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Saturday, July 24, 2021

S M T W T F S
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From the Vice President for Finance and Management

Posted: Tuesday, July 13, 2021

COVID-19 Guidelines for Summer 2021

Amid evolving guidance related to the pandemic, I am writing to inform you of the current status of Buffalo State College’s protocols related to COVID-19. This update provides guidelines related to health, safety, and administrative services as we continue our return to in-person operations during summer 2021. This guidance will be updated throughout the remainder of the summer and will be shared in the Daily Bulletin and posted to the college’s Coronavirus Information website. Questions may be addressed to vpfm@buffalostate.edu.

Buffalo State is in receipt of fall COVID-19 guidance from State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras. Fall guidance is currently under review by our Emergency Response Planning Group (ERPG), the Incident Management Team (IMT), and the President’s Cabinet. Following their review, President Katherine Conway-Turner will share Buffalo State’s fall COVID-19 protocols with the campus community.

SUMMER 2021 GUIDANCE FOR FACULTY AND STAFF

Masks
Note: The following mask guidance applies to summer operations. Fall mask guidance is currently under review by ERPG, IMT, and the President’s Cabinet.  
Fully vaccinated individuals (faculty, staff, students, and visitors) do not need to wear masks indoors or outdoors, except in instructional spaces (e.g., classrooms, laboratories studios, etc.). Unvaccinated individuals and those whose vaccination status is unknown must wear a mask at all times indoors, including in instructional spaces, but may remove their masks while working at a physically distanced individual workstation or while actively eating or drinking in a campus dining area. Unvaccinated individuals and those whose vaccination status is unknown may remove their masks outdoors unless they are in a gathering or at crowded event where they are unable to maintain 6 feet of physical distancing.

As masking requirements for vaccinated individuals evolve, we want to remind our community that faculty, staff, and campus visitors may continue wearing masks for a number of reasons. Welcoming and accepting those who wear masks on campus is an easy step anyone can take to support others.

Air Quality
Buffalo State follows guidelines from the New York State Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding mechanical ventilation and air filtration. The campus has installed and will maintain high-performance MERV-13 filters within all facilities with air handling unit ventilation systems. Ventilation systems will continue operate for longer hours, with increased outdoor air being supplied to indoor spaces where possible. Ventilation systems in all student housing facilities and all restrooms will be operated continuously. General purpose classrooms, which are not supported by air handling unit systems and scheduled for use during fall 2021, will be equipped with air purification units. 

There may be areas of the campus that are warmer or cooler than usual as a result of these changes. Individuals are asked to please accommodate these minor inconveniences and dress appropriately, so that the whole community can benefit from these ventilation changes.

Attestation
Every campus employee reporting to work in person must affirm that he or she has read and understands the Guidance for State Agencies and Authorities during the COVID-19 Public Health Public Emergency. Please follow the link to read the guidance and attest that you understand its provisions and will adhere to its requirements.

Capacity
Workplace capacity is limited only by the space available for individuals to maintain physical distancing, based on vaccination status. For fully vaccinated individuals, no physical distancing is required.

At this time, proof of vaccination status is not required from employees; however, employees are invited to upload their vaccination information to Human Resource Management to be exempted from weekly surveillance testing. 

Cleaning and Disinfecting
Buildings are being prepared for a 100 percent return to in-person operations for the fall 2021 semester in compliance with CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfection. The custodial emergency response team is trained and equipped with specialized disinfecting equipment and is available to address any area of concern, at any time of day, quickly and thoroughly.

Custodial Services staff members will disinfect any area that is occupied and continue use of the blue tape system that indicates which spaces have been occupied. Hand sanitizer dispensers are provided and refilled across campus. Virex, an EPA-approved disinfectant, has been widely distributed and is available to all by request.

Health Screening
State agencies and authorities may continue to screen individuals for COVID-19 symptoms, recent close contacts, and recent positive COVID-19 test results prior to or immediately upon arrival to the workplace, regardless of individual vaccination status. Screening may be performed via signage, by e-mail and website, by telephone, or by electronic survey before individuals arrive to work. Temperature checks are no longer required as a part of health screening. Buffalo State will continue to use the daily health screening process for all employees who present to campus for work each day. 

