Student Life Plan

The college has proceeded with all the necessary planning and safety measures for students to return to classrooms and residence halls with the start of the spring 2021 semester February 5. A personalized, on-campus experience is the foundation of a Canisius transformative education and one that the college has been committed to for 150 years.

Spring 2021 Plan

The college’s Recovery Task Force is informed by the latest guidance from local, state and federal government officials and public health authorities. The health and safety of students, faculty, staff and their families remains the college’s top priority and continues to lead all decision-making.

View Full Return to Campus Plan


Undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Wehle School of Business, and the School of Education and Human Services will begin the Spring 2021 academic semester on February 5, 2021. Throughout, the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff remained the highest priority in the college's reopening plans, and the college has developed a series of health protocols to mitigate risk and promote the safety of the learning environment.  These protocols include:

Testing - Return to campus for the Spring semester

Resident Students and Division I Athletes

This spring, Canisius expanded surveillance testing, primarily among the resident student population to determine the prevalence of Covid-19 in the community by periodically evaluating samples from randomly selected non-symptomatic individuals from within the campus community.  The college implemented surveillance testing among student athletes in the fall and it was an effective method to monitor and contain the spread of the virus. The college’s surveillance testing plan for resident students and non-athletes will be under the direction of the Office of Student Health.  All testing will take place in Science Hall Commons unless otherwise noted.  Here is what you can expect:

Surveillance testing will be completed for a period of 15 weeks during the spring semester beginning Tuesday, February 9 and concluding in mid-May, 2021.  Abbott BinaxNOW Rapid Antigen Tests will be used on a randomly selected group of approximately 30-40 resident students weekly.

The Office of Student Life will contact students in advance of the testing days. Participation is required from students who are selected. Students must participate in random surveillance testing or they will be fined $300 along with the possibility of forfeiting their right to stay in campus housing. 

Surveillance testing will be conducted by staff from the Office of Student Health, Independent Nursing Care and the Physician Assistant Studies program.  Free New York State testing is also available.  Information on those options is available here.

Resident students who have a confirmed case of Covid-19 in the previous 90 days are exempt from this testing pool, and if selected, should contact the Office of Student Health.

Resident students who have completed the Covid-19 vaccination series will still be required to participate in surveillance testing, if they are selected. 

All Student Athletes and athletic staff will continue to participate in surveillance testing three times per week through their competition seasons in accordance with New York State requirements and NCAA recommendations. Testing is coordinated by the sports medicine staff.  One test will be conducted at the New York State Perry Street site.  Student athletes and athletics personnel will continue to receive direct guidance on protocols for them.


Testing Dates

Date Who When/ Time and Location Administered by
February 17- May 12 Randomly selected residential students Science Hall Commons Independent Nursing
(Bi-weekly tests)   Wednesdays 1:00-4:00 PM  
6-Mar-20 Randomly selected residential students Science Hall Commons PA program
April 10,   Saturdays from 9:30-12:30 PM  
24-Apr   April 24 will be located in OM 101  
February 17 and 24 Faculty, students and staff Old Main -101, Well Now
  Personal insurance or private pay Wednesdays, 1:00- 4:00 PM  
**All tests are free to students with the exception of WellNow, which requires private insurance information at the time of visit.
  • Easter break and end of semester departure testing opportunities are available to all students
  • Students must make an appointment via the Student Health Portal
Date Time and Location Administered
March 31 10:00-4:00 PM Independent Nursing
April 1 10:00-1:00 PM Independent Nursing
May 18, 19, and 20 1:00-4:00 PM Independent Nursing

Testing for Student Athletes

All Student Athlete’s (SA) and staff (Tier 1 Personnel) are required to participate in the above surveillance testing program.

Winter sport programs (MBB, WBB 7 MIH) will continue their three times per week testing program through their competition seasons in accordance with New York State requirements and NCAA recommendations.

Testing is coordinated by the sports medicine staff.  One test will be conducted at the New York State Perry Street site. 

Fall and spring sport programs will test 25 percent of each team on a weekly basis beginning February 1, 2021 and continue through their competitive seasons in accordance with New York State requirements and NCAA recommendations.

Coaching staff will designate which SA’s and staff are in each quadrant with group roommates/housemates encouraged.  Those previously positive persons should be included in this listing, but will not be required to test until their 90-day window has passed. Testing will primarily be done at the Perry Street location.

SA’s who cannot arrange transportation to Perry Street should inform their athletic training staff member before their testing date. The athletic training staff will arrange for a campus test option for those who require that accommodation.


If you have any questions, please contact the Offices of Student Life at 716-888-8300, Student Health at 716-888-2610 or Athletics at 716-888-2970.

