Bulletins

Latest Bulletin

5/21: Tripathi gives update on phased return for employees, announcing fall plans

The university anticipates that decisions related to the fall 2020 semester will be made and communicated to the campus community in mid- to late June, UB President Satish K. Tripathi said this morning in a memo to faculty, staff and students.

Tripathi added that UB envisions a phased return of employees to campus prior to the start of the 2020-2021 academic year. Further, he stated, "it is my hope that such a return will begin in the very near future, including resuming research that has been put on hold."

Tripathi stressed that all determinations about a phased return of employees and the fall 2020 semester will align with Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Executive Orders — including Western New York’s progress pursuant to the state’s Phase 1-4 regional benchmarks.

The president's memo also notes that under Provost A. Scott Weber’s leadership, UB is developing numerous protocols to prepare for the fall. "This preparation includes a full array of measures to ensure the health and safety of every member of our campus community," Tripathi stated.

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Recent Bulletins

5/15: Fall study abroad programs cancelled

In light of the ongoing threat of the global pandemic of COVID-19, the university is cancelling UB-administered study abroad programs for Fall 2020.

The cancellation affects programs with start dates from August through November 2020 and is based on a careful assessment of current and future risks from the pandemic in countries where UB administers programs. The health and safety of students remains UB’s highest priority.

The threat of a recurrence of COVID-19 outbreaks this fall remains a serious concern. At this time, the U.S. Department of State continues to list a global health advisory (Level 4: Do Not Travel) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains its Warning Level 3: Avoid Nonessential Travel, and thus international travel remains heavily restricted.  Consulates serving our region remain closed, which impedes students’ ability to apply for visas to undertake their programs abroad.

This cancellation decision pertains to both conventional UB-administered credit-bearing programs and non-credit experiential learning trips, including those for service, clinical and internship experiences. Students who have applied for such programs and trips through the Office of International Education have been notified.

The university is currently evaluating several instructional scenarios for its home campus in Buffalo this fall, ranging from a full return to on-campus instruction, to continuing distance learning, to modified in-person instruction in a safe campus environment.

Questions may be directed to Mary Odrzywolski, Director of Study Abroad Programs, at maryodrz@buffalo.edu.  Should conditions allow, UB plans to resume study abroad programs in the winter session in January 2021.

5/15: HR provides update on "NYS on Pause" extension to May 28

Mark Coldren, UB's associate vice president for human resources, sent an email to all UB employees May 15 regarding the extension of New York State on Pause to May 28.

The governor's extension comes as five regions of upstate New York can begin reopening because they have met criteria laid out by the governor's office.

When there is a change in the governor’s directive, UB will provide a planned and phased approach for any changes in operations, services and the return of non-essential employees to the campus. Until then, non-essential employees must continue to work remotely, Coldren noted.

Any UB employees who have questions or concerns should contact Coldren at 716-645-8155 or mcoldren@buffalo.edu.

5/7: Working remotely to remain in effect for non-essential employees

In a memo to all employees on May 7, Mark Coldren, associate vice president for human resources provided a reminder on the Governor’s extension of NYS on Pause.

"This message is to remind the UB community of the governor’s directive advising all non-essential employees to stay at home and work remotely until further notice is given by the university," Coldren said.

"If there is a change in the governor’s directive, you will receive official notification from the university indicating a date when non-essential employees can return to the campus. Until then, non-essential employees must continue to work remotely."

"Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.  Again, I would like to express the gratitude of the entire UB community to all of our essential colleagues who continue to work on campus each day to maintain the operations of the university."

4/30: Student Accounts provides info on refunds

Student Accounts has worked with fee stewards across the university to determine credits due to students for the spring 2020 semester as a result of COVID-19. 

Students have received prorated credits for certain fees where services have been discontinued or curtailed due to the COVID-19 emergency. A calculated credit amount has been determined for each of these fees.

After credits are applied to the student’s account, a refund will be granted where applicable.

Students anticipating a refund are encouraged to enroll in direct deposit.

Funds should be available in student bank accounts within 2 business days from the time the direct deposit refund is initiated, depending on your financial institution. Direct deposit refunds will be processed the week of May 4, 2020.

For students without a direct deposit profile, refunds will be mailed by check to the student’s permanent address the week of May 11, 2020.

