Please note that reopening plans are subject to change based on evolving health and safety information, guidance, and/or direction from the State of New York and the Governor’s Office.
Indoor common areas—including performance spaces, reservable spaces on campus and residential common spaces—will contain signage with instruction regarding traffic patterns, wearing masks, reducing density, and social distancing.
The following transportation services are poised to continue/resume in order to meet campus needs in fall 2020.
Each of these services has enacted COVID-19 procedures to ensure user safety.
Parking Services staff have been emphasizing electronic transactions (e.g., web payments of parking summons), and mail rather than in-person transactions (e.g., purchasing parking permits). When populations return to campus, counter service will not resume, and staff will assist customers via phone and email communications.
Campus Shuttle Services Reduction in Service
Because peak ridership during a typical semester is approximately one quarter of the vehicle capacity, it is not anticipated that additional shuttles would be required. Service providers will take measures to encourage social distancing while on public transportation.
Buffalo State and its contracted transportation service providers value rider and employee safety. To support this, the college requires transportation providers to operate in accordance with the interim guidance for public transportation activities during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
The guidance requires:
Use of masks will be an integral part of the re-opening of campus operations.
All students will be provided a PPE kit—including two reusable and washable masks, hand sanitizer, a sanitary key (to open and touch surfaces safely), disinfecting surface wipes, a hand sanitation card, and information about COVID-19 health resources—upon arrival to campus.
Masks will be used in classrooms, residence hall common areas, event and public spaces. They will be required for visitors and vendors, in small spaces and inside the Weigel Health Center. Other PPE such as sneeze guards and social distancing floor markings will be integrated into reopening plans for dining, retail and other common areas. Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) Office staff will evaluate workspaces and provide the necessary PPE.
Buffalo State will expect all employees to adhere to federal, state, and local governing guidance on appropriate health and safety guidelines. Those authorities are likely to follow Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.
EH&S will provide two reusable masks to each campus employee. Masks will be required to be donned when social distancing measures of six feet cannot be maintained. Informational notices and signage will be used to inform the public (students, employees, visitors, contractors, etc.) of those areas where masks are required. Signs will be posted outside the building entrances. Disposable masks will be available through EH&S and the Weigel Health Center.
PPE orders will be placed by the Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) Office and/or through the collaborative SUNY regional procurement process. Orders will be received through the college’s Central Receiving Department. EH&S will then add them to the internal PPE inventory tracking system. EH&S staff will distribute PPE for faculty and staff in response to requests from department directors and deans. For workplace modifications (i.e. sneeze guards, social distancing floor markings and hand sanitizing stations) departments will submit requests to have potential workplace modifications assessed. EH&S staff will evaluate and respond to the departmental requests.
Buffalo State will develop a comprehensive testing strategy for students and support campus testing with system-level procurement of testing supplies as needed. Testing will be a cornerstone of any in-person engagement during the fall semester. The current diagnostic testing protocol within New York State is still largely contingent on exposure to a COVID-positive person or having symptoms of COVID-19. We expect this guidance to change, and anticipate broader testing across the full campus population, to include serologic testing supplies and strategic vision. Currently our recommendation will follow the Erie County health recommendations for COVID-19 exposure and COVID-19 symptomatic persons.
Students who did not arrive by the conclusion of scheduled and phased move-in times were required to quarantine for seven days in an offsite location designated by the campus. Once the Governor expanded rapid testing, as of August 29, 2020, students were able to forgo in-area quarantine as a requirement to move into the residence halls. Instead they are required to provide a negative test result from a test taken no less than 24 hours prior to moving into their rooms.
Buffalo State does not plan to change its Code of Conduct, which already addresses health and safety policies. We are updating our residential license to more specifically address wearing of masks and social gathering policies (e.g. social gatherings will be limited to 25 residents/staff, assessed according to space size. Capacity signs will be posted throughout common areas.) Residential students will be allowed to visit other residence halls as described in existing guest policies. Non-residents and non-students will not be allowed inside the residence halls for this academic year. Students with conditions will be assisted by Student Accessibility Services in accessing residential accommodations.
