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Travel can increase the risk of travelers’ exposure to COVID-19 as well as subsequent spread to the community.  Although the University’s prohibitions on travel are no longer in effect for faculty, staff, and students, Tufts continues to strongly discourage international and domestic travel at this time—whether university-related or personal.  Please consult Tufts’ travel policy and the FAQs below for restrictions and procedures related to travel.  Your school or unit may have additional restrictions or procedures that need to be followed above and beyond the university’s policy. We will continue to monitor the public health situation and government travel advisories and adjust our guidance accordingly.

Massachusetts Travel Order

As of August 1, 2020, all visitors and returning residents entering Massachusetts from another state or from outside the United States are required to:

  • Complete the Massachusetts travel form prior to arrival, unless you are coming from a state designated as a lower risk state, and
  • Quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative result from a COVID-19 test that has been administered within 72 hours prior to arrival in Massachusetts.  Visitors and residents who obtain a negative COVID-19 test result after their arrival in Massachusetts must quarantine until they receive the negative test result.

Frequently Asked Questions

As a student participating in-person for the fall semester, will I have to follow any travel restrictions?

Yes, we are asking students to limit their travel and time away from campus during the fall semester.

Student health and wellness is of utmost concern, as is the health of our greater community outside the boundaries of our campuses. To support a healthy community on campus, all students returning to the Medford/Somerville or SMFA campuses will be required to participate in COVID-19 testing as coordinated by the Student Health Center.  

This applies to students living on-campus and those in off-campus apartments, and other housing in the surrounding area, who plan to attend classes at least partially in person; engage in person with others on campus; or use facilities, such as libraries, on the Tufts campuses.

All travel (both in-region and out-of-region) during the pandemic is strongly discouraged, except under exceptional circumstances. In general, exceptional circumstances are those in which your physical presence is essential (e.g., the death or life-threatening illness of a close family member,). While we understand that travel for other important life events (e.g., family reunions, vacations, holidays, weddings) may be very important to you, it is not truly essential during a pandemic.

All AS&E (including SMFA) undergraduate and graduate students are asked to register in advance of any such exceptional travel during the semester with the Dean of Student Affairs office.

This advisory is in place for the health of our entire community, since reducing the number of individual exposures is important to reducing further community spread and protecting those who are vulnerable to complications and death from COVID-19. Students should recognize that traveling during their time on campus may put their fellow students and other community members at risk.  

 

Until August 20, 2020, based on guidance from international, national and local agencies, including the Governor of Massachusetts, all university-sponsored, connected, or funded international or domestic travel by students is prohibited. After that date, student travel may be permitted with restrictions:

  • You should consult student handbooks or guidance about schools' policies and guidance regarding domestic and international travel. You will be required to follow guidance on allowable travel and on what you need to do when you return to campus from travel
  • If you plan to travel internationally, you will be required to register any international travel in the Tufts Travel Registry. All student travel to countries, or regions within a country, that are rated Level 3 or 4 by the U.S. Department of State are reviewed by the International Travel Review Committee (ITRC). The Department of State has issued a global Level 4 health advisory; as a result, all university-related international student travel needs to be reviewed and approved by the ITRC. Domestic travel does not need to be registered with the Travel Registry and is not reviewed by the ITRC.

Beginning July 1, Tufts’ prohibition on university-sponsored, connected, or funded international or domestic travel by faculty and staff (including post docs) has been lifted. We continue to strongly discourage any travel unless it is essential.  Your travel may be disrupted, you may become subject to government restrictions while you are away, or you may have difficulty returning home due to an unexpected quarantine or border closings. You also will likely need to quarantine once you return to the Boston area. We urge you to consider alternative ways to accomplish essential research, work or collaborations where these are possible

If you need to travel, you are permitted to travel with the following restrictions:

