COVID-19 Travel Guidelines
Updated March 19, 2020
On March 19, the US State Department raised its global travel advisory to level four (highest ranking – Do Not Travel) advising U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel and advising U.S. citizens abroad to return home immediately or be prepared to stay in place indefinitely due to the spread of COVID-19.
On March 11, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) raised its travel advisory for most of mainland Europe to a Level 3 (do not travel), and the U.S. government announced entry restrictions for travelers returning from mainland Europe. In addition, the U.S. Department of State issued a Global 3 Health Advisory to reconsider travel abroad and all international locations were raised to a Level 2 by the CDC. The San Francisco Department of Public Health issued additional guidelines asking organizations in the Bay Area to suspend non-essential employee domestic and international travel.
As a result of the new advisories issued this week, USF has updated its travel guidance as follows:
- USF travelers must defer all non-essential, university-sponsored domestic and international travel. We recognize that the need for essential travel may arise for members of the USF community. Effective March 13, requests for essential travel must be made in writing to the dean or supervisor and must be approved by the provost or the relevant cabinet member. Non-essential future travel should not be approved until further notice. Questions about travel to specific locations and geographic regions can be addressed to Anastasia Vrachnos, associate vice provost of international initiatives. These restrictions do not apply to university-sponsored travel required to return to a USF campus. These guidelines will be in place until at least April 30, when the situation will be reassessed and a community update will be provided.
- Individuals with plans for travel after April 30 are advised to defer if the travel is non-essential and to stay flexible regarding travel commitments. Those with essential travel requests are advised to discuss with their supervisor or dean who will consult with the provost or relevant cabinet member if a decision is needed before April 30. All USF-sponsored international credit-bearing and immersion summer programs are under review. Faculty and staff planning those programs are encouraged to contact Anastasia Vrachnos to discuss feasibility and contingency plans.
- USF continues to urge all university community members to defer personal travel, domestic and international, in light of the spread of COVID-19. This does not include travel of students who wish to return home. Those who need to travel should take into account health considerations for themselves or their families that make exposure to COVID-19 a higher risk and should be aware that the situation is changing rapidly. In addition to evolving risk profiles, travel and entry restrictions can change at any time, creating travel interruptions, unanticipated delays, and the need for quarantines, all of which can affect the ability of students, faculty, and staff to return to campus or to their homes. All USF travelers are advised to regularly check the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention travelers’ health resources and U.S. State Department travel advisories for advice regarding their destination. Additional resources about travel support and insurance for faculty, staff, and students can be found on the myUSF resource page.
Returning to a USF Campus
We have a very diverse community with differing risk thresholds and the health and safety of all students, faculty, and staff is our paramount consideration. All travelers returning to a USF campus or visiting USF must strictly adhere to the guidelines below regardless of whether they have engaged in personal or USF-sponsored travel. Please read carefully and follow these guidelines closely:
- USF faculty and staff returning from CDC Level 3 locations must self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to a USF campus. Employees who need to self-quarantine can work remotely with supervisor and dean/vice president approval and in accordance with the Temporary Telecommuting Remote Policy. If remote work is not available, report sick leave hours in USFWorks.
- Residential students returning from CDC Level 3 locations are not permitted to return to campus until their quarantine window has passed.
- USF faculty and staff returning from CDC Level 2 locations should stay home for 14 days after returning from travel, monitor their health, and practice social distancing. USF faculty and staff should not return to a USF campus until they have discussed their return with their supervisor, who will contact Kamal Harb, senior director of health promotion services, for the latest guidance in accordance with the CDC and San Francisco Department of Public Health. Employees who need to stay home can work remotely with supervisor and dean/vice president approval and in accordance with the Temporary Telecommuting Remote Policy. If remote work is not available, report sick leave hours in USFWorks.
- Residential students who are returning to campus from CDC Level 2 locations should stay in their room for 14 days after returning from travel, monitoring their health, and practicing social distancing in accordance with CDC and San Francisco Department of Public Health guidelines unless otherwise notified by Kamal Harb, senior director of health promotion services. Students who have health-related questions can also contact Kamal Harb.
- Visitors to any USF campus who are not USF faculty, staff, or students must also adhere to the guidelines above. Visitors from locations rated Level 3 by the CDC must self-quarantine for 14 days before coming to a USF campus, while visitors from locations rated Level 2 should have their USF hosts contact Kamal Harb ahead of their visit to determine relevant CDC guidelines with respect to their visit. Visitors should be aware that they may be required to self-quarantine for 14 days before coming to campus.
We recognize the disruption this causes in a diverse community like ours with varied reasons for travel. In this moment of unprecedented interdependence and global challenge we continue to follow the guidance of the CDC and state and local public health authorities. We thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we take measures to safeguard the health and well-being of all members of our own community as well as the broader communities of which we are a part.
These uncertain times underscore the imperative to support science and the importance of our work as a university — cultivating scholars, leaders, and citizens who work across boundaries and cultures to tackle the world's greatest challenges — is more important than ever.