Previous Bulletins

4/27: Provost provides update on planning committees

In order to advance UB's academic and research mission during COVID-19, the university will create a framework of university-wide committees that will develop plans for a variety of short- and long-term scenarios, UB Provost A. Scott Weber wrote in an email to the campus community.

The committees are composed of faculty, staff, students and senior administrators.

“In these challenging and uncertain times, campus wide engagement, planning and prudent stewardship of our resources are critical to ensure that we continue to advance our research, education and engagement mission and rise among the ranks of the top public research universities in the nation,” Weber wrote.

4/27: Tripathi's message on planning for 2020-21

UB President Satish K. Tripathi provided an update to the campus commuminty today on planning efforts for the upcoming 2020-21 academic year.

“Given the reverberations of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are intentionally preparing for the challenges that lie ahead — from questions about public health, university finances, enrollment, academic continuity, research, and our overall student experience,” Tripathi wrote.

Tripathi has tasked UB Provost A. Scott Weber with leading this comprehensive effort. Weber will provide further details to the campus community this week.

“We will be planning for every eventuality — from a distance education model to a residential, campus-based experience in a less dense and safe environment, to a potential full return to conventional campus operations,” Tripathi said.

The university’s planning efforts will take into account the following:

  • ensuring the health and safety of UB students, faculty and staff
  • maintaining UB’s reputation as a premier public research university and as a member of the AAU
  • providing all students with a distinctive education that prepares them as global citizens in their respective fields
  • continuing to pursue the university’s strategic goals
  • ensuring that UB is on strong financial footing today and for the long term
“At UB, we will not dilute our educational ideals, these unprecedented circumstances notwithstanding. I have every confidence that the thoughtfully creative minds of our faculty, staff and students will bring to the fore solutions expressed through our tripartite mission—transformative education, impactful research, and service to our local and global communities,” Tripathi said.

4/24: UB summarizes known confirmed cases

At this time, there are two UB students and five staff and faculty members known to have tested positive for COVID-19 since the virus was first detected in Western New York in mid-March.

Three of these individuals have recovered, including the two students. The other four individuals are under quarantine in off-campus residences.

To protect their privacy, the university will not be releasing any other information about these individuals.

The figures do not include physicians who are members of the university community and have been working primarily in area hospitals providing care to patients during the pandemic.

Whenever there is a confirmed case that poses a risk of exposure to members of the university community, UB’s academic or administrative units will notify members of the university community who may be at risk.

In each of the seven positive cases, UB has worked closely with the Erie County Department of Health to take steps to reduce the risk of spread to others. This included contacting directly anyone identified as having had close contact with these individuals to provide guidance on additional precautions, and performing a deep cleaning of impacted areas at the university.

Steps taken by UB over the past four weeks to transition to distance learning and decrease the density of students and employees on its campuses are believed to have reduced the risk of exposure to coronavirus at the university.

We will continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and take all appropriate precautions to safeguard the well-being of our students, faculty and staff.

All members of the university community are advised to self-monitor their health closely, follow guidelines recommended by the CDC and check the university’s COVID-19 Information website for updates.

4/24: HR provides update on “NYS on Pause” extension to May 15

Mark Coldren, UB's associate vice president for human resources, sent a memo to UB employees on April 23 regarding Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's "NYS on Pause" extension to May 15.

The text of Coldren's memo is as follows:

In response to the continuing COVID-19 public health emergency, Governor Cuomo has extended to May 15 the directive indicating that all non-essential state employees in all New York State agencies and public authorities are not to report to work.

As a reminder, non-essential employees are defined as anyone who does not need to be physically present to perform job functions, or who are not required to meet the core function and programs of their agency/institution during the state’s emergency response.

Essential employees continue to be defined as anyone whose job function is essential to the effective operation of their agency/institution, or who must be physically present to perform their job; and those involved in the COVID-19 emergency response, and individuals who are currently providing a vital service for students who returned to campus and who are enrolled via distance learning.  Once again, I would like to express the gratitude of the entire UB community to all of our essential colleagues for their efforts to maintain the operations of the University every day.

Please also note that state-funded student workers are still operating under the governor’s executive order, which provides direction on pay, working from home, and reporting to work only if deemed essential.  Supervisors of student employees should continue to submit timesheets for work up until May 15.  Federal Work Study students should also continue to be paid until the identified funding is depleted.  If any department has questions regarding FWS student funding, please contact the Financial Aid Office.

