As the semester draws to a close, UB health and safety officials remind members of the campus community and visitors to UB that anyone testing positive for COVID-19 should isolate according to CDC guidelines. Anyone who feels unwell or experiences symptoms such as sore throat, headache, runny nose, fever, shortness of breath and coughing should stay home and get tested.
Students who need to miss class due to COVID-19 illness, isolation or quarantine are responsible for contacting their instructors and making arrangements to make up missed work. Class absences due to COVID-19 isolation or quarantine are considered excusable per the university’s Class Attendance policies. Instructors are to use all means at their disposal to allow students to make up work and engage in class activities while in isolation, depending on the circumstances relevant to the course.
Individuals who should be extra cautious when attending commencement ceremonies or graduation parties — this includes the unvaccinated, under vaccinated (not boosted), elderly and immunocompromised, and those who interact with these groups — are strongly encouraged to wear a high-quality, well-fitting mask (e.g., N95, KN95, KF94).
Masks are not required at commencement ceremonies for participants or attendees. However, they are mandatory for passengers aboard UB buses and shuttles, per guidance from the governor and CDC. Complimentary face masks are available to riders upon request.
Western New York continues to experience a swift rise in COVID-19 rates, due to the spread of the omicron subvariant BA.2 and a general loosening of restrictions.
Though the increase is expected to ease in the coming weeks, UB health and safety officials recommend that visitors to UB and members of the campus community use their best personal judgment in protecting themselves as the semester draws to a close.
Individuals who should be extra cautious when attending commencement ceremonies or graduation parties — this includes the unvaccinated, undervaccinated (not boosted), elderly and immunocompromised, and those who interact with these groups — are strongly encouraged to wear a high-quality, well-fitting mask (e.g., N95, KN95, KF94).
Anyone who feels unwell or experiences symptoms such as sore throat, headache, runny nose, fever, shortness of breath and coughing should stay home and get tested. Anyone testing positive should isolate, according to CDC guidelines.
While masks are not required at commencement ceremonies for participants or attendees, they are mandatory for passengers aboard UB buses and shuttles, per guidance from the governor and CDC. Complimentary face masks are available to riders upon request.
For those unable to attend in person, degree conferral ceremonies will be available for livestream and post-ceremony viewing.
For more information, visit UB’s Countdown to Commencement website.
Proof of vaccination against COVID-19 will no longer be required to attend events at UB.
Effective immediately, spectators do not need to show a vaccination card upon entering sporting events at UB Stadium or Alumni Arena, or to attend cultural events at the Center for the Arts and Slee Hall.
This also applies to students and guests attending commencement ceremonies in May.
Masks are no longer required at UB events, either, part of an earlier decision to lift that mandate for most campus settings on March 5, based on updated guidance from the state and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The New York State-run COVID-19 testing site at the Center for Tomorrow on UB's North Campus will cease operations effective April 1.
The clinic, which offered COVID testing for asymptomatic individuals and people who may have been exposed to COVID-19, opened on Jan. 7 and was operated by Quadrant Biosciences.
Help keep UB healthy. Display posters and digital signage in public spaces to encourage the entire community to follow proper safety protocol.
Starting Saturday, March 5, the University at Buffalo will make masks optional on its campuses in most settings:
Remember: There are many reasons that individuals may continue to wear a mask. Be kind and respectful toward others in our UB community.
All campus community members who have regular on-campus contact and are not up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations must continue to participate in weekly surveillance testing, including those with an approved medical or religious exemption.
With the lifting of the mask mandate comes new guidance for faculty in the classroom. Individual faculty members cannot require masking in their classroom, nor can they change course modality without explicit approval from their department and decanal unit. The risk of transmission in the classroom is still considered very low, as 98% of UB students are up to date with their vaccinations.
UB leadership is in consultation with SUNY and the Erie County Department of Health about mask requirements on UB’s three campuses.
The move comes following Gov. Kathy Hochul’s decision to lift the mask mandate in K-12 schools effective March 2.
Decisions about whether to relax mask requirements at UB will be made in collaboration with SUNY and the county health department based on CDC guidance and on the prevalence of the virus at the university and within the local community.
Any changes to UB's guidelines will be promptly communicated to the university community. For now, the university will continue to require masking indoors at UB and on UB buses in accordance with our current guidelines.
In accordance with SUNY guidance, UB will continue to enforce universal indoor masking on campus. This policy is separate from the general statewide mask mandate lifted by Gov. Kathy Hochul earlier this week. SUNY officials are working to develop guidelines for campuses to determine, in consultation with their local health departments, if and when to lift masking requirements in the future. Any changes to UB guidelines will be communicated as they are issued.
A change to UB guidelines allows the resumption of regular food service at UB-sponsored events, no longer requiring “grab and go” service. Masks continue to be required when attendees are not eating.
UB Vice President for Student Life Brian Hamluk announced updated guidelines for the spring 2022 semester in an email sent to all students earlier today.
Important updates include:
In an email to all students, UB Vice President for Student Life Brian Hamluk encouraged students to take action now on meeting the SUNY requirements for the start of the spring 2022 semester.
This includes complying with the new SUNY vaccine booster requirement, and submitting spring semester start-up COVID-19 test results.
With the holiday season now upon us, many UB departments and student groups are considering having parties and other end-of-the-semester events involving food. Due to the rising COVID-19 transmission rates in the surrounding community, UB officials ask that groups hosting such gatherings plan the event carefully to minimize the risks. All events at which food is served, both public and private, must be approved by UB’s Department of Environment, Health and Safety.
Hosting groups should carefully consider whether it is appropriate to hold an event this year. Some larger events held in the past may not be advisable in the same scale this year. Organizers may want to consider the possibility of rescheduling larger events to a later time.
Organizers should also consider alternative ways of holding the event. Some options include:
Where departments or groups decide to gather with food, they will be required to obtain pre-approval.
The following general guidelines will apply:
The following are recommended for the party setup and service of food:
Lastly, the group should always be within the standard occupancy designation for the space. If the event establishes planned entry and exit routes, then all attendees should follow those signs.
