Buffalo, NY—Mayor Byron W. Brown was joined by Buffalo State College’s Vice President of Student Affairs Timothy Gordon and University at Buffalo’s Interim Vice President of Student Life Christina Hernandez to announce a joint effort aimed at encouraging students who live off-campus to adhere to the public health protocols, which include wearing a mask in public and avoiding large crowds, that have been put in place to mitigate the risk of community spread on SUNY campuses.
Mayor Brown said, “What we have observed at other college campuses around the nation highlights the importance of being proactive and having a plan in place to engage with residents, students and landlords so everyone understands the critical role we all play in keeping ourselves and our neighbors safe during this pandemic. I want to applaud SUNY for all they are doing, both on campus and in the community, to help keep people safe and let our community know that we will jointly be monitoring this situation and making adjustments as necessary to protect the health and safety of every City of Buffalo resident.”
Starting this weekend, City of Buffalo inspectors will be conduct a door-to-door outreach campaign in the University Heights neighborhood to ensure that the homes students are renting are safe, check that only the number of allowable students are residing in the houses, and dropping off information and materials advising students of the safety measures in place. Joining the inspectors will be staff from the UB who will be available to answer any questions students may have. At Buffalo State, campus and city officials are working with management at off-campus student housing developments to provide educational materials regarding social distancing and masking, as well as stressing the need to limit large gatherings in their facilities. The college is also providing materials directly to commuter students at an upcoming commuter drive-through event where students will pick up PPE and other information about the upcoming semester.
”Throughout the summer, we have been stressing to our new and returning students the need to do their part this semester,” Gordon said. “Not only do students have a responsibility to keep themselves safe by wearing masks and socially distancing, but students have an even greater responsibility to keep their community safe. As New Yorkers, we have experienced the worst of this terrible pandemic and have emerged as a model for the rest of the country. It is my hope that our students remember our tough moments in the spring and take the proper precautions to keep themselves, their classmates, and our community safe.” Hernandez said, “The University at Buffalo is committed to being a good partner in the community’s response to COVID-19. Our health and safety guidelines require all students, faculty and staff to wear face coverings and abide by physical distancing, whether they are on campus or in the community. Together, we are working with our partners in the City of Buffalo to stop the spread.”
The City is committed to working with each institution to ensure that the health and safety of residents remains a high priority as they continue to respond to this evolving and dynamic situation. Further inspection activities will be scheduled, and the Buffalo Police Department will issue tickets with fines of up to $1,500 for students who violate the City’s ordinances for large parties. The fine is another enforcement tool that, in combination with other disciplinary measures from the school, will act as a further deterrence against unsafe behaviors that place everyone at risk.