Fall Update

Published August 24, 2020


Faculty, staff and senior leadership have worked continuously and diligently for the past five months to plan and prepare for the 2020-21 academic year, transforming all aspects of our academic programs and campus operations in an age of COVID-19.  We benefit from our location in a community and state with low COVID-19 transmission rates and are fortunate to have among our outstanding faculty world-renowned experts in infectious disease and public health who have guided all of our health and safety decisions.  In developing our plans, we have followed evolving scientific evidence and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, New York State, SUNY and the Erie County Department of Health. 

Throughout the summer, faculty have been returning to research labs. Now, confident in the extensive planning and preparation that we have undertaken, we are in the process of welcoming UB students back to the university, whether they are pursuing their studies in a fully remote or hybrid model.  I encourage you to review extensive information regarding our fall plans here.   Below is a summary of key points for your information as we approach the beginning of the fall semester:

  • UB’s modified in person instruction format has significantly reduced the density in our classrooms this fall by 87% compared to fall 2019.  This reduction has been achieved based on faculty preference in instruction modality, creating a new academic schedule in July. 
  • Occupancy rates in residence halls and campus apartments have been reduced by about 40%.
  • Environmental, Health and Safety has performed a thorough inventory of campus HVAC systems and replaced all air filters.  UB is in compliance with the guidelines for higher education as recommended by New York State and taking steps to exceed these guidelines where possible.
  • A complementary process of daily screening the university population and performing targeted testing based on these screening results is in place.
  • A quarantine plan is in place for students as is a close partnership with Erie County Department of Health to perform contact tracing for faculty, staff and students as needed.
  • We will be transparent in reporting known positive cases among UB community members.
  • We will monitor community spread closely and are prepared to shift to fully remote instruction, if needed.

Protecting the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff remains our highest priority during these unprecedented times. In the coming months, we must remain flexible with the ability to pivot quickly under fluid circumstances.  We can and should be confident in the plans we have made to protect students, faculty and staff to the greatest extent possible in an evolving situation.

In closing, it is critical that each of us do our part to prevent the spread of disease through appropriate face coverings, social distancing, hand washing, health screening and monitoring and staying home when sick. Your full commitment to these interventions when on UB’s campuses and in the local community is essential to a safe return to campus.



A. Scott Weber                                                                                      Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs