Students can expect to stand side-by-side with their peers at football matches and walk mask-less around the academic spine, according to the long-awaited health and safety guidelines released by UB on Thursday.
Things won’t look exactly like they were before COVID-19 – unvaccinated students will still need to wear masks and indoor sporting events will be limited to 5,000 people – but they should largely look like normalcy autumn.
Gone are the days of social distancing on campus.
Weekly surveillance tests will be a thing of the past for fully immunized students, and capacity limits will no longer be in effect for outdoor gatherings of any size.
These changes, which were ad in an UBNow article Thursday and approved by SUNY earlier in the week, will take effect immediately.
“With the virus at an all time high in western New York and New York State, and with the high vaccination rates in our university community, UB will be fully in person in the fall,” said the president Satish Tripathi in the history of UBNow. .
“We are delighted to welcome our home-based students, faculty and staff back to campus. And, as we return to a much more normal campus experience, the health and safety of our college community continues to be our top priority, and we remain ready to adjust our plans accordingly. “
Mandatory vaccinations, with exceptions
Students must be fully immunized in order to take classes in person or live on campus in the fall, but may be exempted for religious or personal reasons.
The Food and Drug Administration has cleared three vaccines – Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson / Janssen – for emergency use. These vaccines still require full approval from SUNY and the FDA for the mandatory rule to take effect.
All students, regardless of their vaccination status, are exempt from social distancing rules. Unvaccinated students will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test upon their return to campus. They will also have to continue to wear a mask inside and outside the campus. It is unclear how UB intends to enforce compliance.
International students may find it difficult to get a vaccine in their home country, as many areas have yet to open vaccines for 18-25 year olds. Some countries only offer injections that are not approved by the FDA. The UB requires that these students be vaccinated with injections approved by the World Health Organization. The university says it could offer an FDA-approved vaccine to these students during the semester.
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“We are very satisfied with the response of our students to the vaccine requirement so far and we expect that the number of students vaccinated will continue to grow steadily until the fall semester,” said the vice president of Student Life, Brian Hamluk, in the UBNow exhibit.
More than 19,000 UB students have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the university.
A return to normal
Students and employees will still be required to complete the daily health check, regardless of their immunization status.
But almost everything else – from capacity limits in outdoor venues to social distancing around campus to wearing masks in classrooms and research labs – will revert to a state last seen in March 2020, before the pandemic.
University officials have touted low positivity rates – UB has administered 159,934 tests with only 533 positive results since the start of the pandemic – as the reason for the loosening of restrictions. “It’s a big step forward to get back to campus,” reads the UBNow story.
Students will be required to wear masks on the UB Stampede and campus shuttles, regardless of their immunization status, in accordance with federal policy requiring the wearing of masks on public transportation.
Masks will also be required at some health care facilities, including Student Health Services and UB Dental Clinic. Students can choose to continue wearing masks, even if they are already vaccinated.
But these are exceptions, not the rule.
As per previous SUNY guidelines, vaccinated students and employees do not have to wear masks in most indoor and outdoor campus environments. This includes classrooms, dining rooms, halls of residence and research laboratories.
The fall semester will start on August 30.
Justin Weiss is the editor and can be contacted at [email protected]
Justin Weiss is the Spectrumthe editor of. In his free time, he can be found hiking, playing baseball, or throwing things at his TV when his sports teams aren’t winning. His words appeared in Elite Sports New York and Long Island Herald. He can be found on Twitter @ Jwmlb1.