Return to Campus - Fall ’21

Updates and Protocols

The University at Buffalo is currently planning for a return to fully in-person instruction and experiences for fall 2021.

Fall ’21 Semester:

UB is optimistic about the university’s ability to safely resume normal operations given the tremendous progress being made against COVID-19, including a high rate of vaccination among students and employees. UB will continue to work under the guidance of local, state and federal regulations, and will remain flexible as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve. 

The health and safety of our campus community will take precedence in any plans that UB implements.

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:

Fall '21 Academic Calendar

Aug. 30, 2021 Classes Begin
Sept. 6, 2021 Labor Day Observed
Nov. 24 - Nov. 27, 2021 Fall Recess
Nov. 29, 2021 Classes Resume
Dec. 10, 2021 Last Day of Classes
Dec. 11 - Dec. 12, 2021 Reading Days
Dec. 13 - Dec. 20, 2021 Semester Final Examinations
Dec. 21, 2021 Winter Recess Begins

Need to Know

Below are important protocols to know for fall 2021.

FAQ - for Fall '21

  • What factors were considered in developing the plans for the fall?

    The health and safety of our campus community take precedence in any plans that UB implements. The university’s health and safety guidelines were part of a planning process, chaired by the provost, which involved more than 180 faculty, staff and students.

    UB's health and safety guidelines are based on the most recent scientific research on effective methods for preventing the spread of COVID-19. They were informed by the latest guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), New York State Department of Health, and SUNY, as well as UB experts in infectious diseases, laboratory medicine and public health. Every element of this plan was developed with the goal of providing the safest environment possible for all members of the university community.

    Updated July 8, 2021

    fall plan planning
  • What is the most recent vaccination information for students for the fall semester?

    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 has been granted by the FDA. 

    Students who do not meet this requirement by the deadlines will be immediately resigned from all courses with an in-person instructional component and will be assigned a grade of "R" for those courses.  Students are financially liable for all courses unless they have dropped or resigned by published deadlines. Students may qualify for an exemption due to medical reasons or religious beliefs, or if they are learning fully remote. Visit the Student Guide Announcements Page for additional details.

    Updated August 23, 2021

    vaccine vaccination
  • What do UB employees need to know as they return to campus?

    UB continues to adjust its workplace to protect the university community. UB employees are advised to stay informed of the university’s most recent COVID-19 protocols.

    UB workplace information regarding capacity, physical distancing, mask wearing and exemptions, ventilation/air filtration, and health screening can be found on UB’s COVID-19 Employee Guide page.

    Updated August 3, 2021

    employees return requirements
  • Do students and employees need to continue to participate in Daily Health Screenings?

    In order to continue monitoring the health of the university community, all students and employees will be asked to continue to submit a daily health screening.

    Updated July 8, 2021

    Summer Pooled Surveillance Test Testing Mass Screening Screen
  • What do individuals living and working in UB's residence halls need to know for the fall?

    All students and advisers living in residence halls and university owned and operated apartments are required to be fully vaccinated. Recognized vaccines include those that have been fuly approved, or authorized for emergency use by the FDA or the World Health Organization. 

    UB will also 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. Fully vaccinated individuals who test positive must isolate for the 10 days.

    Effective Aug. 3, the University at Buffalo will require all students, employees and visitors – regardless of their vaccination status – to wear face coverings while inside campus buildings. This includes classrooms, hallways, libraries, research and teaching laboratories and other common spaces, as well as UB buses and shuttles.

    The new policy is in accordance with updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Erie County Department of Health. 

    For fully vaccinated individuals, face coverings 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 masks when moving around the office and interacting with other employees. Partially vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals must wear a face covering at all times, including personal offices and workstations.

    Updated September 15, 2021

    residence halls living on-campus apartments dorms dorm dormitory
  • Are there any changes in restrictions for events and gatherings on campus?

    New requirements for certain sports, cultural events begin Oct. 1, 2021

    This includes the Distinguished Speakers Series and the commencement celebration honoring the Class of 2020.

    Restrictions for large indoor events

    • Beginning Oct. 1, 2021 - All spectators attending men's and women's basketball games in Alumni Arena must provide proof they have been vaccinated against COVID-19. 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.
      • Masks will be required within indoor locations (concourse, club-level suites) in UB Stadium. Masks also will be required at all times while attending events inside Alumni Arena, the Center for the Arts and Slee Hall.        
      • The policy also applies to public cultural events in Slee Hall and the Center for the Arts. Masks will also be required on the concourse and within club-level suites in UB Stadium.
      • Individuals will not be able to attend events at Alumni Arena, the Center for the Arts and Slee Hall without proof of at least one dose of the vaccine, even if they have a medical or religious exemption.
    • 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.
    • Additional COVID-19 restrictions remain in effect for large indoor events with more than 5,000 people in attendance.

