- Global Travel Policy and COVID-19 Addendum
Global Travel Policy and COVID-19 Addendum
Duke Global Travel Policy
Effective December 1, 2018; amended August 9, 2021
This Policy includes the COVID-19 Addendum Travel Addendum (most recently amended on August 9, 2021)
Duke is committed to planning for and promoting the health, safety and security of individuals when they travel outside of the United States with Duke Support.
As used in this Policy:
“Duke Support” means financial and logistical support, academic approval, granting of credit for activity or work completed based on the travel, mentorship or any kind of material role for Duke in the travel.
"Individuals" means Faculty, Staff, Graduate/Professional Students and Undergraduate Students as well as Others.
"Others" means individuals other than Facultly, Staff, Graduate/Professional Students and Undergraduate Students, including without limit, visiting scholars, alumni and guests of Duke.
This Policy is administered by the Duke University Provost with the active advice and support of the Duke University Global Travel Advisory Committee (“GTAC”).
Duke maintains the Duke Travel Registry, a Travel Registry where:
All individuals who travel outside the United States with Duke support are required to register the travel outside of the United States in the Duke Travel Registry before departing. Programs can avail themselves of the "batch upload" option in order to upload groups of travelers if they share the same itinerary. Please contact the Global Administrative and Travel Support office to explore this option.
When registering travel in the Duke Travel Registry, Individuals are required to provide travel dates, location(s), emergency contact, and personal contact information for when abroad. This information allows Duke to attempt to find an individual in the event it becomes necessary, including for example in the event of a natural disaster in a particular location that poses a significant threat to the health, safety and welfare of individuals. Duke maintains information entered in the Duke Travel Registry as confidential and uses only in the event Duke determines the circumstances warrant use of it.
Restricted Regions List
The Duke Provost maintains a Restricted Regions List (“RRL”) which identifies areas outside the United States where the health, safety and security of travelers are deemed to be at elevated risk. There are two reasons an area can be listed on the RRL: (1) “Restricted-Safety/Security” and (2) “Suspended-COVID-19” (an area can be on for both as well). GTAC and its COVID-19 Travel Subcommittee advise the Provost on changes to the RRL.
The Duke RRL also identifies countries that are presently under U.S. Sanctions to which travel is not permitted absent government approval. In these instances, travel with Duke Support cannot occur unless and until the Duke Office of Export Controls has cleared the travel.
Undergraduate Students – Solo Travel
If an Undergraduate Student wants to use Duke Support to travel to a location on the Duke RRL under “Restricted-Safety/Security”, the Student must seek and obtain an exception to travel from the Provost at least thirty (30) days prior to the planned departure date and, ideally, before committing Duke resources to the travel (e.g., booking flights). A student who is contemplating such a request must contact the Duke Travel Policy Administrator for assistance to seek approval from the Provost. The undergraduate student (guided by the Travel Policy Administrator) must file a petition with the GTAC that includes the following:
- The dates of travel and all location(s) the Student plans to visit, highlighting locations on the RRL.
- The activities the Student will be involved in at each location
- The Name and contact information organization(s) that might support the Student and an explanation of the support the organization will provide
- A statement from the student describing how the travel is beneficial, educationally or otherwise, and why the benefits warrant the risks of traveling to a location on the RRL. This statement should include consideration of alternative ways to obtain the same or similar benefits at another location that does not appear on the RRL, and any experience or knowledge the Student has that might help to mitigate risks while in the restricted region.
- Any supporting documentation or statements from others, including supporting organizations, supporters in the restricted region, Parents or Legal Guardians, or those who might be responsible for the Student’s safety while in the restricted region.
If the destination also appears on the Duke RRL under “Suspended-COVID-19” the Undergraduate Student must seek an exception using the process set forth in the COVID-19 Addendum to this Global Travel Policy.
If the Provost approves the travel to a “Restricted Safety/Security” destination, Duke will condition it on the Student and a Parent or Legal Guardian signing a waiver and release and submitting it to the Travel Policy Administrator. The waiver and release may contain conditions and restrictions on when, where and how the Student will travel, and will inform the Student and the Student's Parent or Legal Guardian if the U.S. State Department has advised against travel to the region.
If an undergraduate Student using Duke Support fails to follow the Travel Policy, the Provost may require the Student to return home at the expense of the Student, and may deny the application of academic credit or recognition of work completed based on the travel. This is in addition to other repercussions related to failure to adhere to University policy.
