May 24 to acknowledge seniors’ successful completion of their Hamilton degree. We’re even sending every senior their graduation caps and tassels, along with a small image of the bronze map on Martin’s Way that they can step on – after the May 24 ceremony, of course.

Summer and fall operations. As President Wippman conveyed in his message on April 25, we are working hard to prepare for an on-time, on-campus start in August, if we can do that safely, but it’s too early to know. We hope to begin bringing back staff this summer when stay-at-home restrictions expire, but for now the College remains in Minimal Operations status. Hamilton’s COVID-19 Task Force is developing plans to move back to Reduced Operations, then Normal Operations. The College is eager to host alumni, prospective students, and other guests when it is deemed safe by health officials. All plans will consider precautions for anyone in our community considered vulnerable.

Academic continuity. The Academic Continuity Advisory Group was tasked by President Wippman with studying options for fulfilling Hamilton’s academic mission in widely different scenarios not under our control. For each scenario, committee members have assessed major implications, not only for delivering the curriculum, but for athletics and financial aid, and each scenario has been annotated with a list of governing authorities to be consulted if necessary. These authorities include major elected committees of the faculty. The Academic Continuity Advisory Group urges faculty members to plan for flexible pedagogy, including hybrid and blended learning, modular course construction, and take-home plans in case we have to turn once again to remote instruction. If the College needs to pivot again due to a resurgence of COVID-19, we’ll be better prepared to support students’ continuation toward on-time completion of their degrees. So far, the College has not made any changes to the Leave of Absence policy for students; requests are being considered on a case-by-case basis.

College finances. Fortunately, through generous philanthropic support and prudent fiscal management, Hamilton is positioned better than most colleges to face this unprecedented challenge. Nevertheless, all three of the College’s major sources of revenue – tuition, income earned from the endowment, and fundraising – may come under considerable strain, and we do not know how long that might last.

The College will continue careful budget and investment management in order to preserve its employment base and its commitment to generous financial aid for as long as possible. Campus construction projects are on hold, potentially for a full year, but the College may need to invest further in support systems such as the health center.

This week the senior staff looks forward to online town hall events with current parents and alumni. We welcome your questions in advance or during the second half of the live event.

We hope you and your family are safe and well,

Suzanne Keen, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty
Terry Martinez, Vice President and Dean of Students

May 4, 2020: Update: CARES Act Funding

Greetings,

I hope this email finds you well. Congress recently passed the CARES Act, which includes the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, to provide funds to colleges and universities for the purpose of assisting students with unexpected expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus.

Hamilton College is distributing these funds to Title IV eligible financial aid recipients. These funds are to be used to assist with food, housing, course materials, technology, and healthcare costs. At this point, the IRS indicates the payment is taxable to recipients, but there have been requests for reconsideration so this may change.

If you have previously enrolled in direct deposit for Accounts Payable payments such as a Room and Board refund, this payment will be directly deposited to your account by May 22, at the latest. If you have not yet enrolled in direct deposit, you may do so online by 11 p.m. on May 10 and this payment will be deposited to your account. Otherwise a check will be issued and sent to your home address.

Sincerely,

Carol Gable

April 27, 2020: Message from President Wippman and VP Karen Leach, Financial Planning Update

Dear Colleagues,

We have entered a new phase in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the past six weeks, most of our efforts have centered on responding to the emergency immediately before us. With all the energy, talent, and dedication we have come to expect from our community, we shuttered our campus, moved to remote instruction, shifted our student support services and engagement activities online, reinvented our admission and fundraising processes, and answered countless queries from all corners of our community.

Now we must focus on the months ahead. It is too early to predict with any confidence what the fall will bring, but we must plan for a wide range of possible outcomes, from an on-time, on-campus start to a semester or more of remote instruction. Those different scenarios pose starkly different challenges for the delivery of our academic program, and we will find opportunities to discuss with you in the days ahead some possible approaches to those challenges.

For the moment, we write to address the possible financial consequences of different scenarios. We entered this crisis in a strong position, with healthy reserves, a substantial endowment, and a supportive board and alumni body. As a result, we have so far been able to avoid some of the austerity measures implemented at many other colleges.

As noted in my April 2 message to the community, however, we may face a possible perfect storm if we cannot resume on-campus instruction in the fall. Unlike 2008, when enrollment and tuition revenues were stable even though endowment draws and fundraising were dropping, this fall could see significant declines in all three of our primary revenue streams.

In the best-case scenario — on-campus instruction with full enrollment in the fall — we can anticipate a significant but manageable financial challenge, driven by transition costs incurred this spring, an expected increase in financial aid costs, and expected decreases in endowment payouts and philanthropic support. That is why we are already cutting non-essential expenditures, carefully managing the FY20 budget as we near the end of the fiscal year, and studying the financial impact of different scenarios by varying our assumptions about enrollment, tuition, endowment draws, fundraising, and expenses.

If we cannot resume instruction on campus this fall, we will have to consider some of the measures already taken elsewhere, including furloughs and layoffs, additional spending cuts, salary reductions, and suspending contributions to employee retirement plans. We recognize the burden such measures would impose on Hamilton’s employees. In a struggling economy, cutting employment should and would be a measure of last resort.

At this point, we do not see a need for such measures. Accordingly, the College will continue paying all benefits-eligible employees according to their normal schedule through the end of the fiscal year, June 30.

As we approach that date, we should be in a much better position to assess the likely impact of the pandemic on College operations and to determine what further spending reductions, if any, may be required. One step we think will probably prove necessary is a suspension of most pay increases for the coming academic year. We will make a decision on that option in the next few weeks.

Even as we contemplate the future, most of our traditional responsibilities continue — remotely for most and on campus for a few employees performing essential functions. We are grateful to all of you, especially those who are putting in hours far beyond what you would normally work. We know everyone is as eager to return to campus as we are to have you back.

New York State has indicated that its PAUSE mandate will continue at least until May 15. Thereafter, we expect a phased approach to resuming business operations. Since it seems likely some social distancing measures will continue well beyond May, the College has reluctantly canceled most summer programs, including our summer picnics.

We know this remains a time of great uncertainty and that many of you have questions for us. We hope you can join us tomorrow for the staff town hall at 9 a.m. and the faculty town hall at 4:10 p.m. We look forward to seeing you then, if only virtually, and to sharing further information with you. We welcome your questions, and we will do our best to answer them. If you are unable to join the live events, please feel free to email us or any member of senior staff with your questions.

David Wippman and Karen Leach

April 25, 2020: Message from President Wippman, Planning for the Fall Semester

Dear Students, Parents, Faculty, and Staff,

As the weather warms and the semester nears its end, all of us are starting to feel keenly the constraints of life in the shadow of a pandemic. Many of you have written to ask whether we can resume on-campus instruction this fall. The short answer is that it is too soon to know.

We are a community that thrives on face-to-face interaction. With that in mind, we are working hard to prepare for an on-time, on-campus start in August. If we can do that safely, we will.

Unfortunately, no one can be certain what things will look like four months from now. We hope, of course, that the pandemic will abate, that testing, tracing, and treatments will improve, that social distancing restrictions will be relaxed, and that we can resume normal operations in the fall. However, we must also consider and plan for other scenarios, including the possibility that some or all of the semester must be delivered through remote instruction.

Virtually all colleges and universities are going through a similar planning process. Ultimately, our decisions will turn on public health guidance and government directives, with the health and safety of our community the number one consideration.

We will know much more in a few months. I understand that waiting may heighten the uncertainty and anxiety all of us feel, but that is the price we must pay to ensure the best possible outcome in what is surely not the best of all possible worlds.

At the town halls later this week, we will address questions you may have about the options we are considering and the factors that will influence our decisions. I look forward to speaking with you then.

David

April 21, 2020: Message from President Wippman, Campus Update and Town Hall Meetings

Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues,

A little over a month ago, I announced that we would transition to remote instruction. I am grateful to all of you for the speed, skill, and care with which you have adapted to this extraordinary shift in our work. Four primary goals have guided our response over these past few weeks: protect the health and safety of our employees and the students who remain on campus; prepare and deliver remote instruction to enable seniors to graduate on time and all other students to make appropriate progress toward their degree; preserve our facilities and grounds; and bring in next-year’s first-year class.

Now we are transitioning from that initial, emergency-response phase to a new phase focused on successful completion of this semester and contingency planning for this summer and fall. Last week, we informed students intending to study in New York City this fall that the program has been suspended due to low enrollment, concerns about securing internships, and uncertainty about when the city would resume normal operations. We are continuing to evaluate the status of Hamilton’s fall programs in Washington, D.C., France, Spain, and China, and will provide updates as soon as they are available.

Several decisions have been made about summer activity on campus. We reported earlier that student summer research can continue, but only if it is conducted remotely and does not involve travel. Students who received approval to do research this summer should check with their supervisor to determine whether their project can move forward. Similarly, at this time, we do not anticipate hiring any student workers for the summer unless their job responsibilities are deemed essential.

We hope, of course, to be able to resume normal operations at the start of the 2020-21 academic year in August, but senior staff and several ad hoc committees are developing contingency plans for alternate scenarios. Hamilton’s planning continues to be guided by the direction we receive from public health authorities and government officials. As you know, for example, last week Governor Cuomo extended social distancing requirements through May 15. Relaxation of those requirements will help determine when we might move from Minimal Operating Status back to modified or normal operating status.

We will not know the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Hamilton’s current and future operating budgets for some time, but we were pleased to learn recently that the College is eligible for about $1.2 million in student emergency support funds under the CARES act. The first half of any funding received under this legislation must be used for “direct payment of grants to students for their expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child-care.” Hamilton will use any funds it receives under the first tranche of CARES Act funding to augment support the College is already providing to students with need. The College is awaiting DOE guidance on how the second half of the funding should be used.

As our planning evolves, we will continue to provide regular updates. We recognize, however, that many members of our community still have questions, so we are scheduling a series of online town hall gatherings for students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and prospective students; the meetings for faculty and staff will take place next week. You will receive a Zoom invitation soon.

Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for our students and for Hamilton.

David

April 14, 2020: Message from Director of Athletics to Student-Athletes

Dear Hamilton Student Athletes,

I am writing to you with the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in mind: “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

For those of you who had just worked your way through preseason and were on the brink of spring competition, I share your frustration and sadness brought about by the abrupt end of your intercollegiate season. I feel terribly for all of our seniors who intended to return from their final spring break to finish their athletic careers, wrap up their undergraduate academic work, and spend time with the people they had established lifelong, meaningful friendships with during their time on the Hill. But at the same time, I am so proud of your resilience. Even with this great disappointment, I hope none of you ever loses what Martin Luther King, Jr. referred to as that infinite hope. Despite all obstacles, by exercising perspective, patience and perseverance, often we can emerge with a positive outcome.

I want to celebrate all that you seniors have brought to our intercollegiate program during your time on the Hill. You have competed at a high level on the playing venue and in the classroom. You have been there time and again, as individuals, members of your team, or collectively as a department when people on our campus or in our greater Mohawk Valley community needed you. You have been tremendous ambassadors for our teams, our intercollegiate program and our great College. Thank you all for your dedication and commitment. As part of that thank you, for the next three weeks, there will be a tribute each day on the NESCAC site to the seniors of a different spring sport. The tribute started yesterday with women’s golf; that tribute is still rotating on the main page. In absence of our Riffle celebration on campus, I am working with administrators and your coaches to figure out our best way to show our appreciation for your athletic participation. There will be more to come.

The Covid-19 virus has brought great angst and disruption to all of our lives. These feelings are compounded for us because we cherish Hamilton’s rich tradition of relationship-based living and learning. Everyone at the College has been working tirelessly to find ways to bring Hamilton College closer to you. It has been both rewarding and inspiring to see the energy and determination put forth by so many in order to find ways to restore personal-based learning in these times of social isolation.

I am certain that we will all experience varying levels of disappointment during these coming weeks. As friends, teammates, and members of our community, these challenging times will test the strength and resolve of our Hamilton-formed relationships. Kahlil Gibran wrote, “Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity.” I hope each of us can commit to being there for one another. The love, care, and support I have received from others — including so many of you — is what has helped me in my recent journey with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. We need to look out for everyone!

Fortunately, one day we will return to a greater sense of normal. Until that day comes, let’s be great teammates and make a collective effort to be there for one another. Let us always retain infinite hope!

Go Blue!

Proudly,

Jon Hind ’80
Director of Athletics

April 7, 2020: Message from President Wippman, Commencement and Reunions 2020

Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

In the face of the worst global pandemic in a hundred years, we have been forced to take extraordinary steps to protect our community. I know how difficult the move to remote instruction has been for everyone, but I continue to be impressed by, and grateful for, the resilience, creativity, and concern that have characterized our community’s response.

Earlier today, and with deep regret, I had to inform our seniors that we must postpone the in-person commencement ceremony on May 24, but I reiterated a promise that I made earlier to bring the Class of 2020 back to campus when it is safe and appropriate, so that we can celebrate with all the traditional pomp and circumstance. In addition, and in the interim, we will ask seniors to give us feedback about holding a virtual ceremony. I also informed our alumni of the equally difficult decision to postpone Reunions, originally set for the second weekend in June.

