Faculty and Staff University Requirements for International Travel
The following FAQs have been created to provide clarity around the role and philosophy of the International Travel Safety Committee and International Travel.
What does the University now require in terms of International Travel?
The University requires all travelers on official University business (e.g., employees, students on study abroad, etc.) to request permission to travel to any countries that have been identified as a Level 2 threat or higher by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or as a Level 3 or higher threat by the U.S. Department of State (Dos). Individuals who do not obtain this approval in advance of the travel will be liable for any costs incurred and may be subject to disciplinary actions.
Whose responsibility is it to determine a country's advisory level?
The traveler must review the CDC and DoS websites to determine if permission for travel to their destination should be requested before they book travel. Again, requests should be made for travel to a CDC-designated Level 2 or higher region, or a DoS-designated Level 3 or higher region.
What group has the authority to approve international travel?
Type of Travel
International travel to a country that is not under any form of advisory, or is at an advisory Level 1 "Practice Usual Precautions”from the CDC or is at a Level 2 or lower advisory by the State Department.
The traveler, their supervisor, and/or their budget manager.
International travel to a country that has been designated as a Level 2 threat by the CDC or as a Level 3 threat by the State Department.
The International Travel Safety Committee*
International travel to a country that is a CDC-designated Level 3 threat a State Department Level 4 threat.
The International Travel Safety Committee will hold a Safety Review Board (SRB) meeting and provide findings to the Core Leadership Team, but permission to travel to a location which is labeled "Avoid Nonessential Travel" or "Do Not Travel" will most likely NOT BE approved; only the University President can approve these trips.
If travel is approved by the International Travel Safety Committee, does that mean I/we can begin to spend money on travel?
Any travel approved by the International Travel Safety Committee must still be approved by the traveler's supervisor and/or their budget manager. The International Travel Safety Committee's purpose is to determine if the committee believes the travel can be conducted safely with an acceptable level of mitigated risk.
All budget process and travel policies still apply as normal. All travelers also need to realize that since the Coronavirus situation is rapidly evolving, new countries may be added to the list on any given day, and therefore trips may be canceled at the last minute.
We encourage every traveler and their budget manager to carefully consider making financial commitments for non-essential international travel – flexible arrangements (e.g., look for hotels with no or small deposits and flexible cancellation policies, consider major air carriers with favorable change policies and cancellation insurance, etc.).
What is the current advice to supervisors on whether we should spend money on International Travel at this time?
When considering whether to approve money being spent on international travel for business, conferences, study abroad, etc., the following should be considered:
1) The situation with the coronavirus is extremely fluid and can change on a daily basis.
2) We must make strong fiduciary decisions when we consider that the money may be forfeited/non-refundable. With these two principles in mind, a supervisor should ask themselves the following questions:
- Is there a business reason that the money must be spent now?
- Can the money be spent closer to travel so that the unpredictable nature of the situation can be managed?
- Is there a favorable refund policy for the travel-related costs?
- Are you comfortable knowing that the money may be forfeited if it later is determined that the travel must be canceled for safety reasons?
- Would you spend your own personal money this way or at this time?
- Would the Core Leadership Team member to which I report want to weigh in on this decision?
- Will going on this trip expose individuals to high-density environments (e.g., large conferences, etc.)?
Is there a scenario where the International Travel Safety Committee might approve a trip or study abroad program's travel and then later postpone or cancel the travel?
It is the philosophy of the International Travel Safety Committee to only approve international travel which we deem can be conducted safely with an acceptable level of mitigated risk.
If we approve such travel and then, due to the volatility of the current situation, the mitigating factors change or the advisory level from the CDC and/or State Department change, approval may be withdrawn. Given the rapidly evolving nature of this situation, additional cancellations are likely and this should be weighed into the analysis.
What happens if, while I am traveling, there is a need to reroute, cancel my trip, or make some other change to International Travel? Do I need to request/re-request a Safety Review Board to be conducted?
Canceled trips, unexpected changes to International Travel while en route, etc., do not require authorization from the International Travel Safety Committee. Note that there are guidelines for this type of change to travel in the APPM 2.3.8 (Travel Policy).
In addition, the traveler should ensure that any rerouting does not go through a Level 2 or higher CDC advisory country or a Level 3 or higher State Department country.
What if I am unsure if I should cancel a trip for safety reasons?
If a traveler, supervisor, or another campus leader would like for the International Travel Safety Committee to consider whether a trip should be canceled, the International Travel Safety Committee may conduct a Safety Review Board meeting or may provide pertinent facts to help the leader make a sound and safe decision.
How long does it generally take for a Safety Review Board to be conducted?
Due to the high volume of requests and the rapid change of information, the board is currently asking for a two-week review period. If there is a budgetary implication, we can move the review up as needed.
Why might the International Travel Safety Committee delay action on a decision?
If the members of the committee believe that there is a safety advantage to waiting to determine how a situation changes or how the advisory to the area evolves, a go/no go decision may be delayed. The committee believes that rather than deny travel, study abroad, etc., out of expediency, we should delay decisions and weigh the facts as we get closer to the time of the travel.
The committee understands that international travel, especially large group travel and study abroad cannot be decided at the last minute. Because of the need for a lead time, the committee has been and will continue to be cognizant of when bills are due to vendors, what financial deadlines must be considered, and when flights will get more expensive.
What if I have a question that is not answered here?
Additional questions should be addressed to the International Safety Committee at Intltravel@erau.edu.