Published September 1, 2020
Dear university community,
I am writing to inform you 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.
We have reached out to all students who tested positive to offer our 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, we are posting data about known positive cases of COVID-19 on UB’s COVID-19 Planning and Response website.
Throughout the semester, rest assured that any students or employees who test positive will not be allowed to return to campus until they have completed their isolation period. When positive cases are reported, the Erie County Department of Health will monitor students in isolation who live off-campus, as well as impacted employees, while UB will monitor students in isolation who reside on campus.
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.
Remember, these are not ordinary times. Because of the global public health crisis, we have embarked on a semester that is unprecedented in our university’s history. Any inconvenience these guidelines may pose is eclipsed by our greater responsibility—as members of an educated, scholarly community—to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
To that end, wear your mask on campus—inside and outdoors. Keep it on when you go into the community as well. Practice physical distancing and good hygiene. Avoid large gatherings. If you are sick, stay home.
To expand on my last point: If you are a student who has come into contact with someone who has COVID-19, who suspects you have COVID-19, or who has tested positive for it, please report it to our university’s confidential phone line at 716-645-1400. In turn, UB will offer you the resources you need, including academic support, health services and housing guidance. If you are an employee in any of the aforementioned circumstances, please contact your supervisor immediately.
As I have said many times before, the health and safety of our entire university community is our foremost priority. Starting next week, UB will begin random COVID-19 surveillance testing of students, faculty and staff who have in-person interactions on UB’s campuses. This program will better serve our public health mission to reduce transmission of COVID-19. If you are selected, I strongly encourage you to participate—again, for your own safety, and that of your UB family.
As we look toward our personal and professional goals for the fall semester, we can all appreciate that following UB’s health and safety guidelines is critical to achieving them. Thank you for complying with these protocols.
For our students and employees who have been diagnosed with the virus, we are all hoping for your very quick and full recovery. As you recover, know that you have the support of your UB peers, colleagues and friends.
Satish K. Tripathi