Bulletins

Latest Bulletin

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.

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Recent Bulletins

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.”

Previous Bulletins

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.