Following these guidelines can help to ensure a successful and safer event.
UB is strongly encouraging COVID-19 booster shots for those on campus who are eligible.
While COVID cases are rising in the area, UB’s strong adherence to a comprehensive set of health and safety measures greatly reduces the risk of infection on campus. However, data shows that protection afforded by the vaccines does decrease over time. Receiving a booster can augment immunity to a level even higher than initially following full vaccination and help to ensure the long-term safety of our campus community.
Shots are available at the New York State vaccination site in Harriman Hall on UB’s South Campus. You can also receive a booster at various local pharmacies, health departments, clinics and other locations. Visit vaccines.gov, text your zip code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you. For additional details, check UB’s COVID-19 website.
Free COVID-19 vaccines are now available to all members of the UB community at three on-campus clinics. To receive a vaccination, students, faculty and staff must present a UB identification card.
Please bring your COVID-19 vaccination record card and a government-issued ID. No appointments are necessary. Additional details, including locations and hours, are available at Flu Clinics and Flu Vaccine - Spring 2022.
As the semester continues, the weather turns and many of us plan to gather with family and friends for Thanksgiving, it is critical that we do all we can to protect ourselves and those around us, both on campus and off.
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs A. Scott Weber and Vice President for Health Sciences and Chair, Health and Safety Committee Michael Cain provided booster guidance for employees in a campus-wide email to all employees.
Senior Associate Vice President for Student Life Barbara Ricotta and Director, Student Health Services Susan Snyder provided booster guidance for students in a campus-wide email to all students.
UB faculty, staff and students who are required to participate in weekly COVID-19 surveillance testing are asked to take note of changes to the schedule due to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday on Nov. 25.
During the week of Thanksgiving (Nov. 22-26), UB’s surveillance testing sites will be open only on that Monday and Tuesday. The sites will be closed Nov. 24-28 for the Thanksgiving holiday.
The regular weekly schedule will resume on Monday, Nov. 29. More information on weekly surveillance testing is available on UB’s COVID-19 website.
UB is phasing out the Daily Health Check, the university’s virtual COVID-19 screening tool. Beginning next week, the Daily Health Check will cease sending text message reminders, and students, faculty, staff and visitors will no longer be required to complete it. If anyone receives a text message reminding them to access the Daily Health Check, they may disregard it—no further action is needed.
This decision reflects the effectiveness of broad vaccine adoption at UB, which has the highest student vaccination rate in SUNY (99%) and a very high rate among employees (nearly 90%), as well as continuation of other science-based health and safety measures. Together, they are significantly reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection on campus.
The Daily Health Check proved an essential and successful part of UB’s ongoing health and safety campaign. Since its introduction in the late summer of 2020, it served 31,954 users, who submitted nearly 2.8 million attestations, and the screening tool contributed to UB’s low positivity rate, which continues to be among the lowest in SUNY.
Although UB will no longer offer a formal health screening or collect related data, individuals should continue to:
In addition to these measures, the university strongly encourages eligible members of the campus community to get COVID-19 booster shots. Like the initial vaccines, boosters have been fully authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, and free clinics are operating on the North, South and Downtown campuses—no appointment necessary. More information on boosters is available on UB’s COVID-19 response site.
Starting Oct. 1, UB will require proof that spectators are vaccinated against COVID-19 to be allowed into football games at UB Stadium and men’s and women’s basketball games at Alumni Arena, as well as public cultural events at Slee Hall, the Center for the Arts and Alumni Arena.
This includes the Distinguished Speakers Series and the commencement celebration honoring the Class of 2020 on Oct. 1.
A vaccination card, a photo of a vaccination card, an Excelsior Pass or a digital vaccine card are all acceptable. Attendees should be prepared to show photo ID as well.
Following CDC recommendation, the University at Buffalo (UB) utilizes a layered approach to reduce the risk of exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This layered approach includes vaccination, face covering requirements, health screening tools, hygiene, regular surveillance testing as well as ensuring appropriate building ventilation.
CDC has published updated ventilation guidance throughout the pandemic, and the university has continued to evaluate and optimize ventilation systems on our campuses based on CDC and American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) guidance.
In accordance with current CDC and ASHREA guidance, UB is not recommending the use of APUs for non-high risk, general occupied areas. However, we do recognize that some may feel an individual desire for an APU in their space. UB will not provide funding for APUs in personal spaces unless UB Environment, Health and Safety (EH&S) approves the purchase.
Purchase of APU units is the responsibility of the ordering unit or the individual, and will be approved only after EH&S review and approval of the need for the unit, and with the specified documentation.
Free COVID-19 vaccines are now available to all members of the UB community at three on-campus clinics. The clinics, located on the North, South and Downtown campuses, are also providing flu vaccinations (no cost with insurance).
To receive a vaccination, students, faculty and staff must present a UB identification card. No appointments are necessary. The clinics will operate each week through Nov. 18.
The schedules are:
COVID (but not flu) vaccines are still available at the (NYS-run) Harriman Hall location.
With students arriving back on campus this week after a year-and a-half of mostly remote instruction, the University at Buffalo is well-prepared to ensure the fall semester is both safe and successful.
Updated health and safety guidelines enacted by the university, which align with the latest scientific guidance from public health experts, will minimize the spread of the coronavirus and its variants, as in-person learning activities and other aspects of campus life return to normal.
All UB students are required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 to attend classes in person and participate in on-campus activities in the fall, according to a SUNY mandate. Full approval of the vaccine was granted by the FDA on Monday, August 23.
Students who do not comply with this requirement by Aug. 30 will be dropped or resigned from all courses with an in-person component. Students should understand that being dropped or resigned from a course may impact financial aid, medical insurance eligibility, sequence of required courses and/or time to graduation.
Students are financially liable for all courses unless they have dropped or resigned by published deadlines. If you have not yet submitted proof of vaccination or are unvaccinated, please review Vaccine Non-Compliance Consequences.
Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Graduate School Graham Hammill and Dean of Undergraduate Education Ann Bisantz provided classroom guidance for faculty in a campus-wide email to all instructors. This message includes information on the following:
Starting Monday, Aug. 16, COVID-19 surveillance testing on the North Campus will move from the Student Union to the ground floor of Talbert Hall in room 11 (formerly Bert’s food court). Weekly testing is mandatory for all students and employees who report to campus and either are not up to date or have not verified that they have completed their vaccination series. Fully vaccinated students and employees who have submitted verification do not have to participate in weekly testing.
Employees returning to campus are encouraged to submit proof of their COVID-19 vaccination information and are reminded to participate in weekly surveillance testing.
UB’s health guidelines and procedures for face coverings were updated in a university-wide email from UB Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs A. Scott Weber and Vice President for Health Sciences Michael E. Cain.
Dear university community:
In accordance with updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Erie County Department of Health, the University at Buffalo will require all students, employees and visitors – regardless of their vaccination status – to wear face coverings while inside campus buildings, effective starting tomorrow, Aug. 3.
Face coverings: Face coverings will be required in classrooms, hallways, libraries and other common spaces, as well as UB buses and shuttles. Face coverings are not required inside personal rooms at residence halls, while eating in on-campus dining areas, when alone within personal offices or in non-public-facing personal workstations.
Outdoor settings: Vaccinated UB students and employees will not be required to wear face coverings on UB campuses. Unvaccinated individuals will be required to wear face coverings in all outdoor settings. Face coverings will be required for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals at outdoor events or settings where large groups of people congregate, such as at on-campus football games.
Vaccination: As we safely resume in-person classes and operations for the fall semester, UB strongly urges all students and employees to get vaccinated, in compliance with state and SUNY requirements. Pending FDA full approval, vaccination will be required for all students participating in in-person classes and activities. Vaccination is required for all students residing in university housing. UB will continue to require regular testing of non-vaccinated students and employees.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, and as recommendations from federal, state and local entities potentially change, UB will adjust its health and safety guidelines accordingly.
For all updates, please refer to UB’s COVID-19 Planning and Response website.
A. Scott Weber
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Michael E. Cain
Vice President for Health Sciences
Dean, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
UB Human Resources sent an email to all UB employees August 2 reminding employees returning to campus of their obligation to complete the Daily Health Check, UB’s COVID-19 screening tool.
Dear UB colleague,
As the university prepares for more normal operations ahead of the fall semester, employees returning to campus are reminded of their obligation to complete the Daily Health Check, UB’s COVID-19 screening tool.
All UB faculty, staff and volunteers, regardless of their vaccination status, must complete the Daily Health Check on the days that they come to campus. Employees should plan to complete their screening prior to their arrival.
With the COVID-19 pandemic entering a new stage, the Daily Health Check will be even more critical in protecting the health and safety of the campus community. Thank you for doing your part to ensure everyone’s return to campus is as smooth and as safe as possible.
For more information about the Daily Health Check, including exemptions, data privacy and more, visit the Daily Health Check webpage.
Sign up for text notifications
As a reminder, smartphone users can sign up for text notifications to make completing their Daily Health Check simpler and more convenient. To sign up for text message alerts:
Those without smartphones can directly access the tool via the web by clicking “none” within the chatbot.
Life at UB will be much closer to normal come fall with the announcement that students who have been vaccinated for COVID-19 will no longer need to wear masks or stay physically distanced while in the classroom.
The highly anticipated change was made this week by SUNY and takes effect at UB immediately.
The latest guidance from SUNY expands on earlier announcements that lifted masking and distancing requirements for vaccinated students and employees in most indoor and outdoor campus settings, including in classrooms and studios, research labs, offices, residence halls, recreation spaces and dining areas.
However, students and employees who are not vaccinated are responsible for wearing a mask in all indoor and outdoor locations on UB’s campuses, with the exception of in their personal residence hall rooms, personal workstations or while eating in university dining areas. Physical distancing will not be required in classroom settings, but unvaccinated individuals must wear masks.
UB Associate Vice President for Human Resources Mark Coldren sent an email updating UB employees on telecommuting.
Although the pilot telecommuting program agreed to by the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations (GOER), SUNY and the bargaining units ends on July 2, 2021, UB acknowledges that certain employees may face child care, elder care and personal COVID-19-related medical concerns that make their individual return to campus challenging, Coldren wrote.
These employees may request to defer their transition back to place-based work under the New York State Pilot Telecommuting terms as they address issues limited to child care, elder care or specific COVID-19-related medical accommodations.
As stated in President Tripathi’s spring announcement to the UB community, UB is striving to get back to a fully place-based institution in anticipation of students returning for the fall semester, Coldren wrote. To meet this goal, units should continue to facilitate their return-to-campus plans to meet the goal of having employees return to campus beginning Aug.2.
On Thursday, June 24, 2021, the Office of Research and Economic Development confirmed and clarified SUNY guidance.
Published June 28, 2021
With the exception of classrooms and class-based lab settings, fully vaccinated students no longer need to wear face coverings or stay physically distanced in indoor settings (including residence halls) or outdoors. Unvaccinated students are required to wear face coverings and physically distance in all indoor and outdoor settings except when in their own residence hall room alone or with a roommate. Updated guidance from SUNY on face covering and physical distancing requirements is expected soon.
Published June 25, 2021
UB has received specific guidance from SUNY and the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations regarding our employees' return to work. These guidelines are effective immediately. They provide direction on capacity, physical distancing, masks, health screening and ventilation and air filtration.
Updated June 28; Published June 21, 2021
The University at Buffalo is aware of Governor Cuomo’s recent announcement to relax most COVID-19 restrictions in NYS after 70% of adults 18 years or older have received at least one shot (dose) of vaccine. On June 3, UB released its health and safety guidelines for the summer months, and is currently waiting for further guidance from SUNY in light of the governor’s recent announcement. Until that time, the university will continue to follow its current health and safety guidelines regarding face coverings, surveillance testing and physical distancing. The university continues to strongly urge students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
Published June 16, 2021
Beginning on June 14, the surveillance testing sites on north and south campus will now be open only Monday and Tuesdays.