I made these decisions with the greatest reluctance. Commencement and Reunions help us celebrate who we are as a community and the values that unite us. They are part of an experience that begins when students arrive on College Hill to receive one of the finest liberal arts educations in the country, and that continues when as alumni they return again and again because of the enduring personal relationships they form here.

While the pandemic may peak soon, it seems inevitable that restrictions on large gatherings will persist for an extended period. As disappointed as I am in having to suspend these celebrations, I am confident that the strength of our community and the affection we have for one another will help us manage the challenges ahead.

Thank you for your patience, understanding, and support, and please continue to take care of yourselves and your families.

David

April 6, 2020: Update on Planned Summer Research, Internships, and Experiential Learning

Dear Students,

Hamilton remains committed to endowment-funded stipends and grants already awarded to you for summer research, internships, and experiential learning if they can be completed remotely and without travel this spring and summer.

Unfortunately, any travel connected with these funds will not be approved due to the social distancing and stay-at-home measures in place to contain the spread of COVID-19. These measures are likely to remain in effect for some months, and the College’s current restriction on non-essential travel applies to students as well as employees. This means that until further notice, Hamilton funds may not be used to pay for or reimburse spring or summer 2020 travel, regardless of the terms in the award letter. Examples that fall under this policy include traveling to pursue research, attending an event related to your research, presenting papers at conferences, and being onsite for an internship or mentorship.

For similar safety reasons, students will not be allowed to conduct research or activities on campus. This applies to all awards, including those for summer science (e.g., McGowan Fund) and those provided by the Levitt Center, and the Emerson and Kirkland endowments. If your original plan included on-campus research, you may change your plan to conduct the research remotely, as long as your supervisor agrees.

If you have already realized or encumbered fees or expenses, we will evaluate them on a case-by-case basis. We do not want you to be held responsible for non-refundable expenses, and sometimes we can help negotiate refunds or deferrals. Please contact Kim Reale (kreale@hamilton.edu) for assistance.

I know all that you have achieved to earn these opportunities, which are a valuable part of your Hamilton education, so I share your disappointment regarding the travel restrictions. If your work can be completed remotely and without travel, we want to support your ability to continue it. Please reach out to your advisors if you need guidance for reshaping your plans.

Regards,

Dean Suzanne Keen

April 3, 2020: Dean’s message to faculty, Options for Hamilton Students Currently Registered for Off-Campus Study in Fall 2020

Dear Faculty,

We remain hopeful that students’ off-campus study plans for Fall 2020 will not be disrupted; however, the College is preparing numerous contingencies. Our planning during the coming weeks and months will take into account health and safety concerns brought on by the global pandemic; national and international government mandates and recommendations restricting travel; the potential for last-resort program cancellations of Hamilton programs or third-party partner programs outside of the College’s control; challenges with securing international visas; and other factors.

While the College is developing contingency plans, we want to provide options to Hamilton students who are registered for off-campus study so that we can give them agency during this time of uncertainty. Below are the options we sent to students with a decision deadline of July 1. Option 3 offers students double registration, for both off-campus and on-campus study as a viable back-up plan.

I recognize the strain this will put on course capacity restrictions, and I’m grateful for your patience as we navigate through this uncertainty together.

Regards,

Suzanne

Suzanne Keen
VPAA and Dean of Faculty

Options Presented to Students Planning to Study Away for the Fall 2020 Semester

Option 1: You do not need to decide now to modify your plans, but should you feel more comfortable doing so, you may elect to stay on campus for Fall 2020 and cancel your off-campus study registration.

Please note that if you are registered for a non-Hamilton program and you choose Option 1, you may be subject to non-refundable fees assessed by the partner provider or international institution. You will need to check with your program provider on this matter.

Option 2: You may defer your off-campus study plans to Spring 2021, providing that your academic progress remains on schedule for graduation and the program provider can transfer your application to the spring semester without penalty.

Option 3: You may stay enrolled for off-campus study in Fall 2020 and, simultaneously, register for courses on campus. This option gives you a viable back-up plan. If your off-campus study program is canceled, then you’ll be all set to study on the Hill, and Student Life will assist you with housing as soon as you alert us to the change. If your off-campus study program continues, then you’ll simply drop your on-campus registration.

Regardless of the option you choose, please consult with your academic advisor during the upcoming advising period.

April 3, 2020: Notice to Students and Parents of Students Planning to Study Off Campus in Fall 2020

Dear Students:

We remain hopeful that your off-campus study plans for Fall 2020 will not be disrupted; however, the College is preparing numerous contingencies. Our planning during the coming weeks and months will take into account health and safety concerns brought on by the global pandemic; national and international government mandates and recommendations restricting travel; the potential for last-resort program cancellations of Hamilton programs or third-party partner programs outside of the College’s control; challenges with securing international visas; and other factors.

No matter the outcome for the fall semester, College Hill is your College home, so we have developed options for you during this time of uncertainty. If you are registered for Hamilton’s programs in France, Spain, China, New York, or Washington, you will need to make a final decision by July 1. Third-party partners may ask you to decide earlier.

Option 1: You do not need to decide now to modify your plans, but should you feel more comfortable doing so, you may elect to stay on campus for Fall 2020 and cancel your off-campus study registration.

Please note that if you are registered for a non-Hamilton program and you choose Option 1, you may be subject to non-refundable fees assessed by the partner provider or international institution. You will need to check with your program provider on this matter.

Option 2: You may defer your off-campus study plans to Spring 2021, providing that your academic progress remains on schedule for graduation and the program provider can transfer your application to the spring semester without penalty.

Option 3: You may stay enrolled for off-campus study in Fall 2020 and, simultaneously, register for courses on campus. This option gives you a viable back-up plan. If your off-campus study program is canceled, then you’ll be all set to study on the Hill, and Student Life will assist you with housing as soon as you alert us to the change. If your off-campus study program continues, then you’ll simply drop your on-campus registration.

Regardless of the option you choose, please consult with your academic advisor during the upcoming advising period.

Sincerely,

Carolyn North
Assistant Dean, Off-Campus Study

Kristin Friedel
Registrar

April 2, 2020: Message from President Wippman, Financial Update

Dear Colleagues,

In her message to the faculty on Monday, Suzanne Keen noted that we are all in the same boat, or in any event, the same flotilla, rowing for shore together. Seldom have we rowed harder — or better. In just a few weeks, we have helped students return home, sometimes under the most challenging of circumstances; adapted courses designed for small, face-to-face classes to the unfamiliar world of remote instruction; ramped up technology support; cared for the students who remain on campus; reinvented how we recruit new students; found new ways to stay engaged with our alumni; and sorted out how to maintain our facilities and grounds with just a handful of staff working on campus. We have done all that, and more, and we have done it with the dedication, creativity, and single-minded focus on the welfare of our students that make Hamilton such a special place. For that, all of you have my deepest appreciation.

While we can look with pride on all that has already been accomplished, we must also look unflinchingly at what lies ahead.

As you know, we have three major sources of revenue: tuition, income earned from the endowment, and fundraising. All of them are under strain. Given the uncertainties around the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, almost all colleges and universities are worried about fall enrollments. Even if those concerns prove unfounded, we expect financial aid expenditures to rise sharply. We are already hearing from anxious families facing job losses and dwindling assets. At the same time, plunging markets have driven down the value of our endowment, and prospective donors are experiencing their own financial challenges.

Whether these factors coalesce into a perfect storm or something far more modest depends on the course of the pandemic — how bad it gets and how long it lasts. We are modeling a range of scenarios and developing the appropriate contingency plans. Fortunately, Hamilton is better positioned than most to face whatever comes, as a result of careful budgeting, skilled investment management, and generous support from alumni and other donors.

Even in the best-case scenario, however, we know we must reduce spending on anything that is not essential to the support of our students and the fulfillment of our academic mission. That effort is already under way. As Karen Leach noted in an earlier message to our community, we are, with very limited exceptions, not filling open positions, pausing non-critical capital projects, and directing each division to identify other ways to save money. For the most part, our peers are doing the same, and some have announced salary freezes and other austerity measures.

When we moved to Reduced Operating Status on March 16, we announced a set of Interim Human Resource Policies to apply through April 12. We will continue those policies at least through the end of May.

Eventually, we will reach port. When we do, I hope, to paraphrase one of our trustees, that we can look back and say that we traveled a path of hardship and uncertainty together and came out the other side bonded by the journey and stronger than ever.

I know this will leave you with many questions. I will do my best to answer them at the faculty and staff assembly meetings next week and in regular communications as things evolve.

For now, thank you for all the extraordinary work you are doing in this extraordinary moment.

David

March 30, 2020: Dean’s Message to Faculty, “First Day Back”

Dear Colleagues,

I have an image in mind that springs from the metaphor “all in the same boat.” On the one hand, everybody associated with Hamilton shares in the central challenge of finishing the spring term, graduating our seniors, and keeping our first-year students, sophomores, and juniors on track. We will do this together and bring the ship into port. On the other hand, we aren’t all together on that ship (thank goodness!), so we’re really manning a flotilla of dinghies, equipped with internet hotspots, document cameras, newly-won Zoom and Blackboard skills, long-distance LITS buddies, and in many cases a crew of family members, some of them too little to do anything but get underfoot.

This is a Dunkirk moment for us.

We are going to celebrate later the work that you are starting today. Every student you bring along to the end of term (in whatever form you grade the work!) is a Hamilton student brought to shore. Every one of you who completes your modified courses, using whatever pedagogical technique that works, is a hero. Many medals of honor will be earned this spring.

In the past two weeks my pride in the Hamilton faculty has ratcheted up to a level that I have never felt before, in three decades of belonging to dedicated faculties. Every debate, every inquiry, every call for help, every suggestion rings with the sincere note of care.  As we pull for shore, let’s keep caring for one another and, most of all, for our students.

We will earn our highest honors that way.

https://news.gallup.com/poll/246083/students-smaller-colleges-likely-say-faculty-care.aspx

All my best,

Suzanne

March 29, 2020: Message from President Wippman, COVID-19 Case Confirmed

Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

Today the College was informed that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19. We are working with the Oneida County Health Department per its guidelines to trace the individual’s contacts with any faculty, staff, or students. Fortunately, those contacts were very limited, and we have already reached out directly to anyone who falls into the close contact category. In addition, Facilities Management, guided by OSHA standards, has been conducting enhanced cleaning protocols in all facilities that could be affected, and will continue to follow those standards.

For privacy reasons, we cannot share the identity or other information about the individual who has contracted the virus. I know, however, that all of you join me in wishing our colleague a speedy recovery.

This is the first known case of COVID-19 at Hamilton, and I recognize that this news will cause concern. I assure you that we are taking the necessary steps to mitigate the risks to our community and will do so for any future confirmed cases on campus. The College’s move to Minimal Operating Status, with nearly all faculty and staff working from home, facilitates these efforts.

Hamilton has been preparing for the likelihood that this global health crisis would eventually make its way to our campus. The Hamilton Emergency Response Team (HERT) was activated in late January and we subsequently formed a COVID-19 Task Force. The Task Force meets daily (via Zoom) to address priorities and plan future responses and recovery. You can find the latest information about how the College is responding to COVID-19 and future public health updates on our dedicated website.

As remote as we sometimes feel ourselves to be on the Hill, we are part of the broader community and share in its benefits and burdens. There are at least 28 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Oneida County, and New York State has become an epicenter of the pandemic. We can all do our part by continuing to practice social distancing and offering those afflicted with the virus whatever support we can.

Please continue to care for yourselves and your families and know that we will work through this together.

David

March 25, 2020: Message from President Wippman

Dear Students,

I hope this note finds you safe, healthy, and enjoying time with your families. Next week classes resume, though not in the way any of us expected a few weeks ago. Our world has been turned upside down, and none of us knows exactly how long the crisis will last.

Fortunately, Hamilton is an adaptable, creative, and caring community. Whatever challenges arise in the weeks and months ahead, we will meet them head on—and well.

It won’t be the first time.

In 1917, for example, as chronicled in Maurice Isserman’s wonderful history of the College, On the Hill, Hamilton students were caught up in the tumult of World War I. Of the 46 seniors in the graduating class that year, 37 served in the war. Many students from other classes left school to enlist in the armed forces as well. Most of the students who remained on campus enrolled in the Student Army Training Corps, lived in South and Carnegie, and took courses on military tactics and strategy. As the war ended and Americans looked forward to resuming their lives, the “Spanish flu” of 1918-19 struck, killing at least 50 million people worldwide. At Hamilton, so many students fell ill that Carnegie was converted into an infirmary.

The College has weathered many other crises, from the Great Depression, to World War II, to the Great Recession of 2008. In each case, we have emerged stronger. The current pandemic will be no exception.

As I write this, I am looking at a campus that is all too quiet—and blanketed with snow! Only 55 students, who cannot go home, remain. We are doing what we can to keep them engaged, safe, and well.

In accordance with Governor Cuomo’s recent executive order, almost all faculty and staff are working remotely. But the College is still operating, and faculty are sharing online teaching tips, trying out virtual platforms, and finding creative ways to continue teaching and advising in a world gone Zoom.

We are also exploring ways to connect you with your fellow students and the College, outside the virtual classroom. Ideas under consideration include virtual Student Assembly meetings, concerts, and service opportunities. Suggestions, of course, are welcome.

