COVID-19 Prevention: UB Workplace

Together, we are protecting each other

UB has implemented several guidelines and protocols to ensure that our campuses are safe for our faculty, staff and student employees.

Need Help?

Need help with UB's COVID-19 protocols for employees? Please contact:

  1. Your supervisor
  2. UB Human Resources, 716-645-7777, ub-hr@buffalo.edu
  3. UB Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Safe Workplace Monitoring Your Health Screening and Testing Shared Responsibility

The COVID-19 pandemic impacts everyone. Do your part to foster a healthy and safe campus environment for all by following these important guidelines.

Before Returning to Work on Campus

Prior to returning to campus for UB's fall 2020 semester, all employees should do the following:

  1. Contact your supervisor to confirm when and if you are to return to your on-campus work location
  2. Review and familiarize yourself with UB's COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines
  3. Observe a precautionary 7-day quarantine

Daily Health Verification

All employees are required to complete the Daily Health Check on the days they are scheduled to work, even if working remotely, whether or not they are coming to campus. Employees are not required to complete the Daily Health Check on the days they are not working, including holidays, scheduled days off and sick days; however, doing so even on the days when it is not required is strongly recommended out of concern for your personal health and the health of the entire UB community.

State, Research Foundation and UB Foundation employees, as well as volunteers, adjunct faculty, vendors, visitors and invited guests to campus who are otherwise not affiliated with UB, must also complete the Daily Health Check prior to their arrival on campus.

Students, faculty and staff who are working/learning entirely remotely and outside of New York State, do not have to complete the Daily Health Check.

Individuals will be required to attest that they:

  1. Have not had COVID-19 symptoms in past 10 days
  2. Have not had a positive SARS-CoV-2 test in past 10 days, and/or
  3. Have not had close contact with someone who is confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19 in past 14 days when both parties were not wearing masks.

Source: Human Resources

Precautionary Quarantine

To reduce the risk of virus transmission, and in accordance with SUNY guidelines, a precautionary seven-day quarantine at their own residence is highly recommended for all UB students, faculty and staff who return to or come to campus in August (or thereafter) to start the academic year.

During these seven days, all members of the campus community are asked to exercise extra caution in protecting yourself from COVID-19 infection, especially by:

  • Avoiding travel
  • Avoiding large gatherings
  • Limiting public exposure

Upon return to campus, it is important and necessary that all individuals adhere to all UB health guidelines, which include the use of a face covering at all times, appropriate physical distancing and frequent handwashing.

The university’s guidelines will continue to be updated as needed in accordance with new recommendations from the state and CDC, and as new scientific findings emerge. Updates will be posted on the Health and Safety Guidelines webpage.

COVID-related Absences

If you suspect you have COVID-19, please contact Human Resources or your supervisor immediately. We will provide guidance.

Human Resources
UB-HR@buffalo.edu
716-645-7777

If you are unable to report to work because of a nonmedical COVID-19 situation (e.g., caring for a child whose school or day care is closed; caring for a family member with COVID-19), please contact your supervisor. They will work with UB Human Resources (HR) to determine what benefits or leave options may be available (e.g., accruals, NYSPFL, FMLA, or other) and to consider whether there are any alternative work arrangements that would allow you to perform essential job duties. 

Source: Human Resources

Working Remotely

Effective March 17, 2020, all non-essential SUNY employees were assigned to perform their work-related duties and responsibilities from alternate work locations, via telecommuting. 

Beginning 7/1/20, UB has begun allowing some units to return to on-site activities, upon approval of each unit’s Return-to-Work plans.

Employees will be informed by their supervisors if their work situation (work remote or work on-campus) has changed.

Returning to Work After Travel

UB employees returning from a designated state who cannot telecommute and are deemed essential and critical for the operation or safety of the workplace, upon a documented determination by their supervisor and a human resources (HR) representative in consultation with appropriate state and local health authorities, the exposed, asymptomatic employee may return to work so long as the employee adheres to the following practices prior to and during their work shift, which should be monitored and documented by the employer and employee: 

  1. Regular monitoring: The employee must self-monitor for a temperature greater than or equal to 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit every 12 hours and symptoms consistent with COVID-19 under the supervision of their employer’s occupational health program.
  2. Wear a mask: The employee must wear a face mask at all times while in the workplace for 14 days after last exposure.
  3. Social distance: The employee must continue social distancing practices, including maintaining, at least, six feet of distance from others.
  4. Clean and disinfect workspaces: The employer must continue to regularly clean and disinfect all areas, such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, and shared electronic equipment.
  5. Maintain quarantine: The employee must continue to self-quarantine and self-monitor for temperature and symptoms when not at the workplace for 14 days after last exposure.

If an employee is symptomatic upon arrival at work or becomes sick with COVID-19 symptoms while at the workplace, absent close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19, the employee must be separated and sent home immediately and may return to work upon completing at least 10 days of isolation from the onset of symptoms OR upon receipt of a negative COVID-19 test result.

Face Covering Exemptions

UB requires every member of the campus community to wear a face mask at all times. Most physicians and medical authorities agree that there are very few medical conditions in which a face mask will be unsafe.

In fact, the American Lung Association has stated that even individuals with underlying chronic lung disease should be able to wear a non-N95 facial covering without affecting their oxygen or carbon dioxide levels.

If you are uncomfortable wearing a face mask, we recommend:

  1. Contact your health care provider. They will be able to provide guidance and assess whether you are eligible for an exemption.
  2. Try different types of face masks. Any of these are suitable if they fit tightly around your face and are made from two-ply fabric: 
  • Cloth masks
  • Store bought
  • Homemade face masks made from bandannas, scarves, hand towels, or any items made of cotton or linen.
  • Surgical or procedural masks
  • N95 masks (generally reserved for front line workers)

In the unlikely event that you suffer from one of these medical conditions, you can be granted an exempt from wearing a face mask if you provide a doctor’s note verifying that you have a medical condition that makes wearing a face mask unsafe.

If you think you have cause for a medical exemption:

  • Employees should contact Human Resources for instructions on requesting a face mask exemption. A doctor’s note will be required.
  • Students should contact Health Services or Accessibility Resources. 
  • If your request for a face mask exemption is approved, you will be provided with a plexiglass or plastic face shield that should be worn at all times on campus.
  • It is important to remember that face shields do not provide as much protection against COVID-19 as a tight fitting, cloth face mask. Before you receive a face shield you be required to sign a document acknowledging that you are aware of this fact.

Be Aware of Campus Sensitivities

If the individual is given an exemption for facial coverings, there is still the chance for confrontation or challenge by members of the UB campus community concerned about you as a potential spreader of infection.

Work-related Exemptions

Cloth face masks may not be enough protection for individuals whose work brings them into higher than average exposure to infectious airborne particles. Examples may include individuals who work on the front lines of health care or in some research laboratories. In these cases, UB will provide you with the appropriate personal protection equipment, including appropriate face coverings.

Contact your supervisor or UB Human Resources at 716-645-7777 for specific guidance regarding your personal work situation.