Commencement Health and Safety Guidelines

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UB is thrilled to be able to celebrate the achievements of this year’s graduates in person. Although COVID-19 continues to be a risk, the university has taken steps to minimize the chance of transmission. 

Requirements

Here is what is required of all participants to ensure the safest commencement possible.

Screen

Before arriving on campus, everyone must complete the Daily Health Check, UB’s virtual health screening tool, to be evaluated for COVID-19 symptoms and exposure. Learn more and access the Daily Health Check at buffalo.edu/health-check.

Cover Up

Wear an appropriate face covering over your nose and mouth at all times while on campus (see UB’s Health and Safety Guidelines).

Distance

Maintain a minimum six feet of physical distance between yourself and anyone outside your party at all times.

Document

Be prepared to demonstrate proof that you do not have COVID-19, through one of the following:

  • A negative result from a SARS-CoV-2 test taken before the event (within 72 hours for PCR or six hours for antigen). Documentation can be in the form of either a lab result in the UB surveillance testing registration app, a formal lab result, or a lab result in the New York State Excelsior Pass Wallet.
  • Proof of full vaccination. According to the CDC, that means at least two weeks have passed after the final dose of an authorized COVID-19 vaccine series was received. Documentation can be in the form of either the vaccination certificate (card) or the vaccination pass in the New York State Excelsior Pass Wallet.
  • Full recovery from a positive COVID-19 diagnosis within 90 days. Documentation can be either a positive test result from within the 90-day window (but not within 10 days) or a completed isolation order. Note: The individual must be past the required COVID-19 isolation period of 10 days in order to attend.

Remember to bring photo ID to confirm your documentation.

COVID-19 Surveillance Testing Deadlines

To ensure graduating students can meet the 72-hour turnaround time required for participation in each commencement, UB has designated specific hours on the days listed below during which those who are graduating may get tested. These collected samples will be marked as “priority” and receive expedited processing at the lab.

FAQ

  • What are the health and safety requirements for attending commencement?

    UB’s commencement plans were approved by the New York State and Erie County health departments and will abide by the graduation guidelines issued on April 12 by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

    All attendees must adhere to the following requirements on the day of the commencement ceremony:

    1. Complete the Daily Health Check that day.
    2. Bring photo ID and be prepared to show one of the following:
      • Negative viral test result (taken within 72 hours for PCR or 6 hours for antigen).
      • Proof of full vaccination (at least 14 days after final dose).
      • Proof of full recovery from COVID-19 within the past 90 days.
    3. Wear a face covering over nose and mouth.
    4. Maintain a minimum six feet of physical distance.

    Updated April 26, 2021

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  • How many guests can attend a commencement ceremony?

    For commencement ceremonies at UB Stadium, graduates will be allotted two to four tickets for guests depending on the size of the ceremony. The number of guest tickets per graduate for commencement events held in the Furnas lot will be determined by each school’s dean, based on participation. Schools will provide additional information about commencement size and ticketing availability.

    Updated April 16, 2021

    spring commencement
  • How will UB enforce its health and safety requirements at the commencement ceremonies?

    If attendees (graduates or guests) do not provide the required documentation or follow the health and safety guidelines as mandated by New York State, Erie County and UB, then they will not be permitted to attend in-person graduation ceremonies. 

    Updated April 16, 2021

    spring commencement
  • What affect will inclement weather have on plans to hold the ceremonies outdoors?

    Ceremonies are rain or shine. Unsafe weather conditions would prompt cancellation of the ceremony, and parts of the ceremony that have been previously recorded would be shared virtually.

    Updated April 16, 2021

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  • If a student missed the deadline to register for commencement, can they still do so?

    Given the importance of following state health and safety guidelines, it is imperative that students register to participate in commencement prior to the deadline.

    Updated April 16, 2021

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  • Can faculty and staff attend the ceremonies?

    Faculty and staff can attend the ceremonies. They will be counted in the total number of attendees allowed at the venue.

    Updated April 16, 2021

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  • How can a student participate virtually if they choose not to attend in-person commencement?

    Students can choose to attend virtually by registering with their school. Those that do so will have their name read aloud and their slide information displayed during the ceremony.

    Updated April 16, 2021

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  • How can guests not attending the ceremonies view them?

    All ceremonies will be livestreamed at www.buffalo.edu/commencement/streaming/current-videos.

    Updated April 16, 2021

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  • What procedures are in place for contact tracing if an attendee reports that they have tested positive for COVID-19?

    One guest from each attending household, family or party must sign in before or immediately upon arrival to the event, providing their full name, address, email and phone number for use in potential contact tracing efforts, if necessary.

    Updated April 16, 2021

    spring commencement contact-tracing
  • What are UB’s plans for graduates of the class of 2020 whose in-person ceremonies were canceled last year?

    The university is in the process of planning a celebration for our 2020 graduates sometime in the fall of 2021. There will be an official announcement once details are finalized.

    Updated April 16, 2021

    spring commencement contact-tracing