Since admitted students can’t visit the campus this spring, Monica Inzer and her colleagues in Siuda House have organized a series of YouTube live events, virtual experiences, panel discussions, and opportunities to meet current students. By all indications, a wonderful new class will join us in the fall.

For me, August can’t come soon enough. As I walk the campus (staying six feet away from others, sadly, is no longer an issue), I am struck as always by its beauty. But I am so eager for it to fill again with laughter, excitement, and energy.

Seniors, I know you are waiting for word about Commencement. Many of our peers have already announced postponements. We continue to monitor public health developments closely and will make a decision soon. We know how much Commencement means to you and to your families, especially in a year that has robbed you of the joy of senior spring. Whatever happens, you have my promise: we will bring you back to the Hill to celebrate your achievements with the pomp and circumstance your time at Hamilton deserves.

Until we can see each other again, please stay safe and trust that this too shall pass.

David

March 23, 2020: Notice to Students Planning to Study on the 2020 ACC Beijing Summer Chinese Language Immersion Program

Dear 2020 ACC Beijing Summer Chinese Language Immersion Program Students,

We are writing with profound regret to announce the suspension of the 2020 Associated Colleges in China summer Chinese language immersion program in Beijing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This decision was made after careful thought and with great reluctance, and with your health and wellbeing as our highest priorities. 

ACC Beijing staff members have seen significant improvements in COVID-19 occurrences in China, but we believe the situation is still not safe enough to offer the summer program. Travel restrictions to and within mainland China remain a concern, as does the continuing unavailability of instructional and residential facilities at Minzu University, our host institution.   

We hope this timely announcement gives each of our summer students an opportunity to make alternate plans. This decision is as much a disappointment for you, the motivated Chinese language students who have been counting on this learning experience in China, as it is for those of us anxiously preparing for your arrival.

For those who have an opportunity in your academic plan to join us for the fall semester 2020, please know that at present we remain committed to offering that program. We will continue monitoring the situation closely, and we are hoping to see many of you in Beijing in the fall.

Sincerely,

Yin Zhang
Administrative Director
ACC Beijing
Hamilton College
yzhang@hamilton.edu

Carolyn North, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean
Off-Campus Study
Hamilton College
cnorth@hamilton.edu

March 21, 2020: Update for Employees, Change in Campus Status

Dear Faculty and Staff,

As the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies, public officials are stepping up their efforts to protect public health and safety. While that should benefit us all, it also means that we must constantly adapt to new restrictions, even as we continue our efforts to protect our community and carry out our academic mission.

As you have likely heard, Governor Cuomo has signed a new executive order mandating that “all non-essential businesses statewide must close in-office personnel functions effective at 8PM on Sunday, March 22.” For this purpose, higher education is not considered an essential business.

We realize the Governor’s order raises many questions and heightens the anxiety so many members of our community already feel. We are writing to explain the impact of the order on the College and our employees.

To comply with the order, the College will be moving to Minimal Operating Status immediately. All employees should now be working remotely. Exceptions must be approved by a senior staff member in consultation with the COVID-19 Task Force, and will be granted only for employees who must be on campus to support the students still in residence here, facilitate delivery of remote instruction, or preserve facilities and basic operations (e.g., take care of research animals, maintain sensitive equipment, etc.).

Everyone else should be working remotely. Those who cannot work from home and have not received approval to be on campus should still refrain from coming in. We are paying all benefits-eligible employees for their regularly scheduled hours until further notice.

Everyone who continues to work on campus must practice social distancing to help keep our community safe. Individuals 70 or older or those who have compromised immune systems or other underlying health conditions should, in keeping with the Governor’s invocation of “Matilda’s Law,” remain at home and follow the other precautions noted in the order.

Thank you for your cooperation. We will get through this together.

Karen Leach and David Wippman

March 20, 2020: Update on Retrieving Personal Belongings

Dear Students and Parents,

Earlier today (Friday, March 20) we received word that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that non-essential businesses must reduce their workforces by 100 percent and residents must stay indoors as much as possible. The effect of this directive is that we cannot arrange for students to retrieve their belongings at this time, nor may we assist with packing, shipping, or storage. We do not know how long this directive will remain in effect, but we will contact you again once we receive additional information and are able to formulate a plan. 

If you have any questions, or if you left vital medicine or other essentials in your room, please contact the Student Information Hotline (844-508-6085) during normal business hours.

We deeply regret the disruption and inconvenience caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the new regulations being put in place to stop its spread.

Please continue to stay safe and take care of yourself and your family,

Terry Martinez
Vice President and Dean of Students

March 20, 2020: Update on Student Accounts and Employment

Dear Students and Parents,

We know many of you have questions about how the move to remote learning will affect your financial aid and student account. Thank you for your patience as we considered the implications of this unprecedented situation to arrive at solutions that are fair and equitable, and in the case of financial aid that comply with state and federal guidelines.

Student Accounts
Students who were charged room and board for spring semester will receive a credit on their spring semester account. The credit represents a 52 percent reduction in the room and board fee of $7,180, and will be adjusted for those students receiving financial aid. The financial aid adjustment is based on the percentage of costs that the family is asked to pay for the current academic year. The credit will be shown on your next bill statement available in CASHnet, the College’s online billing system.

If a senior has a positive account balance after this credit is applied, a refund payment will be issued. Checks will be mailed to the senior’s home on Friday, April 3, unless the senior has enrolled in Direct Deposit for Accounts Payable. For seniors enrolled in Direct Deposit, the refund will be credited to their bank account. Students wishing to enroll in Direct Deposit may do so online by Wednesday, April 1. The normal wait for the next disbursement cycle will be waived due to extenuating circumstances.

Credit balances for students returning in the fall will automatically be applied to next semester’s charges. If you should require the refund now, and any outstanding balance is paid, you may request a refund by emailing student accounts at stuaccts@hamilton.edu. Your refund will be processed during the normal weekly refund process.

For families that have a payment plan, we will automatically reduce your remaining payment plan payment(s) by the applicable credit created by this refund process.

If you have questions regarding your credit balance or refund please contact stuaccts@hamilton.edu, and if you have questions regarding your financial aid please contact finaid@hamilton.edu.

Financial Aid and Student Employment
Students who have student employment as an expectation in their financial aid award will have their scholarship increased to cover 50 percent of their student employment expectation for the spring semester. In addition, a limited number of students may be authorized to continue their work assignments remotely. Please contact your campus supervisor to see if you qualify to work remotely.

We realize that some students receiving financial aid may have additional questions related to their particular circumstances. Please contact the Financial Aid Office to resolve those issues. We appreciate your patience as we work to get all your questions answered as quickly and thoughtfully as possible.

Sincerely,

Karen Leach
Vice President for Administration and Finance

March 20, 2020: Notice to Students and Parents of Students Planning to Study Off Campus in Fall 2020

Dear Students Planning Off-Campus Study in the Fall,

As the changes for the spring semester begin to take hold, some students planning to study away or study abroad in fall 2020 have asked about contingency plans if their programs are canceled. Specifically, we have heard concerns that Hamilton will not have housing or classes on campus for our students if they are forced to change their plans.

We recognize the uncertainty, and although we don’t have a fully developed plan in place at the moment, you should be reassured that if your program is canceled or you must withdraw in the coming months, Hamilton will provide classes and housing for you on campus in the fall. We are anticipating the possibility of holding a second round of course registrations if needed, and the Residential Life Office is already considering contingencies in the event students must change their study abroad plans after housing selection takes place.

We know that you have placed or will soon place a nonrefundable deposit to study abroad. While we cannot guarantee that our partner colleges will refund those deposits, we are encouraging them to be flexible on this matter. Hamilton will refund any deposits made to participate in its programs this fall if it becomes necessary to cancel the program.

Our goal is to do all we can to ensure that your academic progress is not affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and that you remain on schedule to graduate on time.

Sincerely,

Carolyn North, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean Off-Campus Study
Hamilton College
cnorth@hamilton.edu

March 18, 2020: Notice from the Dean of Students, Reclaiming Belongings, Financial Considerations, Counseling Support

Dear Students,

It has been less than a week since President Wippman announced our transition to remote learning, and just 24 hours since he extended that practice until the end of the semester. I want to thank you for your resilience, flexibility, and cooperation as we navigate our unknown future together. We know you are feeling unsettled and that you have many questions, some of which I will attempt to answer in this message. Our team in Student Life and our colleagues across campus are committed to helping you get through this unexpected challenge by continuing to provide guidance and support.

Hamilton’s response to the pandemic has quickly passed through several phases. The first was to get you to a safe place, whether you were on campus or studying away from Clinton. For most students that meant traveling home. Next, we turned our attention to preparing our faculty to teach remotely; that phase continues and you will hear more soon. We are also attending to our staff, many of whom are now working remotely, but all of whom will continue to be paid. I know you care deeply about your friends on the staff, and I hope this offers reassurance and comfort.

In light of yesterday’s announcement that remote learning will continue through the end of the semester, we entered another phase focused on student support. Let me address some of the questions you may have, knowing that we’re still working to finalize some of our plans.

  • Reclaiming Belongings – As President Wippman said in his message yesterday, we are working to reunite you with your personal belongings in a way that is safe for you and for those who are currently on campus. PLEASE DO NOT COME TO CAMPUS TO RETRIEVE YOUR BELONGINGS. We will design a way to get your belongings to you or have you come to campus to retrieve while ensuring that we comply with New York State guidelines requiring us to minimize contact with each other. This may involve packing your belongings, storing your belongings, or shipping them to you. You will hear back from us in the next few days.
  • Financial Considerations — Our colleagues in Financial Aid are identifying ways to support students who are most financially at risk. At the same time, the Business Office is working on a plan to process billing adjustments for the unused portions of your room and board charges. That information, too, will be shared in the coming days.
  • Counseling Support – Our staff in the Counseling Center is organizing to continue supporting you while operating within NY state laws. As a reminder, you have 24/7/365 access from anywhere in the world to “In-the-Moment” support by calling 315-859-4340 and pressing option 2, which will connect you with an on-call counselor.

COVID-19 is bringing new challenges to so many, but we have amazing people across campus working together, even remotely, to tend to the details. I ask for your patience and compassion while we do so.

We also have a team of folks who are thinking about ways for us to stay connected and engaged as a virtual community that cares about one another during this challenging time. We will be creative about keeping us intact and in touch with each other. One idea is to hold a virtual forum with President Wippman and me tomorrow (Thursday, March 19) at 4 p.m. Eastern time. You can access the forum and submit questions in advance at this address using our Hamilton login.

I encourage you to stay in contact with hallmates, teammates, musical ensembles, and friends in the clubs and organizations you joined. In these uncertain times, I am certain of one thing: we have an incredibly caring and kind-hearted community willing to work collaboratively and patiently to ensure the best outcomes for all of us.

Please remain healthy in mind, body, and spirit.

Sincerely,

Terry Martinez
Vice President and Dean of Students

March 17, 2020: Message from President Wippman, Remote Learning Extended for the Remainder of the Semester

Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

I know many of you have been wondering whether we will be able to resume in-person classes at some point this spring. As much as we all wish this were possible, it appears increasingly likely that the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to escalate in ways that make resumption of classes on campus untenable. Therefore, I have made the heartbreaking decision that Hamilton will continue remote instruction for the remainder of the spring semester.

I know full well how enormously disappointing this must be for our students, and especially our seniors. I have heard from so many of you, urging the College to preserve even the slightest possibility of finishing the academic year here on campus. I have heard from students in the performing arts, whose year-long senior thesis efforts cannot be fully realized. I have heard from athletes, whose final season of competition ended so abruptly. I have heard from parents, desperate to see their student have a chance at all the culminating events of the senior year, the capstone of so many years of study. I have heard from students who feel lost and adrift, who have come to depend on the community they have found on the Hill, and who want more than anything to spend even a few more weeks with their friends and the teachers and mentors they have found here.

Moving to Remote Instruction
For all these reasons and more, I have been reluctant to move the College to remote instruction for the rest of the semester. But I have also been tracking the guidance from public officials and infectious disease experts.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has urged event organizers to cancel large gatherings for the next eight weeks, which would take us close to the end of the academic term. The White House last night also released new guidelines, urging all Americans to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people. New York State, in concert with Connecticut and New Jersey, has adopted its own guidelines, banning crowds over 50, limiting restaurants to take out and delivery only, and mandating that campus dining halls and gyms shut down. Although most of these guidelines are open-ended — they are to remain in effect “for as long as necessary to protect public health” — they reflect the depth of the challenge we all face.

There is still no known case of COVID-19 on campus, but earlier today, the county executive reported the first confirmed case in Oneida County.

Even if instances of infection begin to abate as the weather warms, it seems unlikely that we can safely resume normal operations any time soon. Even a single case on campus would force us to isolate not just the individual affected, but all those with whom that individual was in close contact. That would overtax our limited quarantine capacity and put other members of our community at risk.

Packing up
I know most of our students still have many of their belongings on campus, and that the timing of this decision, coming so soon after most students departed for spring break, will significantly inconvenience many. For that I apologize.

For those who wish to return to campus to collect their things, we will try to work out an opportunity to do so, consistent with public health guidelines. For everyone else, we will make arrangements with you to have your belongings stored or shipped home. We will also work out soon the best way to process prorated adjustments for the unused portion of students’ room and board charges. Please give us some time to sort out the specifics. As soon as we have, we will share that information with you.

Few decisions have been more heartbreaking for me to make, precisely because I know how painful this decision will be for our students and their families. I wish there were another way.

Commencement 2020
We have not made a final decision about Commencement. Whatever happens, we will find a way to celebrate the extraordinary accomplishments of the Class of 2020. Seniors, I would love nothing more than to welcome you and your families back to campus and to present your diplomas in person. Please bear with us as we continue to think this through.

Facing the future together
COVID-19 presents a challenge unlike any I have seen in my nearly 30 years in higher education. But it is a challenge we will surmount together. Hamilton is defined not by its beautiful campus nor its extraordinary facilities, but by the people who make up our community. Let’s have faith in each other to meet whatever comes next.

David

March 16, 2020: Modifying College Operations

Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

As the Hamilton College community copes with the threat of the COVID-19 virus, we know we can count on everyone to pull together. We are grateful for the commitment, professionalism, and flexibility of everyone who works at Hamilton. We will face whatever challenges arise together, be creative in finding solutions, and be patient with each other.

Primary Goals
As President Wippman announced earlier today, the College’s primary goals in the coming weeks are to:

  • Protect the health and safety of our employees and the students remaining on campus
  • Prepare and deliver remote education to enable seniors to graduate and all other students to make appropriate progress towards their degree
  • Preserve facilities and grounds
  • Bring in next year's first-year class

In identifying these goals, we do not mean to suggest that the many other things we do as a community are less important, but they may be less time-sensitive.

Operating Status
The College is usually in Normal Operating Status and has identified three levels of potential operating scenarios: Modified, Reduced, and Minimal.

Health authorities have advised that the best way to slow the progression of the COVID-19 virus is through social distancing. Given this best practice, we will authorize employees who can work remotely to do so. At the same time, we must continue to support students remaining on campus, faculty members engaged in remote instruction, and staff whose job responsibilities require them to be physically present on campus. The College may need to redeploy staff, either on campus or working remotely, from their normal job functions to achieve the four primary goals.

Timeframe
On Friday, March 13, the College began moving to Modified Operating Status. Each division will use March 16 and 17 to prepare divisional plans to move to Reduced Operating Status. The College will be in Reduced Operating Status starting Wednesday, March 18, until April 12, or further notice. Divisional plans to move to Reduced Operating Status should focus on the four primary goals listed above.

Interim Human Resources Policies
The College will follow the Interim Human Resources Policies outlined below. Each division is determining divisional plans that will identify what services need to continue, how those services will be accomplished, and who needs to be on campus and who needs to work from home. The COVID-19 Task Force will integrate the plans for the campus as whole. This is an evolving situation and policies may change to meet new campus needs or to respond to outside changes.

  • Remote Work and Flexible Workplace Arrangements
    • Supervisory approval is necessary to telecommute or work from home. Considerations will be the employee’s job responsibilities, if certain tasks and job assignments can be performed at home safely and productively, and the availability of necessary equipment and materials to perform the work from home.
    • Employees who need technology equipment and internet access to perform their duties should discuss options with their supervisor, who will consult with LITS.
  • Work that Cannot be Done Remotely
    • The health and safety of all Hamilton employees is equally valued. However, we recognize that not all work can be accomplished remotely. Some jobs can only be done on campus and some may allow for part-time remote work and part-time on-campus attendance.
    • For benefit-eligible employees, the College will pay employees based on their regularly scheduled hours if their work hours are reduced as a result of the College moving to a Modified or Reduced Operating Status. Continuation of pay may be re-evaluated in a prolonged crisis.
  • Overtime Work
    • As always, the College will pay employees fairly for hours worked. All overtime is, however, discouraged during times when the College in not in Normal Operating Status. Any work schedule that incurs overtime must be approved in writing by the supervisor with a copy to the vice president of the division.
  • Request for Disability Accommodation
    • Employees who have health conditions that may require accommodation should contact Human Resources.
  • COVID-19 Paid Leave Parameters
    • During this initial period of Reduced Operating Status the College will ensure that benefit-eligible employees receive their current rate of pay based upon their regularly scheduled hours.
    • Employees unable to come to work due to a COVID-19 related day care or school closure that requires them to be home with their children should work remotely if possible. If remote work is not possible because of the nature of the work, supervisors may explore an alternate work schedule or otherwise try to be flexible.
  • Self-Isolation and Quarantine
    • Employees should not come to campus if they have a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or other COVID-19 indicative symptoms. Any employee with these symptoms should call their primary physician for guidance. If the primary physician is unavailable contact a regional urgent care center or the Oneida County Health Department. Another resource is the New York State Coronavirus Hotline at 888-364-3065.
    • Any employee returning from a CDC Warning Level 3 country must self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus.
    • Any employee returning from a location that has a known COVID-19 case and who has symptoms indicative of the disease should call their physician’s office and tell them about their travel and symptoms.
    • Any employee living in household with someone who has been exposed to another person with COVID-19 should follow the advice of the New York State Health Department.
    • Employees who test positive for COVID-19 must self-isolate off campus for the period of time determined by their health care provider in consultation with Oneida County health authorities. Use the CDC’s recommendations for preventing the spread of COVID-19.
    • Faculty members who are self-isolating should speak with their department chair or the Dean of Faculty’s Office about how best to accomplish their teaching responsibilities. Staff should contact their supervisor or Human Resources to discuss their status.
  • Student Workers
    • Most student jobs will be suspended when the College is out of Normal Operating Status.
    • Supervisors who have legitimate needs for students to work remotely may petition Human Resources for exceptions.
  • Employee Assistance Program

Thank you for all that you have done to help transition Hamilton to this new working environment and your flexibility in accommodating changes that may be necessary in the future.

Karen Leach

March 16, 2020: Message from President Wippman, COVID-19 Task Force

Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

I want once more to thank everyone across campus who so quickly and compassionately helped our students adjust their plans for spring break and begin to prepare for distance learning. The COVID-19 pandemic has upended all our lives in extraordinary ways, but our community has responded with great care, dedication, and thoughtfulness despite the uncertainty we all feel.

Over the weekend, the College’s senior staff and HERT turned our attention to how we can best modify operations in order to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our community. Four primary goals will guide our near-term response: 

  • Protect the health and safety of our employees and the students remaining on campus
  • Prepare and deliver remote education to enable seniors to graduate and all other students to make appropriate progress towards their degree
  • Preserve facilities and grounds
  • Bring in next year’s first-year class

HERT has demonstrated exceptional leadership over the past several weeks, and I would like to recognize Jeff Landry, in particular, for guiding the response team through a series of critical decisions to get us to this juncture. HERT will continue to play an important role in addressing the wide range of issues raised by the College’s response to the pandemic.

However, moving the College through the remaining phases of this global health crisis will require a smaller, more streamlined decision-making structure. I have therefore appointed a COVID-19 Task Force to take the lead on our pandemic planning and implementation. The Task Force will be chaired by Vice President for Administration and Finance Karen Leach. Other members include Barb Fluty (health center), Jeff Landry (student life/HERT), Tara McKee (academic affairs), Melissa Richards (communications), Joe Shelley (LITS), Steve Stemkoski (human resources), and Roger Wakeman (facilities management). The Task Force will report to me and I will meet with it regularly.

You will hear shortly from Karen about new guidelines for College operations in the coming weeks. Thank you for your flexibility and patience. Please continue to take care of yourselves and one another.

David 

March 14, 2020: Notice to Students and Parents of Students Studying Abroad in Australia and New Zealand

Dear Students,

You are receiving this email because you are affected by IFSA and Arcadia University’s announcements to suspend their programs worldwide, including Australia and New Zealand programs. We deeply regret the disruption the coronavirus pandemic has caused to your study abroad experience, and we’re doing our best to ease your transition back home as we navigate this unprecedented situation.

IFSA and Arcadia University have asked all students in these programs to make arrangements to leave the program site and return to their permanent address. With the suspension of these programs, Hamilton College is requiring you to adhere to IFSA and Arcadia University’s directive and return home. If you are an international or U.S. student who cannot return home because of a special circumstance, please email us so that we can address your individual situation.

Please follow the guidelines for departure provided by your program provider and the on-site staff. Hamilton is providing additional guidelines below that will facilitate your return home.

  • ACTION NEEDED: Provide your travel plans to your program provider and to Off-Campus Study at Hamilton. This should include flight date, airline, flight number, departure city, and port of entry in the U.S. with any connecting flight information. Feel free to forward actual copies of your travel itinerary if this is easier.
  • Prior to your return to the U.S., please make arrangements with your program administration in the host country to complete your academic credits for the semester. We realize that (in a few instances) some of the details of completion are not yet in place, especially those pertaining to courses at host institutions. Hamilton will honor transfer credit for courses completed online during this situation.
  • You should bring home all of your academic work, course syllabi, reading lists, and assignments for courses involving direct enrollment in a host university. If your host university cannot deliver courses online, your academic progress may be the basis for designing an independent study at Hamilton that may enable you to stay on schedule to graduate on time. Although we cannot guarantee this independent study option, be assured that Hamilton’s Off-Campus Study Office will work with you and your advisor to determine the viability of an independent study option.
  • Neither Hamilton College, IFSA, nor Arcadia University is offering the option to remain elsewhere in Australia or New Zealand to complete any possible online courses. Similarly, neither Hamilton College, IFSA, nor Arcadia University is able to offer emergency support, health and mental health services, insurance, or other key safety supports if you remain in-country or elsewhere abroad.
  • If arrangements can be made to continue courses online, notify Hamilton’s Off-Campus Study Office if you have any concerns regarding the continuation of these courses. You are expected to complete your online coursework at home. The Hamilton College campus will not be available to you upon your return.
  • If you are returning to New York State, you are required to contact your primary health care provider and county health department upon your return. Other states may have similar mandates, so you should contact health officials in your community when you arrive home. The CDC provides information for travelers arriving in the U.S.
  • Please be prepared for additional developments regarding re-entry requirements, travel restrictions, quarantine/self-isolation, or testing/screening requirements that may be imposed by transportation authorities in your host country or the United States. Note also that you may be asked to report any countries you have visited in recent weeks when you come through U.S. immigration.
  • This is a rapidly changing situation. Expect changes.

On a more personal note, we are extremely saddened by these events and your shortened study abroad experience. The suspension of your programs is a huge disappointment to all of us, but we are prioritizing your health and wellbeing above the dreams and plans you made for an amazing semester abroad.  Please contact us about your plans and concerns so we can provide the highest level of support during this difficult situation. 

Sincerely,

Carolyn North, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean Off-Campus Study
Hamilton College
cnorth@hamilton.edu

Madeleine La Cotera
Assistant Director Off-Campus Study
Hamilton College
mlacoter@hamilton.edu

March 14, 2020: Notice to Students and Parents of Students Studying Abroad in the UK

Off-Campus Study at Hamilton College is monitoring the worldwide developments continuously, as cases of the COVID-19 virus continue to increase. The recent designation of a Global Pandemic by The World Health Organization has intensified responses by government authorities, including the U.S., and has led our own college as well as many universities throughout the world to suspend classes and turn to remote instruction where possible.

Each of our Hamilton students studying in the U.K. (England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales) and Northern Ireland, has received announcements from our Partners (IFSA and Arcadia) indicating program closure or urging return to the U.S. After careful consideration, and with your health and safety foremost in our mind, Hamilton is requiring that you return home.

Students studying on IFSA sponsored programs have been instructed to return to the U.S. no later than March 15. All IFSA programs have closed. The Arcadia College of Global Studies is urging return to the U.S. no later than March 20. Hamilton College concurs with these instructions. We realize that airline seat scarcity may mandate a different return date. Please notify us and your program provider if this is the case.

Both partner institutions are working with host universities to arrange continuation of courses through online delivery or by other means. We are unable to confirm that all students will be able to continue courses for a full semester of credit. If you have not yet learned of the option for continuation of credit, please contact the provider directly for information.

We deeply regret the disruption the coronavirus outbreak has caused to your study abroad experience. We are doing our best to ease your transition back home as we navigate this unprecedented situation, and we’re grateful for your flexibility and understanding. This decision was made with great reluctance and in anticipation of the situation escalating, further complicating your return home.

Please follow the guidelines for departure provided by your program administrator in the U.K..  Hamilton is providing additional guidelines below for you to follow.

