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Travel Warning Policy

Policy for International Travel to countries under Travel Warning or Travel Notices

Introduction

The University of Louisville encourages its students, faculty and staff to participate in international activities and promotes the development of opportunities for international study and research.  To this end, the University attempts to balance the value of participation in international activities against their potential risks. The University of Louisville has developed this policy for international activities in countries for which the U.S. Department of State has issued Travel Warnings, and countries for which the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has issued Travel Notices.  Students and faculty and staff will need to consult the policy for specific details before making arrangements for travel to countries where there are recognized dangers, instabilities or severe health risks.


Part I. U.S. Department of State Travel Warnings

No student, faculty or staff member shall be required to participate in an international activity under University auspices in a country for which the Department of State has issued a travel warning that restricts, or otherwise urges U.S. citizens to defer travel to a county.

Section I. Undergraduate Student Travel

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Travel Warnings
When the U.S. Department of State issues a warning that restricts or otherwise urges U.S. citizens to defer travel to a country the following rules apply to student travel:
1.    The University of Louisville will not require travel to any country on the U.S. State Department Travel Warning list.
2.   The undergraduate student wishing to travel to a Travel Warning location must review the Travel Warning and Consular information sheet in consultation with a study abroad advisor.
3.   The undergraduate student must carefully consider the risks described in the Travel Warning and the Consular Information Sheets.  The student must weigh those risks against the value of the educational opportunity and make his/her own determination about whether to continue with the planned research or activity.  The student should also take  into consideration that if he/she should encounter difficulty abroad, the University of Louisville and even the U.S. Department of State may be unable to assist.
4.   A written statement must be provided by the student explaining why travel to the country is essential to his/her research or graduation plan.
5.   A written letter of support must be submitted by the student’s faculty advisor, stating how the advisor believes any risk involved in travel to this location would be mitigated and confirming that study abroad project is essential to the student’s academic program. This letter must also be endorsed by the Department Chair of the student’s major.
6.   The University will review on a case-by-case basis all requests from undergraduate students wishing to travel to regions under a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning.Any undergraduate student wishing to travel to a county on the Travel Warning list must have advance permission from the Executive Vice President and University Provost. 
7.   If approved, the student must sign a release, acknowledging the existence of the travel warning and his/ her decision to continue with the planned activity despite that warning, releasing the University of Louisville from all liability including but not limited to death, injuries or losses suffered while participating in the activity.
If a student is under age 18, his/her parent or guardian must also sign this release. If a student is age 18 or older, his/her parent or guardian must sign the document to indicate that the parent or guardian is aware of the situation and has read the release.  For students over 18, this requirement may be modified at the discretion of the Vice Provost for Diversity Affairs and International Programs.
8.   Upon submission of all of the above to the International Center and receipt of acknowledgment from the Executive Vice President and University Provost permitting travel, undergraduate students may use approved University of Louisville funding in accordance with Financial Aid guidelines, including any external funding administered through and dispersed by the University of Louisville, for approved study, training or presentation.

Section II. Graduate Student Travel

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Graduate students who wish to travel to a district or country with an active U.S. Department of State issued Travel Warning, restricting or otherwise urging U.S. citizens to defer travel, for purposes of research, training, study or presentation must submit the following documents to the International Center prior to travel:
   
1.    Graduate students who wish to travel to such a country are urged to review the Consular Information Sheet and Travel Warning and other available material about the conditions in the country in question and to continually evaluate the value and necessity of the travel against the risks he/she will face if he/she chooses to travel.

2.      A written statement must be provided by the student explaining why travel to the district or country is essential to his/her research, training, study or presentation.

3.      A written statement must be submitted by the faculty advisor, endorsed by the Department Chair and Dean confirming that the research, training, presentation, or study project is essential to the student’s academic program and stating how the advisor believes any risk would be mitigated.

4.      A travel itinerary must be submitted including detailed contact information and the address and contact information for the hotel or other accommodation where he/she will be staying.

