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UB, Buff State welcome students back with COVID plans in place

UB Students back on Campus
Posted at 5:02 PM, Aug 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-26 17:28:08-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The hustle and bustle of students are back at the University at Buffalo as orientation week is in full swing.

"Our health and safety protocols will help protect our staff and students from the spread of the virus," A. Scott Weber, Provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at UB, said.

All students returning in person to SUNY schools like UB must now be vaccinated after the FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine. In addition to the vaccine requirement, UB is implementing more rules to keep students safe.

"A number of safety programs from masking to social distancing to testing when appropriate," Brian Hamluk, vice president for student life, said.

Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, must wear masks in indoor common areas including buses and shuttles.

UB says more than 90% of students are have been vaccinated. Staff and Employees are not required to be vaccinated, but those who are not face more restrictions.

"Individuals who are not vaccinated we have mandatory weekly surveillance testing," Weber said.

All SUNY staff and employees are not required to be vaccinated due to a Union agreement between the employees and the state. UB is hoping that their staff, regardless of the union agreement, decide to get the vaccine.

"We're encouraging all faculty and staff to be vaccinated," Weber said, "I think we will have a high rate but I don't have a number for you right now."

That feeling is shared by SUNY Buffalo State.

"At this point that (vaccine) mandate is only for students not staff but we're encouraging (the staff) to get vaccinated and are hoping they do as soon as possible," Dr. Katherine S. Conway-Turner, President of Buffalo State, said.

Buff State is also making sure their community is safe for a return of students. They say that having the knowledge of the last year helped them prepare.

"If anyone gets COVID-19, we can attack it quickly and get them isolated," Dr. Conway-Turner said.