  • Remaining in the host country is not an option. If your program administrator has given you the instruction to depart, you must return to your permanent address.
  • Make travel plans to return home by the dates specified above.
  • On the basis of U.S. entry requirements announced by President Trump on March 14, 2020, we suggest that U.S citizens/permanent residents should plan to arrive via one of 13 specific U.S. airports where required screening can be completed. The airlines are aware of these guidelines. If you already have a ticket you may wish to contact the airline or travel agent. Many airlines are waiving change fees.
  • Provide your travel plans to your program provider and to Off-Campus Study at Hamilton. This should include flight date, airline, flight number, departure city, port of entry in the U.S., and any connecting flight information. Feel free to forward copies of your travel itinerary if this is easier. Hamilton must report your return to the U.S. to appropriate health authorities. Please send the information prior to your departure.
  • If you are returning to New York State, you are required to contact your primary health care provider and county health department upon your return. Other states may have similar mandates, so you should contact health officials in your community when you arrive home. The CDC provides information for travelers arriving in the U.S.
  • Prior to your return to the U.S., please make arrangements with your program administration in the host country for completing your academic credits for the semester. We realize that (in a few instances) some of the details of completion are not yet in place, especially those pertaining to courses at host institutions. Hamilton will honor transfer credit for courses completed online during this situation.
  • You should bring home all of your academic work, course syllabi, reading lists and assignments for courses involving direct enrollment in a host university. If your host university cannot deliver courses online, your academic progress may be the basis for designing an independent study at Hamilton that may enable you to stay on schedule to graduate on time. Although we cannot guarantee this independent study option, be assured that Hamilton’s Off-Campus Study Office will work with you and your advisor to determine the viability of an independent study option.
  • Notify Off-Campus Study of any concerns you are encountering regarding the continuation of your courses online. If you have a guarantee of continuation, please advise Off-Campus Study
  • Neither Hamilton nor the provider with whom you are currently registered is able to offer emergency support, health and counseling services, insurance, or other key safety supports if you remain elsewhere abroad.
  • You are expected to complete your online coursework at home. The Hamilton campus will be closed until mid-April and will not be available to you upon your return.
  • Be prepared for additional requirements regarding re-entry, travel restrictions, quarantine and self-isolation, or testing and screening requirements that may be imposed by authorities in your home country or the United States prior to your actual return. Note also that you may be asked to report any countries you have visited in recent weeks when you come through U.S. immigration. A 14-day self-isolation protocol is required by the U.S. government and most state and regional health authorities. Additional testing or screening may be required.
  • This is a rapidly changing situation, so you should expect changes.

Staff of Off-Campus study are here to assist you. 

On behalf of colleagues at Hamilton, please accept our sincere regret about this disappointing suspension of your study abroad experience.

Carolyn North, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean
Off-Campus Study
Hamilton College
cnorth@hamilton.edu


Madeleine La Cotera
Assistant Director
Off-Campus Study
Hamilton College
mlacoter@hamilton.edu

March 13, 2020: Notice to Students and Parents of Students Studying Abroad in Europe, excludes UK

Dear Students and Parents,

The U.S. Department of State and the Centers for Disease Control of Prevention have raised their advisories for European countries to Level 3 (“Reconsider Travel” and “Avoid Nonessential Travel”), indicating that the number of COVID-19 virus cases has increased markedly in a matter of days. After careful consideration, and with your health and safety foremost in our mind, Hamilton is requiring that you return home immediately, and no later than Friday, March 20.

We deeply regret the disruption the coronavirus outbreak has caused to your study abroad experience. We are doing our best to ease your transition back home as we navigate this unprecedented situation, and we’re grateful for your flexibility and understanding. This decision was made with great reluctance and in anticipation of the situation escalating, further complicating your return home.

This notice pertains to programs in Europe that have provided our students with options to continue their studies remotely (see list at the end of this memo). If you are an international student and cannot return home or cannot return to the United States due to visa or entry restrictions, please email us so that we can address your individual situation.

Please follow the guidelines for departure provided by your program administrator in Europe. Hamilton is providing additional guidelines below for you to follow.

  • Remaining in the host country is not an option. If your program administrator has given you the option to stay at the program site in Europe (for online coursework or to await possible resumption of courses) you are advised that Hamilton will no longer honor that option. You must return to your permanent address.
  • Make travel plans to return home no later than Friday, March 20. If you have been given an earlier date by your program administrator, please comply with that date.
  • Provide your travel plans to your program provider and to Off-Campus Study at Hamilton. This should include flight date, airline, flight number, departure city, port of entry in the U.S., and any connecting flight information. Feel free to forward copies of your travel itinerary if this is easier. Hamilton must report your return to the U.S. to appropriate health authorities. Please send the information prior to your departure.
  • If you are returning to New York State, you are required to contact your primary health care provider and county health department upon your return. Other states may have similar mandates, so you should contact health officials in your community when you arrive home. The CDC provides information for travelers arriving in the U.S. and additional guidance for those returning from Europe.
  • Prior to your return to the U.S., please make arrangements with your program administration in the host country for completing your academic credits for the semester. We realize that (in a few instances) some of the details of completion are not yet in place, especially those pertaining to courses at host institutions. Hamilton will honor transfer credit for courses completed online during this situation.
  • You should bring home all of your academic work, course syllabi, reading lists and assignments for courses involving direct enrollment in a host university. If your host university cannot deliver courses online, your academic progress may be the basis for designing an independent study at Hamilton that may enable you to stay on schedule to graduate on time. Although we cannot guarantee this independent study option, be assured that Hamilton’s Off-Campus Study Office will work with you and your advisor to determine the viability of an independent study option.
  • Notify Off-Campus Study of any concerns you are encountering regarding the continuation of your courses online.
  • Neither Hamilton nor the provider with whom you are currently registered is able to offer emergency support, health and counseling services, insurance, or other key safety supports if you remain elsewhere abroad.
  • You are expected to complete your online coursework at home. Hamilton students who have extenuating circumstances and feel they need to return to campus should petition the Dean of Students Office (dosdept@hamilton.edu).
  • Be prepared for additional requirements regarding re-entry, travel restrictions, quarantine and self-isolation, or testing and screening requirements that may be imposed by authorities in your home country or the United States prior to your actual return. Note also that you may be asked to report any countries you have visited in recent weeks when you come through U.S. immigration. A 14-day self-isolation protocol is required by the U.S. government and most state and regional health authorities. Additional testing or screening may be required.
  • This is a rapidly changing situation, so you should expect changes.
  • On behalf of my colleagues at Hamilton, please accept my sincere regret about this disappointing suspension of your study abroad experience.

Carolyn North, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean Off-Campus Study

European programs providing students with options to continue their studies remotely:
IES Vienna, Austria
CET Prague, Czech Republic
UPCES Prague, Czech Republic
SIT Prague, Czech Republic
DIS Copenhagen, Denmark
Tufts in Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany
CYA, Athens, Greece
Arcadia Athens, Greece
AIT-Budapest, Budapest, Hungary
API Budapest, Hungary
SIT Isafjordur, Iceland
CIEE Amsterdam, Netherlands
IES Amsterdam, Netherlands
SIT Amsterdam, Netherlands
CIEE Lisbon, Portugal
DIS Stockholm, Sweden
SIT Switzerland, Nyon and Geneva, Switzerland
Swedish Program, Stockholm, Sweden

March 13, 2020: Message from President Wippman

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

It is perhaps fitting that we prepare to start a Spring Break unlike any other on a rainy Friday the 13th. Yet despite all the turmoil and disappointment, I am heartened by what I have seen from our campus these past few days. Yesterday I met with Staff Assembly, Student Assembly, and the faculty. I have also had many individual conversations with students, employees, parents, and alumni.

This is what I am hearing.

Sadness is universal; many are in tears. Seniors especially are struggling to reconcile the current reality with the hopes they held for a joyous final spring on campus. Our students love this College, and they regret every moment they can’t be here.

Uncertainty is everywhere. People worry about their friends and loved ones, especially those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19. Students wonder when they will see each other again, what sort of education the College can provide online, and what this all means for their future. International students wonder whether they can go home and, if they do, whether they can return.

The constant drumbeat of negative news—travel restrictions, plunging markets, business closures—heightens the anxiety that all of us feel.

But I am hearing something else as well.

Across the campus, students, faculty, and staff are rising to the challenge. Students are reaching out to support each other, in ways large and small. In the dining hall this morning, three students told me they eat breakfast together every day—and they will continue to do so by FaceTime after they go home.

Faculty have shifted full time into problem-solving mode. They are sharing ideas for distance learning, talking to experts about instructional design and the technology for remote instruction, and focusing above all on the answer to one question: how can we best support our students?

Staff have responded magnificently. They are working round the clock to prepare the College to operate in an unfamiliar and rapidly changing environment, tackling student life challenges, technology issues, communications overload, and financial strains. And amidst all of this, we are working on bringing the next class of wonderful students to a campus many will not be able to visit this spring.

None of this surprises me. I know our community—its strength, creativity, dedication, and resilience. We will work through this together.

I know many questions remain. We will do our best to provide answers as quickly as we can. Please watch our dedicated webpage for the latest updates.

I have always been proud to be part of this community, but never more so than today.

David

March 12, 2020: Campus Update

The World Health Organization’s declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic, along with similar announcements by federal and state government agencies, have changed Hamilton’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. President David Wippman announced on March 12 that Hamilton will shift to online education temporarily for a two-week period beginning Monday, March 30, at the conclusion of spring break. A decision to extend remote learning or return to normal operations after the two-week period will be made in early April when more information is known about the spread of the pandemic. At the current time, there are no known cases of COVID-19 on campus.

We recognize that Hamilton’s decision has caused a great deal of disappointment and frustration, especially for last-minute cancellations, changes to plans for spring break, and uncertainty about the rest of the semester. We are doing our best to minimize disruption as we navigate this unprecedented situation, and we’re grateful for your flexibility and understanding. We want to preserve as much of students’ educational experience as possible, and for that reason we plan to return to normal operations as soon as it is safe to do so.  

This extraordinary situation has raised many questions, some of which we will answer here and in the days ahead. Thank you, in advance, for your patience as we work quickly to address the effects of this decision. New information will be added to the College’s coronavirus webpage as it becomes available.

Campus Operations
Q. Is the campus open to students, faculty, staff, and visitors during spring break and during the two-week remote-learning period?
A.
The campus will close to visitors (with the exception of contractors) at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 13, and to students at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17, until at least the end of what we hope will be a temporary two-week period of online education. Students may petition the Dean of Students to remain on campus during the break for urgent or extenuating circumstances by completing an online request form. Faculty and staff should report to work as they normally would, and support will be available to help professors transition to the new teaching model.

Q. Should I move out of my residence hall room now?
A.
We hope to resume normal operations after the designated two-week remote learning period that begins on March 30, but we recognize that timeframe may need to be extended depending on the spread of the virus. At a minimum, you must take medications, valuables, and the study and course materials you will need to participate in your classes online. You do not need to clean out your room completely. Residence halls will be secured during the period you are home.

Q. How will online teaching work?
A.
The Dean of Faculty Office and Library and Information Technology Services (LITS) are partnering to help faculty members prepare to teach courses online. Information can be obtained on the LITS website. Training is available to assist faculty members transition to online instruction. Students will receive information during the break to explain how their courses will proceed.

Q. How will the College deliver art, music, dance, lab and other similar types of courses online?
A.
Vice President and Dean of Faculty Suzanne Keen and Vice President of Libraries and Information Services Joe Shelley are joining a call with 30 college deans to share information and best practices for teaching labs, studio art, theatre and similar courses online. We will have more information soon.

Q. Will Class and Charter Day, Commencement, Reunion Weekend, and other traditional end-of-year observances take place?
A.
Major College observances will take place if it is safe to do so, pending guidance from public health officials. We will reassess the situation in April when more information is known about the spread of the virus. 

Q. Should employees come to work?
A.
At the moment, all employees should report to work as scheduled, unless you feel ill or develop symptoms consistent with the virus. Health officials are advising that you call your doctor before going to any healthcare facility if you develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Employees at higher risk of contracting the virus (e.g., older individuals and those with significant underlying health conditions) should consult with the Human Resources Office about possible options.

Q. How does the closure affect students receiving financial aid?
A.
Hamilton is continuing to operate by offering classes online, so there is no change to students’ financial aid. 

Q. Will Hamilton refund room and board for the time that students are not on campus?
A.
Hamilton will make an adjustment for room and board, but the exact figure has not yet been determined.

Q. Are there any restrictions for those on campus during spring break and the temporary two-week remote learning period?
A.
Large group gatherings are restricted to fewer than 50 people. Whether at work, in the community, or at home, individuals are encouraged to wash their hands frequently with warm, soapy water and practice social distancing (i.e., maintain a distance of six feet from others), whenever possible.

Off-Campus Study and Programs
Q. Should students studying abroad return home? And if so, will they be able to continue with their coursework?
A.
Due to President Trump’s decision to restrict travel for 30 days by non-U.S. citizens to the U.S. from Europe, and the CDC’s recommendation to avoid international travel, Hamilton’s programs in France and Spain are suspending operations for the spring semester. Those students have been instructed to return to their homes where they will be able continue their studies online. Students studying on non-Hamilton programs are being advised on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the sponsoring program.

Q. What is the status of Hamilton’s programs in New York and Washington, D.C.?
A.  One student in each program was potentially exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19, but those students and all participants in both programs have been cleared to return to their homes and continue their studies online.

Q. Are regional alumni events still taking place?
A. Hamilton’s Advancement Office has canceled all regional events through March. 

Travel
Q. Is Hamilton placing any restrictions on employee travel?
A. All College-funded international travel and all nonessential business travel by employees are suspended effectively immediately. Personal travel overseas and to areas that have experienced outbreaks of the virus is strongly discouraged, and those with underlying health conditions should exercise extra precautions. 

