Face coverings and social distancing recommended on all UB campuses

Published April 6, 2020


To all employees from Mark Coldren, Associate Vice President, Human Resources

On April 4 the CDC recommended that, in addition to maintaining 6-feet social distancing, the use of face coverings can help prevent spread of the coronavirus by people who have the virus but who have yet to show symptoms. Based on these new guidelines, we would like to update our recommended safety measures for essential personnel who are still working on UB’s campuses.

It is important to remember that social distancing is still the primary way to slow the spread of COVID-19,  and should be maintained regardless of whether a person is wearing a mask or face covering. If social distancing is not an option or is not feasible, essential staff members are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings when they are in close proximity of other individuals or when providing customer services. Essential staff members are not required to wear face coverings in situations when they are working alone in an area where they are isolated from other staff.

Currently, commercial masks are in short supply and UB may not be able to provide you with a commercial mask at this time. The university is attempting to obtain a supply of masks and as they become available, we will attempt to provide you with one.

Essential staff are welcome to wear a face covering they bring from home. Face coverings from home may include such items as cloth masks, surgical masks, shop/carpenter masks, bandanas, scarfs, etc. CDC guidance for making your own face covering is available here. Cloth face coverings can be laundered at home and used multiple times. UB encourages their re-use, unless the user suspects their face covering has been contaminated.

If an employee brings an N95 respirator from home, they must report their intent to use the equipment to their supervisor.  Because N95 respirators are tight-fitting, filtering face-pieces, their use requires UB to maintain compliance with the OSHA respiratory protection standard. Therefore, the employee may be required to read OSHA appendix D regarding the voluntary use of respirators, and sign off that they have read and understood the material. Your supervisor will assist you with this task.

Individuals who work in patient-care situations or areas of special risk (Dental Clinics, Student Health Services, LAF, and University Police) should continue to wear personal proactive equipment as prescribed by their departmental manager. If anyone has questions, please contact your direct supervisor or you can contact Mark Coldren in Human Resources at 716-645-8155 or mcoldren@buffalo.edu