The hours of operations will not change – testing times and locations can be found here.
Published June 10, 2021
UB is updating its COVID-19 protocols in preparation for more employees returning to campus over the summer.
The rules for summer reflect revised guidance recently issued by SUNY, as the pandemic continues to evolve and colleges and universities across the state prepare for a more normal return to campus come fall.
Published June 3, 2021
Mark Coldren, UB's associate vice president for human resources, sent an email to all UB employees June 3 updating summer protocols at UB.
Published June 3, 2021
The University at Buffalo is aware that SUNY has released its updated COVID-19 protocols for summer and fall 2021 semester planning. The university is currently reviewing that guidance and will communicate what this means for UB students, employees and visitors in the coming days. Until this review is completed, the university will continue to follow its current health and safety guidelines regarding face coverings, surveillance testing and physical distancing. The university will continue to strongly urge students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
Published May 27, 2021
The University at Buffalo is aware of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s announcement that New York State will adopt the CDC’s latest recommendations for fully vaccinated people for most business and public settings. The university is currently reviewing these recommendations in coordination with the State University of New York. Until it receives further information, the university will continue to follow its current face covering guidelines, outlined in UB’s health and safety guidelines, which state that masks are required indoors at UB at all times. In outdoor settings on UB’s campuses, fully vaccinated people can remove their masks.
Published May 17, 2021
UB students will be required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 to attend classes in person in the fall as part of an effort to boost vaccination rates on SUNY campuses, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.
Published May 11, 2021
Beginning Monday, May 17, the university will shift to a summer schedule for surveillance testing of students and employees on campus.
Testing appointments are not required and will be available as follows:
Student Union, room 210
Monday* and Wednesday: 9:00am–5:00pm
Monday*, Tuesday, and Wednesday: 9:00am–4:00pm
Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences building
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday: 11:00am–1:30pm
Please note that the Greiner Hall location on the North Campus will no longer be available.
*Testing on Monday, May 31, will be suspended in observance of Memorial Day.
In an email to the campus community today, UB President Satish K. Tripathi provided an update on preparations for the fall 2021 semester, noting that UB's intention is to have employees back in person by Aug. 1 to prepare for the start of the new academic year.
Starting Saturday, March 5, the University at Buffalo will make masks optional on its campuses in most settings:
Remember: There are many reasons that individuals may continue to wear a mask, including those who are:
Please be kind and respectful toward others in our UB community.
Faculty and academic support staff, see Guidance for faculty and academic support staff.
Published April 30, 2021
UB’s office of Parking and Transportation will provide free service to vaccine clinics at the KeyBank Center in downtown Buffalo or ECC North Campus in Williamsville for students unable to get there on their own. There’s also a state-operated vaccination clinic in Harriman Hall (open to walk-ins, without appointments) on UB’s South Campus, with regular UB bus service between UB campuses.
For more information, email email@example.com or call 716-645-3943.
Where can I get vaccinated?
Appointments are no longer needed at any state-run or county-run vaccination site.
Published April 21, 2021
In coordination with SUNY and following a recommendation from the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control, the University at Buffalo will pause plans to use the Johnson & Johnson single dose coronavirus vaccine at an on-campus vaccination site for students scheduled to open on Thursday in the Student Union. UB will provide more information about its plans for the on-campus vaccination site over the next few days.
The health and safety of UB students, faculty, staff and visitors remains paramount in all of the university’s plans and responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Published April 13, 2021
The student vaccine site will open Thursday on the North Campus. UB has 200 doses of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine to offer and anticipates getting more from SUNY as the national supply issues with the J&J vaccine are resolved. UB will communicate the registration process this week to students.
UB is offering vaccination to all UB students as part of a SUNY program designed to vaccinate students against the coronavirus before they leave campus at the end of the spring semester.
Students — who may now receive the vaccine as eligibility expanded to anyone age 16 or over as of April 6 — will receive the J&J COVID-19 vaccine. Since the J&J vaccine requires only one dose, students can be fully vaccinated before going home for the summer next month.
Students also have the option of making an appointment at New York state vaccination sites. Information on the state-operated and other off-campus vaccination sites can be found below about making appointments at off-campus sites.
Published April 12, 2021
UB soon will begin offering vaccination to all UB students as part of a SUNY program designed to vaccinate students against the coronavirus before they leave campus at the end of the spring semester.
Students — who may now receive the vaccine as eligibility expanded to anyone age 16 or over as of April 6 — will receive the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine. Since the J&J vaccine requires only one dose, students can be fully vaccinated before going home for the summer next month.
Planning currently is underway to establish a vaccination site for students on UB’s North Campus. More information will be communicated to students in the coming days.
Published April 7, 2021
The fall 2021 course schedule will be released on March 29. Students received an email on March 25 providing them with important information on registering for courses. Unlike this past academic year, the vast majority of courses in the fall will be delivered in person, reflecting a strong desire among UB faculty to return to campus. More plans for the fall semester will be announced as they are finalized.
The Daily Health Check has been recently updated to reflect expanding access to vaccines and changes to New York State policies. Please be aware of the following:
Whether or not you have been vaccinated, please continue to observe all of UB’s Health and Safety Guidelines. Wear a face covering, maintain physical distance, practice good hand hygiene, complete your Daily Health Check and carefully monitor your health.
For more information about the Daily Health Check, including exemptions, data privacy and more, visit the Daily Health Check webpage.
Effective March 12, 2021, under recently signed legislation, employees will be granted up to four hours of excused leave per injection that will not be charged against any other leave the employee has earned or accrued.
Employees are entitled to a leave of absence for COVID-19 vaccinations which are scheduled during the employee’s regular work hours. Employees who schedule vaccinations outside their regular work schedules do so on their own time. For example, employees are not granted compensatory time off for scheduled vaccinations that occur on pass days or holidays.
