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.
UB’s plans for the fall were announced today in a university-wide email from UB President Satish K. Tripathi and UB Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs A. Scott Weber.
The University at Buffalo is planning to return to campus this fall, offering educational and research programs under a “modified in-person” format.
While final guidance will come from the Governor and SUNY Chancellor, the university will offer a mix of in-person and online instruction, while protecting the health and safety of the campus community.
Tripathi and Weber stressed that this decision will preserve UB’s mission as a place-based, public research institution, while providing the needed flexibility to continue caring for the campus community and providing the best possible educational experience for UB students
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.
The university anticipates that decisions related to the fall 2020 semester will be made and communicated to the campus community in mid- to late June, UB President Satish K. Tripathi said this morning in a memo to faculty, staff and students.
Tripathi added that UB envisions a phased return of employees to campus prior to the start of the 2020-2021 academic year. Further, he stated, "it is my hope that such a return will begin in the very near future, including resuming research that has been put on hold."
Tripathi stressed that all determinations about a phased return of employees and the fall 2020 semester will align with Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Executive Orders — including Western New York’s progress pursuant to the state’s Phase 1-4 regional benchmarks.
The president's memo also notes that under Provost A. Scott Weber’s leadership, UB is developing numerous protocols to prepare for the fall. "This preparation includes a full array of measures to ensure the health and safety of every member of our campus community," Tripathi stated.
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.