UB has put the following protocols in place to protect your safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on UB’s COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, please visit the COVID-19: UB Planning and Response page.
This guidance is reviewed periodically and subject to change. For specific concerns please call (24 hours a day):
UB University Facilities Customer Services
Learn about UB's latest COVID-19 protocols:
he use of face coverings is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All members of the UB community, as well as all campus visitors, are required to wear face coverings at all times according to the guidelines outlined in UB’s Health and Safety Guidelines.
All members of the UB community and campus visitors must wear face coverings at all times (even if you are fully vaccinated) including (but not limited to) when inside UB buildings, classrooms, labs, facilities, and buses and shuttles and in outdoor campus spaces.
Even when social distancing is possible, and even if you are fully vaccinated, face coverings must be worn at all times when in public spaces – indoors or outdoors on UB’s campuses because the risk of infection still exists.
There are many types of masks you can use to protect yourself and others from getting and spreading COVID-19. The best, most readily available face mask is made of multiple-layers of cloth with a nose wire, that fits snugly.
The CDC does not recommend wearing face shields alone for COVID-19 protection. UB will provide face shield, however, to individuals who have a documented medical reason for being unable to wear a cloth face mask, or for any faculty member who prefers to use a face shield (instead of a cloth face mask) for purposes of lecturing.
Because they do not offer sufficient protection, UB will require any employee who requests a Face Shield to sign a disclaimer acknowledging that they are aware of this risk. In addition, we would ask that cloth face masks be worn under or in place of your face shield whenever possible.
To request a Face Shield, please contact Environment Health & Safety (EH&S) (EHS@facilities.buffalo.edu) and include:
1. Name, Unit
2. Your role (e.g., lecturer, lab instructor, administrative staff, trainer)
3. Reason for requesting Face Shield:
EH&S and Human Resources will review your request and if approved, they will send you Face Shield Acknowledgement form for you to complete and return. Once all documentation is received, EH&S will send you a Face Shield.
Face masks are dangerous because they restrict oxygen and expose me to dangerous levels of carbon dioxide from my exhalations.
Masks are not air tight. Oxygen and carbon dioxide molecules are small enough to easily pass through a face covering. If masks made it impossible to breathe, then any surgeon, any nurse, any lab technician, any person who works in a job that requires them to wear a mask would be passing out.
Wearing a face mask impinges on my individual freedom.
Striking a balance between individual liberty and collective safety is a challenge. Your individual concerns should be weighed against the need of the UB community to mitigate spread of the virus. Wearing a mask is a minimal sacrifice to protect us all. Further, many members of our community view it as a violation of their human rights to be exposed to potential infection from those who will not wear face masks. Like face masks, seat belts don’t guarantee your safety, but give you much better odds of surviving an accident or avoiding more serious injury. One big difference: Masks also help protect other people.
If you wear a cultural or religious head covering, such as a hijab, niqab, or turban, you are required to wear a cloth face mask, too.
In general, most cultural or religious head coverings either do not cover the face or do not fit snugly enough around the face to provide sufficient protection against COVID-19. Additionally, most head coverings that extend over the face are made of fabric too light and porous to offer protection.
Wearers of hijabs, turbans, tichels and head coverings like them that do not cover the face, must also wear a cloth face mask.
A standard cloth face mask can be tucked inside your veil or turban, behind your ears.
If you prefer to wear your face mask outside your head covering, consider attaching face mask extensions or buttons so you can attach ear loops.
Niqabs (niqaabs) and headcoverings like it do not provide sufficient protection against COVID-19 because they are not worn snugly against the face, are not air tight and are usually made of chiffon or other lightweight fabrics. For these reasons they do not effectively block your own respiratory emissions.
The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings that are at least 2 plies thick.
For these reasons, wearers of niqabs and coverings like it are required to wear a face mask.
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.
While there are some legitimate reasons for exemptions, in general, if someone is well enough to be out in public, they are likely well enough to wear some kind of face covering.
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, according to the American Lung Association.
In the unlikely event that you suffer from one of these medical conditions and feel you should be exempt from UB’s face mask mandate, please take these steps:
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.
If an 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.
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.
COVID-19 has called for a few adjustments to use and procurement of personal protection equipment (PPE). In general, the use and ordering of PPE for normal operations (i.e., not related to COVID-19) has not changed.
According to the CDC, gloves are not necessary for general use and do not replace good hand hygiene. Wearing gloves can provide a false sense of protection. By touching multiple surfaces without changing or cleaning gloves, you may unwittingly contaminate surfaces or yourself. Unless you are directed to by your supervisor or faculty member, or you work in an area that requires it (e.g., health care), please do NOT wear gloves.
For more information on PPE, visit one of these websites:
Yes. To protect their own health and that of their classmates, colleagues, friends and families, members of the UB community and visitors must commit themselves to wearing a face covering at all times when inside all UB buildings, and in outdoor spaces.
The university will provide one reusable face covering to each student, faculty and staff member at no cost. Individuals may choose to wear their own face covering if desired, provided it meets the criteria for an appropriate face covering.
Whether or not two masks are better than one depends on the type and the fit of the mask you are using. It is not mandated that you wear two masks, however the CDC recommends that for a better fit and extra protection, one option is to wear a disposable mask underneath AND cloth mask on top.
This CDC site provides excellent information on proper mask wearing. UB will also be working with the WNY Vaccination Hub to consistently update the public through the UB vaccine website with the latest information on how to stay safe.
Yes, even if your test result is negative, you must continue to observe all relevant health and safety guidelines. Wear a face covering, practice physical distancing, wash your hands, monitor yourself for COVID-19 symptoms and stay home if you feel sick.
Yes, for several reasons:
At UB, only individuals with a physician’s authorization will be considered for an exemption to our campus mandate to always wear a face mask.
In fall 2020, the university provided one reusable face covering to all students, faculty and staff at no cost. Individuals may choose to wear their own appropriate face covering if desired, provided it meets the criteria for an appropriate face covering. Students should visit the COVID-19 Student Guide for information on where to obtain additional face masks on campus.
Face shields will be provided, if approved by Human Resources and EH&S, if there is a medical reason a person cannot wear a mask.
Additional face coverings are available for purchase on campus.
No. Face masks and social distancing work together to protect us from infection. If you wear a face mask on campus, thank you. But you must also maintain a safe (6 foot) physical distance from others.
A protective face mask is meant to fit snug around your face. Additionally, it should be at least two-ply cloth. If your niqab, scarf or veil drapes and does not fit snugly, or if it is made of chiffon, georgette or other thin fabric, you should wear a face mask. If the fabric is thick enough, you can always pin your niqab or scarf to tighten it around your nose and mouth.
Look for cloth face masks that tie behind your head.
Affix buttons or other fixture to the outside of your head covering and loop your ear loops around them to hold your face mask in place.
Use an extender with your cloth face mask. It will allow masks with ear loops to be clasped behind the head. There are many do-it-yourself ideas on the web.
All campus visitors, including vendors and contractors, are required to abide by UB’s health and safety guidelines, including wearing face masks on UB campuses. Some construction or trade workers on campus, however, are bound by requirements (New York state or OSHA) that may differ somewhat from UB’s health and safety guidelines. Construction work should always be taking place in areas fenced off from the general campus population. Within those fenced off areas, workers are required to abide by New York state and OSHA COVID-19 guidelines. As soon as those workers leave the fenced work area, however, they are required to follow UB health and safety guidelines, including wearing face masks at all times.
If you notice construction or trade workers outside their work area who are not wearing face masks, please contact Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S).