5.      A signed waiver and release (provided by the International Center) stating that the student has been advised of the travel warning and associated risks, and still chooses to travel to this district or country.  The waiver will also include an acknowledgment by the student that it is his/ her responsibility for his/her own personal safety, and that he/ she understands that the University of Louisville, external funding agencies, and even the U.S. Department of State may be unable to help in the event he/she encounters difficulties  abroad.  The waiver and release form shall release the University of Louisville from all  liability, including but not limited to death, injuries, or losses suffered by the student while participating in the activity abroad.

6.    Upon submission of all of the above to the International Center and receipt of approval from the Executive Vice President and University Provost,  graduate students may use approved University of Louisville funding in accordance with Financial Aid guidelines, including any external funding administered through and dispersed by the University of Louisville, for approved research, training, study or presentation.

Section III. Travel Warnings Prohibiting, Forbidding or recommending deferral of all but essential travel to a particular district or country Travel:  Undergraduate and Graduate students

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When the U.S. Department of State issues a travel warning that prohibits, forbids or recommends deferral of all but essential travel to a particular district or country, University of Louisville and UofL-promoted study abroad programs, research, training and presentations in that district or country shall be suspended.

1.      No student shall be allowed to travel to that district or country under University of Louisville auspices.

2.      If the student is already in the district or country when the travel warning that prohibits, forbids or recommends deferral of all but essential travel to a particular district or country is issued, the Vice Provost for Diversity and International Programs, in conjunction with the Vice President and/or Dean of the Department hosting the program, the Director of the Office of International Affairs, and faculty native to the travel warning area shall make a recommendation to the Executive Vice President and University Provost as to whether the student shall be required to return to the U.S.  The Executive Vice President and Provost will make the final determination.

Where the student is required to return to the U.S. under these circumstances, the University of Louisville will, at the student’s request, work with the student and the third party provider (when applicable) to make arrangements to return to the U.S. 

The Office Study Abroad and International Travel of the International Center will attempt to notify those students who are already in the district or country where the travel warning has been issued of the University’s actions regarding their program and safety.

Section IV. Faculty and Staff Travel

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The University recognizes that when conducting research, teaching, or public service on a global level, opportunities will arise for faculty and staff to travel to countries that are under a Travel Warning, or to countries where other hazardous conditions such as a disease outbreak exist.  The University does not prohibit such travel, but does endeavor to balance the risks of travel against the value and necessity of the travel.  To this end, the following rules and conditions apply to such travel:

1.      Faculty or Staff who wish to travel to such a country are urged to review the Consular Information Sheet and Travel Warning and other available material about the conditions in the country in question and to continually evaluate the value and necessity of the travel against the risks he/she will face if he/she chooses to travel.

2.      The employee shall take precautions with respect to his/her personal safety.  He/she must recognize that the University and even the U.S. Department of State may be unable to help in the event he/she encounters difficulties abroad.

3.      For Faculty or Staff travel to countries under a Travel Warning, employees shall provide advance notice of their travel plans to the Provost’s designee in the International Center prior to making travel arrangements.  The traveler shall prepare a written request that describes the necessity and value of the proposed travel and the steps that will be taken to manage risk during the trip.    The information will be submitted to the Provost-designee who will present it to the Executive Vice President and University Provost, who may authorize or prohibit travel, or require modification of schedule or itinerary as needed to manage risk. Faculty and Staff who are citizens of Travel Warning countries and are not seeking University sponsorship shall be exempt from these requirements.
 
4.      If a request for funding, grant proposal, or university contract states a need to travel to a country under Travel Warning status the planning and approval steps described above must be completed prior to submission of the request.

5.      If an employee is already in the country when a Travel Warning prohibiting, forbidding or recommending deferral of all but essential travel is issued, he/she will be contacted by the Provost designee in the International Center.  The employee must then consult with his/her Department Head and Dean regarding whether he/she will be required to relocate to a safer area or return to the U.S. 

