After weeks of convening, the UB Faculty Senate announced on Sunday the spring semester will be pushed from Jan. 31 to Feb. 1 and there will be no spring break in accordance with SUNY guidelines.
In addition to a spring semester delay, SUNY says the winter sessions will be “fully” remote to reduce any risks associated with the flu season. Spring break and other spring holiday break periods have been removed from the academic calendar to limit travel among students and prevent the spread of COVID. The announcement comes after a Oct. 27 SUNY wide mandate to test roughly 140,000 students across 64 campuses before Thanksgiving break. SUNY believes this is possible due to its FDA-approved saliva test developed by SUNY Upstate Medical University which has given SUNY the “capacity” to process approximately 200,000 COVID tests per week.
Students are expected to confirm they have completed a seven-day “precautionary quarantine” before returning to campus. After the quarantine, students must provide a negative COVID test three days before their return or take a campus administered test upon arrival no later than five days after their return. Students who present documentation of a positive diagnostic test from the prior three months are exempt from the return test.
SUNY has not said how this mandate will be enforced.
All students who have classes on campus or utilize campus facilities must be tested for COVID before leaving for Thanksgiving break and returning for spring semester. All classes will transition to remote learning after Thanksgiving break, on Nov. 30. The university says residential facilities will be closed and are only open to those with “extenuating circumstances.”
All classes are required to be remote to comply with SUNY mandates, but exceptions will be granted for clinical practicums, specialized research and other learning experiences requiring students to be in-person. Campuses must notify SUNY System Administration of any courses that require in-person instruction.
In a statement from UB, there will be continual “transparent and public” reporting of COVID cases and weekly random surveillance testing of students, faculty and staff throughout the spring semester.
“In addition, UB will provide students with regular updates about [its] plans for the spring semester, including providing information about the format of students’ individual courses prior to starting the spring semester,” according to UB News Center.
UB officials say they will release a completed plan for the spring semester before the end of fall semester.
Alexandra Moyen is the editor-in-chief and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @AlexandraMoyen
Alexandra Moyen is the senior features editor of The Spectrum.