Release Date: September 3, 2020
The university has reviewed the new case data received this afternoon from the Erie County Health Department. Based on zip code, it appears the vast majority of new and active student cases are again in the Heights district.
We don’t currently have evidence that large off-campus parties are a cause of viral spread among off-campus students, but we believe there were smaller scale parties inside student residences in the Heights that likely have contributed to the cases.
In advance of the weekend, we have continually reached out to students who live in the neighborhood, urging them to avoid attending house parties, and reminding them of the potential consequences of violating the university’s student compliance policy for COVID-19. In addition, university officials are in contact with all Greek-lettered, social fraternities and sororities and have warned them against hosting off-campus house parties.
Fortunately, our on-campus population of students, faculty and staff has a low incidence of the virus thus far, with only two students and two employees with active cases. We know things can change very quickly, so we continue to urge all members of the campus community to follow our health guidelines at all times.
On Friday, we begin a round of surveillance testing of students, faculty and staff, starting with our on-campus students. We’re hopeful that this testing, along with strict adherence to the university’s health guidelines, will curb potential outbreaks going forward.
The university is aware that the New York State Department of Health’s guidance states that colleges and universities must transition all in-person learning to remote, when 100 members of the on-campus population – inclusive of students, faculty, and staff – test positive for COVID-19 within a 14-day period. According to this guidance, 40 of the 78 active cases at UB are characterized as on-campus, and, thus, would count toward the 100 metric.
For reference, see https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governony.gov/files/atoms/files/HigherEducationSupplementalGuidance.pdf “Total on-campus population” includes all students, faculty, and staff who are on the campus location, including those students living on campus and those attending class on campus, as well as all staff and faculty working on campus.