Together, we are UB:

Health and Safety Guidelines

Updated: January 21, 2022

Spring 2022 health and safety guidelines are currently under review. Please regularly check this website for updates.

Protecting the university community

The University at Buffalo is committed to protecting the health and safety of the UB community while remaining focused on our academic, research and community service mission. Ensuring the safety of the entire university community is paramount as UB responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Guidelines at a Glance: Know the Rules

UB’s health and safety guidelines are multifaceted and comprehensive. While we encourage you to familiarize yourself with them in full, here are a few key takeaways:

UB officials are keeping a close eye on the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and the spread of the omicron variant around the state. Our experts continue to monitor the latest scientific findings regarding the infectiousness of the variant and the new challenges that it poses.

UB is updating guidelines for the spring semester, in accordance with new guidance issued by SUNY. Guidelines will be adjusted based on the latest science and recommendations from health officials, and will be communicated on this site.

In the event that university leaders need to implement additional on-campus safety measures to align with new health regulations, this guidance will be communicated broadly to all members of the university community and will include details and resources about how the UB community can effectively respond to and implement the new guidance.

Health and Safety Guideline Index

Vaccinations

UB's definition of ‘fully vaccinated’:
Having received a complete series of an FDA-approved/authorized or WHO-authorized COVID-19 vaccine and an FDA-approved/authorized COVID-19 vaccine booster when eligible.

Students

  • Vaccination requirement. Students must be in compliance with SUNY’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement for the spring semester. 
    • New students to UB must submit documentation about their COVID-19 vaccination status before they are allowed to register for courses. If you have not already done so, submit proof through the UB Health Services Patient Portal.
    • Continuing students must ensure they also meet the *NEW* booster requirement. All students who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 are required to obtain a booster and submit documentation. This booster requirement must be met by Jan. 31. If you will not be eligible to receive a booster before Jan. 31, you must obtain your booster and submit your documentation within one week of becoming eligible.
      • If you received your booster dose in New York State, UB Health Services may already have received this information from the New York State Immunization Information System (NYSIIS).
      • To view the COVID-19 vaccination information that UB Health Services currently has on file for you or to upload your documentation, go to the UB Health Services Patient Portal.
      • Noncompliance with the SUNY mandate: Students who do not comply with the COVID-19 booster requirement will be dropped or resigned from all classes with an in-person component. Please note: You are financially liable for all courses from which you are resigned due to noncompliance with the COVID-19 booster requirement. You 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.

Vaccine guidance for international students

  • For individuals who have received a series of a World Health Organization-authorized vaccine, a booster of a Food and Drug Administration-approved (e.g., Pfizer) COVID-19 vaccine is mandatory (once eligible) to be considered fully vaccinated/up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations.
Clinical placements

Students enrolled in clinical rotations or other placements off campus are advised to check with the clinical partner agency regarding its health and safety requirements. Site partners have the discretion to waive COVID-19 vaccination requirements for students who are participating remotely in their rotations, but such students are not guaranteed an exemption. All students, including graduate and professional students, who will have a regular physical presence on a UB campus must comply with all UB COVID-19 health and safety regulations, including the spring semester start-up testing, vaccination and booster requirements

Employees

Vaccine guidance for employees

  • Booster recommendations for all faculty and staff. While vaccinations are not mandated for employees, UB officials and infectious disease experts strongly urge all faculty and staff to get fully vaccinated, which now includes getting a booster as soon as medically eligible. Vaccines and boosters are the most effective defense against the coronavirus.
  • Surveillance testing requirement. State employees who do not get vaccinated will be required to be tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis. 
  • Human Resources has provided guidance to employees on how to provide proof of vaccination.

Events and Gatherings

Face coverings and physical distancing

Masking, distancing guidelines

In accordance with updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Erie County Department of Health, UB requires all students, employees and visitors—regardless of their vaccination status—to wear a high-quality, tight-fitting, high-filtration mask indoors and in public settings.

Face Coverings

Regardless of vaccination status, high-quality, tight-fitting, high-filtration masks are required in classrooms, hallways, libraries, research and teaching laboratories and other common spaces, as well as UB buses and shuttles.

For fully vaccinated individuals, high-quality, tight-fitting, high-filtration masks
are not required inside personal rooms at residence halls, while eating in on-campus dining areas and spaces, and when alone in personal offices or workstations that are not accessible to the general public. Vaccinated individuals must wear high-quality, tight-fitting, high-filtration masks when moving around the office and interacting with other employees. Partially vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals must wear high-quality, tight-fitting, high-filtration masks at all times, including personal offices and workstations.

UB defines a personal workstation as workspace assigned to one individual, such as a cubicle, that allows for a comfortable amount of physical distance to be maintained between colleagues.