  • For university-related international travel, you will be required to register your travel in the Tufts Travel Registry.  You should not register domestic travel or any personal travel.
  • If you have contact with someone who has had a presumed or confirmed case of COVID-19 during your travels, you will need to self-quarantine for 14 days when you return, in accordance with the guidance issued by the CDC, and inform your supervisor or dean immediately.
  • For international or domestic (out of state) travel, you should be aware that you may need to self-quarantine for 14 days when you return. You should speak with your manager/supervisor prior to traveling on how quarantine guidelines issued by the State of Massachusetts and by the CDC for travelers returning either from domestic or international travel may affect your ability to return to work.
  • Other university, school or division restrictions (including restrictions on discretionary spending) will continue to apply and may affect your ability to travel
I am planning to travel for personal reasons. Is it OK to travel?

All travel (both in-region and out-of-region) during the pandemic is strongly discouraged, except under exceptional circumstances. In general, exceptional circumstances are those in which your physical presence is essential (e.g., the death or life-threatening illness of a close family member,). While we understand that travel for other important life events (e.g., family reunions, vacations, holidays, weddings) may be very important to you, it is not truly essential during a pandemic.

All AS&E (including SMFA) undergraduate and graduate students are asked to register in advance of any such exceptional travel during the semester with the Dean of Student Affairs office.

Do I need to self-quarantine when I return from travel?

All travel (both in-region and out-of-region) during the pandemic is strongly discouraged, except under exceptional circumstances. In general, exceptional circumstances are those in which your physical presence is essential (e.g., the death or life-threatening illness of a close family member,). While we understand that travel for other important life events (e.g., family reunions, vacations, holidays, weddings) may be very important to you, it is not truly essential during a pandemic.

AS&E students:

All AS&E (including SMFA) undergraduate and graduate students are asked to register in advance of any such exceptional travel during the semester with the Dean of Student Affairs office.

Students who must travel for exceptional circumstances during the fall semester will be required to go through the arrival testing and extended quarantine period again when they return to campus. The exception to this is Thanksgiving. Students who choose to travel off campus for Thanksgiving, may not return to campus and instead must finish the semester remotely. This applies to all AS&E undergraduate and graduate students traveling both in-region or out-of-region.

Faculty and staff:

Tufts’ policy is that MA and CDC provide the overarching guidance to be followed by travelers. Massachusetts’ new travel order, effective August 1, requires all non-exempted travelers from out-of-state (including residents, and including from out of the country) to fill out a travel form and self-quarantine for 14 days or until they receive a negative COVID-19 test result, unless they can present a negative COVID-19 test that has been administered within 72 hours prior to arrival in MA. Exemptions include people commuting to work from another state and those coming to Massachusetts from a “low risk” state.  You should consult MA guidance for the latest updates, as exemptions and restrictions are likely to change.

You should speak with your manager or supervisor (including prior to traveling, if possible) on how Massachusetts and CDC quarantine guidelines may affect your ability to return to work.

What precautions should I take if I travel?

You should be aware that traveling—along with other factors—can significantly increase your risk of exposure—e.g., destination, mode of travel, ability to social distance, mask use, use of good hygiene resources and procedures, and avoiding large groups of people in close proximity for extended periods of time. If you do choose to travel, we urge you to exercise extreme caution.

We urge you strongly to:

  • Monitor both domestic and international destinations where COVID-19 is present, as well as information, travel warnings, health advisories, travel and movement restrictions (e.g., use of public transportation, border closings, screening procedures at airports/stations, etc.) and quarantine requirements and conditions at your destination. These do change frequently.

The CDC website, as well as the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)U.S. Department of State, and International SOS provide useful updated information. Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering also has an excellent site with daily updates of cases worldwide. 

  • Take basic precautions recommended by the CDC while you travel.  Your risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19 depends on your own behavior as well as your travel pattern, destination or means of transportation. Therefore, you should be sure to:        
    • Avoid close contact with sick people
    • Distance yourself from others—stay at least 6 feet away to prevent exposure through coughing
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a face mask
    • Cover your cough with your upper sleeve or elbow
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60 percent to 95 percent alcohol
    • Wipe down frequently touched objects (e.g., phones) and surfaces
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
    • Do not share drinks/food/cigarettes, utensils, vaping products, etc.
  • Speak with your manager/supervisor (including prior to traveling, if possible) on how quarantine guidelines issued by the State of Massachusetts and by the CDC for travelers returning either from domestic or international travel may affect your ability to return to work.
  • Seek medical attention immediately if you get symptoms, which include coughing, fever, and difficulty breathing.