Included with the governor’s May 15 extension is a host of tools for campuses to use, including but not limited to:

1. The ability to work remotely.

2. The ability to redeploy staff and provide alternate assignments.

3. Continuation of pay for full-time and part-time employees currently through May 15 for anyone not working or not assigned to work.

4. Continuation of pay for any employee quarantined up to 14 days.

In compliance with the State Executive Order for face coverings, UB’s Environment Health & Safety team is currently facilitating the distribution of masks for all essential employees. In anticipation of non-essential employees returning to UB campuses, we will need to prepare for resources and materials, per State guidance and mandates.

To be more efficient and effective in this transition, all Personal Protective Equipment and disinfectant materials will be sourced centrally for the entire University. This would include face coverings and disinfectant cleaning materials such as Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer. Centralizing this process will enable consistent, compliance-based and cost effective purchasing to be accomplished.

Individual units should not initiate purchasing transactions for any of these items.  Acquisition, storage and distribution will be managed centrally. More information about this process will provided as plans are developed for the return of non-essential employees to campus. 

If you have questions about any of these matters, please contact me at mcoldren@buffalo.edu or 645-8155.

4/21: School of Dental Medicine reports case of COVID-19

A staff member from the School of Dental Medicine has tested positive for COVID-19, Joseph J. Zambon, DDS, PhD, the school’s dean and SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Periodontics and Endodontics, said in an email to members of the School of Dental Medicine community.

This individual is now under quarantine and is following the guidelines set by the Erie County Department of Health.

Based on the timing of when this individual was last in the school’s facilities, Zambon said there was limited exposure to others within the School of Dental Medicine.

Zambon said the school is working closely with the Erie County Department of Health to take steps to reduce the risk of spread to others, including contacting directly anyone identified as having had close contact with the individual who tested positive. The school is also deep cleaning impacted areas.

4/14: HR provides updated guidance on face coverings

In a memo to all employees on April 13, Mark Coldren, associate vice president for human resources, provided an update to the recommended safety measures for essential personnel who are still working on UB’s campuses.

“In accordance with the recent Executive Order issued by Governor Cuomo (4/12/20) and guidance provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) regarding the voluntary use of face coverings, UB intends to supply our essential employees with suitable face covering materials for use in the workplace,” Coldren said.  “As was shared previously, we are working to have these materials to be distributed with area supervisors as soon as they are sourced and available.”

“We know that these are challenging and fluid times. Please know that everyone’s health and safety is our top priority.  Thank you for your continued support and cooperation to help us conserve higher levels of respiratory protection for medical professionals and first responders. This guideline is designed to be consistent with local, state, SUNY and federal guidelines so we can continue to protect the well-being of the entire campus community. Again, many thanks to all of our essential colleagues for all that they are doing for our campus community.

4/14: HR provides update on “NYS on Pause” extension to April 29

In a memo to all employees on April 13, Mark Coldren, associate vice president for human resources provided an update on the Governor’s extension of NYS on Pause.

“UB received confirmation in response to the continuing public health emergency for the COVID-19 virus, that the Governor extended his directive for all non-essential State employees for New York State’s agencies and public authorities in every county, to not report to work until April 29,” Coldren said.

“Essential employees continue to be defined as anyone whose job function is essential to the effective operation of their agency or authority, or who must be physically present to perform their job, those involved in the COVID-19 emergency response, and individuals who are currently providing a vital service for students who returned to campus and are undergoing distance learning. I know that the entire UB community joins me in appreciation for all our essential colleagues are doing to maintain the operations of the university every day.”

Coldren reminded employees that non-essential employees are defined as anyone who does not need to be physically present to perform job functions, or they are not required to meet the core function and programs of their agency during this emergency response.

4/11: UB statement on virtual commencement

We understand our students’ disappointment regarding the decision to transition to a virtual commencement. We sincerely appreciate that commencement is a significant milestone for our UB students. Every year, we look forward to celebrating this milestone with our graduates, their families and their friends. However, at this moment, we find ourselves in an incredibly challenging situation.

To ensure the health, safety and well-being of our graduates, their loved ones and our entire university community, commencement exercises have been moved to a virtual environment. We remain optimistic that we also will be able to recognize our graduates during on-campus commencement at a later date. Once it is safe to hold commencement, we will notify our graduates and the university community of our plans.

