After the Thanksgiving break (Nov. 25-29), UB will transition to remote learning for the rest of the fall semester. This will give UB time to complete SUNY-mandated pre-break testing of thousands of students before they leave for the break.
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.
On October 12th, UB President Satish K. Tripathi provided a financial update to the university community.
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.
Every year, in the late weeks of summer, our university eagerly anticipates the start of a new academic year. As we prepare for this most unusual semester, we’re especially excited to welcome our students this fall. Our students have shown incredible resilience and grit, and this year, “UB pride” takes on a new meaning.
This semester will be different, but key aspects of the UB experience remain the same. Your health and safety are our highest priorities. You will receive a world-class educational experience, no matter your location. You will pursue opportunities for personal and professional growth and receive our full support as you take on new challenges. You will find an unwavering sense of community and commitment, built around shared daily experiences only possible at UB. Our faculty, staff and administration have been working hard to develop creative solutions that enable us to deliver on these commitments to you.
Remember, we are here for you! The UB community is strong, smart and determined. We will get through this time together, because together, we are UB.
So you can be as prepared as possible we have gathered some information and resources on:
As we prepare for the upcoming academic year, we are mindful of the many sacrifices our students and their families make for a successful higher education experience. We realize that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on our students and their families financially. UB’s leadership is focused on keeping the cost of a UB education as affordable as possible.
Below is a summary of SUNY’s current approved tuition and fees:
The Mid-American Conference (MAC) has announced the postponement of all scheduled fall contests, as well as MAC championships, due to continuing concerns related to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
In the MAC statement, UB President Satish K. Tripathi, who also serves as chair of the MAC Council of Presidents, said "This decision is in the best interest of all Mid-American Conference student-athletes, athletics departments and university communities. The Council of Presidents has always maintained that the health, safety and well-being of everyone within our conference, especially our student-athletes, is our top priority."
"Personally, I feel for all of our student-athletes and staff who have been affected by this decision," said UB Athletics Director Mark Alnutt. "They have prepared very hard for their respective fall sport seasons, doing so by adhering to the very strict health and safety guidelines that we have in place. I'm so proud of how they represent UB and the Mid-American Conference."
UB’s plans for the fall have been amended based on final guidance from the Governor and SUNY Chancellor. The UB plan was created with the health and well-being of all members of the campus community as the foremost priority. “Through our comprehensive planning process, we are 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.”
J. Brice Bible, UB's vice president and chief information officer, sent a message to all faculty, staff and TAs and GAs on August 4th regarding teaching resources available to support course planning and delivery.
In his message, Bible said that in preparation for the Fall semester, educational design and technology support staff from across UB have been working to develop several new resources and trainings to support them in their course planning and delivery.
Introducing UB Teach Anywhere
UB Teach Anywhere is a new website with curated resources for UB faculty to successfully design and deliver their courses. Use it to explore delivery methods (remote, hybrid, etc.) and find recommendations for technology, accessibility and inclusivity, test monitoring and academic integrity, and more. Learn more about this website.
Classroom upgrades: recording, livestreaming and conferencing
UB instructors can now invite virtual guests to in-person classes using Zoom or Webex in most UB classrooms. These classrooms also now feature the ability for faculty to record or livestream their lectures using the included Panopto software. Learn more about recent classroom upgrades.
Fall 2020 scheduled classroom open the week of August 3rd.
Training sessions on teaching technology
To help faculty take advantage of available resources, a series of training sessions are being offered during August 2020.
Student Life provided important updates on campus housing in a message to students.
The full message is available on the Campus Living website.
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.
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 light of the ongoing threat of the global pandemic of COVID-19, the university is cancelling UB-administered study abroad programs for Fall 2020.
The cancellation affects programs with start dates from August through November 2020 and is based on a careful assessment of current and future risks from the pandemic in countries where UB administers programs. The health and safety of students remains UB’s highest priority.
The threat of a recurrence of COVID-19 outbreaks this fall remains a serious concern. At this time, the U.S. Department of State continues to list a global health advisory (Level 4: Do Not Travel) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains its Warning Level 3: Avoid Nonessential Travel, and thus international travel remains heavily restricted. Consulates serving our region remain closed, which impedes students’ ability to apply for visas to undertake their programs abroad.
This cancellation decision pertains to both conventional UB-administered credit-bearing programs and non-credit experiential learning trips, including those for service, clinical and internship experiences. Students who have applied for such programs and trips through the Office of International Education have been notified.
The university is currently evaluating several instructional scenarios for its home campus in Buffalo this fall, ranging from a full return to on-campus instruction, to continuing distance learning, to modified in-person instruction in a safe campus environment.
Questions may be directed to Mary Odrzywolski, Director of Study Abroad Programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Should conditions allow, UB plans to resume study abroad programs in the winter session in January 2021.
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.