Return to Campus - Spring ’21

Updates and Protocols

In most cases, UB’s plans for the spring semester will mirror operations in the fall. UB’s goal continues to be delivering the best educational and research programs possible while protecting the health, safety and well-being of the university community. 

Class Format

  • Spring courses will be delivered as a mix of physically distanced, in-person classes and online instruction.

Academic Calendar

Screening and Testing Protocol

The FAQ further explains how UB will implement this plan and what it means for students, faculty and staff. 

Spring ’21 Semester:

Students must get tested before they return to campus

Free campus testing will be available by appointment weekdays from 1/25-2/5 for eligible students. Students may also submit outside test results. 

Read Spring ’21 Mandatory Return-to-Campus Testing for more information.

Need To Know

FAQ

  • What are UB’s plans for the spring semester?

    UB’s goal continues to be delivering the best educational and research programs possible while protecting the health, safety and well-being of the university community. The university’s plans for the spring semester will largely mirror operations in the fall in that UB will follow a modified in-person format. That means courses will be delivered using a mix of in-person (in accordance with physical distancing and public health guidelines) and online courses. UB’s plans for the spring were announced on Dec. 17 in a university-wide email from President Satish K. Tripathi and Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs A. Scott Weber.

    Updated February 2, 2021

    spring plan
  • What factors were considered in developing the plans for the spring semester?

    UB’s plans for the spring semester build upon the lessons learned and successes from the fall semester, which saw a low number of positive coronavirus cases on campus throughout much of its course. The university’s plans were developed by the 23-member Campus Planning Committee, which coordinated the work of several subcommittees composed of 137 members of the UB community, and incorporates guidance from SUNY and state and local health officials.

    All determinations about the spring semester will align with SUNY’s reopening guidance for spring and will be dependent on Western New York’s color-coded zone status. Up-to-date information about the university’s plans, including specific guidance for employees and students returning to campus, is available at UB’s COVID-19 planning and response site

    Updated December 17, 2020

    Spring return plan
  • What is the schedule for the spring semester?

    The spring semester will be held from Feb. 1 to May 15, 2021, for undergraduate, graduate and pharmacy students, with classes scheduled through the week that had been previously designated as spring recess. For professional school calendars, please visit the websites for the schools of dental medicine, law and medicine.

    Updated December 17, 2020

    spring schedule
  • Why was spring break canceled?

    The spring 2021 academic calendar was carefully determined by the university administration and the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, with multiple, complex considerations taken into account. The main concerns were the health and safety of the campus community and the need to align with academic continuity guidelines issued by SUNY. Those guidelines state that spring holiday periods will not be permitted given the associated risks pertaining to the spread of COVID-19. 

    Multiple considerations needed to be taken into account when determining the calendar for this semester, including ensuring the calendar met all accreditation, federal and state education department and financial aid requirements. Allowing for single days off during the week may have resulted in further changes to the academic calendar, for example extending the semester by a week which would interfere with clinical experiences, internships and summer classes, and would also delay degree conferrals. Changing the academic calendar once the semester begins could potentially impact financial aid and accreditation requirements. 

    Some instructors have elected to provide accommodations, such as modifying assignment due dates, allowing for more exam preparation, or changing the pace of assignments over the course of the semester. Decisions regarding structuring assignments or providing accommodations is at the discretion of each instructor. 

    Students are encouraged to plan ahead; to assess their course selections and workloads; to communicate regularly with their advisers and professors; and to seek support whenever needed. A variety of resources are available, including academic supportvirtual wellness workshops and mental health counseling. Student Life and UB’s counseling center offers online workshops, resources and events, focused on stress management and personal health.  Resident Life staff are planning events throughout the semester with a special focus on stress-relief and wellness.  Students can visit the calendar of events for more information.

    Updated March 24, 2021

    spring break
  • What steps must I take before returning to campus for spring semester?

    UB will follow the systemwide mandates SUNY announced recently. These include:

    Updated January 13, 2021

    Spring return testing
  • Where can I get tested to meet winter session and spring semester return-to-campus test requirements?

    Students must get tested before they return to campus

    Free campus testing will be available by appointment weekdays from 1/25-2/5 for eligible students. Students may also submit outside test results. 

    Read Spring ’21 Mandatory Return-to-Campus Testing for more information.

    Off-campus testing may be available through your health care provider, an urgent care center or your local and/or state health departments. Please call the testing organization before going to the testing site to inquire about the cost, time it takes to receive results and other criteria.

    Within Erie County

    Within New York State

    Before making a test appointment or going to a testing site, you are advised to check with the testing site and your health insurance plan to determine the cost of testing and what your financial responsibility will be.

    Updated January 15, 2021

    spring test testing
  • Can the on-campus pooled saliva testing be used to "test out" of travel-related quarantine?

    No, the pooled saliva testing available on-campus cannot be used as the required test used to "test out" (shorten) of travel-related quarantine.  The pooled saliva testing does not meet the NYS Travel Guidelines requirement of an individual, diagnostic COVID-19 test. 

    Updated January 6, 2021

    spring test testing
  • What if I am traveling from outside of New York State?

    Several states in the U.S. and many regions of the world are experiencing a high number of cases of COVID-19. The university is strongly recommending that UB faculty, staff and students avoid traveling to regions that are being impacted by the virus.