4/8: Provost Weber forms Research and Graduate Education Task Force

In a letter to the campus community, UB Provost A. Scott Weber announced the formation of a Research and Graduate Education Task Force which will focus on the challenges that UB faculty, research staff, postdocs, and graduate students are experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 disruption. 

“Now more than ever, it is critical for faculty, postdocs and graduate students to utilize available technology to maintain close working relationships so that, as a campus community, we can continue the significant progress we have made in increasing grant applications, scholarly productivity, clinical care, and research impact,” Weber said.

“Even in the face of the current challenges, I know that we all share the goal of sustaining this strong research momentum by reopening our research facilities and reengaging in our scholarship as soon as possible. We will do so but must maintain our first priority, which is to protect the health and well-being of all members of the campus community.”

4/7: Important COVID-19 advisory - Governors Complex

The following letter was emailed to residents of UB's Governors Complex residence hall on April 6:

We are reaching out with health update for our student community. A resident of the Governors Complex is currently in quarantine with a presumptive case of COVID-19. This individual is experiencing mild symptoms and will not be tested at this time.

UB’s Health Services staff are providing support to this individual and they are also receiving the resources necessary to be able to make a full recovery. The individual’s roommate, who currently has no COVID-19 symptoms, has been relocated and is in precautionary quarantine. Both students have been given instructions by the university to remain in their rooms and the delivery of food has been arranged. 

Based on the timing of the individual’s illness and the reduced number of people in the complex, we believe that there was limited exposure to others.  Please know that the health and safety of our residents is of utmost importance to Campus Living and that we are collaborating with everyone to reduce the risk of spread to others. This includes directly contacting and providing guidance to anyone identified as having close contact with this individual.

Additionally, all members of the Governors community should be mindful of the need to self-monitor their health closely for the next 14 days. It is recommended that you check your temperature twice daily and monitor for cough and/or shortness of breath.

If you develop a temperature of 100.4° F or higher that is accompanied by a cough or shortness of breath, you should self-isolate and immediately and notify your health care provider or UB Health Services at 716-829-3316.

As health officials continue to monitor the community spread of COVID-19 in Western New York, we expecting to see an increase in the number of cases (presumptive or confirmed) within the university community. Please be assured that Campus Living is committed to keeping you updated about this evolving situation. In addition to regularly checking your email, please visit UB’s COVID-19 website.

Please remember that the leadership within Campus Living stands ready to help and support you, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with questions. Please feel free to reach out via email to Julie Szrama (juliemos@buffalo.edu) if you have any questions or concerns.

Thank you for your understanding and resilience as we face these trying times together.

Sincerely,

Julie Szrama
Complex Coordinator

4/7: HR provides guidance to employees on use of face coverings on campus

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.  In a memo to all employees on April 6, Mark Coldren, associate vice president for human resources, updated the 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,” Coldren said.

“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.”

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.

4/6: Tripathi updates campus on commencement, summer session

Commencement ceremonies will be held in a virtual environment this May, UB President Satish K. Tripathi said today in an email update to the campus community.

“As with all decisions we have made during these uncertain times, the health and well-being of our entire UB community is our guidepost and our priority,” Tripathi said, adding that planning for virtual commencement exercises has begun.

Further information about commencement will be communicated by each respective school.

“At this point, we remain optimistic that we also will be able to recognize and celebrate UB’s Class of 2020 during an on-campus celebration sometime later in the year,” Tripathi said.

Tripathi also reported that UB will maintain a distance learning platform throughout the upcoming summer session.

4/6: Jacobs School statement on early graduation of medical students

The faculty, staff and students of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB continue to respond in various ways to the COVID-19 pandemic in Western New York.

The Governor’s Executive Order enables members of our Class of 2020 to volunteer to participate as new members of the Western New York health care workforce.

We expect that members of our Class of 2020 will graduate on May 1, the original graduation date on the academic calendar.

However, should the apex of patients hospitalized overwhelm our health care workforce, we will be prepared to graduate early medical students who have both completed all of their education requirements and volunteer to be available.

3/28: Athletics reports case of COVID-19

A staff member from the Divison of Athletics and Recreation has tested positive for COVID-19, Director of Athletics Mark Alnutt said Saturday in a memo to staff.