Undergraduate Students – travel planned by a Faculty sponsor
In instances where a Faculty sponsor desires to include for Undergraduate Students travel to a location on the RRL under “Restricted-Safety/Security” the sponsoring Faculty Member (and not individual Students) must seek permission from the Provost using the above Petition process at least thirty (30) days prior to the time the course or program is offered in written or online materials.
If Faculty sponsor fails to comply with this Policy, in addition to instiutional action tied to performance and policy adherence, the Provost may compel the Faculty Member to bring the Students home at the expense of the Faculty Member’s department or unit.
Duke encourages Graduate/Professional Students to carefully weigh the benefits and risks of travel to a location on the RRL under “Restricted-Safety/Security.” Duke Support may be provided for such travel only if the Graduate/Professional Student (and Parent or Legal Guardian, if the Student is under 21) has signed a waiver and release and submitted it to the Travel Policy Administrator prior to using Duke-support for the travel. The applicable waiver and release will inform the Graduate/Professional Student if the U.S. State Department has advised against travel to the region.
If a Graduate/Professional Student fails to comply with this Policy, in addition to Student Conduct proceedings for a policy violation, the Provost may compel the Student to return home at the expense of the Graduate/Professional Student, and may deny the application of academic credit or recognition of work completed based on the travel.
Duke Faculty, Staff and Others (e.g., visiting scholars, alumni, guests of Duke, etc.) are required to enter travel outside of the United States with Duke Support in the Duke Travel Registry prior to departure.
Duke will not require Faculty Members or Staff Members to travel to a location listed on the RRL unless travel to the location is included within the employee’s offer letter or job description. All other Duke Faculty, Staff and Others are encouraged to weigh with care the benefits and risks of travel with Duke Support to a location on the RRL and may decline to travel to the location.
Undergraduate Students: If the safety or security situation of a location on the RRL as “Restricted-Safety/Security” changes between the time a Petition is granted and the date an Undergraduate Student begins the travel, the Provost may revoke the approval, may add additional terms and conditions to the approval or may require the Student and the Student’s Parent or Legal Guardian to sign a supplemental waiver reflecting the changed environment.
If Duke adds a region to the RRL while an Undergraduate Student is in the region (whether as "Restricted-Safety/Security or "Suspended-COVID-19"), the Provost may require the Undergraduate Student to return early from the travel or to adjust the trip and move to a safer location.
Graduate/Professional Students: If Duke adds a region to the RRL while a Graduate/ Professional Student is in the region (whether as “Restricted-Safety/Security” or “Suspended-COVID-19”), the Provost may require the Graduate/Professional Student to return early from the travel, may add additional terms or conditions to allow for the Student’s continued stay at the existing location or may require adjusting the trip and moving to a safer location. The Graduate/Professional Student may be asked to signa revised waiver and release as a condition of remaining in the location. If a Student does not, or cannot, meet the requirement(s), the Provost may require the Graduate/Professional Student to return early.
Faculty, Staff and Others: If a region is added to the RRL while a Faculty, Staff or Other is in a newly added region (whether as “Restricted-Safety/Security” or “Suspended-COVID-19”), or if the safety or security situation in a location on the RRL changes after travel to a location on the RRL, the Provost may give the faculty or staff member the option to return early from the travel or to adjust the trip and move to a safer location. In addition, the faculty/staff may return from the assignment at the earliest possible safe opportunity.
Duke Support: Where an Individual has to leave a location early due to safety or security concerns, including when travel has occurred in violation of this Policy, Duke will provide advice and logistical support in the departure, if feasible.
Questions? Contact Christy Parrish, Travel Policy Administrator.
Duke Global Travel Policy – COVID-19 ADDENDUM
On March 10, 2020, Duke adopted the COVID-19 Travel Suspension that prohibited “worldwide” travel with "Duke Support (defined in the Duke Travel Policy and within this Addendu) by Faculty, Staff, Students and Others. As of August 9, 2021, the COVID-19 Travel Suspension has been modified to apply to only those regions included on the Duke Restricted Regions List (RRL) as “Suspended-COVID-19.”
This COVID-19 Addendum to the Duke Global Travel Policy allows for exceptions to the current more limited COVID-19 Travel Suspension. This Addendum, which has been updated several times to consider the evolving nature of COVID-19 Pandemic will remain in effect until further notice.
“COVID-19 Subcommittee” is a subcommittee to the Duke Global Travel Advisory Committee (“GTAC”) formed by the Provost to provide input and recommendations to Top-Level Managers in regards to requests for exceptions to the COVID-19 Travel Suspension. In some cases, as provided below, Top-Level Managers must seek input and recommendations from the COVID-19 Subcommittee, while in other cases, Top-Level Managers are encouraged to seek input and recommendations from the GTAC COVID-19 Subcommittee, if needed or if they feel it could help.
