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Resources for University Travelers

All students, faculty and staff should consider whether any mode of personal travel is essential. Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Given the risks inherent in travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, official university travel is restricted. Only essential travel, as determined by both the travel sponsor and the appropriate vice chancellor, is permitted. Learn more in the Interim Policy on University Travel.

Sequestration Following Unmasked Off-Campus Activity

Any student who resides in campus-operated housing and who engages in any off-campus unmasked activity (sharing a meal, recreational activities, gatherings, etc.) is required to sequester for 14 days within their residential unit upon returning to campus. Sequestration requires the individual to wear a mask and physically distance within the residential unit (with the exception of their personal bedroom and the shower) as well as complete the daily screener and undergo additional COVID-19 testing on days 1, 5 and 10 after returning to campus.

Travel Advice for Campus Community Members

COVID-19 cases are still surging in many parts of the country. If travel is undertaken this year, keeping ourselves, our loved ones and our community safe will require particular attention.

Before you go

As you anticipate your travel, it is important to plan carefully to minimize the risk to yourself and to others. It is particularly important to shield those who are at increased risk from coronavirus infection.

  • Two weeks before traveling, be diligent about wearing a mask, physically distancing and avoiding indoor settings where people who are not members of your family are likely to be present without masks (such as restaurants, bars and gyms).
  • As travel approaches, continue to monitor yourself for symptoms with the UC San Diego symptom and exposure screener and postpone your trip if you are ill.
  • Take part in a no-cost asymptomatic COVID-19 test through UC San Diego Health prior to your trip or family visit.* 
  • Do not travel if you are experiencing COVID-related symptoms, have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 14 days, or have had close contact with a person with COVID-19 within the past 14 days. More about when to delay your travel.
*If you are tested before travel, it is important to note that a negative test does not guarantee freedom from infection. Virus will not be detectable during the viral incubation period (up to 14 days) and a negative test should not be taken as assurance that viral shedding or symptomatic infection will not follow several hours or days later. 

While traveling

If you will be traveling, consider these safety measures:

  • Obtain sufficient supplies of masks and hand sanitizer for your journey.
  • Use modes of travel that are the least likely to place you in close proximity to large numbers of people in enclosed places. When possible, consider planning travel when public conveyances are least likely to be crowded.
  • If you travel by air, try to arrange nonstop flights to minimize exposure in terminals and to new people on each leg of your travel.
  • Be diligent in the use of masks throughout the journey unless you are inside a car with only your immediate family.
  • To the greatest extent possible, avoid removing your mask to eat or drink while on a plane, train or bus. If you must eat or drink, distance yourself from others before removing your mask to eat or drink.
Learn more about how to stay safe while traveling via public transportation.

During your visit

Reduce your risk as much as possible while visiting with others. Remember that transmission potential increases with proximity and length of exposure.

  • Indoor gatherings, especially those with poor ventilation (for example, small enclosed spaces with no outside air), pose more risk than outdoor gatherings. Exposure potential can increase when people remove masks to eat, drink, talk and sing indoors.
  • Consider the duration of the gathering. Gatherings that last longer pose more risk than shorter ones.
  • Larger numbers of people and the level of crowding increase exposure risk. The size of a gathering should be determined based on the ability of attendees from different households to stay 6 feet (2 arm lengths) apart*, wear masks, wash hands, and follow safety guidelines.
  • Practice safe behaviors at the gathering, such as mask wearing, physical distancing, and handwashing.

*Although “6 feet” has become synonymous with “physical distancing,” we now know that this virus can be spread by aerosols that can easily travel further than 6 feet.

Upon your return

Recent travel will place you at an increased risk for SARS CoV-2 infection. This risk will carry over for at least 14 days after you return.

  • Pay attention to any COVID-19 symptoms that arise upon return and get tested if symptoms develop. At least 50% of cases are without symptoms and, even in those who do develop symptoms, infectivity is greatest just prior to the onset of symptoms.
  • It is extremely important to assiduously adhere to masking and distancing following your return. Pay particular attention to avoiding exposure of those who are at significantly increased risk should they become infected.

Additional information about travel can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Domestic Travel

Travel Advisory

The California State Department of Health has issued a travel advisory. Californians are encouraged to stay home or in their region and avoid non-essential travel to other states or countries. Avoiding travel can reduce the risk of virus transmission and bringing the virus back to California.

Persons arriving in California from other states or countries, including returning California residents, should practice self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival. These persons should limit their interactions to their immediate household. This recommendation does not apply to individuals who cross state or country borders for essential travel.

Cases of COVID-19 have been reported in all states, and some areas are experiencing community spread of the disease.

CDC considerations for travelers:

Depending on your unique circumstances, you may choose to delay or cancel your plans. If you do decide to travel, be sure to take steps to help prevent getting and spreading COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases during travel. For the most up-to-date COVID-19 travel information, visit CDC COVID-19 Travel page.

International Travel

The Department of State advises all U.S. citizens to read the country-specific Travel Advisories and U.S. Embassy COVID pages for updates on the impact of COVID-19 worldwide.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect countries differently. Challenges to any international travel at this time may include mandatory quarantines, travel restrictions, and closed borders. Foreign governments may implement restrictions with little notice, even in destinations that were previously low risk. If you choose to travel internationally, your trip may be severely disrupted, and it may be difficult to arrange travel back to the United States.

If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite timeframe. U.S. residents may have difficulty returning to the United States. All international travelers should stay home for 14 days after returning from travel, monitor their health, and practice social distancing.

If you do need to travel on university business, be sure to use Concur. If you do not use Concur, be sure to register your trip with UC Away.

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