OUTDOOR SETTINGS

PHYSICAL DISTANCING

  • Physical distancing is not required for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals indoors or outdoors on UB campuses.
  • Unvaccinated persons are encouraged to observe physical distancing wherever practical.

Mandatory COVID-19 testing

  • Semester start-up testing requirement. All students who will have a regular physical presence on campus must get tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours prior to their arrival on campus. The test can be a PCR or antigen (either laboratory performed, rapid or at-home test kit). This test must be taken no more than 72 hours (three days) prior to your return to campus.  
    • Schedule your test in advance. Given the recent high demand for COVID-19 tests, plan ahead and make an appointment with a local provider. If appointments are not available, you can purchase at-home test kits from your local pharmacy or online. If you plan to order an at-home test, we recommend doing so as soon as possible. After completing the at-home test, take a photo of your result and include in the photo your name and UB person number, along with the date of completion. The photo must be taken within six hours of completion of the test to ensure validity of the result.
    • Submit your test results.  
      • Positive test results: Please utilize the student COVID-19 Reporting Form as soon as possible. If you have tested positive in the last 90 days and have reported your infection to UB using the COVID-19 Reporting Form, you are exempt from semester start-up testing.
        • 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.    
      • Negative test results: Utilize the UBbox-based submission process (UBITName and password required). Please note: UB students who have not yet used UBbox will encounter a “Terms of Use” screen.
      • Students requiring accessibility or technical assistance should email HealthDocumentUpload@buffalo.edu.
  • Surveillance testing requirement. Weekly surveillance testing will be conducted among all those with a regular physical presence on campus who have not received a booster shot. More details will follow.
    • Mandatory weekly testing will be required for students and employees who have not been fully vaccinated and have a regular presence on campus.
    • Those who are fully vaccinated are not mandated to complete surveillance testing once they provide proof that they are fully vaccinated. Students should submit proof through the UB Health Services Patient Portal.
    • 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.

Quarantines and isolation

Isolating/quarantining during the fall semester

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.

RESIDENTIAL STUDENTS

  • UB has designated space in residence halls where students will be required to isolate or quarantine.
    • Students will be provided food and care while they are in quarantine.
    • High-speed Wi-Fi and access to all remote learning resources will be available so students can meet their academic commitments.

OFF-CAMPUS STUDENTS

  • Off-campus students will be advised to quarantine or isolate at their residence. The university will assist any off-campus student who has difficulty obtaining food and care.

EMPLOYEES

  • Employees who test positive or who are a close contact of someone who has tested positive should stay home and isolate and quarantine.

On-campus housing

On-campus housing requirements

  • All students and advisers living in residence halls and university-owned-and-operated apartments are required to be fully vaccinated before moving in to their assigned residence. Students may request an exemption due to medical reasons or religious beliefs.
  • UB will plan to designate space for quarantine and isolation uses. CDC guidance indicates that fully vaccinated individuals who are exposed to COVID-19 do not have to quarantine unless they are symptomatic.

Restrictions for indoor and outdoor events and gatherings

Ages 5 and older must show proof of vaccination for UB sports, cultural events

Effective Jan. 17, children ages 5-11 will be required to have proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to attend public cultural events in Alumni Arena, the Center for the Arts and Slee Hall.

The university has had this policy for spectators ages 12 and older. The new policy also aligns with a previously announced policy for children ages 5 to 11 for sporting events, which went into effect Jan. 1.

> Learn more

Restrictions for large indoor events

ATHLETIC EVENTS

  • Spectators ages 12 and up must have proof they have received a complete series of an FDA-approved/authorized or WHO-authorized COVID-19 vaccine in order to attend athletic events at UB.
  • EFFECTIVE JAN. 1: Children ages 5-11 attending athletic events at UB must show proof they’ve had at least the first dose of the vaccine.
  • EFFECTIVE Feb. 1: Children 5-11 must provide proof at the door that they have completed their vaccination series.
  • 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.

PUBLIC CULTURAL EVENTS

  • Spectators ages 12 and up must have proof they have received a complete series of an FDA-approved/authorized or WHO-authorized COVID-19 vaccine in order to attend public cultural events at UB, including in Alumni Arena, Center for the Arts and Slee Hall.
  • EFFECTIVE JAN. 17: Children 5-11 must show proof they have had at least the first dose of the vaccine in order to attend public cultural events.
  • EFFECTIVE FEB. 14: Children 5-11 must provide proof they have completed their vaccination series.
  • 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.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

  • Individuals will not be able to attend events at Alumni Arena, the Center for the Arts and Slee Hall without proof of receiving a complete series of an FDA-approved/authorized or WHO-authorized COVID-19 vaccine even if they have a medical or religious exemption.
  • High-quality, tight-fitting, high-filtration masks are required at all times while attending events inside any campus building, including inside Alumni Arena, the Center for the Arts and Slee Hall.
  • High-quality, tight-fitting, high-filtration masks are also required within indoor locations in UB Stadium, such as the concourse and club-level suites.