President Satish K. Tripathi today announced plans for the university to safely hold in-person, outdoor commencement ceremonies to honor students graduating from UB this academic year.
The ceremonies will be held April 30 through May 16 at UB Stadium and at another outdoor space on the North Campus, to be named later. Seventeen commencement ceremonies will be held over the three-week period at the two outdoor venues, with mandatory mask-wearing, physical distancing and compliance with UB’s weekly testing requirement in effect for all students, faculty and staff at all ceremonies.
A decision on whether guests will be permitted to attend the ceremonies will be made by the university at a later date, in consultation with the county and state departments of health. All ceremonies will be live streamed.
The university still intends to offer on-campus, in-person celebrations at a later date for graduates of the Class of 2020, for whom commencement ceremonies were held virtually last spring after the onset of the pandemic forced UB to transition to fully remote instruction and activities.
Per the updated NYS DOH COVID-19 vaccine program guidance, all in-person, essential staff at SUNY colleges and universities are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at any state or local health department vaccination site, effective immediately.
UB staff are advised to consult the state vaccination website for additional information about eligibility requirements, proof of eligibility and appointments at state vaccination sites.
Essential in-person staff are those who have been regularly working on UB’s campuses throughout the semester, including, for example, staff from Facilities; Libraries; IT; Residence Life; and those who are deemed by their academic or administrative units to be essential.
This week, UB researchers will begin testing wastewater from a small portion of on-campus housing for SARS-CoV-2, a pilot program designed to help mitigate the spread of the virus and protect the campus community.
The program, which will complement — not replace — the weekly surveillance testing of all members of the UB community who are on campus regularly, will provide a greater understanding of COVID-19’s presence among students living on campus.
It also could help spot emerging outbreaks and improve the university’s response to such occurrences.
Beginning next week (Feb 8.), student testing will be available in the Student Union, Greiner Hall and Allen Hall, by reservation, with appointments available Monday–Friday, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. (4 p.m. at the Allen Hall location). The Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (JSMBS) is available for walk-up testing downtown.
Beginning Feb. 1, all employees who come to campus on a regular basis are expected to be tested every week (SUNY policy).
The following employees should expect to receive an invitation to register with SUNY for weekly testing:
Employees with a positive case in the past 90 days have been removed from the list for surveillance testing.
If your schedule has changed and you are working remotely, you are not expected to come in for testing.
All UB students who come to campus are expected to be tested weekly, so there will be more activity at all sites. Students are required to make a reservation for a time and location which should cut down on longer lines. Faculty and staff can get tested any time the sites are operating.
For more information about weekly testing, please see www.buffalo.edu/testing.
UB's COVID-19 surveillance testing sites in the Center for Tomorrow (North Campus) and Allen Hall (South Campus) will be closing today (Feb. 5) at 2 p.m. If you want to be tested on Friday, Allen Hall and the Center for Tomorrow will be open for testing from 11 a.m to 2 p.m. Or you can make arrangements to be tested at UB’s other testing sites.
UB President Satish K. Tripathi welcomed the campus community today in a campus-wide email to students, faculty and staff, in which he cautioned against pandemic fatigue.
“While the vaccine rollout warrants great hope for the future, we must be careful that neither undue optimism nor weariness of pandemic-related curtailments clouds our common sense. At the same time, if the pandemic has taken its toll on your psyche or otherwise overwhelmed you, please don’t hesitate to avail yourself of UB’s academic and mental health services to get the encouragement and assistance you need,” Tripathi said.
UB’s plans and health protocols for the spring semester build upon lessons learned and successes from the fall semester, with the hope that campus life will begin to return to normal next fall.
While COVID-19 remains a persistent threat locally and globally, UB leaders say the university is ready to continue providing transformative educational experiences and conducting groundbreaking research while ensuring the campus community remains safe.
The university’s plans, which are subject to change in response to new state guidelines, were developed by the 23-member Campus Planning Committee. The committee coordinated the work of several subcommittees comprising 137 members of the UB community, and included guidance from SUNY and state and local health officials.
The new SUNY mandate (Jan. 25) requiring all eligible students who live on campus, or who will be on campus regularly, to be tested every week, starting Feb. 8, was communicated today in an email to all UB students.
Mark Coldren, UB's associate vice president for human resources, sent an email to all UB employees January 25 regarding the SUNY expectation that all employees who come to campus on some regular basis will be tested for COVID-19 each week.
UB will utilize the current surveillance testing process through SUNY Upstate Medical Center that we have been administering since the fall semester. Invitations to register for the weekly testing will be generated by the Daily Health Check data submitted. It is expected that all who come to campus complete a Daily Health Check when they come to campus. Individuals who work remotely do not have to come in for surveillance testing.
The University at Buffalo will implement a policy in the spring semester, required by the State University of New York, calling for all SUNY institutions to conduct weekly COVID-19 testing for the entire on-campus population
SUNY’s updated policy on surveillance testing will require UB to test all students, faculty and staff who live on campus or plan to be on campus regularly during the spring semester. UB’s spring semester starts Feb. 1 and will follow a modified in-person format using a mix of in-person and online instruction.
The health and safety of UB’s students, faculty and staff remains the university’s highest priority. Weekly coronavirus testing — in addition to UB’s other science-based health and safety protocols — will help ensure a safe, productive spring semester for the entire UB community, university officials said.
UB’s additional health and safety measures include:
Additional information is available on UB’s COVID-19 planning and response website.
UB administrators provided an update on preparations for the upcoming spring semester in a memo to students today.
In addition, Student Life has revised the Student Guide in preparation for a return to campus this spring. The Student Guide is a resource to provide students and parents with the most up-to-date information, as it becomes available.
UB Student Life sent the following email to all UB students January 6 regarding the New Daily Health Check requirements for spring.
Know the rules for the Daily Health Check in advance of the spring semester so you can properly prepare for a safe start.