 

Who can help me if I get stuck while I am traveling?

If you are on university-related travel, please call International SOS at +1 (215) 942-8478. They can help you assess your situation and find suitable accommodation and medical advice or treatment, if needed.  You will need to follow local guidance on procedures and next steps.

For personal travel, it is highly recommended that you obtain a travel assistance provider. You can buy the International SOS coverage at 20% discount: https://www.internationalsos.com/MasterPortal/default.aspx?membnum=11BCPS000093.

I am planning to travel for research or for a program in the future. Should I book my travel and accommodations?

It is difficult to predict how the spread of COVID-19 will evolve in the future, and what measures will be taken by local and national authorities (both in the US and in other countries). If you book your travel, try to find airlines, hotels or rentals that are offering flexible cancellation and refund policies. You are highly encouraged to book through the university’s preferred travel provider, Travel Collaborative.

Will the university pay for charges incurred if a trip is extended or needs to be changed (e.g., extra costs for accommodation in the event of a quarantine at the destination, or additional travel incurred of because new government restrictions, etc.)?

For travel on sponsored programs, higher costs for refundable tickets and additional costs that may be incurred if you are quarantined or need to change your travel plans because of the COVID-19 situation in your destination are allowable.  The charges will need to be booked to the applicable project, grant, or Dept-ID. For charges on non-sponsored programs or activities, the university will not pay for charges unless you have previously received explicit permission from your EAD or VP (or their designee).  

Should I buy travel insurance?

You will need carefully check the policy to ensure that pandemics are not excluded, particularly during a current event of this magnitude. Some carriers cover “cancel for any reason” policies, which may cover this event. However, they tend to be significantly more expensive. Booking a refundable ticket may be the preferred method of accounting for potential changes in your travel plans.

A colleague/peer has just returned from travel and has come back to work or school. Shouldn’t they be in quarantine for 14 days?

Your concern is understandable, as travel can increase the risk that your colleague or peer may contract and spread COVID-19. Your colleague should discuss his/her travel with a supervisor to determine if quarantine is needed. While commuting from one’s home in New Hampshire or Rhode Island is not a basis to require a quarantine; quarantining may be necessary in other situations depending on the mode of travel and destination among other factors (see below). This determination should be made by the supervisor in consultation with the Human Resources Business Partner.

The underlying rationale for quarantine, and the university’s primary concern, is to prevent inadvertent transmission of the virus to others in our community. The university’s policy remains that the MA and CDC guidance provide the overarching guidance to be followed by travelers, issues and processes related to how quarantine guidelines should be enforced. Schools and divisions should take into consideration a number of factors relevant to the traveler’s risk of exposure while traveling and options for mitigating risk, such as: degree/trends in COVID-19 spread, the degree to which the travel allowed for social distancing, other precautions taken by the traveler and the destination and transportation, and the availability of testing, among others.

In addition, the university has put into place measures that we believe mitigate the risk of spread to our campus even if a COVID-19 positive person is on campus:

  • We have instituted social distancing guidelines, which are supported through signages and re-arranging of office and classroom space
  • We have instituted mandatory use of masks whenever on campus
  • We have instituted guidelines and HR policies to minimize the number of people on campus—remote work and staggered work schedules are examples of policies that allow for social distancing
  • We are encouraging good hygiene principles: reminders to wash your hands are on every bathroom door, and we are supplying hand sanitizers
  • Testing is increasingly available, and Tufts will be testing high risk populations frequently—including those with underlying medical conditions and other defined vulnerabilities to COVID-19 and those (e.g., students) at risk of transmitting the virus.