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Updates to Global Travel Policy reflect lessons learned from pandemic response

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From: The Global Education Office, part of Outreach & International Affairs

The COVID-19 pandemic brought travel to a halt in 2020. As Virginia Tech resumes activities to support its mission as a global land grant university, updates to the Global Travel Policy were needed. Updates to the policy reflect lessons learned from the university’s pandemic response, including:

  • Inbound non-degree seeking traveler and the sponsoring department’s expectations.
  • Moving process-related content to procedures (requesting an exception to policy).
  • Minor dependents traveling with Virginia Tech faculty-led programs requiring a dedicated adult be present.
  • Authorizing Virginia Tech faculty-led program participation for continuing education units.

In addition to updating the Global Travel Policy, four new procedures are now available:

  • Registering international travel.
  • Requesting an exception to policy for international travel.
  • Changes in U.S. government advisory levels and emergency recall of university-supported travelers.
  • Emergency contact protocols.

The full policy can be found on the Virginia Tech university policies website.

Frequently Asked Questions regarding Policy 1070

Yes, global travel is currently authorized, but with restrictions. Virginia Tech Policy 1070: Global Travel Policy, does not authorize university-supported global travel to any location with a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travel Health Notice Level 3 or higher, or student university-supported travel global travel to any location with a U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory Level 3 or higher. Policy 1070 does allow individuals or groups to request an exception to policy for high risk travel.

Potential travelers seeking an exception to university policy must petition the Global Travel Oversight Committee (GTOC) by presenting an explanation for why travel is necessary and plans to mitigate known risks. Details on petitioning the GTOC for an exception to policy can be found in the Procedure to Request an Exception to Policy – International Travel. With so many travelers impacted specifically by COVID-19, more details on requesting an exception to policy specific to the pandemic can be found on the Global Education Office FAQ page.

University-supported global travel includes any travel that contributes to a faculty/staff’s body of work or professional development, contributes to a student’s academic progress, is sponsored by Virginia Tech, or is completed because of the traveler’s affiliation with the university. Details on what constitutes university-supported global travel can be found in Policy 1070. Virginia Tech does not track personal travel.

Global Travel Policy 1070, which applies to students, employees, and other approved participants, is designed to promote health, safety and security while traveling outside of the United States for university-supported purposes. University-supported purposes include but are not limited to: study, research, internships, service, conferences, presentations, teaching, performances, competitions, field work, recruiting, etc.

To provide support to university-supported international travelers in the event of an emergency, Virginia Tech Policy 1070: Global Travel Policy, requires all university-supported international travelers to register their travel with the Global Education Office (GEO) before their expected departure date and to provide updates as additional information becomes available or changes occur during the trip, including cancellations and travel to additional countries. See here for details on the registration procedure.

Faculty/Staff Travel: Faculty and staff register their global travel by completing a Pre-Approval in Chrome River. This notifies the Controller’s Travel Office, the Office of Export and Secure Research Compliance (OESRC), and the Global Education Office (GEO) of the upcoming travel. Please submit Pre-Approvals for global travel at least two weeks prior to departure. Even if no university funds are being used to support the travel, a $1 Pre-Approval should be submitted in Chrome River for the purposes of registering. If you have a short notice trip, please reach out to VTGlobalSafety@vt.edu for assistance.

Student Travel: Students register their global travel with the Global Education Office (GEO) by creating their My Study Abroad account, then applying or registering in the appropriate category based on their travel purpose. If any university funds are support a student’s travel, they will also need a Pre-Approval submitted in Chrome River by a university employee.

The CDC has recommendations for travelers related to COVID-19 specific to each global location. The CDC’s general guidance for international travelers has specific recommendations for vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals. As the understanding of COVID-19 and the general situation related to the pandemic develops, guidance and recommendations will continue to be updated.

Each country has different restrictions and requirements for entry related to COVID-19, which are updated and changed frequently. The best place for information is the destination country’s U.S. embassy’s website. Virginia Tech strongly recommends confirming current restrictions and requirements with airlines as well, as they may be different from the country’s requirements. In the weeks and days immediately before the planned departure, check again, as restrictions and requirements may have changed.

All travelers entering the U.S., to include citizens/permanent residents and people vaccinated for COVID-19, that are at least two years of age are required to present a negative COVID-19 test, taken within 72 hours of departure, or proof of recovery from the virus from within the last 90 days. Make sure to know testing locations at the destination before leaving home.

International travel is increasingly complex, but there are a number of resources available to help.

Chrome RiverTravel Office, travelvt@vt.edu, (540) 231-0944

Global travel safety – Global Education Office, VTGlobalSafety@vt.edu, (540) 231-2867

Export compliance – Office of Export and Secure Research Compliance, oesrc@vt.edu, (540) 232-8573

Study abroad - Global Education Office, VTAbroad@vt.edu, (540) 231-5888

Scheduling a COVID-19 vaccine – VT Ready - Vaccinations

COVID-19 testing – VT Ready – Testing

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