Dear University Community:
UB launched a framework of university-wide committees in April to develop plans for a variety of short and long-term scenarios in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Composed of over 150 faculty, staff, students and senior administrators 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.
The Campus Planning Committee submitted its Executive Summary and Final Report and Recommendations for the spring semester, which we have accepted. We are pleased to share that, similar to Fall 2020, UB is planning to return to campus in the spring in a modified in-person capacity, which will include a mix of in-person instruction – within distancing and public health guidelines – and remote courses.
In the fall, our approach to campus safety, with universal face coverings, physical distancing and surveillance testing, helped to mitigate COVID-19 transmission on campus. With safety measures in place, our decision to return to a modified in-person format in Spring 2021 is consistent with our mission as a place-based, public research institution. This spring, we encourage faculty to continue providing safe and excellent in-person educational experiences for our students as appropriate and to the extent possible.
Modified In-Person Instruction at UB – Spring 2021
- 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/remote, or fully remote) will be based on course goals and curricular/clinical requirements. Definitions and instructions for viewing course instruction modes in HUB are available on the Registrar’s Important Spring 2021 Schedule Information website.
- The spring semester will be held from Feb. 1 to May 15, 2021 for undergraduate, graduate, and pharmacy students. To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, classes will be scheduled through the week previously designated as spring recess. For professional school calendars, please visit the Dental Medicine (DDS), Law (JD), and Medical Education (MD) websites. The revised Spring 2021 academic calendar was amended to protect the health and safety of the campus community and align with SUNY reopening guidelines.
- Residence Halls will be open, with reduced occupancy.
- Dining services will be available, with additional takeout and service 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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and State guidelines related to cleaning, providing protective barriers, controlling foot traffic flows, and using elevators and stairwells.
- Face coverings will be available for students as needed.
Screening, Testing and Tracing Protocol
- All students, faculty and staff must participate in daily pre-screening for travel history, COVID-19 history, and COVID-19 symptoms two weeks prior to returning to campus and throughout the semester
- All students living on-campus, taking an in-person class, or participating in any on campus activity must present a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of returning to campus or participate in on-campus testing within 5 days of returning and complete a seven-day precautionary quarantine prior to their arrival on campus
- UB students who are coming to campus from a non-contiguous state or a Level 2 or 3 country (as defined on the CDC website) must serve a 14-day quarantine upon arrival in New York State. Students can attempt to shorten the 14-day quarantine by completing a COVID-19 test within 3 days of their departure location, quarantining for 3 days upon arrival, and completing a COVID-19 test on the 4th day after their arrival in NYS. Quarantine must continue until both test results are negative.
- UB students who are coming to campus from a Level 4 country must serve the entire 14-day quarantine upon arrival in New York State and submit a NYS traveler form.
- Surveillance testing will continue through the Winter Session and Spring 2021 semester.
- UB has two residence halls designated for isolation and quarantine for positive cases and close contacts involving students.
All determinations about the spring semester will align with SUNY’s Spring 2021 reopening guidance and are dependent on Western New York’s color-coded zone status. Up-to-date information about UB’s plans, including specific guidance for employees and students returning to campus, is available at https://www.buffalo.edu/coronavirus/latest-update.html.
In the coming days and weeks, you will receive more detailed information and guidance related to plans for Spring 2021.
We are grateful to have a community of faculty and staff who are so dedicated to continuing to advance our research mission and to provide the best possible experience for our students as we navigate these challenging times. 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