The following safety practices will be employed for dining services:
Staff who have been instructed to return to the workplace must conduct symptom monitoring.
Classrooms and Shared Spaces
All general-purpose classrooms and shared spaces will utilize new seating plans to facilitate proper social distancing for instructors and students while they are seated. Classrooms and shared spaces with built-in furniture will be properly marked to prevent seating that does not comply with social distancing guidelines. On-campus instruction for courses, labs, studios, and practicums where in-person interactions and hands-on experiences are critical to student learning will be targeted and prioritized for in-person instruction, while other classes may be offered in a true hybrid format—that is, with lectures offered online and supplemental in-person instruction in smaller groups. Classes that can be effectively delivered 100 percent online will remain remote to help reduce density on campus.
In-class course offerings and revised scheduling continue to be coordinated with academic planning and facilities based on revised classroom capacities and other facility factors. Course schedules will be finalized and posted to Banner in late July.
All researchers will be required to complete a Return to Research Application outlining their plans for implementing safety precautions that will minimize the potential for exposure to the COVID-19 virus. These plans are to be reviewed and approved by the Chair, Dean, Office of Sponsored Programs, and Provost prior to the continuation of any research.
E. H. Butler Library
Butler Library will open in a limited capacity to campus members with card access.
Students will be required to present health screening information upon entry. Building modifications may include the removal of furniture and workstations, the installation of sneeze guards, floor markers, and barriers, and modifications to entrances and exits. Library services will be provided online when possible or using no/low-touch customer service strategies (ex. online payments and check-outs).
Large spaces such as gymnasia, auditoriums and assembly halls will be analyzed for possible use for classroom instruction and student co-curricular activities. Performances and rehearsals will be set based on the rooms and venues ability to allow for physical distancing and audience capacity reduced by 50 percent.
Cleaning protocols have been revised with special attention given to high-touch surfaces. The campus has procured EPA-approved hospital grade disinfectant products that are effective on SARS-COV-2. Academic departments have been supplied with these hospital-grade products. All cleaning and disinfecting protocols have been modeled after current CDC guidelines and are reviewed for updates.
Buffalo State has procured two air-assisted misting disinfecting machines for use in Butler Library and the Student Union.
The college has initiated the “blue tape” system on office doors to monitor access and
cleaning/disinfecting needs. Custodial staff place blue tape on the doorknob of an office or suite after it is cleaned; staff remove the tape when entering the space to work. This allows cleaners to know which spaces require cleaning and disinfecting. Additionally, Buffalo State has procured touchless hand sanitizer dispensers, along with alcohol-based sanitizer and is strategically placing and refilling hand sanitizer stations on campus.
Custodial Services will respond to campus cleaning needs upon determination of classroom and facility usage for fall semester; and will re-assign custodial staff dependent upon classroom, residence hall and facility usage. Staff sign in/sign out reporting procedures have been altered to provide social distancing. All staff have been provided gloves and reusable masks.
Custodial Services continues to “deep-clean” all academic and residential facilities in preparation for re-opening and return of students.
HVAC Systems and Ventilation
All HVAC ventilation systems will be operated for longer hours, with more outdoor air being supplied to indoor spaces where possible. Ventilation systems in all student housing facilities and all restrooms will be operated continuously. Air handling units will be inspected, and filters changed. Cooling towers have been operational, tested and inspected. Testing will continue as normal. A classroom ventilation analysis has been conducted.
Plumbing domestic water systems have been flushed weekly in all unoccupied buildings. Dining services ice machines have been flushed and sanitized when shut down. Upon repopulation of the campus, systems will be cleaned and sanitized prior to operation. Drink dispensing machines have been flushed, sanitized, and turned off. Upon repopulation, systems will be cleaned and sanitized prior to operation.
