What is the current university policy for international travel?
All university-sponsored international travel is suspended between now and April 30, 2020. This includes any travel connected to university activities or programs for all faculty, staff and students, whether that travel is funded by the university, an external grant or other source. This will be re-evaluated when the Centers for Disease Control and/or U.S. Department of State change the level of their respective travel advisories. We also strongly discourage personal travel to international destinations. Anyone who travels for personal reasons to locations with an elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure during this time period will be required to contact the university for screening and clearance in order to return to the university. Depending upon your travel destination, you may be required to complete a 14-day self-quarantine away from campus. (See information on this page about self-quarantine.) Prior to returning to the university, all students, faculty and staff must contact university health services for screening.

What about domestic travel?
All non-essential university-sponsored domestic travel beyond the St. Louis metropolitan area is suspended between now and April 30, 2020. This includes any non-essential travel connected to university activities or programs for all faculty, staff and students, whether that travel is funded by the university, an external grant or other source. Requests to engage in essential travel must be approved by the chancellor or the provost, a dean, executive vice chancellor, or vice chancellor. All approved essential travel must be registered through this website.

Students, staff and faculty planning personal domestic travel should be mindful of the spread of COVID-19 and continually monitor the list of locations with an elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure which may include U.S. cities and states. Anyone who travels to locations with an elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure is required to contact the university for screening and clearance in order to return to the university. You will likely be required to complete a 14-day self-quarantine away from campus. Prior to returning to the university, all students, faculty and staff must contact university health services for screening and clearance.

What constitutes essential travel?
The university will make decisions about whether university-sponsored domestic travel is essential on a case-by-case basis. All international university-sponsored travel is suspended, as well as travel to locations with an elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure. Decisions about whether other university-sponsored domestic travel is essential are based on a variety of factors, but some considerations include: Whether the travel is necessary for fulfillment of a research grant or other external funding; if the travel is needed to satisfy a legal obligation that university counsel feels must be honored; or if cancellation of a trip could result in serious damage to an institutional partnership or the loss of an academic, professional or other institutional opportunity that is highly unlikely to occur again in the foreseeable future. Requests for approval of non-essential travel must be approved by a dean, executive vice chancellor or vice chancellor. All approved essential travel must be registered through this website.

What locations currently have travel restrictions in place?
On March 19, 2020, the U.S. Department of State issued a Level 4: Do Not Travel Global Health Advisory. The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.

At this time, Washington University in St. Louis does not support any international travel. All outbound international university-sponsored travel is suspended between now and April 30, 2020. This travel suspension condition will be re-evaluated when the Centers for Disease Control and/or U.S. Department of State change the level of their respective travel advisories.

What should I consider if I’m thinking about personal travel?
The university encourages members of our community to think carefully about the risks of traveling while the COVID-19 outbreak continues to develop. Not only may there be a potential risk to your personal health, but there also may be additional travel restrictions imposed by many countries, including the United States. This is a rapidly developing situation and even though a location may be accessible now, that could change during your trip. Airlines are altering flights and this also could impact your plans.

What changes has the university made to its study abroad and international academic study programs in light of the COVID-19 outbreak?
Given the continued global spread of the COVID-19 virus and the uncertainty of government-implemented travel restrictions, the university has recalled all undergraduate students from their study abroad program for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester. This was not a decision the university took lightly, and we understand the disappointment associated with it. The university’s top priority is our community’s health and safety.

Is the university covering expenses associated with cancellation?
The university is working with students who have been recalled from the study abroad location to cover expenses associated with traveling from their international location to their permanent home residence.

How does the university make decisions about its study abroad and international academic study programs?
We take guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of State, and our international security provider. When making decisions about specific programs, we also consider local conditions as well as input from peer institutions and our overseas partners.

What if the university recalled me or if my program was suspended and I want to stay?
Washington University does not support any decision to remain in a location where you have been recalled from. If a student chooses to stay, they do so at their own risk and expense and will not receive any academic credit. This also means that they will no longer be eligible for evacuation assistance through the university. In addition, the university would not be able to reimburse them for any expenses.

What about this summer? Will I be able to complete the program I applied for this summer?
The situation continues to evolve quickly. There is no way to forecast what COVID-19’s impacts will be over the summer. The study abroad offices are meeting regularly to determine the healthiest and safest outcome for summer programming. Your study abroad office will communicate with you directly regarding any changes to summer programming. In such a fluid situation, the university recommends that you purchase a refundable flight fare directly from the airline or from a travel agency in case your program were to be impacted by COVID-19 activity. Travel insurance is not a panacea – many policies do not include travel disruption due to disease outbreak or program cancellation. If you are inclined to purchase trip insurance, please read the fine print very closely to make sure that the situation you are trying to protect against is covered.

I don’t understand why my program was recalled. I don’t agree with this decision.
These decisions are made in consultation with Washington University infectious disease experts, professional security organizations, and our local partners, who have recommended all students to return home.

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