6.    If the Employee wishes to remain in a country after a U.S. State Department Travel Warning prohibiting, forbidding or recommending deferral of all but essential travel to a particular district or country is issued, the review and approval process described herein becomes applicable.  In the event the faculty or staff member is hired specifically to perform a job located in a country for which a Travel Warning prohibiting, forbidding or recommending deferral of all but essential travel to a particular district or country travel is issued, the Department Head, in consultation with the Dean, the Director of the Office of International Affairs, the Vice Provost for Diversity and International Programs and the Executive Vice President and University Provost must determine whether to continue the program under Travel Warning conditions, or suspend, relocate, or terminate the program.

7.      If an employee elects to travel to a country under a Travel Warning, prohibiting, forbidding or recommending deferral of all but essential travel to a particular district or country travel, and against the direction of the University (through the Department Head or Provost), then the employee’s travel and all associated activity will be deemed to be outside the course and scope of his/her University employment.  In such situations, University funds may not be used for the travel or any associated expenses.

8.  Additional information and forms can be found on the University Provost's International Travel Site.

Section IV. Authority of the Executive Vice President and University Provost

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In any situation involving a Travel Warning, the special conditions that caused the warning to be issued may warrant additional or different University of Louisville rules and responses.  In such a case, the Executive Vice President and University Provost shall have the authority to establish such rules and responses in consultation with such other people as deemed appropriate under the circumstances. 


Part II. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Travel Notices

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When considering travel to countries where health issues are a concern, the CDC has three categories of travel notices that are relevant to the travel policy.  These are:

A.     Outbreak Notice:  Issued when there is an outbreak of a contagious disease in a limited geographic area.

B.      Travel Health Precaution: Issued when a disease outbreak of a greater scope is occurring in a more widespread geographic area.

C.      Travel Health Warning:  Issued when there is a widespread, serious outbreak of a disease of public health concern. (At this warning level, the CDC recommends against non-essential travel to the area.)

Section I. Undergraduate and Graduate Students

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CDC Outbreak Notice or Travel Health Precaution
No student shall be required to participate in any educational activity under University of Louisville auspices in a country for which the CDC has issued any of the Travel Health Notices set out above.  A student who wishes to travel, under University auspices, to a country for which the CDC has issued an Outbreak Notice or a Travel Health Precaution may do so, under the following conditions:

1.      The student must review the Outbreak Notice or Travel Health Precaution, as well as the Travel Notice Definitions, Criteria, and Rationale for such notices and warnings. These documents can be accessed on the web at the Center for Disease Control's web site.
 
2.      The student must consider carefully the risks described in the Outbreak Notice or Travel Health precaution.  Weighing those risks against the value of the educational opportunity to the student he/she can then make his/her own determination about whether to continue with the planned research, training, presentation or study activity. The student should also take into consideration the possibility that, if he/she encounters difficulties abroad, the University of Louisville and even the U.S. Department of State may be unable to assist, and that the student may be obliged to “shelter in place” in the event that commercial airlines drastically curtail or even cease operations, and/or travel restrictions prevent people from returning to the United States or leaving the affected country.

    “Shelter-in-Place” information can be found at the U.S. government’s pandemic influenza website,  the World Health Organization website, and the Centers for Disease Control website.

3.       In balancing these factors, the student should take into consideration the possibility that the existing Outbreak Notice or Travel Health Precaution may be changed to a Travel Health Warning, at which time the CDC Travel Warning section of this policy shall come into effect and can possibly affect the student’s ability to receive a refund of monies already expended for the research, training, presentation or study activity.

4.       The student must sign a release, acknowledging the existence of the Outbreak Notice or Travel Health Precaution and his/her decision to continue with the planned activity despite that warning, and releasing the University of Louisville from liability for death or injuries suffered by the student while participating in the activity. If a student is under age 18, his/her parent or guardian must also sign this release. If a student is age 18 or older, his/her parent or guardian must sign the document merely to indicate that the parent or  guardian is aware of the situation and has read the release. For students over 18, this requirement may be modified at the discretion of the Vice Provost for Diversity and International Programs.

5.       Students who travel to a country for which the CDC has issued an Outbreak Notice or Travel Health Precaution may be requested to monitor their health upon return, or be subject to screening at the port of entry, a process that may include voluntary or involuntary isolation or quarantine of the traveler.