The individual is currently under quarantine and being cared for at a local hospital and is doing well, Alnutt said, adding that the department has been in contact with the individual and their family to offer support and best wishes for a full recovery.

There was limited exposure to others within the division, based on the timing of when this individual was last in Athletics facilities.

“Please know that the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff is of utmost importance to us and that we are working closely with the county Department of Health to take steps to reduce the risk of spread to others,” Alnutt said.

“These include contacting directly anyone identified as having had close contact with this individual to provide guidance on additional precautions, and performing a deep cleaning of impacted areas within Alumni Arena.”

Division of Athletics and Recreation employees have been reminded to self-monitor their health closely for the next 14 days, including checking their temperature twice daily while monitoring for cough and/or shortness of breath.

3/25: Jacobs School reports case of COVID-19

A student from the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences has tested positive for COVID-19 and is self-isolating at their off-campus residence, Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences at UB and dean of the Jacobs School, reported in a memo to students Wednesday night.

A close family member of this individual, who is also a Jacobs School student, is also under quarantine at their off-campus residence, awaiting testing.

“In light of this news, all of us should be mindful of the need to self-monitor our health closely for the next 14 days by checking our temperature twice daily and monitoring for cough and/or shortness of breath,” Cain said.

If you do not develop symptoms of COVID-19, then testing is NOT necessary. If you develop a temperature of 100.4 F or above AND a cough or shortness of breath, you should self-isolate and immediately notify your health care provider or UB Health Services at 716-829-3316 if you are a student. 

“The safety and well-being of the Jacobs School community is our utmost priority. We will continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and take all appropriate precautions to safeguard the well-being of our students, faculty and staff,” Cain said.

3/24: UB to reschedule commencement

Due to the unprecedented circumstances faced as a result of COVID-19, UB’s May 2020 commencement ceremonies will not take place as scheduled, UB President Satish K. Tripathi said in a message to campus on Tuesday.

“While we know this is disappointing news to UB’s Class of 2020 as well their families, friends and our university community, this is a necessary decision given the unprecedented circumstances we face,” Tripathi said.

3/23: Credits/refunds on spring 2020 semester costs

Students will receive prorated credits for certain fees where services have been discontinued or curtailed due to the COVID-19 emergency, UB administrators Laura Hubbard and Christina Hernandez wrote in a letter to UB sutdents and parents.

As previously communicated, resident students who leave campus housing this semester will receive a prorated credit for their housing effective March 23, 2020 through the end of their remaining housing contract.

Students who have meal plan contracts or campus cash will receive a prorated credit for the balance remaining on their meal plan/campus cash on their student account as well.  

 A calculated credit amount is being determined for each of these fees:

  • Transportation fee
  • Athletics fee
  • Recreation
  • Campus Life Fee
  • Student Activity Fee - to be determined by the applicable student government

3/23: Campus Living sets protocols for student health

Over the past two weeks, UB has prepared for the return of a significantly smaller student population to campus housing.

Approximately 1,500 students — many of whom never left during the spring recess — are expected to live in residence halls and in on-campus apartments for the remainder of the spring semester.

There’s usually 8,000.

The decline is the result of UB’s transition to distance learning instruction in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and steps UB is taking, including new protocols within campus housing, to safeguard the well-being of UB students, faculty and staff.

Thomas R. Tiberi, director of campus living, says students who remain in university housing have been issued strict guidelines that they are expected to follow while living on campus.

“Students must limit interactions with others and always follow social distancing requirements — remain six feet away from others, even in shared spaces,” says Tiberi. “Students are not permitted to enter residence halls or apartments other than their assigned living space.

“Students from other residence halls and off-campus guests are not permitted to enter residence halls or apartments. To connect with friends or other students, please video chat, call or text them.”

3/21: All non-essential research labs to close Monday, March 23

In order to maintain UB’s research enterprise while protecting the health and safety of faculty and staff, UB’s research labs will focus only on essential research activities over the next six weeks.

To assist faculty, UB’s research administration and support infrastructure is 100% operational with employees working remotely from home.

For additional details, see Vice President for Research Venu Govindaraju’s message to UB faculty.

3/20: Message from UB President Tripathi

In a message to the UB community, UB President Satish K. Tripathi addressed how the university is coming together as it transitions to distance learning due to COVID-19.