Q. If I travel for a personal matter, why should I register with the College?
A. Registering your personal travel with the College, whether you visit another region, another state, or another country will allow Hamilton to assess risk and provide appropriate support both for travelers and our community. A webpage has been created for you to register your travel plans.

Carolyn North, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean
Off-Campus Study
Hamilton College
cnorth@hamilton.edu

March 12, 2020: Notice from the Dean of Students

Dear Students:

We are at a moment we all hoped wouldn’t arrive.  As announced by President Wippman this morning, Hamilton College will shift to online education beginning Monday, March 30, for at least two weeks.  A decision to extend remote learning or return to normal operations after the two-week period will be made in early April when more information is known about the spread of the pandemic. At the current time, there are no known cases of COVID-19 on campus.

We recognize that Hamilton’s decision has caused a great deal of disappointment and frustration, especially for last-minute cancellations, changes to your plans for spring break, and uncertainty about the rest of the semester. We are doing our best to minimize disruption as we navigate this unprecedented situation, and we’re grateful for your flexibility and understanding. We will work with you as you make your plans and I am hoping the information below will help guide you.

All students must leave campus by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17, unless you are granted an exception. Students requesting to remain on campus must complete this request form by Friday, March 13, at noon. These requests will be reviewed individually by a small committee and approval will be limited to those whose legal residence is Hamilton College, those who have extreme extenuating circumstances, and those international students who are unable to return to South Korea, China, or Italy. All other students should plan on taking home any medications, valuables, and the study and course materials needed to participate in your classes online. Students who will be allowed to remain on campus will be asked to relocate to a central location and will receive additional information at that time.

An in-person Operations Team will be available to assist students with financial support, help in making travel arrangements, to answer any questions, or to provide you with general support. This team will be available in the Annex on Friday, March 13, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Students whose last names begin with A-K can stop by between 10-noon, and students whose last names begin with L-Z can stop by between 1-3.

Additional shuttles to airports and the train station are currently being arranged, and you will hear more about those soon. 

As always, before you leave campus please do the following:

  • Complete this checkout form indicating that you are leaving campus. You must still complete the form if you have already departed
  • Thoroughly clean your living space to include the following:
  • Remove trash from room
  • Remove all food items from room
  • Retrieve all belongings from the common areas, laundry rooms, and kitchens
  • Close and lock your windows, and close your blinds
  • Take your Hill Card, room key, and all other items you need with you
  • Unplug all electronics, including alarm clocks, lamps, etc.
  • Unplug and defrost your refrigerator and dispose of all perishable food inside

It is important to understand that College staff may be entering rooms during the closure. Please plan accordingly.

Wishing you peace and health,

Terry Martinez
Vice President and Dean of Students

March 12, 2020: Notice to Students and Parents of Students Participating in the Hamilton in France Program

Dear Students and Parents of Hamilton’s Program in France,

We deeply regret the disappointment the COVID-19 outbreak has caused to your study abroad experience. We are doing our best to minimize disruption as we navigate this unprecedented situation, and we’re grateful for your flexibility and understanding. The decision to suspend operation of the Hamilton in France program was made only after careful thought and with great reluctance.

In response to President Donald Trump’s March 11 announcement regarding U.S. entry restrictions from Europe, Hamilton in France is authorizing students to return immediately to the U.S. Instruction will continue online for most courses. You will receive updates from the program director and the general director.

We ask you to make every effort to depart the country immediately. We understand that it may be difficult for some of you to secure flights on short notice, so we are allowing a one-week timeframe to complete your arrangements and return home. Students will have until Friday, March 20, to depart the country. The exception to this extension pertains to students with non-U.S. passports who are returning legally to the U.S.

Students with Non-U.S. Passports: Students who are not U.S. citizens should note that the new U.S. policy allows entry in the U.S. only until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 13. If you can make plans to return safely to your home country do so. If this is not possible for reasons pertaining to your safety, health, or your ability to enter the U.S. in the future to continue your education, please contact the program director immediately.

Student Actions Required
Travel Arrangements: Students who made personal flight arrangements should work with their personal travel agent or airline to rebook. If you encounter difficulties changing or booking your ticket, please ask the Hamilton staff in Reid Hall for assistance. Hamilton in France will reimburse costs pertaining to change fees or new return tickets if your current ticket is not changeable, less the amount of the travel allowance provided by the program. Original receipts must accompany your request for reimbursement.

Group Flight Ticket Holders: Students who participated in the group flight are allowed to change their original reservations without a fee. If you need assistance you may reach out to Michelle Sonnenthal at Travel Easy Inc. msonnenthal@tzell.com. This only applies to students who hold group flight tickets. You may reach out to the airlines and manage the change yourself. You must inform the airline that you are flying on a group ticket and you must return to JFK in New York or the original airport of departure. Students holding group flight tickets who do not use the group flight return option will need to pay for their personal return ticket, and no refunds will be provided by Hamilton in France.

Independent Travel Arrangements: Those holding independently arranged tickets should work with their personal travel agent or airline to rebook. If you encounter difficulties changing or booking your ticket, Hamilton in France will enlist the support of our travel agent. Hamilton in France will reimburse costs pertaining to change fees or new return tickets less the travel allowance credit already provided. Original receipts must accompany your request for reimbursement.

Re-entry: The re-entry restrictions apply to non-U.S. citizens and those who do not have Permanent Resident status, although U.S. citizens who enter after 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 13, may be subject to testing and screening. The self-monitored 14-day isolation requirement is now a standard CDC directive and will apply to all upon arrival at your home destination. We anticipate that designated arrival airports will be announced effective Friday, March 13. Airlines will have that information.

Document Your Travel Plans: Prior to travel, please document your travel plans by providing the Paris staff with the following information: date, airline, departure airport, arrival airport, transfer destinations, and home destination. A copy of your flight itinerary is sufficient. This is a reporting requirement from state health authorities.

Academic Implications
The program will arrange online instruction for all courses offered at Reid Hall, and students can expect full completion of those courses for full credit. Hamilton staff in Paris have been working with French universities to determine the academic consequences of early return. This effort is still in progress. Those who depart may sacrifice full or partial credit for French university courses. Hamilton in France is considering ways to augment full or partial credit to compensate for some or all of the French university credit if necessary.

All students should return home with all course work, syllabi, reading lists, and other items that will enable completion of all courses.

Carolyn North, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean
Off-Campus Study
Hamilton College
cnorth@hamilton.edu

March 12, 2020: Notice to Students and Parents of Students Participating in the Hamilton in Spain Program

Dear Students and Parents of Hamilton’s Program in Spain,

We deeply regret the disappointment the COVID-19 outbreak has caused to your study abroad experience. We are doing our best to minimize disruption as we navigate this unprecedented situation, and we’re grateful for your flexibility and understanding. The decision to suspend operation of the Hamilton in Spain program was made only after careful thought and with great reluctance.

In response to President Donald Trump’s March 11 announcement regarding U.S. entry restrictions from Europe, Hamilton in Spain is authorizing students to return immediately to the U.S. Students may complete all their courses online through the end of the semester.

Students will have until Friday, March 20, to depart the country. We recommend earlier departure and ask you to make every effort to depart immediately. The one-week timeframe has been provided knowing that it will be difficult to secure flights. The exception to this extension pertains to students with non-U.S. passports.

Students with Non-U.S. Passports: Students who are not U.S. citizens should note that the new U.S. policy allows entry in the U.S. only until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 13. If you can make plans to return safely to your home country do so. If this is not possible for reasons pertaining to your safety, health, or your future ability to enter the U.S. to continue your education, please contact the program director immediately.

Student Actions Required
Travel Arrangements: Students should work with their personal travel agent or airline to rebook. If you encounter difficulties changing or booking your ticket our staff in the Madrid Centro will assist you. Hamilton in Spain will reimburse costs pertaining to change fees or new return tickets if your current ticket is not changeable. Original receipts must accompany your request for reimbursement.

Re-entry: After 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 13, re-entry restrictions apply to non-U.S. citizens and those who do not have Permanent Resident status. U.S. citizens and holders of U.S. passports who enter after 11:59 on Friday, March 13, may be subject to testing and screening. The self-monitored 14-day isolation requirement is now a standard CDC directive and will apply to all upon arrival at your home destination. We anticipate that designated arrival airports will be announced effective Friday, March 13.

Immediately ALL STUDENTS: Please notify the Resident Director of your flight arrangements and details. Prior to travel please document your travel plans by providing the Madrid staff with the following information: date of departure, airline, departure airport, arrival airport, transfer destinations, home destination. A copy of your flight itinerary is sufficient. This is a reporting requirement from state health authorities.

Academic Implications
The program will arrange online instruction for all courses offered at the Center. Students can expect completion of these courses for full credit through online instruction. We have worked with local Spanish universities. Both universities, Autónoma and Nebrija, will continue providing instruction to our students for the completion of the courses.

Assistant Dean
Off-Campus Study
Hamilton College
cnorth@hamilton.edu

March 12, 2020: Message from President Wippman

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff, and Parents,

As I noted in my message to our community yesterday, it might prove necessary to adjust our plans on short notice. I’m afraid I didn’t anticipate just how short. It is with enormous regret that I must inform you we will be shifting temporarily to online education immediately following spring break.

Specifically, remote instruction will begin Monday, March 30, and continue for at least two weeks. As we near mid-April, we will reassess whether it is possible to resume normal operations safely for the remainder of the semester.

We will be asking all students to return home this coming week. We understand that for some students, this may not be feasible, for a variety of reasons. The Dean of Students Office will work with those who may need to remain on campus or need other assistance. This message will be followed soon by more detailed information about the timeline for leaving residence halls and related issues.

I make this decision with great reluctance. I understand how precious the Hamilton residential experience is, and how much of the social, extracurricular, and cocurricular experience will be lost by moving to remote instruction. I have spoken with many of our students, especially our seniors, and I know how saddened they will be at the prospect of losing a substantial portion of their remaining time on campus.

Unfortunately, developments over the last 24 hours make this the only safe and responsible option. Those developments include:

  • The World Health Organization declared that coronavirus has reached pandemic status.
  • Several additional states have declared a state of emergency.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the president’s coronavirus task force, noted in testimony yesterday that the worst is yet to come. 
  • New York’s Governor, Andrew Cuomo, indicated yesterday that he expects cases in New York to skyrocket and directed SUNY and CUNY schools to shift to online education.
  • President Trump decided to restrict travel from Europe for 30 days.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued a Level 3 warning (avoid nonessential travel) for most of Europe, recommending that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to the specified countries.
  • A student in Hamilton’s program in Washington has been in contact with a coworker at the student’s internship placement who has tested positive for COVID-19. All of the students and the program director are in voluntary self-isolation, pending direction from the D.C. public health authorities.

In addition to moving to remote instruction for at least part of the semester, we will also shortly restrict gatherings to fewer than 50 people, restrict visitors to campus, ban all College-funded international travel, and prohibit all nonessential business travel by College employees.

We are taking these measures for multiple reasons.

First and foremost, we want to protect the health and safety of our students and the rest of our community. While students are generally among those least likely to experience serious effects from COVID-19, almost 20 percent of our community includes individuals who fall into one of the higher risk categories, including older individuals and those with significant underlying health issues.

Second, despite all our contingency planning, we face significant limitations in terms of our ability to manage an outbreak of COVID-19 on campus. Our quarantine space is limited and medical services in the region have inherent limitations.

Third, we want to maximize the chance that we can continue in-person classes at some later point in the semester. By taking steps to limit the possibility of COVID-19 appearing on our campus now, we may be better positioned to resume normal operations should the outbreak start to diminish with the arrival of warmer weather.

I know this decision will prove heartbreaking for many of our students, especially our seniors. Understandably, many are concerned about disrupted academic work, lost performance opportunities, missed campus activities, and most of all time with their friends. Believe me, I would not make this decision if I felt there was any other choice.

The rapidly changing situation and the imposition of travel restrictions from Europe pose extraordinary challenges for our students studying abroad. We will do everything possible to assist these students, to bring them safely home, and to ensure they can complete their academic work. We will send shortly a more detailed communication to our study abroad students. Because so many are enrolled in programs sponsored by a wide range of third-party providers, much of the guidance we provide may be specific to those individual programs.

For faculty, this decision will also impose significant burdens. We will do everything we can to assist you in preparing for online instruction. We recognize this is a profound change and we know our faculty will want to make the experience as positive as they can for our students. Our faculty are deeply committed to student learning, and I know they will rise to this challenge. We will provide more detailed guidance to faculty soon.

Staff will also face difficult challenges. This is an all-hands-on-deck moment, as we support our students and faculty in the transition to online instruction after the break. We will do all we reasonably can to support staff throughout this period.

I know this email will leave many of you with lots of questions. We will be following up with additional information soon, so please bear with us. I felt it important to communicate the key decisions now, before having in hand all the answers to questions that will inevitably arise.

None of us wanted the semester to go this way. But I know our community, I know its strength and the resilience of our students, faculty, and staff, and I know that collectively we will make this work.

