- Global Travel Policy and COVID-19 Addendum
Global Travel Policy and COVID-19 Addendum
Duke Global Travel Policy – COVID-19 ADDENDUM
EFFECTIVE DATE: March 10, 2020
(Updated July 1, 2020; September 1, 2020; October 27, 2020, May 2, 2021 and May 17, 2021)
On March 10, 2020, Duke adopted the COVID-19 Travel Suspension that prohibited all travel by faculty, staff, others, and students with “Duke Support”, defined as Duke “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.”
On the same date, Duke adopted this COVID-19 Addendum to the Duke Global Travel Policy to allow for exceptions to the COVID-19 Travel Suspension.
This Addendum, which has been updated several times to consider the evolving nature of COVID-19 Pandemic conditions, will remain in effect until August 8, 2021.
Travel outside the United States for Undergraduate Students is fully suspended until August 8, 2021, and Duke units may not include travel for Undergraduate Students in programs for Summer 2021.
“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.
“Essential” or “Necessary and Reasonable” travel means travel that is designated as such by one or more Top-Level Managers, or the Provost, in reliance on the factors for each as set forth in Sections 3.B, 3.C and 4 respectively herein.
“Others” means an individual who is not a Duke Student, Duke Faculty Member or Duke Staff Member. Others can include post-docs, residents, 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 will be supporting travel.
Examples of a Top-Level Managers include Deans, Directors of Centers 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
A. Local Travel
Duke Faculty and Staff Members, Duke Graduate and Professional Students, and Others (excludes Undergraduates): As an exception to the COVID-19 Travel Suspension, Duke Faculty and Staff Members, Duke Graduate and Professional Students, and Others may use Duke Support to engage in Local Travel (defined below) without the need for approval
As used herein, Local Travel is defined as:
(1) The individual starts and returns to the same location in the same day
(2) The travel meets the criteria of Section 3.C or Section 4
(3) The individual uses a Duke owned vehicle, a rental car or if more practical, a personal vehicle
(4) The individual travels in full compliance with all applicable COVID-19 regulations regarding personal health and safety, including physical distancing rules that might prevent transporting others in the vehicle
Undergraduate Students: As an exception to the COVID-19 Travel Suspension, Duke Undergraduate Students may use Duke Support to engage in Local Travel within Durham County only if an exception is granted by the Expanded Student Programming Committee.
B. Necessary and Reasonable Domestic Travel
As an exception to the COVID-19 Travel Suspension, individuals may engage in “Domestic Travel" (defined below) with Duke Support when following criteria are met:
(1) For All: Top-Level Managers determine that the travel is “Necessary and Reasonable Travel” using the following factors:
- The travel is necessary to properly carry out a reasonable obligation on a timely basis, such as to maintain an educational program or research project consistent with accreditation, endowment/gift expectations or other external criteria, or a sponsored research program
- The travel is necessary to properly carry out a reasonably important activity on a timely basis, such as visiting research sites, maintaining research/operations partnerships, and ensuring continuity of professional/academic/research development
- Travel cannot be postponed or revised without either significant financial loss or added costs
- Travel is related to COVID-19 relief efforts
(2) For Undergraduate Students Only: The GTAC COVID-19 Travel Subcommittee determines that the travel is Necessary and Reasonable.
(3) For All: The individual is Fully Vaccinated OR has properly invoked a medical or religious exemption. For Duke Faculty or Staff Members, proof of this must be in a record maintained by Duke EOHW. For Students, proof of this must be in a record maintained by Duke Student Health.
As used in this Section 3.B:
“Domestic Travel” means travel that occurs within the United States, U.S. territories, and/or U.S. territorial seas.
“Fully Vaccinated” means two weeks have passed since (A) the individual received a second injection of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine; or (B) the individual received the single-dose of the Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine. Duke will add to this list if and when other vaccines are approved by the competent authorities.
C. Essential International and Domestic Travel
As an exception to the COVID-19 Travel Suspension, Duke Faculty, Staff Members, Others, and Duke Graduate or Professional Students may travel on a program or individual basis with Duke Support IF (1) Top-Level Manager(s) determine that the travel is Essential Travel.
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
- Whether remote activity is realistic or a viable option
- The length of the travel and number of destinations
- The prevalence and trends of COVID-19 and variant strains in the destinations using the Johns Hopkins dashboard and other sources. (See COVID-19 Dashboard of Johns Hopkins University)
- The prevalence and trends of COVID 19 vaccination in the area(s) of travel
- The risk mitigation strategies deployed by the traveler and hosts to limit or prevent exposure to contagions, including without limit, pre-travel preparation (e.g., getting vaccinated), restrictions on modes of transport (e.g., car vs. plane), use of recommended safety protocol such as use of masks, hand-washing and physical distancing, etc.
Note: general conference attendance that is not tied to the traveler’s field of study/research or required by their profession/accreditation should not be considered “Essential”.
5. Top-Level Manager and Individual Determinations
Requests to a Top-Level Manager, or the COVID-19 Travel Subcommittee in the case of Undergraduate Travelers, for an exception to the COVID-19 Travel Suspension must include, without limit:
- An explanation as to how and why the travel meets the criteria of Sections 3.B, 3.C or 4.
- A detailed day by day travel itinerary, including dates, means of travel, locations of lodging and
- Risk mitigation strategies the traveler plans to undertake to limit exposure to COVID-19 and its variant strains
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 Undergraduate Students, Top-Level Managers must seek input from the GTAC COVID-19 Subcommittee.