PRE-SCREEN FOR TWO WEEKS BEFORE YOUR RETURN TO CAMPUS
Starting two weeks before your planned return to campus to live, work, take classes or utilize services, you must complete the Daily Health Check every day to screen for COVID-19 symptoms, COVID-19 history and travel history, as mandated by SUNY.
UNDERSTAND YOUR REQUIREMENTS FOR SPRING
Once the spring semester starts, the following groups will be required to complete the Daily Health Check:
Those students who are not required to complete the Daily Health Check are strongly encouraged to do so out of concern for their own health and the well-being of those around them.
BE PREPARED TO SHOW YOUR BADGE AS PROOF OF COMPLETION
Over the course of the spring semester, campus officials may ask students for proof of Daily Health Check completion. Therefore, students must be prepared to demonstrate that they have met their obligation for that day.
MAKE YOUR DAILY HEALTH CHECK MORE CONVENIENT
To assist you in meeting these obligations, the Daily Health Check offers notifications via text for smartphone users. To sign up for text message alerts:
2. Enter your 10-digit mobile phone number when prompted.
3. Click the link in a follow-up text message to verify your phone number and finish enrollment.
Those without smartphones can also directly access the tool via the web by clicking “none” within the chatbot.
For more information about the Daily Health Check, including student conduct policies, exemptions, data privacy and more, visit buffalo.edu/coronavirus/health-and-safety/health-check.
Please note: The university is committed to ensuring digital accessibility for people with disabilities. We are continually improving the user experience for everyone and applying the relevant accessibility standards to ensure we provide equal access to all users. If anyone experiences difficulties while using the Daily Health Check tool, please use the following form:https://www.buffalo.edu/studentlife/student-guide/daily-health-check-students.html.
UB Human Resources sent the following email to all UB employees January 6 regarding the New Daily Health Check requirements for spring.
Understand your obligations regarding the Daily Health Check so you are properly prepared for a safer start to the spring semester.
PRE-SCREEN FOR TWO WEEKS BEFORE YOUR RETURN TO CAMPUS
Beginning two weeks before your planned return to campus, all faculty and staff must complete the Daily Health Check every day to screen for COVID-19 symptoms, COVID-19 history and travel history, as mandated by SUNY.
REQUIREMENTS ONCE THE SEMESTER STARTS
At this time, faculty, staff and volunteer faculty and staff who work entirely remotely are not required to complete the Daily Health Check. However, all UB faculty and staff, whether required to do so or not, are strongly encouraged to complete the Daily Health Check on the days they are working throughout the holiday season out of concern for their personal health and the health of the entire community.
MAKE YOUR DAILY HEALTH CHECK MORE CONVENIENT
To assist you in meeting your obligation, the Daily Health Check offers text notifications for smartphone users. To sign up for text message alerts:
Those without smartphones can also directly access the tool via the web by clicking “none” within the chatbot.
For more information about the Daily Health Check, including exemptions, data privacy and more, visit buffalo.edu/coronavirus/health-and-safety/health-check.
Please note: The university is committed to ensuring digital accessibility for people with disabilities. We are continually improving the user experience for everyone and applying the relevant accessibility standards to ensure we provide equal access to all users. If anyone experiences difficulties while using the Daily Health Check tool, please use the following form:www.buffalo.edu/administrative-services/forms-catalog/hr/daily-health-check-formstack.html.
UB’s plans for the spring were announced on Dec. 17 in a university-wide email from President Satish K. Tripathi and Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs A. Scott Weber.
In most cases, UB’s plans for the spring semester will mirror operations in the fall in that UB will follow a modified in-person format. That means courses will be delivered using a mix of in-person (and socially distanced) instruction, as well as online.
UB Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Graham Hammill and Interim Vice President for Student Life Christina Hernandez provided an update to students as the university gets ready to move to a fully remote schedule following Thanksgiving.
Their message provides helpful information on:
UB has reached 100 on-campus positive COVID-19 cases. However, the university will continue with in-person instruction until the Thanksgiving break, which begins Nov. 25.
The university is continuing operations in order to complete its COVID-19 surveillance testing of on-campus students.
The decision was made in consultation with the Erie County and New York State health departments, as well as SUNY.
UB currently has 100 on-campus positive cases for the two-week period that runs from Nov. 7 to Nov. 20.
On November 17th, UB President Satish K. Tripathi provided an end-of-semester update to the university community.
New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Wednesday, Nov. 18, announced that Erie County is shifting to an ’orange’ zone cluster from yellow.
UB continues to follow New York State and SUNY guidance for higher education, and will offer in-person instruction until Nov. 24 as planned.
However, on-campus gatherings are now limited to 10 people. In addition, beginning Thursday, Nov. 19, in-person student clubs and activities will be suspended and campus dining and food service operations will offer takeout service only.
The University at Buffalo is closely monitoring an increase in COVID-19 cases among the UB community, which mirrors the uptick seen across Erie County, where UB’s three campuses are located.
Mark Coldren, UB's associate vice president for human resources, sent an email to all UB employees November 10 regarding the testing of in-person faculty and staff:
As you may know, parts of Erie County have shown recent increases in COVID-19 positivity rates, cases and hospital admissions, meeting the metrics for a “yellow zone” designation by New York State.
As a result, UB is now required to conduct COVID-19 weekly testing of at least 20% of our in-person employees.
Those faculty and staff members affected by this requirement will be notified in a separate email with further details about registration and testing options. To ensure the process is as quick and convenient as possible, walk-in testing is being made available on North, South and Downtown campuses. Employee testing will start tomorrow, Nov. 11, so please be on the watch for additional communications that describe how best to participate in the process.
These continue to be challenging and fluid times, so thank you once again for your ongoing cooperation.
Associate Vice President, Human Resources
The University at Buffalo is aware that the Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has designated parts of Western New York as a precautionary “yellow zone” area, and we are monitoring the situation very closely.