“Duke Support” is defined as “financial and logistical support, academic approval, granting of credit for activity or work completed based on the travel, mentorship or any kind of material role for Duke in the travel.”
“Domestic Travel” means travel that occurs within the United States, U.S. territories, and/or U.S. territorial seas.
“Essential Travel” means travel that is designated as such by one or more Top-Level Managers, in reliance on the factors set forth in Section 3.B.
“Fully Vaccinated” means it has been two weeks or more since the individual received their final dose of an WHO-approved vaccine. In the U.S, “fully vaccinated” would be 2-weeks after the second dose of the 2-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or 1-week after the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine. For those vaccinated outside the United States, your vaccination record must be accepted by Employee Occupational Health and Wellness or Student Health at Duke and have been finished at least 2-weeks prior to when your Duke-supported travel is scheduled to begin.
“Others” means an individual who is not a Duke Student, Duke Faculty Member or Duke Staff Member. Others can include post-docs, visiting scholars or fellows, alumni, and independent contractors.
“Top-Level Manager” means (1) a person who has overall responsibility for the School, Institute, Center or unit to which a potential traveler is enrolled or reports to (2) a person who has overall responsibility for the unit that is providing the Duke support for travel.
Examples of a Top-Level Managers include Deans, Directors of Centers, Divisions, or Institutes, or the person with the most seniority within an administrative unit.
In some cases, there may be two or more Top-Level Manager(s) involved in granting an exception to the COVID-19 Travel Suspension. For example:
- A Graduate Student in Masters of Environmental Management program wishes to travel abroad to participate in research using funds awarded to a Primary Investigator (a PI) by a sponsor or internally within Duke. The PI is a member of the faculty in the Nicholas School of the Environment, and also has an appointment in the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI), which is supporting the research. This Graduate Student would need an exception to the COVID-19 Travel Suspension from both the Dean of NSOE as well as from the Director of DGHI.
- An Undergraduate Student wishes to travel abroad to participate in a Duke supported volunteer experience. The Undergraduate Student should submit a request for an exception to the COVID-19 Travel Suspension to the Dean/Director who oversees the student’s program (or their designee). The Dean/Director/Designee receives the request will ask the GTAC COVID-19 Travel Sub-Committee to provide guidance, after which the Dean/Director/Designee will either grant an exception or not.
Note: a number of Deans and Directors have delegated authority to grant exceptions to the COVID-19 Travel Suspension to their own leadership teams or individuals. The Duke Global Travel Support office lists these within the responses to Frequently Asked Questions for this COVID-19 Addendum.
3. Exceptions to the COVID-19 Travel Suspension - Essential Travel
As an exception to the COVID-19 Travel Suspension, Duke Faculty, Staff, Others and Graduate/Professional Students may travel with Duke Support to locations on the Duke RRL as “Suspended-COVID-19” IF:
1) The Individual is Fully Vaccinated;
2) A Top-Level Manager(s) has determined that the travel is Essential Travel and provided written approval for it (a copy of which must be submitted to globaltravel@duke or attached as a PDF to the traveler’s entry in the Duke Travel Registry);
3) The individual has entered his/her emergency contact and trip details into the Duke Travel Registry; and
4) for Graduate/Professional Students only, the Individual traveler has signed and submitted an “Acknowledgement of Risks and Waiver and Release” form to the Global Administrative and Travel Support (GATS) office at Duke.
Duke Undergraduate Students may travel with Duke Support to a destination listed on the Duke RRL as “Suspended-COVID-19” IF:
1) The Student is Fully Vaccinated;
2) The Student submits a “Request for Review of Travel” to the GTAC COVID-19 Travel Subcommittee and the Committee determines that an exception should be made to the Travel Suspension;
3) A Top-Level Manager(s) determines, based on the recommendation from the COVID-19 Travel Sub-committee’s review and their own assessment of the objectives and “Essential Criteria”, that the travel qualifies as “Essential” and can proceed;
4) The Undergraduate Student and the Student's Parent or Legal Guardian read sign and submit an “Acknowledgement of Risks and Waiver and Release” form to Duke’s Global Administrative and Travel Support office; and
4. “Essential Travel” Criteria
When determining whether travel is “Essential Travel,” Top-Level Managers must fully consider and account for the following Essential Travel Factors:
Professional and Educational Factors
- The degree to which, absent the travel, a significant university activity, program, function or a grant-funded research will be permanently unable to proceed or will be significantly impeded in proceeding on a timely basis;
- The degree to which, absent the travel, an individual will be permanently unable to proceed with, or will be significantly impeded in proceeding on a timely basis with, important research, a career trajectory or a degree program;
- Whether the travel is essential to complete a senior thesis;
- Whether the travel is related to vital COVID-19 relief efforts; and/or
- Whether remote activity, or delaying or postponing the travel are realistic or viable options.
