Travel Policy During COVID-19

Updated August 12, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Suffolk University has revised its travel policies.  Additionally, the Risk Management Office has provided advice for University-sponsored travel.  Both are subject to change, and may be revised at the discretion of the Provost or SVP for Finance and Administration at any time in response to changing conditions.

University-Sponsored Travel Policy During the COVID-19 Crisis

Effective August 1, 2020

Policy

Suffolk University prohibits University-sponsored travel for faculty, staff and students to locations directly affected by a health, safety, or security incident or crisis as determined by the University after reviewing respective international, federal, state, and local authorities, with limited exceptions for approved academic, co-curricular and revenue generating travel.  Both domestic and international travel must be petitioned through the process outlined in this policy.

Study Abroad

Only the following locations are currently authorized for SU study abroad semester and academic year programs: Madrid, Spain; Prague, Czech Republic; and Seoul, South Korea.  All other international study abroad locations are currently suspended based on the latest guidance from international public health organizations, Drum Cussac (the University’s global risk manager), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the US Department of State. All shorter term academic and co-curricular programs involving travel to international destinations along with all University-sponsored domestic travel by employees and students are covered by the remaining sections of this policy.

Process

Prior to petitioning, when considering travel during the COVID-19 crisis, faculty and staff should consider the academic or revenue generating need for the travel while carefully considering whether the proposed travel is appropriate given the current stage of the pandemic and the potential isolation and quarantine measures that may be required as a result of the travel. Further consideration should be given to how the traveler(s) will comply with medical, safety and security assessments for the area(s) of intended travel.

A Petition for Travel Form [PDF] must be completed by one of the following:

  • the supervisor for a group of employees traveling together
  • the faculty member or staff member who assumes oversight responsibility for University-sponsored travel by an individual student or a group of students
  • the individual employee seeking approval for University-sponsored travel if not traveling as part of a group

Individual students may not petition for approval for University-sponsored travel; such travel must be overseen by a faculty or staff member who seeks approval for each student’s travel. University-sponsored travel arrangements must only be booked by the university.

NOTE: Approval for University-sponsored travel must be obtained before travel is booked. If approval has not been granted in advance, employees will need to reimburse the University for any incurred expenses, and employees and students will not be reimbursed if they have booked travel using personal resources.

Review and Approval Path

A completed Petition for Travel Form [PDF] must be returned to:

  • For individual employees not traveling as part of a group, the final approver is the Provost for faculty or the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration (SVPFA) for all other employees. The Provost or the SVPFA will determine with consultative input from the Office of Risk Management whether to approve the travel requested.
  • For academic credit programs, the final approver is the Provost, who will determine with consultative input from the Office of Risk Management whether to approve the travel requested.
  • For co-curricular programs, the final approver is the Office of Risk Management, which will consult with the Suffolk Dean of Students Office for programs including CAS or SBS students, or with the Law School Dean of Students Office for programs including Law students, to determine whether to approve the travel requested.
  • Once approved, all students authorized to travel on the program must sign the COVID19 Internship Waiver and Release [PDF]. Signed forms are to be retained by:
    • the supervisor for a group of employees traveling together
    • the faculty member or staff member who assumes oversight responsibility for University-sponsored travel by an individual student or a group of students
Exception to Standard Review and Approval Path

If the requested travel meets all of the following criteria, the Petition for Travel Form [PDF] should still be completed, but travel may be approved by the division head:

After Approval

If approval is granted, travelers must comply with all applicable Suffolk University policies, procedures, and guidelines relating to their travel. Travelers must also comply with all applicable jurisdictional laws, regulations, and guidance, including but not limited to those established by international, federal, state, and local authorities such as Homeland Security, CDC, World Health Organization, and local health departments, as well as all guidelines and rules set forth by partner organizations.

Revisions

This Policy may be revised at the discretion of the Provost or SVP for Finance and Administration at any time in response to changing conditions.

These guidelines are intended to help Suffolk University students, faculty, and staff stay informed and safe during approved academic and work-related travel. Please email the Suffolk University Office of Risk Management with questions.

Suffolk University prohibits University-sponsored travel by faculty, staff and students to locations directly affected by a health, safety or security incident or crisis as determined by the University after reviewing guidance of respective international, federal, state, and local authorities, except for essential travel that is petitioned for and granted permission by the University based on an individualized risk assessment taken in context with the necessity of the proposed travel.

The Petition for Travel Form [PDF] must be completed, and necessary travel approved, prior to booking or undertaking any University-sponsored travel.

