End-of-Semester Update and COVID-19 Testing Protocols

Published November 17, 2020

Dear university community:

On Monday, November 9, the University at Buffalo began our pre-Thanksgiving break testing for COVID-19. To date, we have tested over 11,500 students, faculty and staff. While we are approaching 100 positive cases among members of our on-campus community within a 14-day period, thankfully, our positivity rate has steadily maintained a rate well below 1 percent (0.44%) compared to nearly 6% in Erie County over a 7-day rolling average.

We are working closely with New York State, SUNY and our local health department on an orderly plan to wind down operations over the next several days pursuant to the Fall Semester Departure Guidance that was issued from the SUNY Chancellor. In consultation with our local health department, SUNY, NYS Department of Health and pursuant to current guidance, we intend to maintain in-person instruction as scheduled. 

As we prepare to wind down in-person instruction on Tuesday, November 24, in accordance with our fall 2020 academic semester calendar, it is absolutely critical that our students are tested before leaving for the Thanksgiving break. If our campus is required to end in-person instruction sooner due to New York State guidance requirements, students are still required to be tested prior to departure.

As a reminder, testing is required for all students who: (1) reside on campus, (2) take at least one class on our North, South or Downtown campuses, (3) use on-campus services such as dining, libraries or fitness facilities, or (4) work on campus.

If you fall into any of these categories and have not yet been tested, please make an appointment to do so immediately.

Random surveillance testing of our on-campus faculty and staff will continue throughout the semester.

Our university community members who have tested positive for COVID-19 are continuing to follow isolation protocols. To these students and employees, we wish each of you a speedy and complete recovery.

As the number of COVID-19 cases rises across the country and in our region, we must remember that we share a responsibility to mitigate the further spread of the virus. Therefore, starting Thursday, November 19, in-person student programs and activities will be suspended, and campus dining and food service will offer takeout service only. For the most up-to-date information, please visit UB's COVID-19 Planning and Response website.

I want to thank our students, faculty and staff for your vigilance throughout the semester, which has ensured that our on-campus positivity rate has remained low. We all share the understanding that the actions we take—namely, wearing our face masks, practicing physical distancing and good hygiene, avoiding attending gatherings and parties, and staying home if we feel sick—enhance and promote community health.


Satish K. Tripathi