David

March 11, 2020: Notice to Students and Parents of Students Participating in the Hamilton in Spain Program

Dear Students, Parents, and Study Abroad Colleagues,

The Madrid government, in alignment with a recently enacted Spanish government mandate restricting assembly, is closing schools and colleges for a 15-day period beginning today, March 11, 2020. This is an administrative caution taken to slow the spread of COVID-19 and enable government authorities to use social distancing by limiting large group assembly as a key factor in preventive health policy. The policy also restricts travel out of Madrid and out of Spain. Students and the public are permitted to circulate within Madrid, but should avoid large gatherings.

Hamilton in Spain will offer online and video instruction to comply with the mandate. All students must follow the travel restrictions without exception. While COVID-19 cases have increased in Spain, Madrid is not a center of high concern at this time. There is no active CDC travel notice for Spain.

We realize that students will find these restrictions frustrating, but since this government directive does not restrict your movements in Madrid (only that you avoid large gatherings and remain in the city), we encourage you to deepen your experience of this magnificent city and take advantage of the opportunity to engage more fully with your host families.

The staff, faculty, and administrators of the Hamilton in Spain program continue to closely monitor this situation. We are fine-tuning contingency planning and upgrading our online delivery options, and will continue providing you with clear directives regarding good health practices.

Regards,

Carolyn

Carolyn North, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean
Off-Campus Study
Hamilton College

March 11, 2020: Campus Update

Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

Following President Wippman’s memo earlier this morning, here are today’s updates outlining Hamilton’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Please read this entire message carefully.

  • There continue to be no known cases of COVID-19 on campus, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not issued new guidance pertaining to college operations. Hamilton continues to operate as scheduled.
  • At this time, Hamilton has not altered its academic calendar for the semester, and spring break will continue as planned; however, students who leave campus for the break should take medications, valuables, and study and course materials with them in the event of an unexpected disruption of campus operations.
  • Effective today, the Madrid government has closed schools and colleges for a 15-day period. The Hamilton Academic Year in Spain program will offer online and video instruction during the closure period. Students and Madrid residents are permitted to circulate in the city, but must avoid large gatherings. There is no active CDC notice for Spain.
  • International travel and travel to high-risk domestic areas are strongly discouraged. Students are welcome to remain on campus for spring break. If you choose to stay, we ask that you register with Residential Life; Bon Appetit will operate throughout the break.
  • We are also asking all students, faculty members, and staff members to voluntarily register any travel to and from the College effective immediately. Please register both personal and college-related travel. As mentioned earlier, overseas travel and travel to areas that have experienced outbreaks of the virus are strongly discouraged, and those with underlying health conditions should exercise extra precaution.
  • The Dean of Faculty Office and Library and Information Technology Services (LITS) are partnering to help faculty members prepare for any scenario in which courses may have to be delivered partially or fully online. Information can be obtained on the LITS website. Faculty can register for Zoom training.
  • In light of the decision of many NESCAC colleges to have students return home and complete the semester remotely due to COVID-19, the NESCAC presidents met and concluded unanimously that conference competition, including conference championships, will be canceled for the 2020 spring season. This will necessitate altering schedules for our athletics teams as long as Hamilton continues to operate normally.
  • Similarly, some people scheduled to visit campus in the coming weeks have altered their plans. Visit the College calendar for the latest information about campus events. At the moment, Hamilton remains open for visits from prospective students and the general public.

As has been reported earlier, this situation continues to evolve rapidly, which may force Hamilton to alter its plans on short notice. You will be advised as soon as possible if the College changes its response.

Hamilton Emergency Response Team

March 11, 2020: Message from President Wippman

Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

I know many of you are concerned about the impact the coronavirus (COVID-19) may have on our campus, the broader community, and the lives of our students, faculty, staff, and families. I share those concerns.

Our primary focus right now is to protect your health and wellbeing, but we also wish to do everything feasible to enable you to continue your studies with as little disruption as possible.

Many of our peers have announced plans to cancel in person classes and shift to distance learning for part or all of the remainder of the spring semester. They have also imposed stringent constraints on travel and campus gatherings. Others are continuing normal operations.

Even though we share many of the same concerns as other colleges, each institution must make its own decisions based on its proximity to areas where the coronavirus has been confirmed and the institution’s ability to serve its students. At present, Hamilton plans to continue normal operations, although we recognize that the situation is unpredictable and we may need to adjust our plans on short notice.

We have considered carefully a wide range of options, from canceling spring break and shortening the semester to an immediate move to distance learning. Each of those options has some potential advantages, but each would also prove seriously disruptive for many members of our community.

For now, we intend to proceed with spring break as planned, while urging everyone to exercise caution in their travels and to follow CDC and other public health authority guidance. We will also continue to welcome visitors to campus. But the situation is evolving rapidly, and guidance from public health authorities may change. As we near the end of spring break, we will be in a position to make a more informed decision about whether to resume classes as scheduled or to shift to distance learning for part of the semester.

I recognize, of course, that this requires all of us to live with a considerable degree of uncertainty. Because of the possibility that we might have to provide remote instruction for some period, students who choose to leave campus for the break should take with them whatever academic materials, medications, and valuables they might need to complete the semester.

We will also use the break to work with faculty to assist them in preparing to move classes online should that prove necessary. Dean of Faculty Suzanne Keen and Vice President for Libraries and Information Technology Joe Shelley have already communicated with faculty about some of the tools and support available to them. We recognize that if we have to move in this direction, it will impose a major burden on both faculty and students, and we will do everything we can to minimize that burden.

We know that the operational challenges posed by the coronavirus also place an additional burden on our extraordinary and dedicated staff, who do so much to create the environment that makes Hamilton such a special place. The College remains open and we expect that will continue to be the case even if we do shift to remote instruction for some period, but we will seek to be as flexible as we can in assisting staff in the event the work environment changes.

I want to emphasize that we have not made a decision to cancel classes, even for a limited period, and we hope that doing so will not prove necessary. In the meantime, we will continue our contingency planning.

In that regard, I want to thank the Hamilton Emergency Response Team (HERT), which is taking the lead on day-to-day planning, and has informed the discussions and decisions of the senior staff. My senior staff colleagues and I are meeting daily, monitoring guidance provided by HERT and federal, state, and local officials, and making decisions with the health and safety of our community foremost in our minds. You can expect regular updates from HERT on the state of our plans.

I extend a special thank you to our colleagues in the Health Center, Facilities Management, Bon Appetit and others who have put in long hours and focused much of their work during the past several weeks on keeping all of us safe.

I wish you all a wonderful, safe, and healthy spring break.

David

March 10, 2020: Campus Update

Here are the latest updates outlining Hamilton’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak:

  • There are no known cases of COVID-19 on campus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not issued new guidance pertaining to college operations, so Hamilton continues to operate as scheduled. At this point, no campus events (e.g., lectures, concerts, athletic contents, admission visits, etc.) are being canceled by the College, but some speakers or colleges are suspending or postponing their own travel plans to campus.
  • Alumni events already scheduled across the country will continue as planned.
  • The French government has declared an administrative state of emergency in the country, but the CDC has not changed its travel advisory and colleges are generally operating as normal. At this time, there are no changes to Hamilton’s study abroad programs in France or Spain. For non-Hamilton study abroad programs, Hamilton will follow the partnering program’s operating or closure decisions. Early withdrawal from study abroad programs may result in loss of academic credit.
  • Hamilton is updating its Business Continuity Plan to address short-term and long-term challenges that may occur due to coronavirus risk or government decisions that affect the College’s ability to operate as normal.
  • All Hamilton students now have the option to remain on campus during spring break, but we ask that you register with Residential Life so that we have proper staffing and Bon Appetit can adjust its meal planning accordingly.
  • Campus updates are posted to the College’s COVID-19 website, but parents, alumni, and anyone interested in Hamilton’s planning may subscribe to receive new information as it becomes available.

This is a rapidly evolving situation so Hamilton may alter its planning on short notice. You will be advised as soon as possible if the College changes its response.

The most important information we can share is to remind you to wash your hands often, practice good hygiene, and avoid touching your face. Doing so will protect yourself and those you care about from becoming infected.

Hamilton Emergency Response Team

March 9, 2020: Campus Update

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

There is a great deal of speculation and conflicting information about the coronavirus (COVID-19), and the situation is evolving constantly. Hamilton is relying on public health officials and government recommendations to plan our response to the outbreak. In particular, we monitor guidance from the:

We are also in regular conversation with our NESCAC and New York Six partner institutions.

Using these sources and others for guidance, we have taken the steps outlined below to help protect the health and safety of our community. Please note that Hamilton’s response may change on short notice. We will inform our community as soon as possible if we alter our plans.


On Campus
There are no known cases of COVID-19 on campus, and the College continues to pursue normal operations, but with a heightened attention to prevention. Our goal is to protect the health and safety of our community members and visitors, without unduly constricting opportunities for learning and co-curricular and extracurricular programs. If federal, state, or local authorities recommend or impose new restrictions, our current approach could change on short notice, so we believe it is prudent to plan for such contingencies, including the possibility of major disruptions.


Intercollegiate Athletics, Campus Gatherings, Campus Visitors
We are aware that some colleges and universities are cancelling or restricting events that bring groups of people together for lectures, concerts, athletic contests, and student recruitment. In the absence of any government guidance to the contrary, Hamilton will continue to host such events, and our athletics teams will compete as scheduled, to the extent feasible given travel restrictions imposed by other schools. Some of the colleges against which our teams compete have instituted policies that prohibit college-funded travel to states that have declared a state of emergency. This includes New York, which made such a declaration on Saturday. We expect these policies will result in significant schedule changes this spring.

We recognize that some students may be reluctant to participate in Hamilton spring break activities that require travel, including athletic competitions, the choir’s spring break tour, and alternative spring break trips. Students who are uncomfortable engaging in these activities are not required to participate and should contact their coach or event organizer to opt out of the event. Faculty members should support students whose research-related academic plans for spring break change.


Enhanced Cleaning and Prevention
There is a great deal happening behind the scenes to protect the health and safety of our community. Our colleagues in Facilities Management have initiated enhanced cleaning and disinfectant operations that begin each weekday at 3 a.m., and they have increased the frequency with which classrooms and other spaces are cleaned. A number of Facilities Management personnel have been trained on new techniques using special sanitizing equipment. They plan to do even more extensive cleaning of College facilities during spring break. In addition, Bon Appetit is washing and sanitizing counters and serving stations every 30 minutes, replacing serving utensils every half hour, removing salt and pepper shakers, and cleaning dining tables throughout meal periods instead of waiting to clean between one meal and the next.


Personal Protection
You can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 or the seasonal flu by practicing good hygiene. The following advice should be familiar, but please reacquaint yourself with these practices:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • When you are sick, stay home.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Students in good health are considered to be at low risk with respect to COVID-19. Those at higher risk include older people and individuals with significant underlying health conditions. Since some members of our community have compromised immune systems or other underlying health conditions, it is vital that all members of our community follow the hygiene practices outlined above to help prevent infection.


Off-Campus Study
Both the CDC and the U.S. State Department have issued travel advisories pertaining to the COVID-19 outbreak. When either of those advisories reaches Level 3 (“Avoid Nonessential Travel” and “Reconsider Travel”) for a particular country, Hamilton’s policy is to require its students to return home. For that reason, Hamilton suspended its program in Beijing in January and required students to return home from Italy earlier this month. Students on programs in other countries may be similarly affected, and it could happen on short notice. We are paying particular attention to the situation in France and Japan, but as of this writing neither the CDC nor the U.S. State Department has raised its travel advisory for either country.


Personal Travel, Including During Spring Break
As was reported earlier, Hamilton is following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but we are also bound by the directives of other government agencies. For example, New York now requires a 14-day quarantine for travelers returning to the state from countries with CDC Level 3 travel advisories. Please be aware that if you travel to a Level 3-designated country, or if the country or region you visit elevates to a Level 3 advisory during your travel there, you will be quarantined for 14 days upon your return and will not be permitted to return to campus until the quarantine period has passed.

In some cases, your ability to travel back to the United States may be disrupted. Due to the uncertainty of the coronavirus outbreak and the possibility of additional travel restrictions on short notice, Hamilton recommends that you consider suspending all leisure travel to areas outside the United States experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak. This applies to students, faculty, and staff. Please review carefully CDC and U.S. State Department guidance for international travel, avoid Level 3 countries, and recognize that travel warnings may change on short notice, with the attendant risks of travel disruptions and quarantines.

We encourage you to visit the College’s coronavirus webpage for the most up-to-date information.

Contingency Planning

We recognize different institutions are responding to this outbreak differently. We are trying to protect the health and safety of our community, while fulfilling our educational mission. For most people the current risk of exposure is considered low, but the situation is changing rapidly. Accordingly, we are engaged in extensive contingency planning for a wide range of possible scenarios, some of which would entail significant changes to College operations. However the situation evolves, we will communicate any changes in College policy as soon as possible.

In the meantime, please continue to follow good hygiene practices to protect yourself and those you care about.

Hamilton Emergency Response Team

March 1, 2020: Notice to Hamilton Students Studying Abroad in Italy

Dear Students:

Considering the elevation of the CDC Advisory to Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel) and the Department of State Advisory to Level 3 (Reconsider Travel), Hamilton College is requiring all Hamilton students currently studying in Italy to return to the United States immediately. The number of COVID-19 virus cases has increased markedly in a matter of days, and we are concerned that your continued study in Italy will increase your exposure to the virus and may compromise your ability to return to the United States should travel restrictions imposed by the U.S. government result in quarantine or other entry restrictions or should airlines curtail flights.

