Together, we are UB:

Health and Safety Guidelines

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 and implements plans for a safe return to campus.

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Guideline Topics

Precautionary Quarantines

UB’s protocol for COVID-19 related quarantine, outlined below, complies with current guidelines from the New York State Department of Health and the Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH).

Quarantine is required for:

  • People who test positive for COVID-19
    • If you test positive for COVID-19,  you must isolate for 10 days past the onset of symptoms. If you test positive but don't have symptoms, you must isolate for 10 days past the date that your test sample was collected.  

Quarantine is no longer required for:

  • Asymptomatic travelers entering New York from another U.S. state or territory (as of April 1, 2021). 
  • People who are fully vaccinated
    • People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the full vaccine series of an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine. An individual who is considered fully vaccinated may be exempt from quarantine for up to 90 days.
  • People who have recovered from COVID-19 infection
    • If a person received the full vaccine series of an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine and is (1) exposed to an individual who tested COVID-19 positive or (2) traveled to a U.S. state other than those contiguous to New York and remains asymptomatic, that person will not need to quarantine.

Quarantine after Travel:

  • Asymptomatic travelers entering New York from another U.S. state or territory are no longer required to test or quarantine as of April 1, 2021. 
  • Quarantine, consistent with the CDC recommendations for international travel, is still recommended for domestic travelers who are not fully vaccinated or have not recovered from a positive case of COVID-19 during the previous 3 months. 
  • Symptomatic travelers must immediately self-isolate and contact the local health department or their healthcare providers to determine if they should seek COVID-19 testing.
  • All travelers entering New York from a state that is not a contiguous state who have been outside of New York for more than 24 hours must complete the Traveler Health Form. States that are contiguous to New York are Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont.
  • Travelers from Canada who enter the U.S. by land need not quarantine. Travelers flying between the US and Canada must follow the CDC guidance for international travel.

Regardless of vaccination or quarantine, all people must:

  • Continue to follow all campus health and safety guidelines, including wearing a face mask and practicing social distancing;
  • Monitor symptoms daily from day of arrival in New York through day 14;
  • Immediately self-isolate if any symptoms develop and contact the local public health authority or your healthcare provider to report this change in clinical status and determine if testing is needed;
  • International travelers arriving in New York must comply with all current CDC requirements for testing and quarantine after international travel. All travelers must complete the NYS traveler health form.
    • Upon arrival in the U.S., international travelers must either quarantine for 7 days and undergo a COVID-19 test 3-5 days after travel, or quarantine for the full 10 days without a test. This requirement applies to all international travelers whether they were tested before boarding, are recovered from a previous COVID-19 infection, or are fully vaccinated. Guidance on how to quarantine is available on the New York State Department of Health website

Face Coverings and Physical (Social) Distancing

  • The use of proper face coverings is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to the most recent scientific evidence gathered by the CDC. To protect their own health and that of their classmates, colleagues, friends and families, members of the UB community must commit themselves to wearing a face covering at all times.
  • When inside all UB buildings, classrooms, labs and facilities and campus transportation, all UB students, faculty, staff and visitors are required to wear a face covering at all times.
    • This guideline should not be construed to mean that face coverings must be worn while a person is inside their own residence hall room alone or with a roommate, alone in a fully enclosed private office or within a private vehicle.
    • Occupants of all on-campus dining halls, dining areas and dining establishments must wear face masks until seated at least 6 feet apart from any other individual, and then may remove their masks by necessity when actively eating or drinking. However, mask usage is strongly encouraged inside the dining area when individuals are not actively eating and drinking. Masks must be worn when entering and exiting the dining area.
  • A face covering must also be worn at all times in campus buses and shuttles, and in outdoor spaces on UB’s campuses, to further reduce the risk of transmission as people travel from place to place. Effective February 2, 2021, masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
  • In addition to wearing a mask at all times, physical distancing (also known as social distancing) is highly recommended by the CDC. To promote physical distancing, the university will modify or reconfigure public spaces and/or restrict the use of classrooms and other places where people tend to congregate, so that people can stay at least 6 feet apart in all directions.
  • Even when physical distancing is possible, face coverings still must be worn at all times when in public spaces on UB’s campuses – indoors and outdoors – because some risk of transmission still exists at distances greater than 6 feet.