At this time, we are not expecting the yellow zone designation to have a major impact on UB operations because the university is already testing on average thousands of people per week through our random surveillance program and our mandatory pre-Thanksgiving testing of on-campus students.
In addition, the university’s health and safety guidelines currently address all of the applicable yellow zone restrictions being implemented in Western New York, with the exception that UB will now limit large gatherings to 25 people instead of 50 and will maintain a four-person-to-a-table maximum in dining areas, in accordance with the new guidance.
We will remain vigilant in our efforts to curb the spread of the virus through rigorous on-campus testing and by reinforcing the need for all students, faculty and staff to follow UB’s health guidelines at all times, including the required wearing of face coverings, indoors and outdoors, on our campuses and the need to maintain physical distancing.
The university will continue to work closely with state and county public health officials to monitor and respond to the current increase of coronavirus positivity rates in Western New York. The health and safety of students, faculty, staff and visitors to the university is our highest priority.
The University at Buffalo has been planning for the spring 2021 semester for several weeks and will be prepared to implement all aspects of SUNY’s reopening guidance for the spring semester, including:
In addition, UB will provide students with regular updates about UB’s plans for the spring semester, including providing information about the format of students’ individual courses prior to starting the spring semester.
“The health and safety of UB’s students, faculty and staff remains of the utmost importance as we conclude a successful fall semester and plan for a safe and productive spring semester,” said UB President Satish K. Tripathi.
The university will release full details about the implementation of its plans for the spring semester prior to the end of the fall semester.
UB will begin pre-Thanksgiving break surveillance testing on Monday, Nov. 9.
Any student living on campus, taking one or more on-campus classes, utilizing on-campus services, or working on campus must complete testing within 10 days of departing for break and no later than Nov. 18.
This is a SUNY-wide mandate intended to prevent community spread of the coronavirus as many students leave campus and finish the semester remotely.
To ensure the process is as quick and convenient as possible, appointment-based testing is being made available on campus.
For dates, times and locations, and instructions on how to register, please visit UB's pre-Thanksgiving break testing webpage at: https://buffalo.edu/coronavirus/health-and-safety/testing/testing-students-before-thanksgiving-break.html.
Students also have the option of providing documentation of the result of a COVID-19 test completed off campus within a specified time frame.
This morning, a new SUNY policy was announced that requires testing of students across SUNY’s campuses, including UB, before the university concludes in-person instruction prior to the Thanksgiving break. Per the SUNY policy, the following groups of undergraduate, graduate and professional students will be required to be tested by UB or other means during a 10-day period before November 25:
UB is in the process of developing detailed plans to implement this policy and will communicate additional information to students in early November following approval by SUNY.
More information may be found here.
Barbara J. Ricotta, UB's Dean of Students, sent a message to all students regarding Halloween 2020.
UB has seen a significant decline in the number of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the fall semester. Officials attribute it to the university community’s cooperation with UB’s health and safety guidelines, and a surveillance testing program to detect asymptomatic cases before they spread on campus.
UB faculty, staff and students can get their seasonal flu shot — a vaccination that public health officials say is more important than ever this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic — at influenza vaccination clinics being held now through mid-November on all three UB campuses.
As UB conducts surveillance testing for COVID-19, members of the campus community may be wondering what they can expect if they’re selected to take part.
The Division of Athletics has taken immediate steps in response to test results indicating that some student-athletes have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
On September 29th, Interim VP for Student Life Christina Hernandez sent an email to students on the uniform SUNY-wide sanctions for COVID-19 health and safety violations and non-compliance.
Dean of Students Barbara Ricotta provided Important information for off-campus students.
As part of UB’s comprehensive efforts to monitor and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the university has established a phone line for students who have tested positive for the virus. With this phone line, students can report their positive test and receive assistance as needed.
Reachable at 716-645-1400, the phone line extends support to all UB students, including those living off and on campus. The phone line is not a medical helpline. Phone line staff are trained to assure confidentiality.
“We understand that students will have many questions and concerns as a result of a positive COVID-19 test result,” says Christina Hernandez, interim vice president for student life. “Phone line staff will provide students with important information regarding health, housing and academic resources. As necessary, students will be referred to UB Health Services or their primary care provider for medical care.”
Faculty and staff who are contacted by students who have tested positive for COVID-19 should direct students to the phone line, where they can report their positive test and receive assistance as needed.
The phone line is staffed from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Callers will be asked to leave a message when calling outside of these hours.
As UB continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, protecting the health and safety of the university community remains paramount.
UB President Satish K. Tripathi informed the campus community via email Tuesday night that 22 students living off-campus are in isolation after having tested positive for COVID-19.
This brings the total number of confirmed cases within the UB community, including employees, to 27.
The university has reached out to all students who tested positive to offer its support, and to monitor their recovery.
Only those students and employees who have fully recovered and received approval from the Erie County Department of Health may resume normal campus activities. Additionally, UB is working with the health department to help with contact tracing.
In the interest of transparency and awareness, UB is posting data about known positive cases of COVID-19 on UB’s COVID-19 Planning and Response website.
"Given the significant disruptions that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused at universities across the country, let me take this opportunity to reiterate what I stressed on the first day of class: Each of us must adhere to UB’s health and safety protocols. To protect our health, and that of our friends, colleagues and neighbors, we must, without exception, follow the guidelines," Tripathi said.
As part of the next step in the university’s Health and Safety Guidelines, UB will soon begin random COVID-19 surveillance testing of students, faculty and staff using their saliva.
Mark Coldren, UB's associate vice president for human resources, sent an email to all UB employees August 19 regarding the daily health screening tool:
This message is for all employees to help clarify the introduction of the new daily health attestation process. Previously, individuals were asked to use an online form for daily attestation of health provided by the Office of Human Resources. This was a temporary process to be used until UB could introduce the ongoing tool. The new tool, Daily Health Check, was introduced on Monday, August 17. (https://www.buffalo.edu/coronavirus/bulletins/announcement-host.host.html/content/shared/university/news/ub-reporter-articles/stories/2020/08/chatbot.detail.html).