Spring 2021 Semester

The spring semester will be expanded by a week to add five non-instructional (break) days (cura personalis days) and a reading day in the hope that these breaks will help reduce stress and burnout and will improve mental health. Exams will now end on May 22.   Please see below for important dates:

  • Friday, February 5 - First day of class.
  • Tuesday, March 16 – cura personalis day (no classes held). 
  • Thursday, March 25 – cura personalis day (no classes held
  • Friday, April 2 – Good Friday (no classes – this was already scheduled as a day off)
  • Monday April 5 – cura personalis day (no classes held)
  • Wednesday, April 14 – cura personalis day (no classes held)
  • Thursday, May 13 – last day of classes
  • Friday, May 14 – reading day (no classes)
  • May 17-22 – Exam week

The addition of break days will affect the scheduled date of Commencement, but we do not have plans for Commencement at this time in light of New York State’s restrictions on public gatherings. Information will be provided as soon as the college has a clearer picture of what guidelines will be in place in the May-June timeframe.

Residence Halls

Residence hall occupancy has been reduced so that density in each building has been decreased in response to CDC guidelines to provide a safe living and learning environment. Undergraduate students who have roommates will be considered a family unit, which will enable the college to monitor, quarantine and isolate students efficiently if cases of infection occur.

Health Hazard Reduction: This is aimed at reducing or eliminating risk via the quarantine requirements noted above, regular health screening, and contact tracing efforts to ensure that people carrying the virus and their close contacts do not come to campus. As part of this process, it will be recommended that students participate in the daily health monitoring Mobile App.
Density Reduction: We are focused on limiting the number of students, faculty, and staff on the campus and in the classrooms, and accommodating vulnerable populations.
Engineering Controls: Improvements to campus HVAC systems and air circulation, will mitigate risk.
Administrative Controls: These efforts protect our community with behavioral changes, through signage, training, and regular communication, to promote social distancing and reshape the way we live, work and study.
Personal Protective Equipment: Face coverings, which will be provided to students as a critical component of risk mitigation, will be required at all times in all common, public areas, except in areas designated for eating or when in private quarters

Penfold-Gareis Fitness Center

The Penfold-Gareis Fitness Center reopened on February 1. Students are required to download the MINDBODY application (See QR Code), and use the application to reserve their time in the fitness center.

 Similar to the fall semester, the fitness center will close after every reservation block for a 15 minute cleaning period. Canisius College and the fitness center staff are committed to providing a clean and safe workout environment for all students. We ask that you please follow all rules and regulations when using the center to ensure all users and staff remain safe.

Rules and Regulations:

  • If you are feeling sick, do not attend your reservation; contact the Canisius College Student Health Center (716-888-2610)
  • Entry doors to the fitness center will be between Frisch and Palisano (Meech St. entrance)
  • When checking in for your reservation you must show your Canisius College ID card and Campus Clear application on your cell phone
  • Users can only use the center during their reservation time slot; 5-minute and 10-minute warning announcements will be made
  • While in the facility, users must wear acceptable face coverings at all times; in accordance with NYS guidelines Bandanas, Buffs, and Gaiters are not acceptable face coverings for gyms and fitness centers
  • Maintain social distancing from other users at all times (at least 6 feet, no spotting)
  • All equipment (benches, cardio equipment, free weights, and machines) must be wiped down after each use
  • Use of showers and drinking fountains is not permitted
  • Backpacks or bags must be placed in lockers located near each restroom
    • Any lock that is left overnight will be cut
  • When exiting the center, please utilize the doors closest to the Quad

Please use the Mindbody app to reserve your next workout! If you have questions regarding your Mindbody ap or account, please contact Student Life.

Helpful Resources:


Resident student move-in will take place by appointment only.
Since move-in dates will vary depending on where the student is coming from, resident students will need to click on the link that was sent to all resident students in an email last week from Al Pilato to make an appointment. Students can also access the Housing Self-Service page, found under Manage My Housing on the Student Portal. The students’ Canisius username and password are required for sign-in.
If you have extenuating circumstances that do not allow you to check in as outlined above, please contact Al Pilato, Associate Director of Student Life at
Each time slot is 3 hours in length. In order to maintain a safe environment for everyone, we ask that all family members adhere to the scheduled time and depart from campus once your appointed time expires.
 The appointment schedule for each day is:

  • 9-12pm
  • 12pm-3pm
  • 3-6pm

To keep the number of people checking in at the same time safe, each time slot is limited to a specific number of people, if your appointment preference time is full, please select another time that is available.
For more information, please contact Al Pilato via email or call Student Life at 716-888-8300.

Residence Halls

Residence hall occupancy has been reduced so that density in each building has been decreased in response to CDC guidelines to provide a safe living and learning environment. Undergraduate students who have roommates will be considered a family unit, which will enable the college to monitor, quarantine and isolate students efficiently if cases of infection occur.

The student housing reduced density plan is as follows:

● Upperclassmen will be able to select apartments as designated capacity.
● Bosch and Frisch = 254 freshmen or 4.2 students to a bathroom and 2.1 shower
● Dugan = 197 or 12.8 to a bathroom and 6.4 to shower
● Village = 128 or 2.1 students to a bathroom
● Delavan = 193 students or 2.1 students to a bathroom
● Total projected residence housing = 772 (62% of total capacity)

Consistent with local and state guidelines regarding safety and public distancing, the following expectations are required for residential students, when they arrive and throughout the year:

  • Residents must wear a facemask at all times when outside of their rooms or in campus buildings. Masks are not required but still recommended while outside with proper distancing.
  • All outside guest visitation will be prohibited. Canisius residents will be allowed to visit each other but non-Canisius students will not be allowed to enter the halls.
  • Elevator occupancy will be limited to maximum capacities as follows:
    • All locations: Maximum of four (4) persons, all must wear face coverings.
  • Lounge occupancy will be limited to maximum capacities as follows:
    • Dugan: Eight (8) persons at a time.
    • Bosch & Frisch: Six (6) persons at a time.
    • Face coverings required
  • Designated travel direction in stairwells to eliminate cross traffic.
    • Dugan: Middle stairwell to travel up/enter; End stairwells travel down/exit.
    • Bosch & Frisch: Middle stairwell to travel up/enter; End stairwell travel down/exit.
    • Village: Front stairwell to travel up/enter; Rear stairwell to travel down/exit.
    • Delavan A: Stairwell 1 (east end) and Stairwell 3 to travel up/enter; Stairwell 2 & Stairwell 4 (west end) to travel down/exit.
    • Delavan C & D: East stairwell to travel up/enter; West stairwell to travel down/exit
  • Designate one entrance for each building.
  • Laundry rooms occupancy will be limited to maximum capacities as follows:
    • Dugan: One (1) person at a time
    • Bosch & Frisch: Four (4) persons at a time; Two (2) at washers and Two (2) at dryers.
    • Delavan Townhouse & Village Townhouse: Four (4) persons at a time; Two (2) at washers and Two (2) at dryers.

Physical Distancing

Physical distancing of at least six feet of separation will be implemented throughout the campus - in the classrooms and in all other public spaces.  Signage is placed prominently on floors for queues and at designated entrance and exit points.  Building “flow plans” reduce bi-directional foot traffic within buildings and maximize physical distancing.  Informational signs placed throughout campus support the importance of excellent hygiene, symptoms of illness, and ways to seek assistance.  

Click here to watch a video detailing signage across campus.

Daily Health Assessment

All faculty and staff are required to complete a daily health screening prior to reporting to work on campus.  Additionally, a mobile app, Campus Clear, is available for student use. Students are encouraged to utilize this daily self-monitoring tool whenever they are on campus. Results will be assessed periodically by a designated team in the Office of Student Health. If anyone reports symptoms or has been exposed to someone potentially infected, the college will initiate its protocols to care for the student and contain, monitor and track illness.

Student Engagement & Co-Curricular Activities

All student gatherings are limited to 25 people or in accord with current CDC and New York State social distancing guidelines and all health, safety and disinfecting procedures outlined in the plan will be strictly followed. There will be a two-hour gap between events to sanitize the rooms/chairs.

Student clubs and organization gatherings may continue but students are encouraged to hold meetings via Zoom to maintain social distancing. All in-person public events, lectures, entertainment and performances at Canisius will be canceled for the 2020-21 academic year and the college will not lease its space for other public events to external clients.

Campus Ministry continuea to hold Masses weekly with distancing guidelines enforced. All mass and wedding services follow recommendations developed by the Diocese of Buffalo.

Student shuttle services operated through WeCare will oversee the shuttle process. No more than eight riders will be permitted at a time and face coverings are required at all times. The shuttle will be disinfected before it leaves the lot in the morning and during all breaks.


If anyone is suspected of illness or diagnosed with Covid-19, a plan for containment, quarantine and isolation has been developed. If a student whose home residence is located within our region (within 250 miles of campus) must be quarantined or becomes sick, they should plan to return home. There is limited isolation/quarantine space available on campus and the college wants to ensure that anyone who may fall ill receives the best care possible.

For more specifics on isolation and quarantine procedures, visit Isolation and Quarantine.

Student Support

In the event that students encounter challenges or barriers to a successful learning experience, the faculty, in coordination with campus Student Support Resources and Services, are available to address needs.

Griff Center for Student Success

  • Academic Mentoring Program: Students are matched with a mentor who will meet with them one on one and help keep them on track with their coursework. Students consistently share that their mentor was extremely beneficial to their academic success. This can be done in person or virtually. Register for the program here.
  • Tutoring Center: All tutoring will be done virtually. Students can request a tutor here.
  • Career Development: Need help figuring out your career path? Need a resume to land an internship? Looking to connect with employers for a job? Connect with your career coach this semester at and log into Handshake to discover upcoming opportunities, events, career fairs and more!
  • Success and Career Coaches: Find your success and career coach listed in your student profile, under advisors. Your faculty advisor and financial aid advisor are also listed in your student profile.

Additional Resources