Related Links

Screening and Testing

  • The university has developed a protocol for screening, testing and contact tracing based on evidence-based methods recommended by the most recent scientific research. UB’s protocol is based on SUNY and state guidelines, the expertise of UB faculty specializing in infectious disease and public health, and the most recent guidance from the CDC. UB’s protocol involves a process of screening, targeted testing and surveillance, as outlined below:
    • The university will institute mandatory health screenings using chatbot technology for students, faculty, staff and, where practicable, scheduled visitors (e.g., on-campus tour groups) asking about, at minimum:
      1. COVID-19 symptoms in the past 10 days.
      2. Positive SARS-CoV-2 test in past 10 days.
      3. Close or proximate contact with a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case in past 14 days when both parties were not wearing masks.
    • The university will require viral testing for individuals who report symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or develop such symptoms during quarantine. Faculty and staff should arrange testing through their health care provider. Students will be directed to available testing off-campus. The cost of testing is the responsibility of each person through their health insurance carrier. Any person who has a positive viral test will be immediately sent home or to a designated isolation location.
    • In addition to requiring targeted testing of individuals who report COVID-19 symptoms, the university will operate a surveillance testing program to monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community and identify potential outbreaks among asymptomatic individuals. This program collects saliva samples from students, faculty and staff and combines (pools) them prior to evaluating for SARS-CoV-2. Those who may be asked to participate in this program include:
      • On-campus resident students.
      • Non-resident students with one or more in-person classes.
      • All other students residing in Erie or Niagara counties.
      • Anyone participating in on-campus instruction, cocurricular activities and/or meetings in person.

Those who have been selected to participate will be notified via email and should report to one of the testing sites that have been established across all of UB’s campuses. For more information on how to prepare for your test, read What to expect if you’re selected for surveillance testing on UBNow.

  • In the event that infection becomes more widespread in the local community and/or on campus, widespread testing for SARS-CoV-2 infection may be appropriate in order to identify cases for isolation and to guide aggressive contact tracing. Both of these measures would mitigate further spread.
  • The university will immediately notify the state and local health departments of known confirmed positive cases.
  • In the case of an individual testing positive, the university will support the Erie County Health Department’s contact tracing procedures in accordance with the New York State Contact Tracing Program. Confidentiality will be maintained as required by federal and state law and regulations.    
  • The university will require a quarantine for individuals awaiting the result of viral testing; who report close contact (being within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes or receiving respiratory secretions via cough, sneeze or kiss) with people who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2; or who report close contact with people whose symptoms are highly suggestive of COVID-19 (e.g., the loss of taste or smell) if one or both parties were not wearing masks. The quarantine period is 10 days from the time of exposure.
  • The university will continue to evaluate new smartphone and web-based technologies that monitor individual activities and potential exposures to assess whether these new technologies will add value to current screening and contact tracing programs.

Quarantine No Longer Required for Fully Vaccinated Persons or Persons who have Recovered from COVID-19 Infection

The university will follow Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) quarantine recommendations for fully vaccinated persons or persons who have recovered from COVID-19 infection.

People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks (14 days) after receiving the full vaccine series of an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine. An individual who is considered fully vaccinated may be exempt from quarantine for up to 90 days (see ECDOH guidance). ECDOH contact tracers added vaccination status questions to their case investigation scripts, and will confirm how vaccination may affect quarantine when speaking with close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

If a person received the full vaccine series of an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine and is (1) exposed to an individual who tested COVID-19 positive or (2) traveled to a U.S. state other than those contiguous to New York and remains asymptomatic, that person will not need to quarantine under the criteria specified on the ECDOH COVID-19 web site.

