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Friday, May 1, 2020

From the President

Posted: Friday, May 1, 2020

Looking Ahead to the Fall 2020 Semester at Buffalo State College

As we approach the end of this unprecedented spring semester at Buffalo State College, my mind has already turned toward summer and preparations for the fall 2020 semester.

There is no question that this summer will be markedly different because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Normally, the summer months of June and July on the Buffalo State campus are bustling with happy faces, intensive classes, visits by prospective students, orientation sessions for new and transfer students, athletic camps, and countless special events for our wonderful community.

Last month, we announced that our 2020 summer classes will remain fully online as we continue to observe important social distancing and density-reduction protocols to keep our community safe—while making every effort to keep students on a successful path to degree completion. These necessary safety precautions have unquestionably disrupted other summer events and milestones as well, including our first-year and transfer orientations, which will also be held virtually this summer.

As we look to the fall semester, I want you to know that we are working tirelessly to prepare a number of strategic responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although we don’t yet know what the fall will look like, we do know that safety will be our No. 1 priority. We know it is yours as well. And because we can’t yet know what the public health guidelines for fall 2020 will be, we must prepare for all possible outcomes, all of which preserve the flexible, supportive, and affordable learning environment for which Buffalo State is known. I wanted to share with you a few of the scenarios under consideration:

  • Like you, we are hoping it will be safe to resume classes, activities, and residence hall operations on campus this fall, even if some social distancing mandates may still be in effect. If that is the case, whether it be in the residence halls, the dining facilities, the athletic fields, or the classrooms, we will have a wide variety of safety measures and enhanced cleaning procedures in place to keep our students, faculty, and staff protected.
  • We are also preparing for a scenario in which our public health officials recommend a more restrictive level of physical distancing in the fall. In this case, limited campus operations might resume, with small classes, labs, and studio sessions meeting on campus and large lecture-style classes continuing to meet remotely. In this scenario, our resident students would live primarily in suite- or apartment-style halls, to limit the sharing of commons spaces and bathrooms. 
  • And although we hope it does not come to this, we must also be fully prepared to deliver an outstanding and engaging education remotely if public health officials should deem it necessary.

Regardless of what happens, I am steadfastly committed to keeping our students on an uninterrupted path toward academic success and timely graduation, while ensuring that our valued faculty and staff are safe and supported.

To that end, I have charged Provost James Mayrose with evaluating all possible scenarios for the fall 2020 semester to help chart the best possible course to keep our community safe and fulfill our educational mission as Buffalo’s College. Provost Mayrose has appointed a planning group of more than 30 individuals from across campus to help evaluate our options for this fall. The group will begin meeting today, May 1, and will be tasked with recommending three robust and detailed operational plans to the cabinet and me by mid-May. In June, I intend to provide an update about our anticipated plans for the fall semester, which of course will be subject to change based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the New York State Department of Health, the Erie County Department of Health, SUNY System Administration, and Governor Cuomo’s New York Forward Re-Opening Plan.    

Thank you for your continued patience and dedication to Buffalo State and our students. Be well. 

Fall 2020 Scenario Planning Team

  • James Mayrose, Provost, Chair
  • John Cabra, Professor, Creative Studies, Facilitator
  • Lisa Marie Anselmi, Associate Professor, Anthropology, UUP Representative
  • William Benfanti, Associate Vice President for Government and Alumni Relations
  • Peter Carey, Chief of University Police, IMT Commander
  • Rock Doyle, Assistant Vice President, Weigel Wellness Center
  • Kristin Fields, Interim Director, Continuing Professional Studies
  • Timothy Gordon, Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Jeffrey Hammer, Interim Director, Environmental Health and Safety
  • Carlos Jones, Interim Dean, School of Arts and Humanities
  • Kris Kaufman, Director of Maintenance/Repair and Residential Planning
  • Scott Kent, Manager, Custodial Services
  • Kimberly Kline, Professor, Higher Education Administration, College Senate Representative
  • Lisa Krieger, Associate Vice President for Administrative Services
  • Michael Lewis, Director, Events Management
  • David Loretto, Director, Undergraduate Admissions
  • Charles Lyons, Director, Butler Library
  • Jacquelyn Malcolm, CIO and Vice President for Enrollment, Marketing, and Communications
  • Heather Maldonado, Assistant Provost, College Senate Representative
  • Joseph Marren, Professor, Communication, College Senate Chair
  • Nigel Marriner, Registrar
  • Lisa Morrison-Fronckowiak, Director, Student Accessibility Services
  • Meghan Pereira, Director, Instructional Design and Technology
  • Laura Rao, Director, Civic and Community Engagement
  • Sarah Reid, Campus Planner
  • Jason Rivera, Assistant Professor, Political Science
  • Donna Scuto, Associate Vice President, Sponsored Programs
  • James Thor, Associate Vice President and Controller, Financial Operations
  • Jeffrey Ventura, Associate Director, Intercollegiate Athletics
  • Amitra Wall, Associate Provost
  • Jamie Warnes, Officer in Charge, Human Resource Management
  • Sarah Young, Dean of Students