Update: March 16, 2020, 8:04 p.m.
As recommendations from federal, state, and local health authorities change every day, I want to stress to every member of our campus community how important it is that we take established social distancing guidelines seriously.
This afternoon, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a new advisory urging all Americans to avoid gatherings of 10 or more individuals for at least the next 15 days. Furthermore, Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered the closure of all gyms and movie theaters, and limited all restaurants in New York State to takeout and delivery operations only. We have moved to close our Fitness Center, Kissinger Pool, and Ice Arena until further notice. Additionally, meals from the Bengal Kitchen and Chartwells will be restricted to take-out only for the foreseeable future.
Governor Cuomo has also instructed state agencies to direct at least 50 percent of the workforce to telecommute, effective immediately until at least March 31. Starting Tuesday, March 17, I am directing all non-essential** Buffalo State staff members to stay home and await further instruction regarding telecommuting from supervisors and Human Resource Management. Only essential* staff members should report to campus Tuesday. Faculty are encouraged to continue preparations for remote instruction.
Although we do not have a confirmed case of COVID-19 among our campus community, we now know of seven confirmed cases in Erie County. All seven individuals are currently in quarantine, but the Erie County Department of Health is asking anyone who may have been at the same specific locations at the same specific times as these individuals to self-monitor for symptoms.
Now is not the time to take COVID-19 lightly. All Americans are urged to be vigilant, avoid unnecessary travel, avoid large groups of people, and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from other people as a measure to reduce the possible spread of the virus. It is also imperative that we all continue to practice simple good-health habits, such as washing our hands often and thoroughly, coughing or sneezing into the crooks of our arms, avoiding touching our faces, and staying home when we are sick.
If you are a student and suspect that you’re experiencing coronavirus symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, or respiratory distress), isolate yourself immediately and call the Weigel Wellness Center at (716) 878-6711. Please call before going to the clinic. During evenings and weekends, please call our after-hours nurse line at (866) 710-1002.
If you are a faculty or staff member and are experiencing any one of the symptoms of coronavirus, stay home, isolate yourself, and contact your personal health-care provider. Please call before going to the provider’s office or clinic. Additionally, any faculty or staff members must also report their symptom(s) to their supervisor and to Human Resource Management by telephone or e-mail at (716) 878-4822 or email@example.com. Employees who develop symptoms outside of their normal business hours should not report to work and should instead immediately call University Police at (716) 878-6333 to report their symptom(s).
Even in these difficult times as we work to decrease the spread of COVID-19, we must remember the importance of supporting our students and all members of the Buffalo State community. If we work together, we will persevere. Please continue to monitor your Buffalo State e-mail and our COVID-19 information page for updates.
President, Buffalo State College
*Essential employees are defined as:
a. Those whose job function is essential to the effective operation of their agency or authority and those who are involved in the COVID-19 emergency response.
b. Essential employees may need to report to campus and be physically present to perform their jobs OR may be able to report to a remote location (home) to perform their jobs.
**Non-essential employees are defined as:
c. those who do not need to be physically present to perform their jobs. The term also applies to employees who are not required to meet the core function and programs of their agency during this emergency response.
Supervisors will be contacting staff members soon regarding essential vs. non-essential status.
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