UB lifts vaccination policy for campus events

A UB men's basketball player shoots the ball during a game in December.

Spectators will no longer need to show proof of vaccination at UB sporting and cultural events. Photo: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki

Release Date: March 7, 2022

Thomas Russo MD; Professor and Chief, Infectious Disease; Department of Medicine; Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo; 2021.
“The falling number of cases and the high vaccination rate on our campus is enabling us to finally return to a semblance of normality. ”
Thomas Russo, MD, chief, Division of Infectious Diseases
University at Buffalo

Buffalo, N.Y. -- Proof of vaccination against COVID-19 will no longer be required to attend events at the University at Buffalo.

With the updated policy, which took effect on March 4, spectators do not need to show a vaccination card upon entering sporting events in UB Stadium or Alumni Arena, or to attend cultural events in the Center for the Arts and Slee Hall.

This also applies to students and guests attending commencement ceremonies in May.

“The falling number of cases and the high vaccination rate on our campus is enabling us to finally return to a semblance of normality. This includes lifting the mask mandate and the vaccination mandate for larger gatherings,” said Thomas Russo, MD, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and a member of UB’s COVID-19 Health and Safety Committee.

Proof of vaccination at large campus events had been mandatory since last September until Friday’s announcement lifting the policy.

Masks are no longer required at UB events, either, part of an earlier decision to lift that mandate for most campus settings on March 5, based on updated guidance from the state and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“However,” Russo says, “to both protect yourself and others, mandates need to be replaced by individual responsibility, since there is still COVID out there.”

If you feel unwell, stay home and get tested for COVID, Russo says. And until cases drop to even lower levels, Russo recommends that individuals still consider wearing a mask while at large events or indoors on campus if they are:

  • Unvaccinated
  • Immunocompromised
  • Eligible for a booster but have not yet received one and are either older than 50, have a significant health condition or are pregnant.
  • Live with someone from any of these groups.

“Importantly, masking is a bridge to vaccination, which protects you 24/7,” Russo says. “COVID is not going away. It is not too late to get vaccinated or boosted, if eligible.”

As of March 1, 98% of UB students had been vaccinated for COVID-19, while 95% had received a booster shot.

UB, in consultation with local health officials, will continue to monitor COVID conditions and provide updates if there are any further changes.

It should be noted that proof of vaccination still will be required for guests in UB residence halls.

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