- The length of the travel, the activity being undertaken while abroad and number of destinations to be visited.
- The risk mitigation strategies deployed by the traveler, hosts of the traveler and the local jurisdiction to limit or prevent exposure to contagions, including without limit, pre-travel preparation (e.g., the traveler orients themselves on the impact of COVID-19 to the location(s) they are traveling to (i.e., are there curfews in place, is the health system overwhelmed, etc.), restrictions on modes of transport in the location(s) (e.g., is private car available vs. public transportation), and the use of recommended safety protocol such as masks, face shields, hand-washing and physical distancing.
5. Essential Travel Determinations
Requests for an exception to the COVID-19 Travel Suspension based on Essential Travel must include, without limit:
- Details of the proposed travel: dates, destinations, planned activity, local partners/hosts information, details on lodging and modes of transportation to be utilized once in-country.
- An explanation as to how and why the travel meets the Essential Travel Factors (Sections 3.B).
- Risk mitigation strategies the traveler plans to undertake to limit exposure to COVID-19.
Requests for the attention of the COVID-19 Travel Subcommittee should be submitted via the “Travel Request Form."
B. Advice and Recommendations
Prior to making an Essential Travel determination for Duke Faculty, Staff Members or Others, Duke Graduate or Professional Students, Top-Level Managers are welcome to seek input from the GTAC COVID-19 Subcommittee by completing an online “Review of Travel" request form
Top-Level Managers and potential travelers considering international travel are strongly encouraged to reach out to the Global Administrative and Travel Support (GATS) office at Duke, well in advance of the proposed travel dates to discuss entry requirements of the host and transit nations.
C. Changed Conditions
The COVID-19 situation around the globe is highly volatile. The destinations that have COVID-19 Travel Suspensions in effect within the Duke RRL can change frequently. Should a destination’s COVID related risk change while the traveler is in-country, the Duke Travel office will contact the individual and, if a Student, the home unit/dept/school. Efforts will be made to ensure the traveler is aware of the change in circumstances. Travelers could face governmentally imposed sheltering in place requirements for an indeterminate amount of time. These issues should be considered before making the decision to travel as the ability of Duke, its emergency services provider, International SOS, and/or the U.S. Department to assist or evacuate may be hampered or simply not possible. Any costs associated with changing flights to depart early or if an evacuation were to be ordered, would be the cost of the unit, department or school providing the support to the traveler.
In addition to evaluating the proposed travel using the Essential Travel Factors (Sections 3.B), Top-Level Managers should consider conditioning an exception to the Travel Suspension by requiring risk mitigation measures such as:
- Pre-travel preparation
- Limiting the travel or recommending different modes of transportation (e.g., private car vs. public transportation while in-country)
- Mitigation strategies while traveling or a recommendation to follow CDC guidelines for mitigating risks of exposure
- A requirement to fully understand, before travel, the rules and regulations for entry into the host nation and/or transit countries, including any obligations to provide negative test results or quarantine before departure or upon arrival
- Post-travel steps such as self-monitoring, testing and possible quarantine
Completing an “Acknowledgement of Choices and Waiver and Release” before departure (Students only)
D. Written Determination of Granting an Exception
Top-Level Managers must issue (email is acceptable) written determination when granting of an exception to the COVID-19 Travel Suspension that includes the original request received from the potential traveler, the reason the Manager(s) determined the travel qualified as Essential Travel under the Essential Travel Factors, any conditions the decision-maker wishes to apply should be included, and, if applicable, a copy of a recommendation issued by GTAC’s COVID-19 Subcommittee. An electronic copy of the final written determination with notes and conditions should be provided by either attaching a PDF to the Traveler’s entry of the trip in the Duke Travel Registry or by sending a copy of the Global Administrative and Travel Support office to attach on the traveler’s behalf after the traveler has entered their trip into the Duke Travel Registry.
7. Personal Travel
Duke has issued a separate Statement on Personal Travel relative to COVID-19. Since public health conditions and recommendations are being updated regularly, Duke urges individuals to consult with CDC Travel guidelines prior to personal travel. Individuals may but are not required to enter personal travel into the Duke Travel Registry.