The initial communication identified that all individuals must complete the Daily Health Check every day, whether they are working or not. This practice facilitates a comprehensive set of health data to assist in campus actions and decision making. However, to comply with relevant NYS laws, this requirement is revised as follows:
All employees are required to complete the attestation every day they are working – whether on campus or working remotely. Additionally, while not required, all individuals are strongly encouraged to complete the attestation on days they do not work. Daily attestation will greatly enhance the University’s goal of comprehensive data collection to accurately monitor COVID prevalence and transmission.
The goal of the Daily Health Check is to be able to collect critical data for all members of the UB community. Comprehensive daily participation by all members of the campus community including students, faculty, staff, and affiliates* creates the best data source to help direct campus response and better protect everyone.
In the initial release of the Daily Health Check, individuals are not currently asked to submit their name during the attestation process – this is different than what folks have been doing over the summer. Instead, upon completion of the process, users receive a notification badge for that day. Individuals were initially asked to print out a copy or save a screenshot of this badge. This is no longer required. By coming to campus, you are verifying that you completed the Daily Health Check and you have attested, to the best of your knowledge, that you do not have COVID-19 infection or exposure.
In certain unique situations such as entering a lab with specialized PPE protocols or in a situation where social distancing is challenging on our campus, individuals may be asked to show proof of Daily Health Check completion.
Individuals that complete a health attestation for other organizations every day such as hospitals, health care facilities etc., are not required to show proof but are asked to participate in UB’s Daily Health Check.
Messages for direction and action are an integral part of the Daily Health Check tool. Several of these messages will continue to be revised for clarity during this initial phase of implementation. Revisions will include:
In the upcoming technology update of Daily Health Check, all users will be asked to provide personal identification details for authentication purposes upon initial log in. This will then enable the tool to send individual text message reminders to you for daily attestation. The following information will be asked for authentication purposes:
After the first time, users will no longer be asked to provide this level of detail. Only thefirst three letters of your last name as well as year of your birth details will be required.
We appreciate everyone’s patience as we work through how best to build for the UB community an effective screening and tracing process that takes into account the many variables inherent in a large university. Please continue to check the UB planning and response pages for more information:https://www.buffalo.edu/coronavirus/dashboard.html
*Affiliates includes RF, State, UBF employees, adjunct faculty, volunteers, vendors, visitors and invited guests to campus.
UB has launched an important new tool as part of its comprehensive Health and Safety Guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campus. The Daily Health Check is a virtual screener based on the latest scientific research that uses advanced chatbot technology to detect potential cases of COVID-19 infection early and provide users with need-to-know information tailored to their situation.
Beginning this week, all UB faculty, staff and students are required to complete the Daily Health Check every day, whether or not they plan to visit campus, including on weekends and holidays. Additionally, visitors to campus who are otherwise not affiliated with UB will also be required to complete the virtual screener prior to their visit.
Some clinical programs and programs that require practical in-person experiences are unable to fully comply with health and safety requirements related to COVID-19 because of the nature of the training or the experience, for example, in-person clinical experiences or community placements. These programs must develop plans to minimize potential exposure. For more information, including how to submit your plan for review, see Health and Safety Guidelines for Clinical and Practical Experiences
UB’s health guidelines and procedures for the fall were announced today in a university-wide email from UB Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs A. Scott Weber and Vice President for Health Sciences Michael E. Cain.
These guidelines will be implemented across the campus community and will allow UB to continue delivering excellent educational experiences and research programs while protecting the health and safety of the university community.
Mark Coldren, UB's associate vice president for human resources, sent an email to all UB employees July 15 regarding the Daily Health Verification Form.
"The Daily Health Verification Form has been updated on our website and is now available. As a reminder, in order to ensure the safety and public health of the UB campus and community, employees will be required to attest daily that they are free of COVID 19 symptom(s) before reporting to work on-campus," Codren said.
UB Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs A. Scott Weber provided academic and calendar updates in an email to the campus community.
Provost A. Scott Weber provided an update on the Screening, Testing and Contact Tracing Protocol Committee’s work to implement customized technology that will allow faculty, staff and students to engage in daily screening protocols.
Among its current tasks, the committee is conducting an inventory and assessment of UB’s classroom and potential classroom space pursuant to physical distancing guidelines.
The new class schedule, which will note which classes will be taught in-person, partially in-person or fully remote, will be posted online July 15.
Mark Coldren, UB's associate vice president for human resources, sent an email to all UB employees June 16 regarding planning employees' safe return to campus.
Interim Vice President for Student Life Christina R. Hernandez provided information on fall semester preparations in a memo to students and parents.
"In light of the recent announcement by President Tripathi and Provost Weber communicating that we will return to campus in a modified, in-person capacity, I continue to be optimistic that we can create a vibrant campus experience this fall. Student Life is committed to providing the best possible resources to support students’ academic setting," Hernandez said.
Student Life has created a Student Guide in preparation for a return to campus this fall that will keep students and parents informed on the most up-to-date information, as it becomes available.
Now that Western New York has entered Phase 2 of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s reopening process amid the COVID-19 pandemic, UB is actively planning and preparing for a phased return of employees to campus. The emphasis will be on ensuring the health and well-being of everyone on campus.
This approach is in line with the “Ramp-up Plan for Research” that the university recently started to facilitate the reopening of labs and research work at UB.
Additional information on UB employees’ safe return to campus, including health guidelines, is available on a new webpage on the Administrative Services Gateway website. Updates will also be provided regularly on the university’s COVID-19 website, which is being transitioned to include information on UB’s fall planning efforts.
The overall goal for UB will be to have a low density of people on campus, with as many employees as possible working remotely on any given work day. Units will be permitted to have a maximum of 50% of employees working on site. Plans must also follow all guidelines provided by Environment, Health and Safety, and the Campus Planning Operations Committee.
UB’s plans for returning employees to campus will adhere to any guidelines set forth by the governor and SUNY.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 645-8155.
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.
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.
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.
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.