Mail and Parcel Delivery 
Mail and parcel deliveries are being made at least once a week to buildings that have central mail rooms. Mail will return to normal delivery schedules starting August 2.

Special requests regarding mail and parcel delivery may be emailed to adminops@buffalostate.edu.

Return to In-Person Operations
The Pilot Statewide Telecommuting Program (alternative work locations) ended July 2, 2021. Buffalo State is phasing in employees’ return to in-person operations in stages and in a purposeful manner. This approach supports the important measure of thoughtfully increasing campus density over the course of summer 2021, consistent with health and safety guidelines.

Requests for exceptions involving extenuating circumstances limited to child care, elder care, or specific COVID-19-related medical accommodations should be addressed to the Human Resource Management Office. For those with extenuating circumstances, an extension of telecommuting arrangements may be possible through September 7, 2021.

Before workers return, supervisors will develop safety-oriented plans for a return to in-person operations for the Buffalo State offices or departments they oversee. Employees must follow all applicable health and safety guidelines.

Social Distancing
Fully vaccinated individuals do not need to be socially distanced, but unvaccinated individuals and those whose vaccination status is unknown need to maintain 6 feet of social distance in accordance with CDC guidelines. In instructional spaces, in lieu of maintaining 6 feet of social distance, appropriate physical barriers may be used as long as they do not present a health or safety hazard. A mask is considered a physical barrier. 

Spending Controls
In accordance with SUNY guidance and until further notice, all Buffalo State departments should continue to curtail Other than Personal Service (OTPS) spending. The restrictions described in the Procedures for Spending Controls: COVID-19 and Post-COVID-19 apply to all state, Buffalo State College Foundation, and Research Foundation administrative funds.

Purchases must be limited to those items and services that are urgent, essential, and relevant to Buffalo State’s strategic priorities. Spending down of departmental accounts is prohibited. These procedures aim to provide methods for prioritizing, seeking approval for, and enacting essential OTPS spending at Buffalo State College during and after the COVID-19 impact.

Testing
COVID-19 surveillance testing takes place on Tuesdays from 6:00 to 10:00 a.m. and on Wednesdays from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. in the Campbell Student Union Assembly Hall.

Fully vaccinated employees (two weeks after receiving the second dose or two weeks after receiving a single dose vaccine) are exempt from mandatory weekly testing upon the submission of documentation (vaccine card or Excelsior Pass) that shows completion of a full vaccination series (definition subject to change based on final recommendations on booster shots from the Food and Drug Administration and the CDC).

Employees interested in submitting proof of full vaccination are encouraged to complete a Proof of Vaccination form. Employees who do not wish to provide their vaccine documentation via the secure form may call Human Resource Management at 878-3042 to schedule an appointment to provide it in person.

Mandatory weekly testing will continue to be required for any employee who has a physical presence on campus and who has not been fully vaccinated or has not shown proof of vaccination status.

Travel
This guidance pertains to all state, Research Foundation, and Buffalo State College Foundation funds:

International travel continues to be prohibited. Limited domestic travel may be permitted if it is consistent with local health guidance, supports essential business of the college, and relates to

  • health and safety,
  • instruction and research,
  • student-facing experiences (e.g., Athletics),
  • revenue generation (e.g., Admissions).

All travel requests require approval of the traveler’s supervisor. With the exception of Research Foundation–sponsored travel, all requests require review and approval at spending thresholds consistent with ongoing spending constraints reviews. Proposed travel valued above $10,000 would be subject to approval of the College Budget Committee. Research Foundation sponsor-funded travel is allowable consistent with New York State and local health guidance

Travel Cards (T-Cards) will be available for use on approved travel. To reactivate T-Cards, please secure supervisor and respective cabinet member approval and submit to Bonnie Heim, director of non-contract procurement.

Vaccinations
New York State provides information about vaccinations and appointment availability.

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