Mail and General Delivery Services
The campus mailroom and central receiving are currently operating under COVID-19 procedures with reduced staffing. Under these procedures, mail is received, sorted, and held at the mail room, with department representatives required to retrieve items via curbside pickup.
Student mail, and parcels from USPS, will be batched and delivered to a centralized location, either for each building, or for a cluster of buildings, or for all residence halls combined. Deliveries from UPS and FedEx will be permitted to deliver directly to residence halls with Residence Hall staff providing access to suitable drop locations. This will be monitored and adjusted as needed to meet the needs of the campus community.
As employees return to campus, the mail room can phase in mail delivery while limiting personal exposure by delivering to approximately 5-10 buildings that receive the most mail. These deliveries would be made early each day to reduce exposure. Departments from other buildings will be required to continue curbside pickup at the mail room. This will be monitored and adjusted as needed to meet the needs of the campus community.
Activities reserved through the Events Management Office, athletics, and activities in performance spaces and the Student Union will be conducted using density reduction—based on the capacity of the room—of no more than 50 percent of the original capacity.
Student groups that reserve space for an event will review a document regarding policies pertaining to social distancing, mask wearing and health practices. Student groups will be encouraged to host virtual events.
Building staff will monitor spaces, reconfigure spaces, and evaluate traffic patterns for all reservable spaces. Student performances must be approved by the appropriate President’s Cabinet member in advance of the performance. Social distancing must be employed, along with limited audience capacity based on density reduction guidelines.
Events and meetings will be held in compliance with the Campus Events and Visitors Protocol. Venue managers will review activities in a rubric based upon attendee numbers and risk, impact, and priority.
The levels reflected will be:
Buffalo State College will host its Commencement Ceremonies for the class of 2020 virtually on September 26, 2020, to celebrate the graduates that were eligible to participate in the postponed May 2020 ceremony.
On August 18, 2020, Buffalo State Intercollegiate Athletics released a return-to-practice plan that follows federal, state and local guidelines, as well as those of the NCAA. Buffalo State’s return-to-play will be based on the NCAA 14-day model of initial quarantine and the suspension of the fall 2020 competitive seasons (no events).
Intramurals and recreational sports that are contact sports will not be held. Recreational sports that can be offered with social distancing guidance will occur. The capacity for the campus workout center will be reduced by 50 percent and cleaning will be increased. Physical distancing markers will be added, and masks required.
Students who report health, safety or child care concerns when considering returning to a face-to-face classroom will be referred to, and assisted by, the office of the Dean of Students. The Dean of Students will assist with contacting the appropriate departments to address student concerns on a one-to-one basis. Students with accessibility concerns will continue to be accommodated on a case by case basis by Student Accessibility Services Office.
The campus has available for students, at a reduced rate, child care resources if this is of primary concern.
Employees with concerns about returning to campus will be assisted by the Human Resource Management (HRM) Office. The employee, supervisor and HRM will work collaboratively to seek solutions. These solutions may include schedule changes where operationally feasible, reduced work schedules or extended remote work. These situations will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to best meet the needs of both the employee and the college.
Cleaning protocols have been revised with special attention given to high-touch surfaces. The campus has procured EPA-approved hospital grade disinfectant products that are effective on SARS-COV-2. Academic departments have been supplied with these hospital-grade products.
The campus has initiated a special Custodial Response Team to clean and disinfect potentially compromised locations on campus. The college has also initiated the “blue tape” system on office doors to monitor access and cleaning needs. Additionally, Buffalo State is strategically placing and refilling hand sanitizer stations on campus.
Custodial Services will respond to campus cleaning needs upon determination of classroom and facility usage for fall semester; and will re-assign custodial staff depend upon classroom, residence hall and facility usage. Staff sign in/sign out reporting procedures have been altered to provide social distancing.
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