SEC-046: COVID-19 Health & Safety Requirement – Travel Restrictions on International and Domestic Travel for Business & Instructional Purposes

Applies To: Academic Division and the College at Wise.
Reason for Policy:

The University is committed to maintaining a safe work and learning environment for its faculty, staff, and students. Travel, especially in confined communal spaces such as airplanes and trains, increases exposure to COVID-19. To mitigate those risks, the University is imposing restrictions on certain types of international and domestic travel.

Definition of Terms in Statement:
  • Graduate Medical Education (GME) Trainee:

    An individual who is employed by the University of Virginia Medical Center as a trainee in an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited or non-ACGME accredited post-graduate training program.

  • International Travel:

    Travel outside the United States. (For reimbursement rates, this would also include travel to Alaska, Hawaii, the Commonwealths of Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands, and possessions of the United States.)

Policy Statement:

Given the continuing risk associated with the disease caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States and around the world, the University is restricting international and non-essential domestic travel for business and instructional purposes for the foreseeable future, regardless of funding source.

  1. International Travel:
    All University-related international travel is prohibited. For an exception to the prohibition on international travel, which requires approval from the Office of the Provost, see Procedures below. Any international University travel without a formal exception from the Office of the Provost will not be funded or reimbursed.

    All students and Graduate Medical Education (GME) Trainees traveling outside of the national borders of the United States for University-related purposes must adhere to policy PROV-010: Student International Travel.

    The University strongly encourages adherence to both Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) guidelines and, upon returning from international travel, to self-quarantine for 14 days.

  2. Non-Essential Domestic Travel:
    All non-essential domestic University-related travel is prohibited. Essential travel is defined as supporting activities that are absolutely necessary, cannot be rescheduled, and must be done in person. If a supervisor, associate dean, or dean deems the travel essential, it will be reimbursed. If not, it will not be reimbursed. No formal approval from the Office of the Provost is required.

    The University strongly encourages adherence to both VDH guidance for travelers and CDC considerations on traveling away from your local community in the United States.

  3. Off-Grounds Instructional Activities:
    In keeping with the intent of this policy, the University generally discourages off-Grounds in-person instructional activities. Off-Grounds excursions to historical sites, cultural and artistic centers, community-based organizations, and other locations have become an increasingly integral and important feature of coursework at UVA. While these activities can enhance and provide valuable context to classroom instruction, they also raise safety issues for students, faculty, staff, and our community while we continue to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, not all of our students have equal access to the transportation necessary to reach off-Grounds sites safely, the increased social interaction at off-Grounds sites can put students and the community at risk, and students pursuing online study from remote locations may not have the opportunity to participate in locally-based in-person activities. Therefore, the University encourages faculty to avoid off-Grounds in-person instructional activities wherever possible, limiting them to experiences that are essential and have no reasonable alternative, to achieve the course’s academic objectives.

    In keeping with the above criteria, faculty who choose to assign off-Grounds in-person instructional activities must adhere to the following:

    • Instructors should ensure that the off-Grounds instructional site is prepared to handle the arrival of a visiting group from the University.
    • Students must be instructed to observe all public health requirements established by the University and the off-Grounds site during the activity (e.g., masking, social distancing, no participation if displaying symptoms).
    • Reasonable equivalent alternatives to the activity (and providing the same grade weight for that alternative) must be made available for students who are unable to participate in the off-Grounds in-person instructional activity. This might include students who do not have a safe means of reaching the destination and returning that adheres to the COVID-19 safety expectations set by the University (e.g. crowding into group cars is prohibited). Furthermore, students who are not comfortable participating in an off-Grounds instructional activity will be provided the same reasonable accommodations.

    This section of the policy only applies to discrete, episodic off-Grounds in-person instructional activities, not regularly scheduled out-of-classroom activities such as practica, lab work, and research activities, which are governed by separate policies.

    Questions regarding this section of the policy should be directed to the Provost’s Office.

  4. Travel Reimbursement:
    If you must cancel University travel, seek waivers and refunds directly from the airlines and hotels first. If airlines and hotels are not issuing waivers or refunds, employees can submit expense reimbursement requests through ExpenseUVA after the date of travel. For more information, please see the “Travel and Expense” website and the more specific “Travel and COVID” site. If you have a question that isn’t covered on either of these sites, contact the travel team at or 434-924-4121.

  5. Personal Travel:
    The University discourages non-essential personal travel. If you must travel, we ask all University faculty, staff, and students to take account of this guidance as they evaluate their own personal travel. Consult the state and territorial health department websites and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the latest information. The University strongly encourages adherence to VDH and CDC guidance for travelers.

Compliance with Policy:
Failure to comply with the requirements of this policy may result in disciplinary action in accordance with relevant University policies. Additionally, the University may choose to recover any reimbursement or expense paid to or on behalf of any faculty, staff, or student for non-essential travel, unapproved international travel or essential domestic travel.

Effective Term of the Policy:
This policy will remain in effect for the foreseeable future. The University may implement additional restrictions as it monitors the impact of travel and the spread of COVID-19.

Questions about this policy should be directed to Procurement and Supplier Diversity Services, the Office of the Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, or the Office of the Executive Vice President & Provost.


If you require an exception to the prohibition on international travel, please request an application from the Office of the Provost’s at Requests for exceptions to the policy will be evaluated for approval based on the following set of considerations:

  • The potential benefit of travel with regard to the mission of the University.
  • The necessity of the travel in order to achieve the anticipated benefit.
  • The potential risk to personal health and safety.
  • The University’s ability to assist in a return to the United States in emergency circumstances.
  • The risk to the health and safety of the University and Charlottesville community.

Please note that due to the health and safety risks associated with travel during a pandemic, the University anticipates a limited number of approvals and only in exceptional circumstances. Any international University travel without a formal exception from the Office of the Provost will not be funded or reimbursed.

Effective Date: 04/10/2020 Last Revised Date: 09/23/2020
Policy Type: University
Oversight Executive: President of the University
Related Information:

FIN-019: Acceptance of Gifts and Special Benefits from Vendors
PROV-010: Student International Travel
UVAHealth: Wellbeing & Travel Information
CDC: Returning from International Travel
CDC: Considerations for Travelers (inside the U.S.)
CDC: Running Essential Errands
VDH: Travelers

Major Category: Safety, Security and Environmental Quality
Category Cross Reference: Finance and Business Operations
Next Scheduled Review: 01/01/2021
Approved by, Date: President of the University, 04/10/2020
Revision History: Section 5 Updated 9/23/20; New Section 3 Added 9/18/20; Updated 8/7/20.