Additionally, a person who recovered from a COVID-19 infection and remains asymptomatic will not need to quarantine under the criteria specified on the ECDOH COVID-19 web site

Personal Protective Equipment

  • The university will provide one reusable face covering to each student, faculty and staff member at no cost. Individuals may choose to wear their own face covering if desired, provided it meets the criteria for an appropriate face covering.
    • Face shields will be provided if there is a medical reason a person cannot wear a face covering.
    • Additional face coverings will be available for purchase on campus.
    • Do not wear face coverings (masks) with plastic valves. These are one-way valves; the air is filtered coming in but not out, so if you are infectious you will be expelling virus.
  • The university will provide training to students, faculty and staff on how to adequately put on, take off, clean (as applicable) and discard face coverings, per the recommendations of the CDC.

Campus Operations

  • The university will utilize a mix of traditional in-person and remote classes. Considerations will include whether a course can be taught remotely, technological capabilities and measures to reduce in-person congregation.
  • The university will adjust course schedules to reduce the density of students on campus and reduce congestion in campus hallways, walkways and buildings.
  • The university will encourage pedestrians to stay to the right, in single file, when traveling through hallways, walkways and staircases throughout campus. The university will expect campus community members to observe physical distancing guidelines in all areas of campus whether visual guidance is provided or not.
  • The university will provide guidance for clinical, laboratory and research training and experiences to address safety in these specific on- and off-campus settings.
  • The university will designate space for and provide for the daily needs (e.g., meals, medication) of on-campus students who require a period of quarantine or isolation if they are exposed to COVID-19 or test positive for the virus.
  • The university will implement industry-specific guidelines provided by the New York State Department of Health and state government for operations of dining halls, research spaces, office workspaces, gyms, transportation, retail stores and other activities, as applicable.
  • To reduce risk of exposure to airborne SARS-CoV-2, the university will continually assess the guidance provided by the CDC and the New York State Department of Health for the operation of building heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. UB is currently making an inventory of all HVAC systems on campus to assess the capability of each system to implement measures described in new CDC considerations, i.e., increasing ventilation rates, bringing in additional outside air, increasing air filtration and running continuously. The use of face coverings is mandated in all UB facilities to further reduce risk.
  • Visitors
    • Off-campus guests, including non-residential university students, are not permitted to enter the residence halls. Students may only enter the residence hall or apartment where they reside and may not host anyone in their room - this includes other residents of their floor and current building that do not reside in the same room or apartment.   
    • Whether you’re coming to UB for business or leisure (e.g. walking your dog on campus grounds, a contractor or invited guest), all campus visitors will be required to abide by all campus safety protocols (including the use of face masks and physical distancing). Hosts of invited guests must ensure their guests are aware of and follow university protocols.

Hygiene, Cleaning and Disinfection

  • In all of its facilities – including in residence halls, dining halls and on university buses and shuttles – the university will adhere to hygiene, cleaning and disinfection requirements from the CDC and the New York State Department of Health, and will document the scope of cleaning and disinfection.
  • The university will provide and maintain hand hygiene stations across campus, including handwashing areas with soap, running warm water and disposable paper towels/air dryers, as well as alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing 60% or more alcohol for public areas where handwashing is not feasible.
  • The university will conduct regular cleaning and disinfection of facilities and more frequent disinfection of high-traffic public areas and frequently touched surfaces.
  • Within university classrooms, the university will provide a limited supply of disposable wipes to faculty, staff and students so that commonly used surfaces (e.g., keyboards, desks, remote controls) can be wiped down before and after use.
  • The university will provide UB units with a limited supply of disposable wipes as part of a cleaning starter kit so that commonly used surfaces within office spaces (e.g., keyboards, desks, remote controls) can be wiped down before and after use.
  • The university will ensure regular cleaning and disinfection of all restrooms.
  • The university will follow the CDC guidelines on cleaning and disinfecting when cleaning and disinfecting exposed areas in the event an individual is confirmed to have COVID-19.

Events and Gatherings

For events and gatherings on campus, the university will adhere to New York State guidelines, as well as recommendations from the CDC and public health experts. This includes limiting the size of private, social gatherings as well as larger events and gatherings (e.g., arts, entertainment and other leisure activities) in both indoor and outdoor public spaces.The number of people allowed at an event or gathering may change, depending on the degree of COVID-19 spread within the community.   

