Close Menu

Tufts University is updating its travel policies and procedures effective immediately. Please consult the fall 2021 updated travel policy for procedures and restrictions related to travel. Any additional procedures at your school or unit beyond the university's policy also need to be followed. We will continue to monitor the public health situation and government travel advisories and adjust our guidance accordingly. 

What has changed in the fall 2021 travel policy?

Effective immediately, updated policies for faculty/staff and for students are in effect. Here is what is new.  

  • The return to campus procedure has changed. All vaccinated travelers (whether on personal or Tufts-related travel) should resume their normal testing cadence and may resume normal campus activities without waiting for the result if they are asymptomatic. Unvaccinated travelers need to be tested with a viral test within 3-5 days of returning from travel, and stay home and self-quarantine for 7 days (or 10 days if not testing) before coming to campus. For details on testing, see Routine Surveillance Testing Program
  • The "essential only" travel policy for Tufts-related international travel remains in place. All Tufts-related international travel must follow the current review process, including approval by the school dean (or their designee) or division VP's office and review by the International Travel Review Committee (ITRC) for students and by the Integrative Safety Committee (ISC) for research-related travel. Travel by university-affiliated groups (including student groups) may be permitted following review by the school dean, the University's Infection Control Health Director, and the International Travel Safety Committee.
  • All travelers should be familiar with and follow local guidance at their destination.
  • Even if fully vaccinated, travelers should follow safe travel guidelines to protect themselves and others. 
  • Tufts University is following the CDC's guidance on travel.

 

If your travel caused you to miss a routinely scheduled test, please visit the testing center to return to testing compliance. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

You may travel domestically.  You should follow CDC guidance on domestic travel and adhere to policies of the states/localities you are visiting, and you are expected to follow the CDC’s safe travel guidance to protect themselves and others during the conduct of research.

You may also be permitted under limited circumstances to travel internationally if the travel is essential.  This means that the activity you are planning cannot be done remotely, cannot be postponed, and/or postponement would seriously compromise research results or prevent degree or capstone completion. You will need to:

  • Get approval from your Dean (or their designee) that the travel is essential
  • Get approval from the IRB and the Integrative Safety Committee (ISC) within the Office of the Vice Provost for Research if your travel is for the purpose of research.  For human subjects research, you need to submit a request to the ISC using this form; for travel related to non-human subjects research, contact the ISC, with a description of the research and COVID-mitigation measures being undertaken, to request approval.

  • Get approval from the International Travel Review Committee for travel to countries that are designated US Department of State Level 3 or higher and register your international travel in the Tufts Travel Registry.

  • Complete a Tufts COVID-19 Traveler Pledge and an Assumption of Risk and General Release.

  • When you return, abide by Massachusetts and Tufts’ policies (including any school-specific policies).  This means that when you return, you should resume your normal testing cadence.  If you are vaccinated and asymptomatic, you may resume normal campus activities without waiting for the result of your test.  If you are not vaccinated, you should get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel and stay home and quarantine for 7 days after travel (even if the test is negative), or, if you do not get tested on return, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days.

This flow chart outlining the requirements for obtaining approval for international travel may help you navigate the process.

Yes, under exceptional circumstances.

  • For Tufts-related international travel, you must obtain the approval of your Dean (or their designee) that the travel is “essential,” i.e., your business cannot be done remotely, and postponement would cause serious harm or damage (e.g., compromise research results, prevent degree or capstone completion, damage career or tenure advancement, etc.).
  • If you are traveling internationally for the purpose of research, your travel will also need to be approved by the Integrative Safety Committee (ISC) within the Office of the Vice Provost for Research.  For human subjects research, you need to submit a request to the ISC using this form; for travel related to non-human subjects research, contact the ISC, with a description of the research and COVID-mitigation measures being undertaken, to request approval.
  • Finally, you will be required to complete a Tufts COVID-19 Traveler Pledge and an Assumption of Risk and General Release, as well as register your international travel in the Tufts Travel Registry.
  • When you return, abide by Massachusetts and Tufts’ policies (including any school-specific policies).  This means that when you return, you should resume your normal testing cadence.  If you are vaccinated and asymptomatic, you may resume normal campus activities without waiting for the result of your test.  If you are not vaccinated, you should get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel and stay home and quarantine for 7 days after travel (even if the test is negative), or, if you do not get tested on return, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days.
  • If your travel is approved, when you book your travel, we recommend you 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.

NOTE that all other university, school or division restrictions will continue to apply and may affect your ability to travel. This includes the no discretionary spending directive, which remains in effect for the entire academic year.  If you are traveling internationally for Tufts-associated business on non-sponsored funds, your EAD/Administrative Lead will receive notification of your travel when you register.

This flow chart outlining the requirements for obtaining approval for international travel may help you navigate the process.

I have been vaccinated. Do I still need to get approval from my Dean (or their designee) to travel internationally?

Yes, if you are traveling on university-related business.  Although the CDC now does not direct people who have been vaccinated to avoid travel, they still warn that international travel poses extra risks, and even fully vaccinated travelers are at greater risk of getting and spreading new COVID-19 variants.  In addition, the other risks of international travel (e.g., risk of getting stuck indefinitely due to changes in host country restrictions or transportation options) remain.

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

Not necessarily.  When you return, abide by Massachusetts and Tufts’ policies (including any school-specific policies).  This means that when you return, and you are in the routine/surveillance testing program, you should resume your normal testing cadence.  If you are vaccinated and asymptomatic, you may resume normal campus activities without waiting for the result of your test.  If you are not vaccinated, you should get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel and stay home and quarantine for 7 days after travel (even if the test is negative), or, if you do not get tested on return, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days.

If you work exclusively remotely, although you are not part of the routine/surveillance testing program, if you come to campus, you are required to test on the day of your visit.  You can consult the Testing Calendar on the Testing at Tufts site for further information.

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.

I have been vaccinated. Do I still need to self-quarantine when I return?

No. When you return, abide by Massachusetts and Tufts’ policies (including any school-specific policies).  This means that when you return, you should resume your normal testing cadence.  If you are vaccinated and asymptomatic, you may resume normal campus activities without waiting for the result of your test.

Why are policies for domestic and international travel different? 

While the health risks of in domestic and international travel are not different, other risks are quite different. For international travel, the rapidly changing circumstances inherent in the COVID-19 situation around the world give rise to risks related to international travel above and beyond those inherent in domestic travel. If circumstances change when a traveler is in country, they may become stranded indefinitely (either because of quarantines and other restrictions, lack of access to testing, or lack of means of transportation to return home), at potentially significant personal and financial cost.  Moreover, if travelers became ill, access to healthcare may be limited.  In both situations, the support Tufts would be able to offer would be limited, as costs would not be covered by insurance or Tufts. And as a civically-minded university, it is our responsibility also to consider the burden travel by Tufts affiliates may impose in host countries – from endangering local populations to taking resources that would be used better to care for their own communities.

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
    • Always wear a face mask which covers  your mouth and nose with a face mask
    • Plan ahead to have a sufficient quantity of masks (face shields, googles, etc.) for your entire journey; they may not be available at your destination. Moreover, ensure that these masks (face shields, googles, etc.) meet any criteria specified by the integrative safety committee.
    • 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.
    • Always strictly follow any guidance at the institution you are visiting or at your destination which are stricter than those delineated above.
    • If eligible under the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ COVID vaccination phased approach to vaccination, consider being vaccinated against SARS-Co-V-2 prior to travel.
  • 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 international 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.

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 generally 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