Please follow the guidelines for departure provided by your program administrator in Italy. Hamilton is providing additional guidelines below. Please also adhere to the Hamilton guidelines.

  • If your program administrator has given you a “stay in program site in Italy” option (for online coursework or to await possible resumption of courses) you are advised that Hamilton College will no longer honor that option. You must return to the United States.
  • Make travel plans to return to the U.S. no later than March 7. If you have been given an earlier date by your program administrator in Italy, please comply with that date.
  • Provide your travel plans to your program administrator in Italy and to Off-Campus Study at Hamilton. This should include date, flight information, port of entry in the U.S.
  • Prior to your return to the U.S., make arrangements with your program administration in Italy regarding how you will complete your academic credits for the semester. Provide that plan to Off-Campus Study at Hamilton. We realize that (in a few instances) some of the details of completion are not yet in place, especially those pertaining to studio courses. Off-Campus Study and others at Hamilton College will work with you individually to determine possible alternatives for completing the semester or gaining needed credits. Some options may include independent study, summer study options, or other plans that will require involvement of department chairs, the registrar and your concentration advisor.
  • Notify Off-Campus Study of any issues of concern you are encountering regarding continuation of your courses online.
  • Neither Hamilton College nor your Program Provider is offering the option to remain elsewhere in Italy or in Europe to complete your online courses. Neither Hamilton College nor the Provider with whom you are currently registered is able to offer emergency support, health and mental health services, insurance or other key safety supports if you remain elsewhere in Italy or elsewhere abroad.
  • You are expected to complete your online coursework at home. The Hamilton College campus will not be available to you upon your return. The semester is underway, residence life facilities are not available, and your return to campus may require health and safety measures that the college is not prepared to engage.
  • Please be prepared for additional developments regarding re-entry requirements, travel restrictions, quarantine/self- isolation, or testing/screening requirements that may be imposed by authorities in Italy or the United States prior to your actual return. Note also that you may be asked to report any countries you have visited in recent weeks when you come through U.S. immigration or try to depart Italy. This is a rapidly changing situation. Expect changes.

Staff in Off-Campus Study are here to assist you and consult with you. We know this is a disappointment beyond measure for each of you. We have no choice but to put your health and wellbeing above the dreams and plans you made for an amazing semester abroad. Please contact us about your plans and concerns so we can provide the highest level of support in this disappointing situation.

Carolyn North, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean
Off-Campus Study
Hamilton College
cnorth@hamilton.edu


Madeleine La Cotera
Assistant Director
Off-Campus Study
Hamilton College
mlacoter@hamilton.edu

March 1, 2020: Notice to Parents of Students Studying Abroad in Italy

Dear Parents:

I am writing to advise that the elevation of CDC Advisory to Level 3: Avoid Nonessential Travel and the U.S. Department of State Advisory to Level 3: Reconsider Travel, has resulted in more study abroad program suspensions in Italy. These heightened advisory levels trigger Hamilton action to restrict travel.

Consequently, Hamilton College is requiring all Hamilton students currently studying in Italy to return to the United States. Most of you have received, or will receive shortly, advisories from the various program partners in Italy indicating changes, many of which are mandating departure.

The entire international higher education community abroad and in the United States is responding similarly as we try to consider the health and wellbeing of our students. Given the uncertainties of the movement of COVID-19 in Italy and Europe, the rapid increase in cases, and the added uncertainty concerning government restrictions, travel bans, mandatory quarantine and testing we are acting now to ensure that our students can travel home with the least disruption.

Please see our advisory to our Hamilton students studying in Italy.

We know fully the immense disappointment our students are experiencing. Our goal is to help them stay “whole” academically by avoiding further disruption in their studies, to ensure that they are safe at home when travel is possible and have departed Italy before additional spread of the virus and the inevitable incursion of restrictions and travel bans. Currently, flights are available from Italy to the U.S., and we have asked students to make plans to depart by March 7.

Staff in Off-Campus Study will be assisting students with academic issues, alternative plans, and brokering of transfer credit. We are here to respond to questions and to help field questions that involve our partners in Italy.

Regards,

Carolyn Carolyn North, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean Off Campus Study
Hamilton College
cnorth@hamilton.edu

February 28, 2020: Notice to Hamilton Students Studying Abroad

Dear Study Abroad Students,

By now you have received Dean Martinez' email about Hamilton's campus response to the coronavirus. We wanted to reach out to you to touch base specifically about how to to take care of yourself since you are already abroad. As you know, this is a fast-moving and evolving situation. It is imperative that you read notices and follow the instructions of your program provider to keep up to date with the latest information about travel restrictions and health notices. Your health and safety are our top priority and at this time we recommend that you limit your travel and encourage you to stay local.

Currently, travel guidance has been issued by the CDC for China, Italy, Japan, and South Korea, and several countries have imposed entry restrictions, quarantines, and isolation protocols. Your spring break and weekend travel plans must take these factors into consideration.

If you decide to travel, make sure you are informed, follow all local directives, and monitor travel restrictions and advisories, particularly in Europe given the recent outbreak in Northern Italy. As cases continue to spread in Asia, similar protocols, advisories, and restrictions may also be implemented.

We strongly encourage you to consider these questions carefully before you travel:

  • Do you know how to activate your health insurance?
  • Do you know the emergency numbers for all the countries you intend to visit?
  • Do you have the emergency numbers of your program provider?
  • Are you registered with the U.S. State Department's Smart Traveler program STEP for ALL the countries you wish to visit?
  • Have you registered your travel plans with your provider?
  • Do you know how to reach U.S. authorities in all the countries you will visit?
  • Have you considered how you will complete the program if you are unable to return to your program location?
  • Do you have a plan for managing a quarantine or a disruption in travel if borders are closed?
  • Are you absolutely sure that travel is a better choice than remaining in your study abroad location?
  • Can your residential program staff help you make a plan if you stay in your study abroad location?

As a reminder, to help prevent the spread of illness, including the flu and common cold, practice good hygiene and monitor your own health. Symptoms of coronavirus include fever, cough, and shortness of breath and may appear up to 14 days after exposure.

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Cover your cough. Keep germs from spreading by coughing into your sleeve or a tissue, not your hand.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid sharing drinks, food, and/or cigarettes or vaping products.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you are sick.

Consult the resources listed below:

Please stay in touch with Off-Campus Study and reach out to us with any questions or concerns. The situation is dynamic and we can guarantee that it will change. We wish you a healthy semester.

Carolyn North, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean Off-Campus Study
Hamilton College
cnorth@hamilton.edu
315-859-4329

Madeleine La Cotera
Assistant Director Off-Campus Study
Hamilton College
mlacoter@hamilton.edu
315-859-4456

February 28, 2020: Notice to Parents of Hamilton Study Abroad Students

Hamilton College’s Off-Campus Study Office has been engaging students intensely for the past two weeks in areas directly affected by COVID-19 in order to arrange for safe relocation and evacuation as programs close, create alternative modes of course delivery, and provide local directives. Because we work with multiple provider partners to deliver worldwide study opportunities, we collaborate with these partners with specific messaging to our students in these locations.

Earlier today we sent a more general directive to all Hamilton students abroad imploring them to consider keeping their spring break and weekend travels local and providing guidance for staying informed, making prudent travel preparations, and maintaining healthy preventative practices when they travel. Please see that notice below.

We consider parents to be our partners as we endeavor to help students stay safe and healthy, maintain semester credits while abroad, and gain the most from their experience abroad. The disruptions and uncertainties accompanying COVID-19 heighten worry and concern, calling for prudent planning and sound advice. Our advice to exercise responsible decision making and curtail travel plans may be disappointing to students who have planned a grand, life-changing experience abroad and unforgettable travel experience with friends.

As we know, the movement of COVID-19 is unpredictable and rapidly changing. We will update our advice as warranted. Fortunately, for the majority of our students abroad, their study location is, at this time, safe with limited reports of COVID-19. Extensive travel during free time, with increased exposure to crowded terminals and modes of transportation, and the inevitable co-mingling of travelers from throughout the world, may be a greater risk than day-to-day study in their study abroad program.

We continue to monitor multiple worldwide risk advisories and communicate with partner programs and universities. We will update you as conditions warrant.

Regards,

Carolyn North, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean
Off-Campus Study
Hamilton College

February 27, 2020: Guidance for Spring Break Travel During Coronavirus Epidemic

Dear Hamilton Students and Parents:

As I’m sure you’re aware, the U.S. Department of State and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continue to monitor the coronavirus, now referred to as COVID-19. This is a rapidly evolving situation, with the virus now detected in nearly 50 countries around the world. I hope this will help inform any upcoming travel plans, including travel you may be considering during Hamilton’s spring break (March 13-30).

As of this writing, travel guidance has been issued by the CDC for China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, and South Korea, and several countries have imposed entry restrictions, quarantines, and isolation protocols.

Wherever you travel, I urge you to do so with an abundance of caution and specifically to reconsider leisure travel to these countries named above. If you do choose to travel abroad, you should be prepared for travel delays when re-entering the United States and for the possibility of a quarantine at the border if you are returning from any country that has been identified by the Department of State or CDC as a health risk. We want you to return to campus on time to successfully complete your semester of academic coursework. Minimizing the risk of campus exposure to the coronavirus is also of paramount importance.

The Hamilton Emergency Response Team (HERT), along with local public-health partners, continue to monitor the circumstances surrounding COVID-19. No members of the Hamilton community have been identified as having the coronavirus, and we continue to be informed that the risk to the Hamilton community remains low.

Carolyn North, assistant dean for off-campus study, is in continuous contact with Hamilton students who are currently studying abroad and with the College’s third-party partners. For parents with students currently abroad, you may reach out to Carolyn directly (315-859-4022) at any time. Should matters become sufficiently serious to warrant closure of programs or an independent determination to bring Hamilton students back to the U.S., we will follow the procedures put in place in accordance with the CDC and any new procedures that may be required by the State of New York and our regional public health authority. A decision regarding operation of Hamilton’s Associated Colleges in China (ACC) for Summer 2020 and Fall 2020 will be made in the coming weeks based on the containment of coronavirus and any continuing advisories.

As a reminder, to help prevent the spread of illness, including the flu and common cold:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your cough by coughing into your sleeve, not your hand, to keep germs from spreading.
  • Avoid sharing drinks, food, cigarettes, or vaping products.
  • If you share a living space with someone who is sick, try to stay at least six feet away to prevent exposure.

I understand that making choices about travel under these circumstances may seem overwhelming, but I trust that you will make informed decisions. Please reach out if you need to speak to someone about your plans. Whether you’re planning to take a trip or to simply stay with family and get lots of sleep, my wish for you is to enjoy the time away and that you come back to campus ready for the bustle of activity we have planned.

Regards,

Terry Martinez
Vice President and Dean of Students

January 30, 2020: Update: ACC 2020 Summer and Fall Programs

The Hamilton Associated Colleges in China Program is fully committed to returning to normal operations. Although the spring 2020 program was suspended when Minzu University closed access to its facilities in light of the coronavirus outbreak, ACC still anticipates offering the summer 2020 language immersion program and the summer 2020 language/internship program in Beijing. We are currently assessing the structure and start dates for those programs in light of recent events in China. The fall 2020 program is also scheduled to take place as planned. Students are encouraged to proceed with their applications for the ACC programs.

January 27, 2020: Update: ACC Spring 2020

Dear ACC Parents and Students:

ACC Beijing has determined that escalating uncertainty in China pertaining to the Coronavirus is cause for us to cancel the program effective Wednesday, January 29. The dormitories will remain open until all students have departed and the facilities at Minzu are available to students who need additional time to make travel arrangements.

Students are asked to make immediate arrangements to travel home or to their home campuses as appropriate. Any student requiring assistance with travel arrangements should contact Chen Wang at ACC. Those with roundtrip tickets should be able to change the flight without penalties or change fees. If you are charged change fees or are required to purchase a new ticket, please proceed. We will be sending information concerning refunds and reimbursements. 

We will continue to support our students until all have left the country. Students requiring additional support concerning personal matters, air travel, airport transportation, or other issues should also contact Chen Wang at ACC.

We know this decision is a disappointment to our students who were poised and dedicated to this learning experience. However, conditions are changing rapidly in China. Our decision was made in the interest of the health and wellbeing of our students.

Due to new instructional restrictions at Minzu University resulting from policies pertaining to the Coronavirus we currently plan to resume instruction in the ACC Summer Chinese Immersion program. Students wishing to engage in immersion study may join the ACC Summer Chinese Immersion. Please contact Yin Zhang at yzhang@hamilton.edu or 315-558-1080 for more information.

The ACC Program will be in touch with you and your home institutions regarding refunds.

Students and parents with additional concerns should contact me directly.

Sincerely,

Carolyn North
Assistant Dean, Off-Campus Study
Hamilton College
Business hours: 315-859-4329
After-hours contact Hamilton Campus Safety: 315-859-4141

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