  • Informal Social gatherings: Attendance of up to 10 people at informal social gatherings (such as lounge gatherings, study groups, discussion groups) is allowed. 
  • Low-risk indoor events and gatherings: Attendance at indoor low-risk events and gatherings (such as classes, labs, student club activities, student meetings, departmental meetings) must not exceed 25% of maximum occupancy of the event space.
  • Low-risk outdoor events and gatherings: Attendance at outdoor low-risk events and gatherings (such as outdoor instructional experiences, outdoor campus events) must not exceed 33% of the estimated maximum occupancy of the event space. 
  • High-risk events and gatherings: Higher-risk indoor arts and entertainment activities including, but not limited to, concerts, movie theaters, performing arts or other theatrical productions, are cancelled until further notice. 

For all events and gatherings:

  • Individuals must wear face coverings at all times, as well as maintain physical distancing (six feet of separation) from other individuals.
  • Classrooms have already been configured to comply with these standards.
  • Whether you’re coming to UB for business (e.g., employees, contractors, speakers or other invited guests) or leisure (e.g., walking your dog on campus grounds), all students, faculty, staff and campus visitors will be required to abide by all campus safety protocols (including the use of face masks and physical distancing). Hosts of invited guests must ensure their guests are aware of and follow university protocols. 

Vulnerable Populations

  • For any person who identifies a need for UB to address a specific medical issue, UB will utilize the ADA regulations to accommodate a request made with appropriate medical documentation.
  • UB is determining and will clearly communicate curricular options and possibilities for students who are unable to come to campus.
  • For faculty and staff who share concerns with their supervisors regarding their level of comfort about returning to work on campus, the university will address specific issues and situations on a one-to-one basis. The university’s “Return to Campus” website provides more information about how to safely work on campus.


  • Student-athletes participating in varsity athletics at the university will adhere to additional best practice guidelines set forth by the NCAA and the Mid-American Conference in order to reduce the spread of the virus among student-athletes and the university community.


  • The university will continually review and understand the state-issued higher education guidelines and submit reopening plans prior to reopening.
  • The university will conspicuously post completed reopening plans for faculty, staff and students to access. Information and updates about UB’s response to the pandemic will be posted on the university’s COVID-19 Planning and Response website.
  • The university will engage with the campus community members when developing, updating and implementing reopening plans.
  • The university will develop a communications plan for students, parents or legal guardians, employees and visitors that includes reopening-related instructions, training and signage, and a consistent means to provide them with information.
  • Through development and implementation of a campus-wide health information campaign, the university will raise awareness about the importance of complying with health behaviors and university guidelines that reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission and which protect the entire university community. The campaign will focus particularly on the importance of always wearing a face covering in all public spaces at the university, physical distancing, regular handwashing and the need to remain in one’s home or residence hall room when feeling ill.
  • When a positive case of COVID-19 is identified among university students, faculty, staff or visitors who have been on campus, the university will notify members of the university who may have had contact with the infected individual as soon as possible and provide them with health care instruction in coordination with the Erie County Department of Health.

UB Health Guidelines committee

  • Michael Cain, MD, Chair, Vice President for Health Sciences, Dean, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
  • Christopher Bartolomei, Chief of Police
  • Brian Bratta, PhD, Associate Athletic Director, Sports Medicine and Wellness Services
  • Robert Cenczyk, PhD, Director of Academic Operations, School of Nursing
  • John DellaContrada, Vice President for University Communications
  • Jocelyn Jakubus, Director, Presidential Events and Initiatives
  • 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
  • Jay Roorbach, Senior Emergency Planning Coordinator 
  • Thomas Russo, MD, Professor and Chief of Infectious Disease, Medicine, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
  • John Sellick, DO, Professor, Medicine, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and Physician, Student Health Services
  • Kenneth Snyder, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Neurosurgery, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and Vice President of Physician Quality, Kaleida Health
  • Susan Snyder, MS, Director, Student Health Services
  • John Tomaszewski, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Peter A. Nickerson, PhD Chair, 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, School of Public Health and Health Professions
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