    Restrictions for large outdoor events

    • Beginning Oct. 1, 2021 - All spectators attending football games at UB Stadium must provide proof they have been vaccinated against COVID-19. 
      • 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. 
      • Masks will no longer be required when spectators are outdoors at UB Stadium, but will be required within indoor locations in UB Stadium, such as the concourse and club-level suites.
      • Individuals will not be able to attend events at UB Stadium without proof of at least one dose of the vaccine, even if they have a medical or religious exemption.
    • Face coverings will be required for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals at outdoor events or settings with more than 100 people in attendance. Individuals can remove their face coverings to eat or drink but must replace the face covering when finished.

    Updated September 21, 2021

    events gatherings event sports games theater arena stadium
  • Do students, faculty and staff need to participate in COVID-19 surveillance testing at UB?

    Mandatory weekly testing still will be required for students and employees who have not been vaccinated and have a regular presence on campus.

    Those who are fully vaccinated may opt out of the weekly testing by showing proof of completion of vaccination series. Human Resources has provided guidance to employees on how to provide proof of vaccination. Students can submit vaccination documentation through the Student Health Services portal.

    Updated July 8, 2021

    Summer Pooled Surveillance Test Testing Mass Screening Screen
  • What do international students and faculty need to know for fall?

    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 has been granted by the FDA. 

    Students who do not meet this requirement by the deadlines will be immediately resigned from all courses with an in-person instructional component and will be assigned a grade of "R" for those courses.  Students are financially liable for all courses unless they have dropped or resigned by published deadlines. Visit the Student Guide Announcements Page for additional details.

    All employees are strongly urged to get vaccinated for COVID-19 by Labor Day. 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.

    For UB’s international student and faculty populations, the SUNY requirement recognizes vaccines that have been authorized by the World Health Organization (WHO). International students who have received a vaccine not authorized for emergency use either by the FDA or the World Health Organization will need an FDA-authorized Covid-19 vaccine.

    Updated August 23, 2021

    international students scholars faculty vaccine vaccination
  • Do I need to wear a face covering when I’m alone in my private office?

    For fully vaccinated individuals, face coverings 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 masks when moving around the office and interacting with other employees.

    Partially vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals must wear a face covering 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.

     

    Updated September 15, 2021

    mask face covering
  • Do I need to wear a face covering while in my personal workspace, cubicle or non-public facing work setting?

    Employees at personal workstations who are fully vaccinated, in a cubicle or non-public setting can remove their face covering at their public workstation when alone, but must put it back on when walking about the work area, indoors. Partially vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals must wear a face covering at all times, including personal offices and workstations

    Updated September 15, 2021

    mask face covering
  • Do I need to physically distance from others indoors?

    The university is not requiring physical distancing indoors, because being fully vaccinated and wearing a face covering provides excellent protection for our campus community, in addition to hand washing and staying home when feeling sick. 

    Updated August 3, 2021

    distance space
  • Is it possible to take all of my classes online?

    The University at Buffalo is a place-based educational institution. Due to degree program and accreditation requirements, not all classes can be taught in a remote environment. All undergraduate degrees (with the exception of the Nursing RN-BS and Engineering Science BS) are place-based.  While the university will continue to offer some fully remote courses, it is not possible to complete an undergraduate degree without substantial in-person coursework.

    Updated August 27, 2021

    online classes remote distance
  • Will the COVID vaccine be required to register for classes in future semesters?

    Yes. All students attending a SUNY institution in the fall 2021 semester and thereafter must either receive a COVID-19 vaccination or obtain an approved exemption.

    Updated August 27, 2021

    future register vaccine
  • What are the impacts of being dropped or resigned from courses?

    You are financially responsible for any dropped or resigned courses based upon published deadlines, including associated course fees. Being dropped or resigned from a course may impact financial aid, medical insurance eligibility, immigration status, sequence of required courses and/or time to graduation.

    Updated August 27, 2021

    drop resign

What happens if I don’t receive the vaccine?

Students

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 has been granted by the FDA. 

Students who do not meet this requirement by the deadlines will be immediately resigned from all courses with an in-person instructional component and will be assigned a grade of "R" for those courses.  Students are financially liable for all courses unless they have dropped or resigned by published deadlines. Visit the Student Guide Announcements Page for additional details.

Employees

All New York State employees are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated for COVID-19 by Labor Day. State employees who do not get vaccinated will be required to be tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis. 

If you still intend to get vaccinated, we advise you to do so right away. Vaccines are shown to be safe and effective. They are free of charge and readily available. Full approval of the vaccine has been granted by the FDA, please make note of the urgency of the above timeframe and deadlines. More information about getting vaccinated is available on the COVID-19 immunization requirements page.

Updated August 23, 2021

exemption Vaccination Vaccine Required Mandatory Requirement