University Planning: COVID-19

Published December 17, 2020

Dear university community:

With our fall 2020 semester coming to an end, we would like to take this opportunity to update you on our plans for the upcoming spring semester.

As you may recall, last spring UB launched a framework of university-wide committees to develop plans for both short- and long-term scenarios in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Comprised of more than 150 faculty, staff, students and senior administrators, these committees were charged with determining how best to allow UB to continue offering transformative educational opportunities and conducting world-class research while protecting the health and safety of our university community.

Earlier this month, the Campus Planning Committee submitted its Executive Summary and Final Report and Recommendations for the spring 2021 semester, which we have accepted. We are pleased to share that, similar to our fall semester, UB is planning a return to campus in a modified in-person capacity, which will include a mix of in-person instruction – within distancing and public health guidelines – and remote courses.

Thanks to your compliance with UB’s health, safety and testing guidelines during the fall semester, we were able to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on campus and follow the schedule we set for our academic calendar. With these same safety measures in place—including using face coverings on campus and practicing physical distancing—our decision to return to a modified in-person format in spring 2021 is consistent with our mission as a place-based public research institution. This spring, we encourage our faculty to continue providing safe in-person and synchronous educational experiences for our students as appropriate and to the extent possible.

Below are the guidelines we will be following during our spring semester. The health and safety of the campus community is of paramount importance; as such, we will continually evaluate our plans in the months ahead, should conditions change. Please note that all determinations about the spring semester will align with SUNY’s spring 2021 reopening guidance and are dependent on Western New York’s color-coded zone status.

Modified In-Person Instruction and Spring 2021 Calendar

  • In-person, seated classroom instruction will be designed to provide 6 feet of physical distancing. Face coverings will be required.
  • Course format (in-person, hybrid in-person/remote or fully remote) will be based on course goals and curricular/clinical requirements. Definitions and instructions for viewing course instruction modes in HUB are available on the Registrar’s Important Spring 2021 Schedule Information website.  
  • The spring semester will be held from Feb. 1 to May 15 for undergraduate, graduate, and pharmacy students.
  • For professional school calendars, please visit the Dental Medicine (DDS), Law (JD), and Medical Education (MD) websites.
  • To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, classes will be scheduled through the week previously designated as spring recess.
  • The revised spring 2021 academic calendar was amended to protect the health and safety of the campus community and align with SUNY reopening guidelines.

Student Life

  • Residence Halls will be open with reduced occupancy.
  • Dining services will be available, with additional takeout and service options.
  • Libraries will be open, and services will be available remotely and in-person.

 Campus Health and Safety

  • We will follow all public health guidelines, including maintaining physical distancing and using face coverings.
  • There will continue to be a reduction in density in classrooms, student housing and offices across campus.
  • The university will adhere to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and New York State related to cleaning, providing protective barriers, controlling foot traffic flows, and using elevators and stairwells.
  • Face coverings will be available for students as needed.

Screening, Testing and Tracing Protocol

  • All students, faculty and staff must participate in daily pre-screening for travel history, COVID-19 history and COVID-19 symptoms two weeks prior to returning to campus and throughout the semester.
  • All students living on-campus, taking an in-person class or participating in any on- campus activity must present a negative COVID-19 test taken three days prior to their return to campus or participate in on-campus testing within five days of returning. They must also complete a seven-day precautionary quarantine prior to their arrival on campus.
  • UB students who are coming to campus from a non-contiguous state or a Level 2 or 3 country (as defined on the CDC website) must serve a 14-day quarantine upon arrival in New York State.
  • Students can attempt to shorten the 14-day quarantine by taking a COVID-19 test within three days of their departure location, quarantining for three days upon arrival and completing a COVID-19 test on the fourth day after their arrival in NYS. Quarantine must continue until both test results are negative.
  • UB students who are coming to campus from a Level 4 country must serve the entire 14-day quarantine upon arrival in New York State and submit a NYS traveler form.
  • Surveillance testing will continue through the winter session and spring 2021 semester.
  • UB has two residence halls designated for isolation and quarantine for positive cases and close contacts involving students.

Up-to-date information about UB’s plans, including specific guidance for employees and students returning to campus, is available at https://www.buffalo.edu/coronavirus/latest-update.html.  

In the coming days and weeks, you will receive more detailed information and guidance related to plans for spring 2021.   

We remain very grateful for our university community’s dedication to advancing our research mission and providing transformative academic experiences for our students as we continue to navigate the pandemic. As always, we are here to support each of you in your academic, research, scholarly and professional endeavors.

Sincerely,

Satish K. Tripathi  
President


A. Scott Weber
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs