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Travel guidelines and plans

As of Oct. 18, 2021, (originally posted June 30, 2020; updated Oct. 8, 2020; Feb. 26, 2021;  June 15, 2021; and July 30, 2021) 

The Path Forward Travel Working Group was charged with developing criteria to resume international and domestic professional and student travel considering health, safety and budgetary perspectives. In addition, the group created a system and process for approving, registering and monitoring travel. The goal was to develop a set of criteria and protocols with health and safety as a top priority, and to create a clear, easy to use and transparent system. Student, faculty and staff, individual and group travel are all included in this plan. 

Assumptions

  • This plan applies only to any University-funded, University-supported, University-sponsored, or professional travel. Commuting from your home out-of-state is not considered travel for the purpose of this plan. Student travel, individual or group, that involves credit or meets a program requirement is included.  
  • Travel is defined as any trip that is by plane, or "out-of-town" and overnight. 
  • A centralized system for travel will assist the University in providing the best health and safety support to travelers, and improve fiscal stewardship of travel spending.
  • The University used the Terra Dotta platform to create the Integrated Travel System (ITS) to centrally apply for and approve travel beginning fall 2020. Options Travel will continue to serve as the University travel agency. Information on the ITS can be found here.
  • Guidance from International SOS, U.S. Department of State, Ohio Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other globally-recognized organizations helped shape this plan.
  • The definitions of essential and nonessential travel are summarized below.
  • This plan aligns with current high-risk travel guidelines. It will remain in effect until further notice and will be updated each semester and as appropriate. At a minimum, the plan will be reviewed in October for winter break and spring semester travel, in January for spring break travel, and in March for summer travel.

Travel Guidelines

The University has reached its goal of 70% of the UD community being fully vaccinated. Effective as of Oct. 18, 2021, the following travel guidelines are in place. These guidelines may be reassessed if conditions change. These guidelines continue to keep the health and safety of all travelers on UD-sponsored travel at the forefront. 

As a reminder, all travelers (domestic and international; faculty, staff, and students) on UD-funded, sponsored, or supported travel, or engaging in professional travel or travel for academic purposes must complete a travel application and await approval before making any travel plans. Details can be found here.

Fully vaccinated travelers should upload their vaccine information through the UD reporting system. All travelers will sign a Pandemic Travel Waiver to ensure they understand the risks involved with travel at this time during the Pandemic, to reinforce health and safety guidelines and to make protocols, and expectations and responsibilities explicit. (This waiver will be located in the Travel Application.) 

Vaccines are required for international travel for all students, faculty, and staff. Some of the reasons for this decision include:

  • Vaccination is the best way to protect against serious illness from COVID 19.  
  • The majority of countries where UD travelers go have some kind of vaccination or testing requirement.
  • Unvaccinated travelers face more stringent testing, quarantine and entry requirements. Some countries and/or cities are requiring a “health pass” to enter restaurants, tourist sites, public transportation, etc. A “health pass” requires either full vaccination or regular COVID-19 testing (approx. every 72 hours). Some countries are not allowing unvaccinated travelers from the U.S. These contexts are changing all the time and can quickly disrupt travel.
  • Unvaccinated travelers would likely be unable to fully participate in travel activities.
  • We have a commitment to the common good, which should extend to our global community. Vaccination will help us protect global communities that may not have the same access to the vaccine as the U.S.

Travel Guidelines from a Health and Safety Perspective:

Domestic

International

Individual

Essential and non-essential  permitted.

Essential and non-essential may be permitted. Travel to High Risk locations* will require approval of a high-risk travel waiver request. Vaccination required.**

Group

Essential and non-essential  permitted with an approved risk mitigation plan. 

Essential and non-essential permitted with an approved risk mitigation plan. Travel to High Risk locations* will require approval of a high-risk travel waiver request and be considered on a case by case basis. Vaccination required.**

 

*The University’s definition of High Risk travel can be found here

**Vaccination Requirement: All UD students, faculty, and staff engaging in international travel must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. “Fully vaccinated” is based on the CDC definition at the time of travel and may include a booster. Information regarding the process to request an exemption and reasonable accommodations may be found here. While exemptions can be considered, allowing an unvaccinated person to participate in group international travel is not an accommodation that can be made without imposing an undue hardship or burden regardless of the reason. UD would make every effort to identify U.S.-based or virtual global/international experiences in which students can participate. We cannot guarantee an equal virtual or U.S.-based option. This vaccination requirement is in effect until further notice.

All travelers will need to abide by the vaccination and any other requirements of their travel location (e.g., state, country) or host (e.g., organization, vendor, provider). In all cases, vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers will be required to follow CDC guidelines before, during and after international and domestic travel.

Essential vs. Non-Essential Travel

As travel resumes, consideration of whether it is essential or non-essential will be part of the process for health/safety, risk and/or financial reasons. Below is an overview of descriptions of essential versus non-essential travel for faculty, staff and students.

 

Essential

Non-Essential

Considerations

Faculty

  • Preserve the safety or integrity of a research subject, or results of research activity and cannot be postponed
  • Required to further mission critical teaching and research
  • Travel to attend professional or educational conferences
  • Travel to conduct research that can be postponed
  • Travel to activities that can be conducted virtually
  • Presentations at a conference essential for T&P
  • Certifications required for their role and it is the only option
  • Financial implications for the institution
  • Reputation implications for the institution
  • Contractual obligations
  • Scope and scale, number of participants

Staff

  • Mission critical, time sensitive and cannot be postponed
  • When not traveling will cause harm to the operations or the fiscal status of the university.
  • Professional development
  • Attending a conference, presenting at a conference
  • Travel to activities that can be conducted virtually
  • Certifications required for their role and it is the only option
  • Contractual obligations
  • Financial implications for the institution
  • Reputation implications for the institution
  • Recruitment for essential roles that can not be done virtually 
  • Scope and scale, number of participants

Graduate student

  • Travel that is necessary to meet a graduation requirement, and cannot be postponed or achieved through other means
  • Professional development
  • Attending a conference, presenting at a conference
  • Travel to activities that can be conducted virtually
  • Timing within program
  • Impact on overall academic experience
  • Scope and scale, number of participants

Undergraduate

  • Very exceptional cases (high-risk travel waiver required)
  • Travel for academic credit that is necessary to meet a graduation requirement, cannot be postponed or achieved through an alternative assignment
  • All other educational travel
  • All Student Org Travel
  • Timing within program
  • Impact on overall academic experience 
  • Contractual obligations (e.g. Athletics)
  • Scope and scale, number of participants