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.
Buffalo State follows the Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) Guidance for P-12 and Higher Education in responding to students or staff who have COVID-19 symptoms or a positive COVID-19 test.
Effective September 9, 2020, the college is coordinating with ECDOH to notify students regarding a positive case identified where they attended a course that was 60 minutes or more. All students, faculty and staff will be directed to enter a precautionary isolation at their residence for a period of no more than 14 days. On-campus students may be moved to the medical isolation building in North Wing.
Residential students will quarantine in North Wing if they are symptomatic and IgM positive while waiting COVID results. Residential students who have a quarantined residential family member will remain selfisolated in their assigned residential unit. Non-residential students will quarantine and self-isolate in their offcampus locations. If a quarantined residential student can get home safely, without using public transportation, we will request they go to their permanent address.
Quarantined students will remain in their assigned rooms in North Wing. Those self-isolating will remain in their residential rooms or units unless they can get home safely. Once students are quarantined or are selfisolating in their rooms, Buffalo State will deliver meals and check in with the students for physical and mental health twice a day. Students will be provided with supplies for hand washing and cleaning, and procedures for cleaning. Students will be responsible for the daily cleaning of their quarantined sites.
Students Confirmed or Suspected to Have COVID-19
There will be 71 quarantine spaces in Buffalo’s State’s North Wing residence hall. If a student becomes symptomatic, they and their residential "family unit" will be tested. If their IgM is positive they will go home if they have the ability to safely do so. If not, they will enter quarantine and their family members will go into isolation within the residential room or unit. We will monitor quarantine
capacity in tandem with the Erie County Department of Health (EDOH). In consultation with EDOH we will review a recommendation to shut down if we reach a 70 percent capacity of North Wing; or we will expand our quarantine facilities.
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 updated.
The college has initiated the “blue tape” system on office doors to monitor access and cleaning/disinfecting needs. 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 depend 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 the repopulation of the campus.
As the college prepares to return employees to campus and offices this summer, and students to the residence halls and classrooms this fall, coordinated communications will be essential to keeping our community informed and safe. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, communications have been a central component of Buffalo State College’s incident management structure and response.
Considerations for audiences and modalities are reviewed ahead of all announcements and communications. The college utilizes e-mail, multiple social media platforms (institutional and department-level accounts), and the web to ensure current students (resident and commuter student populations), families, prospective students, faculty, staff, the local community, and alumni are informed of important decisions and announcements by the college. Additionally, the college’s Marketing and Communications Office has centralized all COVID-19 related communications, FAQs, resources, and protocols online at coronavirus.buffalostate.edu/.
Central to the college’s efforts toward containment, protocols, and safety measures will be communicating a sense of shared responsibility to the campus community. In her message to faculty, staff, and students on June 18, President Conway-Turner stated, “New York State has become the nation’s leader in reducing the infection rate of COVID-19. For that progress to continue as we return to campus this fall, we must recognize that preserving our health and safety will be a collective effort. Compliance with the face covering requirement and physical distancing will maximize safety for all.” A similar message was shared on social media. It will be imperative to continue communicating to students, faculty, and staff that their actions can and will impact the rest of the campus community.
Communication with students will include a variety of email, web page, and social media messages to assist them in preparing for campus operations and their responsibilities as the campus reopens.New students will receive health information during Orientation that reinforces face covering requirements (on campus and in residence halls), reinforces the requirement to keep physical distance between themselves and others, and provides information about why it is important to get an annual influenza vaccine. Post orientation, new and returning students will be directed to websites for updates and important information regarding their roles in keeping the campus safe and the expectations related to daily symptom reporting, what to do if they become symptomatic, and the resources available to support them.
It will also be important for the college community to understand that COVID-19 is prevalent in our community. On the college’s coronavirus resource page, a dashboard is planned for the fall semester to offer a snapshot of the number of known positive test results across three categories: 1) Resident Students, 2) Commuter Students, 3) Faculty/Staff. The dashboard would note that the college partners with the Erie County Department of Health on contact tracing efforts and that any close contacts would be notified directly as appropriate. Additionally, links would be present on the dashboard page to the Erie County COVID-19 Case Mapping Tool and the New York State Department of Health COVID-19 Tracker. An e-mail would be sent to the campus community during the first week of classes highlighting the dashboard page, noting that while campuswide e-mails will not be issued after each positive test (campuswide notifications will be reserved for larger outbreaks that may impact operations), the dashboard will be regularly updated as new cases are identified.
The division of Student Affairs is preparing a robust plan to communicate health and safety protocols during new student orientation this summer, in preparation for phased move-in to the residence halls in August, and on-going messaging during the semester. Modalities will include social media, posters/signage, virtual information sessions, and health ambassadors who will hand out educational cards to students about compliance with face masks, social distancing, and hand hygiene.
As part of the college’s phased Return to Work plan, faculty and staff will receive training and information related to preventative protocols and practices. Signage in campus buildings will be posted.
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