Published March 12, 2020
Yesterday, in response to the rapidly evolving coronavirus pandemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that all SUNY institutions, including UB, will implement plans to maximize distance learning and reduce in-person instruction, effective March 23 and through the end of the spring 2020 semester. As you saw, President Satish Tripathi and Provost A. Scott Weber issued communications last night that outlined the university's response: all courses, where possible and regardless of size, should be offered in a distance-learning format.
The School of Architecture and Planning will act in full support of this directive. We take seriously our responsibility to minimize exposure to the coronavirus, both for the health and safety of our faculty, staff and students, and for the broader public, particularly vulnerable and at risk populations. Further, as architects and planners, we acknowledge that serious problems present opportunities for creative and collaborative problem-solving and systematic action. To the extent possible, we will approach this unprecedented situation as an opportunity to learn together and demonstrate our resilience as an academic community.
For the past several weeks our leadership team has been preparing for the possibility of COVID-19-related disruptions to university operations. We are taking directives from university leadership per guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the New York State Department of Health, and the Erie County Department of Health. Our priority is to support the health and safety of our community, maintain continuity in our academic and research programs, and ensure students can complete their course requirements on schedule.
Given the unique needs of the School of Architecture and Planning community, we have organized a school-level Response Team composed of our academic and administrative leadership. We are currently developing a full plan and policy framework addressing the implications of this situation on our academic and research enterprise, as well as student services, facilities, and study abroad and summer programming. This plan will be issued in the coming days.
With spring break upon us, I would like to take this opportunity to communicate immediate guidelines related to the operation of our academic and research enterprise:
As a fluid and rapidly evolving situation, we seek to create an open and transparent environment for addressing questions and concerns from faculty, staff, and students. Please direct all questions to Joelle Haseley (firstname.lastname@example.org), who will work with our Response Team to provide answers to your inquiries through a regularly updated Frequently Asked Questions document for the entire school community which will ultimately reside on our school web site.
Finally, we recognize that the loss of social connections is a significant challenge to the learning experience, particularly so in the studio environment. Social distancing and density reduction make it difficult to collaborate and to form the trust that maintains our sense of community. Again, as professionals trying to make a better world, this is what we do. While we test the limits of technology and communication, I am confident in our resilience and adaptability. We can work through this - and even grow given these circumstances. We are, after all, a collegial, collaborative, respectful, and creative bunch.
Thank you for your patience and support through this process. As you await further word from the School, please continue to visit https://www.buffalo.edu/coronavirus for updates and important information from UB leadership related to this evolving situation.
With best regards,