Coronavirus FAQs for International Travelers
For more information about University travel, click here to visit the COVID-19 Essential Travel Guidance page.
1. How is Drexel monitoring the coronavirus outbreak?
A team of University officials including members of the University Travel Risk Review committee and Drexel's Senior Director for International Health, Safety and Security is actively monitoring the outbreak of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, worldwide and in particular locations where members of the Drexel community frequently travel. This team uses several sources including the Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Department of State, On Call International, a network of safety and security specialists and open source news to assess the spread of the coronavirus and its potential impact on Drexel travelers. Emergency updates are regularly posted indicating areas of concern being monitored by the University.
2. What changes has Drexel made to its international programming in light of the coronavirus?
Due to the continuing growth in cases of COVID-19 worldwide and concerns about the viability of international travel and its impact on public health, Drexel has cancelled winter term international travel. This includes international co-op placements, all study abroad programs for the spring term, all student organization international travel and faculty and staff international travel. Faculty and staff international travel is also cancelled until further notice.
3. With the international travel ban in place at Drexel, is international co-op being allowed?
The only students that will be permitted to do international co-op will be students that are returning to their home country to complete their co-op through a special approval process. Any international student that is interested in completing a co-op in their home country should reach out to their co-op advisor for more information on the required steps to complete an international co-op for the upcoming cycle.
4. I am an international student. Am I allowed to go home even though Drexel has an international travel ban in place?
Drexel understands and supports international students that make the decision to return home at this time. Students should check in with their academic advisor and International Students and Scholars Services prior to departure if possible. Drexel sincerely hopes that this global pandemic will be contained in the coming months and travel restrictions removed, but we must acknowledge that the situation remains uncertain. There is a possibility that international students may face challenges in returning to Philadelphia due to travel restrictions. Drexel has already had discussions about how we would address this challenge should it present itself in September, and we will continue to communicate with all members of our international student community as information becomes available. For more information, visit the Drexel Response to Coronavirus website.
5. Who will Drexel contact with updates?
Drexel will directly contact students, faculty and staff with information and updates about their specific destinations as appropriate, provided that we are aware of the travel. This is why it is important to register all University-related travel.
Emergency updates are also posted on the OGE website.
6. How do I know if a place where I traveled has a high infection rate for Coronavirus?
The Centers for Disease Control provides advisory levels for countries about current health issues that impact travelers' health. Any country with a current Level 3 Advisory, Avoid Nonessential Travel is considered high risk and returned travelers should self-isolate and practice social distancing upon their return.
7. What should I do if I recently returned from a location with a high infection rate for the Coronavirus?
In an effort to contain the growth of Coronavirus, the US Centers for Disease Control and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health are recommending proactive measures for all returnees from abroad and affected areas in the United States. Here is guidance to follow from Drexel Student Health:
What should I do upon arriving to the United States?
If you do not have any respiratory symptoms or fever, we recommend practicing social distancing and self-monitoring of your health
Social distancing means remaining out of:
- Public places where close contact with others may occur (such as shopping centers, movie theaters, stadiums).
- Workplaces (unless the person works in an office space that allows distancing from others).
- Schools and other classroom settings.
- Local public transportation (such as on a bus, subway, taxi, ride share, plane, ship).
These restrictions are to be in effect for 14 full days from the time you were potentially exposed (ie- from the time you entered the US).
If you feel sick with a fever, cough or have difficulty breathing witin 14 days after you left, you should:
- Seek medical advice - Call ahead before you go to a doctor's office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
- Avoid contact with others.
- Not travel on public transportation while sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue on your sleeve (not your hands) while coughing or sneezing.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus to others.
- Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
- If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%-95% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
8. How does Drexel make decisions about student, faculty and staff travel abroad?
The safety and security of our travelers is always a priority in decision-making. Drexel utilizes guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the US Department of State and analysts from our security provider in determining restrictions for travel locations abroad. We also take into consideration local conditions, input from overseas partners and peer institutions and guidance from local, state and federal offices.
For students, the University Policy on International Student Travel uses the following measures to classify a location as "High Risk Travel" which warrants further review:
- any locations which currently have a Reconsider Travel (Level 3) or Do Not Travel (Level 4) Advisory rating from the US Department of State (on a scale of 1-4)
- any countries or regions with a rating of a 4 or 5 (on a scale of 1-5) by the University's travel security provider.
- locations that pose a specific health, safety or security concern as indicated by sources other than the U.S. Department of State such as the CDC, individual United States embassies or consulates, the World Health Organization, insurers, third party travel security providers or at the discretion of the Director of International Health, Safety and Security.
In exceptional situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic, Drexel may also restrict the travel of faculty and staff.
9. What happens if Drexel decides to suspend a location abroad for international activities for students?
If Drexel makes the decision to suspend international activities in a location, the Office of Global Engagement will provide assistance to travelers managing their departures and will work with students to complete academic requirements for the program. This may include online coursework, independent studies or other options as proposed by the partner institution abroad.
10. If a student elects to leave a Drexel-affiliated program that has not been suspended by the University, how might that affect a student's academic credit for the program?
Drexel understands that everyone has a different tolerance for risk. If a student decides to discontinue a program due to personal concerns about their safety, the Office of Global Engagement will assist the student with departure and will work with the appropriate units to help the student to complete academic requirements for the term if that is possible.
11. Is study abroad cancelled?
Currently, all outgoing university-affiliated international travel, including Education Abroad programming are cancelled. The Office of Global Engagement will be in touch with all applicants for Fall programming to address student questions and concerns. For now Winter term Education Abroad is proceeding as planned.
12. My study abroad program has been cancelled, can I transfer my acceptance to another term? What about refunds?
While acceptance is not automatically transferable, the Office of Global Engagement will be in touch with students regarding future study abroad options including the possibility of transferring some or all of their application. Refunds in accordance with the OGE Refund Policy for Drexel-sponsored study abroad programs will be processed as appropriate.
If you are a student interested in studying abroad, please visit the Education Abroad and Covid-19 page.