"We are all adjusting to a new—albeit temporary—reality. That we continue to uphold our mission and vision of excellence under such trying circumstances is nothing short of inspiring," Tripathi said.

3/19: NYS health department guidance for close, proximate contacts

The following is republished from the New York State Department of Health’s publication “Guidance on the Contacts of a Close or Proximate Contact of a Confirmed or Suspected Case of COVID-19."

Background

As more cases of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) are identified or suspected across New York State, and individuals and families are required or recommended for mandatory or precautionary quarantine, it is important that there is a common understanding of the risk to contacts of contacts of a suspected or confirmed case.

Department of Health Policy Guidance

Person A is diagnosed with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19. If Person B had contact, close1 or proximate2, with Person A, Person B would be subject to mandatory quarantine3 (if close contact) or precautionary quarantine4 (if proximate contact).

Any individual (Person C) who is a contact of Person B (i.e. spouse, children, co- workers, etc.) is considered a “contact of a contact”. Person C is not at risk for infection and would not be subject to quarantine unless Person B had or developed symptoms, or tested positive for the virus causing COVID-19.

Diagram that illustrates the person-to-person-to-person transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

Close contact is defined as “being within 6 ft of a person displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or someone who has tested positive of COVID-19”

Proximate contact is defined as “being in the same enclosed environment such as a classroom, office, orgatherings but greater than 6 ft from a person displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or someone who has tested positive for COVID-19”

Mandatory quarantine is required for a person who “has been in close contact (6 ft.) with someone who ispositive, but is not displaying symptoms for COVID-19; or person has traveled to China, Iran, Japan, South Korea or Italy and is displaying symptoms of COVID-19”

Precautionary quarantine is required for a person who “meets one or more of the following criteria: (i) hastraveled to China, Iran, Japan, South Korea or Italy while COVID-19 was prevalent, but is not displaying symptoms; or (ii) is known to have had a proximate exposure to a positive person but has not had direct contact with apositive person and is not displaying symptoms”

Examples of “Contact of a Contact” Scenarios

Household Members

  • If an asymptomatic individual is contacted by a local health department to be notified that they are a contact of a confirmed case, they will be required to be under mandatory quarantine or precautionary quarantine in their home, depending on if contact was close or proximate respectively, following the guidelines provided by the state.
  • Any spouse, children or other household members, assuming both they and the individual under quarantine are asymptomatic, are considered a“contact of a contact” and therefore are not required to be in quarantine. They can go to school, work, and engaged other activities following recommendations for social distancing as appropriate.

Co-Workers

  • If an asymptomatic employee calls their supervisor and notifies them that they are required to stay home in quarantine because they were a contact of a confirmed case, the contacts they had at work are considered“contacts of a contact” and therefore not at risk. These “contacts of acontact” are not required to be in quarantine and should be permitted to continue to work, following recommendations for social distancing as appropriate.

3/18: UB community member tests positive for COVID-19

A member of the UB community has tested positive for the novel coronavirus COVID-19, the university learned today from the Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH).

This is the first confirmed case among the UB community, and the individual is in mandatory isolation in their off-campus private residence, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

UB is working closely with ECDOH officials to reach out to any students, faculty or staff who may have come into contact with this individual. These people may, in accordance with CDC guidelines, be placed under a mandatory self-quarantine to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. They will not return to campus until they have completed the quarantine.

While health officials have said the potential for surface exposure is low, the university is thoroughly cleaning areas to ensure the safest environment possible.

Because UB is on spring recess this week, the vast majority of students are off campus and classes are not in session. Starting Monday, the university will move to a distance learning model, in which classes, labs and other learning environments will be taught online. Students are being advised to say home for the remainder of the semester if they are able to do so.

The full statement is available on the UB NewsCenter site.

3/18: Guidance for human research subjects

UB's Office of Research Compliance has provided guidance in order to assist the UB research community in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to COVID-19, UB will be temporarily pausing select human subject research activities. This pause will not affect human subject research that includes therapies or procedures directly benefiting study subjects, such as clinical trials.

Additional information is available on the Office of Research Compliance website.