CDC Travel Health Warnings
When the CDC issues a Travel Health Warning that recommends postponing nonessential travel to the area, the following rules apply:

1.      University of Louisville and U of L promoted study abroad programs in that country shall be suspended.

2.      No student shall be allowed to travel to that country under University of Louisville auspices.

3.       If the student is already in the country for which the CDC Travel Health Warning has been issued, the Vice Provost for Diversity and International Programs shall decide,  in consultation with other appropriate persons, whether the student shall be required to return to the U.S.

    Where the student is required to return to the U.S. or where the student desires to return to the U.S. under these circumstances, the University of Louisville will, at the student’s request, endeavor to help the student make arrangements for his/her return.  However, student should be aware that the University of Louisville, and even the U.S. Department of State, may be unable to assist, and that the student may be obliged to “shelter in place” in the event that commercial airlines drastically curtail or even cease operations, and/or travel restrictions prevent people from returning to the U.S. or leaving the affected country.

“Shelter-in-Place” information can be found at the U.S. government’s pandemic influenza website, the World Health Organization website and the Centers for Disease Control website.

5.    The student will be subject to screening at the port of entry, a process that may include voluntary or involuntary isolation or quarantine of the traveler. Further, the student will not be permitted to return to campus until he or she has completed appropriate health monitoring and/or screening to determine that he or she is not infected with the disease in     question. The monitoring and screening required will be decided on a case by case basis bythe Vice Provost for Diversity and International Programs in consultation with appropriate  University officials.


Section II Faculty and Staff

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Travel to Countries under CDC Travel Notices
The University of Louisville recognizes that, in times of international health crisis, its employees may possess valuable expertise that is needed to assist with the resolution of the crisis. Consequently, the University of Louisville does not prevent its employees from traveling to countries for which the CDC has issued an Outbreak Notice, Travel Health Precaution or Travel Health Warning. However, the following rules and conditions apply to such travel:

1.      No employee shall be required to travel to a country for which any of the CDC Travel Notices listed above has been issued.

2.      Employees who wish to travel to such a country are urged to review the Travel Notice and the CDC Travel Health Warning, Definitions, Criteria and Rationale at as well as other available material about the conditions in the country in question, and to consider carefully whether the value of the travel to them outweighs the risks he/she will face if he/she choose to travel.

3.      Employees who travel to a country for which there is an Outbreak Notice, a Travel Health Precaution, or a Travel Health Warning are urged to prepare to “Shelter-in-Place” in the event that commercial airlines drastically curtail or even cease operations, and/or travel restrictions impede people from returning to the United States or leaving the affected country. “Shelter-in-Place” information can be found on-line .

4.     Employees shall take precautions with respect to his/her personal safety, recognizing that the University of Louisville and even the U.S. Department of State may be unable to help in the event employees encounter difficulty abroad.

5.      Employees who travel to a country for which the CDC has issued an Outbreak Notice or a Travel Health Precaution may, and in cases where the CDC as issued a Travel Health Warning, will, be requested to monitor his/her health upon return, or be subject to screening at the port of entry, a process that may include voluntary or involuntary isolation or quarantine of the traveler. Further, an employee will not be permitted to return to campus until he or she has completed appropriate health monitoring and/or screening to determine that he or she is not infected with the disease in question. The monitoring and screening required will be decided on a case by case basis by the Vice Provost for Diversity and International Programs in consultation with appropriate Public Health officials.

6.  Additional information and forms can be found on the University Provost's International Travel Site.

Section III. Authority of the Executive Vice President and University Provost

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Where it is not clear from its wording whether a Travel Notice falls into Category A, B or C as set out above, the Executive Vice President and University Provost shall have the discretion to decide the issue, after appropriate consultation.

In any situation involving a Travel Health Precaution or Travel Health Warning, the special conditions that caused the warning to be issued may warrant additional or different University of Louisville rules and responses.  In such a case, the Executive Vice President and University Provost shall have the authority to establish such rules and responses in consultation with such other people as deemed appropriate under the circumstances. 


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