    Updated December 31, 2020

    spring test testing
  • Will UB continue surveillance testing for students, faculty and staff during the spring semester?

    Yes. The university will continue the surveillance testing program under the updated SUNY policy that now requires the administration of weekly testing of all students, faculty and staff who live on campus or who will be on campus regularly during the spring semester.

    Updated January 25, 2021

    spring testing surveillance
  • Are there any changes to UB’s health and safety guidelines for the spring semester?

    UB will continue to follow its health and safety guidelines, which are updated regularly based on the latest guidance and scientific knowledge. As was the case in the fall, all members of the UB community will be required to wear a mask at all times, maintain physical distance, wash hands frequently and stay home when feeling sick.

    UB has limited in-class student instruction to 25% capacity to help maintain a safe level of density on campus. The number of employees commuting to campus has been reduced by at least 50%. There will be approximately 3,000 or fewer faculty, staff and vendors on campus daily.

    Updated December 17, 2020

    spring health safety guidelines
  • When can I move into on-campus housing for the spring semester?

    Move-in for the spring semester will begin on Jan. 29. Earlier move-in dates will be available for students who need to complete quarantine on campus before the start of classes. Residents will be required to schedule a physically distant move-in time before arriving on campus. Appointment instructions will be emailed to students in January. Other important dates for residential students can be found on the Campus Living website

    Details on move-in and pre-arrival quarantine requirements will be communicated by email once they have been finalized. 

    Campus Living will continue to follow all health and safety guidelines to ensure a safe experience on campus. As was the case in the fall, all members of the UB community will be required to follow these guidelines. Occupancy rates in residence halls and campus apartments will be limited to approximately 60%, with the number of residential students on campus ranging between 4,500 and 4,700.

    Updated December 17, 2020

    spring housing dorms residence
  • What is the plan for on-campus clubs and activities for the spring semester?

    On-campus clubs and activities will be permitted to continue in person next semester as long as they follow NYSDOH guidance on physical distancing, spaces and gatherings.

    Updated December 17, 2020

    spring clubs activities
  • What is the spring semester plan for Campus Dining and Shops?

    Campus Dining and Shops (CD&S) will remain open and will follow all federal, state and local safety regulations, as well as UB’s health and safety guidelines. The dining format will depend on state and local health and safety regulations. Meal plans and dining points are active beginning Jan. 25, 2021, so students may begin selecting their meal plan now. This spring, CD&S is adding four new locations where students can use their meal plans via mobile ordering: Stacker’s, Blue Dragon at C3, The Bowl and Bravo Pasta II at The Cellar. Big Blue and Little Blue food trucks will also provide to-go dining options later in the semester.  Visit Campus Dining and Shops for updates.

    Updated December 17, 2020

    spring campus dining shops food
  • What is the spring semester plan for campus Transportation Services?

    The spring semester Stampede and shuttle schedules go into effect on Monday, Feb. 1.

    Stampede bus service will run daily from 6 a.m. to 12:20 a.m. Spring schedules for the buses and shuttles will be posted online at buffalo.edu/parking. In addition to the posted shuttle schedule, on-demand shuttle service will be available using the TransLoc app on the North Campus shuttle line, the Friday Apartment Mall/Market shuttle and the South Campus Safety Shuttle. The Mall/Market shuttle and the Asia Food Market Express will continue regular service, and the Friday Apartment Mall/Market will resume on Feb. 5.

    Updated December 17, 2020

    spring transportation bus shuttles
  • Will athletics continue during the spring semester?

    Athletics activities will continue as scheduled, strictly following NCAA, Mid-American Conference and UB health guidelines.

    Updated December 17, 2020

    spring athletics sports
  • What are UB’s plans for the Fall '21 semester?

    UB’s intention to resume regular in-person instruction in the fall 2021 semester were communicated on Jan. 20 in a university-wide email from UB President Satish K. Tripathi and UB Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs A. Scott Weber.

    University-wide planning will follow best public health practices to ensure the health and safety of our university community.  Tripathi and Weber stressed that the university needs to remain flexible and be prepared to adjust plans, as circumstances may change.

    The fall 2021 course schedule will be released on March 29. Students received an email on March 25 providing them with important information on registering for courses. Unlike this past academic year, the vast majority of courses in the fall will be delivered in person, reflecting a strong desire among UB faculty to return to campus. More plans for the fall semester will be announced as they are finalized.

    Updated March 26, 2021

    fall plan
  • What are the commencement plans for the spring 2021 semester?

    The University at Buffalo has finalized its plans for commencement season. As was previously announced by UB President Satish K. Tripathi, UB will conduct 17 in-person commencement ceremonies and four recognition and certificate events between April 30 and May 16, with a limited number of guests allowed to attend based on capacity restrictions.

    UB’s commencement plans, including protocols for guests, 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.

    Commencement exercises will take place at two outdoor locations, both on the North Campus in Amherst: UB Stadium and the Furnas parking lot (located off Lee Road). All ceremonies will be live streamed.

    Requirements will include mandatory mask-wearing, physical distancing and health screening, as well as proof of recent negative COVID-19 test or proof of full vaccination.

    Updated April 25, 2021

    spring commencement
  • 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

    spring commencement
  • 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

    spring commencement
  • 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

    spring commencement
  • 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

    spring commencement
  • 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

    spring commencement
  • 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

    spring commencement
  • 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