3/17: New details on housing, dining refunds

Christina Hernandez, UB's interim vice president for student life, provided the following information in a memo to students. The full messagge is available on the Campus Living website:

Status of campus housing

Student housing will remain open for those who meet any of the following criteria:  

  • Students, including our international students, for whom university housing is their primary residence, may continue to reside on campus.
  • Students for whom safe living and dining arrangements cannot be made, may continue to reside on campus.
  • Students who have limited or no access to technology, may continue to reside on campus.

Housing and Dining refund status

Prorated credits for room and board (including, residence hall/housing and dining/meal expenses) will be granted to students with housing and meal contracts who leave campus housing. Non-resident students who have meal plan contracts will be eligible for a prorated credit on their student account as well.

3/17: Following governor's order, all campus dining is take-out only

Until further notice, UB Campus Dining and Shops eateries will offer take-out only. Seating will not be available.

This follows the executive order issued Monday by New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo directing all restaurants in the state to provide take-out service only in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

3/17: UB issues guidance on facilitating temporary alternate work assignments

University Human Resources has issued guidelines and information for UB employees who may wish to work remotely temporarily during the COVID-19 situation.

3/15: Erie County COVID-19 cases not directly linked to UB

The first seven confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in Erie County are not believed to be directly connected to UB as students, faculty, staff or visiting scholars.

The entire UB community extends our thoughts and best wishes to these individuals and their families, as we hope for their quick and full recovery.

While spread of COVID-19 is concerning, it is not unexpected. The university has been preparing and responding to this eventuality for weeks under the guidance of Erie County and the State of New York. For example, the university last week, under guidance from the State University of New York, announced it would move to a distance learning model starting March 23.

The state of emergency declared Sunday in Erie County, where UB’s campuses are located, will give county leaders broader authority to respond to the crisis. It will not directly impact university operations. The university remains open and fully operational.

As more information is provided by state and county officials, we will keep the UB community informed of any new developments that impact our community and which require a university response.

3/14: Message to international students about distance learning

International Student Services (ISS) at UB has received guidance from the U.S. government that they intend to be flexible with temporary adaptations to online classes as the university moves to a distance learning mode of instruction, John Wood, UB's interim vice provost for international education, wrote in a message to international students.

The government recognizes there are extenuating circumstances because our courses were not intended to be online. Provided international students can continue to make normal progress in a full course of study as required by federal regulations, students’ legal immigration status is not in jeopardy.

International students should plan to participate in their classes in the format in which they are offered when they resume on Monday, March 23.
 
ISS has developed a helpful Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page to address many of the questions and concerns international students may have at this time.

Wood's full message is available on the ISS website.

3/13: Student support during distance learning

Interim Vice President for Student Life Christina R. Hernandez updated the campus community on Student support during distance learning.

Hernandez's full update is available on the president's website.

3/11: Provost Weber on transitioning to distance learning March 23

In a letter to the campus community, UB Provost A. Scott Weber provided additional information on UB’s plans to maximize distance learning and reduce in-person instruction.

Weber noted that the transition to distance learning will be in effect from March 23 through the end of the spring 2020 semester. During this time, all courses, where possible and regardless of size, should be offered in distance learning format.

Some formats — labs, studio, field based programs, etc. — may not be amenable to a distance learning format in the short term, Weber noted. Accordingly, unit leadership has the authority to grant exceptions in some circumstances with the guiding principle to minimize density in the teaching environment.

Weber’s full update is available on the provost’s website.

3/11: President Tripathi updates campus on transition to distance learning

UB President Satish K. Tripathi updated the campus community on UB’s plans to maximize distance learning and reduce in-person instruction, effective March 23 and through the end of the spring 2020 semester.

Tripathi's full update is available on the president's website.

3/11: UB moving to distance learning 3/23; campus still open

For the past month, the UB has been preparing to move to a distance learning model for student instruction in response to the evolving COVID-19 situation.

With the governor’s guidance announced today, and in collaboration with SUNY leadership, UB will now move forward to implement its plans for distance learning beginning March 23.

The university is open this week. Classes, events and activities are operating on a normal schedule.

UB’s leadership will provide more information this week regarding implementation of distance learning at UB and the availability of on-campus services such as residence halls and dining for the period beginning March 23 and for the remainder of the semester.

UB has been communicating with the university community via its COVID-19 website, which has been updated almost daily since launching in January.

3/11: UB recalling all study abroad students

In accordance with guidance provided by SUNY, UB announced today that all remaining campus-administered study abroad programs in progress are suspended, and planned programs for the remainder of the 2020 spring semester are canceled or will be postponed.

