Campus Plan: Fall 2020 Semester

Published June 15, 2020

Dear University Community:

In April, UB launched a framework of university-wide committees to develop plans for a variety of short and long-term scenarios in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Composed of over 180 faculty, staff, students and senior administrators, including 19 representatives of the Faculty Senate, these committees were charged with determining how best to allow UB to continue delivering excellent educational and research programs while protecting the health and safety of the university community.

At the end of May, the Campus Planning Committee submitted its Executive Summary and Final Report and Recommendations for the fall semester, which we have accepted. While final guidance will come from the Governor and SUNY Chancellor, we are pleased to share that UB is planning to return to campus in the fall in a modified in-person capacity, which will include a mix of in-person instruction – within distancing and public health guidelines – and online courses. This decision will preserve our mission as a place-based, public research institution, while providing us needed flexibility to continue caring for our campus community and providing the best possible educational experience for our students.

Modified In-Person Instruction at UB – Fall 2020

  • In-person, seated classroom instruction will be designed to provide six feet of physical distancing. Face coverings will be required.
  • Course format (in-person, hybrid in-person/online, or fully remote) will be based on course goals and curricular/clinical requirements.
  • Students will receive a communication this summer confirming the instruction format of the classes they will be taking.
  • Per the recommendation of the Campus Planning Committee, we will pursue with the UB Faculty Senate a modification to the academic calendar to include instruction on Labor Day and conclude in-person instruction before Thanksgiving. The final three weeks of the semester will be conducted remotely.
  • Some professional programs will follow their regular academic calendars.  

Student Life

  • Residence Halls will be open, with reduced occupancy.
  • Dining services will be available, with additional takeout and delivery options.
  • Libraries will be open and services will be available remotely and in-person.

Campus Health and Safety

  • We will follow all public health guidelines including maintaining social distancing and using face coverings.
  • There will be a reduction in density in classrooms, student housing, and offices across campus.
  • The university will adhere to CDC and State guidelines related to cleaning, providing protective barriers, controlling foot traffic flows, and using elevators and stairwells.
  • Face coverings will be provided for faculty, staff and students.

Screening, Testing and Tracing Protocol

  • UB’s COVID-19 planning structure includes a Screening, Testing and Contact Tracing Protocol Committee, chaired by Dr. Michael Cain, Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
  • UB’s protocol for Fall 2020 will be built on evidence-based medicine and include screening, contact tracing, education, and appropriate testing for faculty, staff and students.

All determinations about the fall semester and a phased return of employees will align with the Governor’s Executive Orders—including Western New York’s progress pursuant to the state’s Phase 1-4 regional benchmarks.  As Western New York is now in Phase 2, some employees are returning to campus this month and we have begun the process of reopening some research facilities. General information regarding protocols for employees is available at the Administrative Services website.

A guide for students returning to campus is available on this website [no longer available].   

In the coming days and weeks, you will receive more detailed information and guidance related to plans for Fall 2020. 

Finally, we would like to thank the many faculty, staff and students who have contributed so significantly to the university’s planning efforts to ensure that we continue to advance our mission during these challenging times. We would also like to acknowledge the patience, understanding and resilience of our campus community as we continue to negotiate this evolving situation. Throughout, we are here to support you in your academic, research, scholarly and professional endeavors.


Satish K. Tripathi  

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