Prior to making an Essential Travel determination for Duke Faculty, Staff Members or Others, Duke Graduate or Professional Students, Top-Level Managers are encouraged to contact the Global Travel Office (email@example.com) or complete the online Travel Request Form to seek advice from the GTAC COVID-19 Subcommittee.
Top-Level Managers and potential travelers considering international travel are strongly encouraged to reach out to GATS, the Global Travel Support office at Duke (embed email address) well in advance of the proposed travel dates to discuss entry requirements of the host and transit nations. International travel can be quite challenging given how quickly policies are changing as it regards testing requirements, quarantines and a traveler’s vaccination status. There are also impacts to entry visa processes and in the realm of travel documents, such as presenting proof of insurance coverage at borders that the Global Travel team can help you navigate and prepare for in advance of your departure.
C. Possible Conditions of Granting an Exception
In addition to evaluating the proposed travel using the criteria in Sections 3.B, 3.C or 4, Top-Level Managers should consider conditioning a decision by requiring measures such as:
- Pre-travel preparation
- Limiting the travel or recommending different modes of transportation
- Mitigation strategies while traveling or a recommendation to follow CDC guidelines for mitigating risks of exposure
- If traveling out of the United States, 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 should promptly issue, and certainly prior to a traveler’s departure, written determinations of Essential Travel or Necessary and Reasonable Travel (email is acceptable) that incorporates the request, notes any conditions they wish to apply, and includes a copy of a recommendation issued by GTAC’s COVID-19 Subcommittee, if applicable. An electronic copy of the written determination with notes and conditions should be provided to the COVID-19 Subcommittee by sending it to the Duke Travel Policy Administrator.
6. Duke Travel Registry
All individuals traveling with Duke Support, whether international or domestic (but not Local Travel) are required to enter their emergency contact and international or domestic trip details into the Duke Travel Registry. 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 Travel Support office to explore this option.
7. Personal Travel
Duke has issued a separate Statement on Personal Travel. Since public health conditions and recommendations are being updated regularly, Duke urges individuals to consult with CDC Travel guidelines prior to personal travel.
Duke Global Travel Policy
Effective 01-December-2018, amended 01-July-2020 (see COVID 19 Addendum above)
Duke is committed to planning for and promoting the health, safety and security of students, faculty and staff when they travel outside of the United States with Duke Support. As used in this Policy, the term “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.
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:
- Duke Students – undergraduate, graduate, and professional – are required to register travel outside of the United States with Duke Support before departing, providing travel dates, locations, emergency contact, and personal contact information while abroad; and
- Duke Faculty Members and Staff Members are strongly encouraged to register travel outside of the United States, particularly when traveling to a location on the Duke “Restricted Regions List.”
The information in the Duke Travel Registry allows Duke 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. Information entered in the Duke Travel Registry is considered confidential and utilized only in the event of an emergency.
If a Duke Student, Faculty Member or Staff Member does not register at the Duke Travel Registry:
- Duke might not be able to determine that the individual is in a region in the event of an emergency, and therefore, may not be able to offer emergency health or evacuation assistance.
- Duke might not be able to verify insurance coverage were a traveler to engage a provider for assistance due to illness, injury or other type of personal emergency while outside the United States.
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 may be at elevated risk. GTAC advises the Provost on changes to the RRL
Undergraduate Students – Solo Travel
Duke Undergraduate Students are required to register travel outside of the United States with Duke Support at the Duke Travel Registry prior to departure.
If an Undergraduate Student wants to use Duke Support to travel to a location on the RRL, the Student must seek and obtain the permission of 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:
(A) The dates of travel and all location(s) the Student plans to visit, highlighting locations on the RRL.
(B) The activities the Student will be involved in at each location
(C) The Name and contact information organization(s) that might support the Student and an explanation of the support the organization will provide
(D) 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.
(D) 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 Provost approves the travel, 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 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 this 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.
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 the sponsoring Faculty Member 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, the Provost may compel the Faculty Member to bring the Students home at the expense of the Faculty Member’s department or unit.
Duke Graduate/Professional Students are required to register travel outside of the United States with Duke Support at the Duke Travel Registry prior to departure.
Duke encourages Graduate/Professional Students to weigh with care the benefits and risks of travel to a location on the RRL. Duke Support may be provided for such travel only if (a) the Graduate/Professional Student has registered the travel plans with the Duke Travel Registry in advance of travel; (b) 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. 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, 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 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 Members and Staff Members 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. Duke encourages Faculty Members and Staff Members who travel to register in the Duke Travel Registry in advance of travel, particularly if traveling to a location on the RRL.
Undergraduate Students: If the safety or security situation of a location on the RRL changes between the time a Petition is granted and the date an Undergraduate Student begins the travel, the Provost may revoke 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, 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, the Provost will condition the Student’s continued stay at the existing location on the Student signing a waiver and release and submitting it to the Travel Policy Administrator or move to a safer (unrestricted) location. If a Student does not meet the requirement, the Provost may require the Graduate/Professional Student to return early at the Student’s expense.
Faculty and Staff: If a region is added to the RRL while a Faculty Member or Staff Member is in a newly added region, or if the safety or security situation in a location on the RRL changes after travel to the 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.
Where a Duke Student, Faculty Member or Staff Member 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.
Questions? Contact Christy Parrish, Travel Policy Administrator.