The precautionary measure is designed to protect SUNY and UB students currently studying in countries not yet designated as at-risk locations for novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Approximately 65 UB students currently studying abroad will be recalled.

Read the full announcement.

3/9: Spring break travel and COVID-19

The university is taking added precaution as it relates to student health and safety when planning international or domestic travel due to COVID-19, Christina Hernandez, UB's interim vice president for student life, said in a letter posted on the Student Life website.

For students who wish not to travel, the university has arranged for access to residence halls and dining facilities during the week of March 14-22. To request campus accommodations, utilize the Campus Living request break housing form by Wednesday, March 11.

Campus Dining will also be providing limited services during this period to accommodate those students who wish to remain on campus.

Students who choose to travel are urged to be aware of health and travel advisories for their destination.

Read Hernandez' full letter on the Student Life website.

3/5: Travel restrictions for NYS employees

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to countries with Level 3 Health Notices, and cautions against high-risk travelers from traveling to countries with Level 2 Health Notices. 
 
In accordance with this recommendation from the CDC, the State of New York has prohibited all New York State work-related employee travel to these countries until further notice:

  • China
  • Iran
  • Italy
  • South Korea
  • Japan

3/4: UB recalling students studying abroad in affected countries

Following the guidance of New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and SUNY, UB has directed its students who are studying abroad in countries impacted by the COVID-19 to return to the U.S.

In addition to recalling students from affected countries, UB and SUNY also have cancelled all campus-sponsored travel to impacted countries for the remainder of the semester.

Read the full story on the UB NewsCenter site.

3/4: President Tripathi creates COVID-19 committees

UB President Satish K. Tripathi updated the campus community on UB’s COVID-19 response, and announced the creation of several committees and working groups.

UB has been actively monitoring developments related to COVID-19 and is following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the New York State Department of Health and the Erie County Department of Health, Tripathi said.

To ensure preparedness for any potential event in this evolving situation, Tripathi has established seven committees and working groups to maintain continuity among UB’s academic, research and business operations.

Committee descriptions and chairs are outlined on the president's website.

3/4: Provost Weber updates campus on COVID-19

In a letter to the campus community, UB Provost A. Scott Weber provided updates on how university leadership has been monitoring the COVID-19 situation. In addition, Weber provided updates on study abroad and faculty and staff travel abroad.

“We are actively planning to ensure academic continuity should there be a disruption to our planned academic calendar and will keep you informed in the days and weeks ahead,” Weber said.

Weber’s full update is available on the provost’s website.

2/19: Notice for students in China unable to take the IELTS, PTE or TOEFL

The university has updated its policy on English language proficiency requirements for prospective students who have been affected by the closure of testing sites for TOEFL, IELTS and PTE.

Information about prospective graduate and professional student requirements is available on the Graduate School website.

Information about undergraduate student requirements is available on the International Admissions website.

2/17: Update on self-isolation period

Students who returned from China at the beginning of the spring semester (Jan. 27) are now past the 14-day self-isolation period recommended for individuals who may feel sick with fever, cough or have trouble breathing.

There have been no reports of any cases of novel coronavirus in Erie County, including at the University at Buffalo.

It is important for individuals who have arrived, or those who will be arriving, after the start of the semester to continue to follow CDC and Department of Health guidelines.

2/4: Quarantine advisory for travelers from China

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have adjusted their guidance to individuals who have recently traveled from China. For travelers who have arrived in the United States on and after February 2, 2020, the following guidelines apply:

Individuals entering the United States from Hubei Province, China, will be subject to a mandatory quarantine for 14 days after leaving Hubei. The quarantine will be controlled by the CDC and/or state health officials. This quarantine will be in effect whether the individual is sick or not.

Individuals entering the United States from areas of China other than Hubei will be asked to voluntarily self-quarantine for 14 days. The quarantine will be actively monitored by local and/or state health officials, and will be in effect whether the individual is sick or not.

If symptoms occur during their quarantine, individuals should follow the instructions given to them by the health department.

Students who fall into either category above should contact their faculty directly to discuss their absence from classes due to quarantine. Faculty, staff and visiting scholars who fall into either category above should contact their supervisor to discuss their absence from work due to their quarantine.