Restrictions for large outdoor events

Visiting campus

Guidelines for visitors

  • All visitors, regardless of vaccination status, must wear high-quality, tight-fitting, high-filtration masks:
    • Inside all campus buildings, including classrooms, hallways, libraries and other common spaces, as well as on UB buses and shuttles.
    • Within indoor locations in UB Stadium, including on the concourse and within club-level suites.
    • At outdoor events or settings where large groups of people congregate.
  • Unvaccinated visitors must also wear high-quality, tight-fitting, high-filtration masks in all outdoor settings.

Reporting positive cases, monitoring health

Students who test positive

Any student who receives a positive COVID-19 test result should isolate and report it via UB’s confidential reporting form.

If students need to miss class due to illness, isolation or quarantine, they must notify their instructor by email as soon as possible and no later than 24 hours after missing class. Residential students may request assistance from Campus Living to provide faculty notifications.

Residential students have the option to isolate/quarantine in designated on-campus housing. See Quarantine Information for Residence Hall Students for more information.

Employees who test positive

Any employee who receives a positive COVID-19 test result should isolate and report it to their supervisor and to UB’s Office of Human Resources. HR will provide additional guidance.

UB Human Resources
716-645-7777
ub-hr@buffalo.edu

Close contacts

The Erie County Department of Health asks that anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 to self-isolate, notify household members and other close contacts. If you are a close contact, you must follow the CDC guidance for Quarantine and Isolation.

Notifications of Positive Cases

  • The spread of infection is expected to be low on campus due to vaccine requirements and indoor masking policies. However, positive COVID-19 cases on campus are anticipated.
  • Notifications will not necessarily be sent out for each reported case.
  • The university will continue to report the number of on-campus positive cases to the COVID-19 dashboard.
Monitor Your Health

All students and employees, regardless of vaccination status, should closely monitor their health, stay home if they develop symptoms of COVID-19 and get tested immediately.

Clinical placements

  • Students enrolled in clinical rotations or other placements off campus are advised to check with the clinical partner agency regarding its health and safety requirements.
  • Site partners have the discretion to waive COVID-19 vaccination requirements for students who are participating remotely in their rotations, but such students are not guaranteed an exemption.
  • All students, including graduate and professional students, who will have a regular physical presence on a UB campus must comply with all UB COVID-19 health and safety regulations, including the spring semester start-up testing, vaccination and booster requirements.

UB Health Guidelines committee

  • Allison Brashear, MD, MBA, Chair of the UB Health Guidelines committee, Vice President for Health Sciences, Dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
  • Craig Abbey, Vice Provost for Institutional Analysis and Planning
  • Christopher Bartolomei, Chief of Police
  • J. Brice Bible, Vice President and Chief Information Officer
  • Brian Bratta, PhD, Associate Athletic Director, Sports Medicine and Wellness Services
  • Gale R. Burstein, MD, MPH, Commissioner, Erie County Department of Health
  • Robert Cenczyk, PhD, Director of Academic Operations, School of Nursing
  • Mark Coldren, Associate Vice President for Human Resources
  • John DellaContrada, Vice President for University Communications
  • Jocelyn Jakubus, Director, Presidential Events and Initiatives
  • Timothy Murphy, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Medicine,
    Senior Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Research,
    Director of Clinical and Translational Science Institute,
    Director of Community Health Equity Research Institute, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo
  • David Pawlowski, PhD, Biosafety Officer, Environment, Health & Safety
  • Chris Putrino, Director of Employee Relations
  • Chunming Qiao, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Chair, Computer Science and Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
  • Joseph Raab, Director, Environment, Health & Safety
  • Andrea Roy, Project Coordinator, Business Reporting Systems
  • Thomas Russo, MD, Professor and Chief of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
  • John Sellick, DO, Professor, Department of Medicine, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and Physician, Student Health Services
  • Kenneth Snyder, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Neurosurgery, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and Vice President of Physician Quality, Kaleida Health
  • Susan Snyder, MS, Director, Student Health Services
  • Mary E. Stock, Clinical Assistant Professor, Health Services
  • John Tomaszewski, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Peter A. Nickerson, PhD Chair of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
  • David Vasbinder, Associate Director, Environment, Health & Safety
  • Jean Wactawski-Wende, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Dean of the School of Public Health and Health Professions
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