General travel guidance

  • Stay informed of any current travel restrictions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as any federal, state or local agencies.
  • Make a packing list. Include any medications you may need on your trip and these essential safe travel supplies:
    • Cloth face masks
    • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol)
    • Disinfectant wipes (at least 70% alcohol) for surfaces
    • Thermometer
    • Consider packing extra supplies in case of unexpected delays
  • Verify any requirements for isolation after travel to or from your destination.
  • Verify routes and facilities that you will use are open, including gas stations, hotels and restaurants.
  • Do not touch your face or face covering without first disinfecting your hands.
  • Do not travel if you are sick or awaiting COVID-19 test results.
  • If you consider yourself at higher risk, the CDC recommends avoiding crowds, cruise travel and nonessential air travel. If you must travel, talk with your doctor and ask about any additional precautions you may need to take.
  • Maintain social distancing, if possible, when you enter and exit airplanes, buses, trains, or any area with crowds or lines.
  • Apply hand sanitizer or wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds upon exiting airplanes, buses, trains or vehicles.
  • Use touchless payment methods when possible, such as Apple Pay and Venmo.
  • Avoid touch surfaces commonly touched by others.

Public transit

  • Avoid traveling during peak hours when possible.
  • Apply hand sanitizer or wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds upon exiting.
  • Maintain a 6-foot distance from others when possible while waiting at pickup locations and while riding.
  • Always wear a face covering while riding public transit.

Taxi or ride-share services

  • Avoid riding with drivers or passengers that are showing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Request ventilation in the vehicle, such as opening windows or not recirculating air from the air conditioner.
  • Ride with the fewest passengers possible. Sit in the rear of the vehicle to increase the social distance from the driver.
  • Consider handling your own bags during pickup and drop-off.

Vehicles

  • Disinfect commonly touched surfaces before and after vehicle use, including cup holders, door handles, gearshift, lock and window controls, mirrors, seatbelts, steering wheel, stereo, and air conditioning controls, etc.
  • Check the rental agency’s website for information on how they are protecting their staff and guests.
  • Limit the number of occupants so that social distancing can be maintained. When social distancing cannot be maintained, each individual should wear a face covering.
  • Increase ventilation through the vehicle by opening windows or not recirculating air from the air conditioner.
  • Use disinfecting wipes on all surfaces that will be touched before performing tasks, such as filling the vehicle with gas.
  • Use touchless options for parking fees and tolls when possible. If not possible, wipe down surfaces with a disinfecting wipe before using meters or pay stations. Disinfect hands after interactions with toll or parking booth operators who handle cash or credit cards.
  • When traveling out of state or on longer trips, use a curbside pickup or drive-thru options for meals. Before meals, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or apply hand sanitizer.

Airplanes

  • Note: TSA is allowing one liquid hand sanitizer up to 12 ounces per passenger in carry-on bags.
  • Whenever possible, use airlines that are keeping the middle seat empty.
  • Practice good hygiene, such as washing your hands regularly, including directly before and after completing the security screening process.
  • Wear a face covering during the screening process. You may be asked to adjust your mask for ID verification or to remove it for secondary screening.
  • Avoid sitting next to another passenger when possible. In open-seating situations, select a seat to maintain social distancing when possible. If seat selection is minimal, try to sit where social distancing can be maintained.
  • Disinfect all surfaces of the seating area with disinfecting wipes. Disinfect all surfaces you will touch, including armrests, tray tables, seats and airflow controls.
  • Limit the number of carry-on items that will be removed for security checkpoints. Disinfect any items that are removed from bags and placed in bins before returning to your carry-on luggage.
  • Maintain social distancing from others when checking in for flights, especially in security checkpoint lines, open waiting areas, and lines for boarding the flight.
  • Upon claiming checked baggage, disinfect handles and exterior surfaces with disinfecting wipes.
  • Use electronic tickets to check in when possible. If not possible, clean kiosks with disinfecting wipes before use and apply hand sanitizer following use.
  • Verify requirements for face coverings when visiting airports and with your airline for their requirement while on the plan.

Overnight travel

  • Call the hotel and ask to be put in a room that has been vacant for at least 24 hours.
  • Once you arrive at your room or rental, clean and disinfect all high-touch surfaces, such as doorknobs, light switches, countertops, tables, desks, phones, remote controls, toilets, sinks and faucets. Wash plates, glasses, cups and silverware (other than prewrapped plastic items) before using.
  • Check the hotel’s website for information on how they are protecting their staff and guests.
  • Avoid restaurant dine-in service. Use curbside pickup or drive-thru takeout when possible.
  • If you must dine-in, check in advance to see if reservations are required due to limited capacity.
  • Maintain social distancing while traveling and staying overnight. Use the stairs when elevators are crowded or wait for the next elevator.

References