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COVID-19 Essential Travel Guidance

Key Components


Effective 5/13/2021, Drexel University will move into Phase 3: LIMITED TRAVEL for University-related travel. All Drexel travelers participating in university-related travel are required to be fully vaccinated (see “Am I Fully Vaccinated?" section) for COVID-19. Travel by non-vaccinated travelers with a University-approved medical or religious exemption may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The University Travel Task Force (UTTF) was commissioned by the Return Oversight Committee in August 2020 to develop guidelines for the resumption of university-related travel and a process for review and approval of travel deemed essential to the operations of the University. These guidelines apply to travel for Drexel University, the Academy of Natural Sciences, Drexel University Online and API.

Guiding Principles for the University Travel Task Force

  • Recommendations will be informed by public health protocols, including recommendations from the Department of State and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • The University Travel Task Force (UTTF) will solicit information and feedback from stakeholders across the University to develop recommendations. 
  • UTTF recommendations will prioritize the safety of Drexel travelers while ensuring the continuation of essential University business functions. 
  • UTFF will communicate recommendations and information to the University community.
  • UTTF will work within University recommendations & parameters.

What Constitutes "Essential Travel"

The University remains in a limited phase of travel; however, we recognize that there may be situations in which University-related travel is necessary and cannot be postponed, and as such may be deemed as "essential travel."

ESSENTIAL TRAVEL CATEGORIES

Academic: student travel that is for an academic purpose that is necessary and cannot be postponed or handled remotely (i.e., for graduation, academic progress, research experience, etc.).

Research: travel required for a professional purpose that is necessary and cannot be postponed or handled remotely. Examples include travel that:

  • Is necessary to preserve the safety/well-being of research subjects and/or participants;
  • Preserves the continuity of research that cannot be repeated, replaced or performed remotely; and/or
  • Advances critical research in the national or global interest.

University Business: travel that is critical to the core educational and business functions of the University presently or for the continuation of those core functions in the future.

Am I Fully Vaccinated?

The CDC provides guidelines for determining when individuals are fully vaccinated with an FDA-approved vaccine. Drexel is utilizing these CDC guidelines to implement its Phase 3 travel. For more information, please review the CDC guidance.

Can you answer 'yes' to one of the statements below?

  • It has been two weeks or more since my second dose in a two-dose series, the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
  • It has been two weeks or more since my single-dose vaccine, the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

If you have obtained a COVID-19 vaccine in another country, please review the Drexel Vaccine Requirements for more information on Drexel’s acceptance of a non-U.S.-authorized COVID vaccine.

If you cannot answer affirmatively to one of the above statements, you are NOT considered fully vaccinated and should contact covid19travel@drexel.edu to determine which essential travel approval process is applicable to you.

AS OF 5/13/2021, UNIVERSITY-RELATED TRAVEL IS IN PHASE 3.

The resumption of University-related travel is occurring in four phases, outlined below.

Drexel Phases of Travel

University Phases of Travel: Text Version

Travel Category Phase 1: Travel Prohibited  Phase 2: Restricted Travel  Phase 3: Limited Travel  Phase 4: Travel Resumed 
Department of State Travel Advisory Level 4 Level 3 Level 3 or 2 Level 2 or 1 
CDC COVID-19 Travel Health Notice CDC Level 4 CDC Level 3 CDC Level 2 CDC Level 1
Faculty, Staff and PostDocs Not allowed* Not allowed*
Permitted, with necessary approvals Permitted
Graduate Students Not allowed*
Not allowed*
Permitted, with necessary approvals
Permitted
Undergraduate Students Not allowed*
Not allowed*
Permitted, with necessary approvals and guidance
Permitted (if destination is not classified as high risk)
Travel must be registered in University System N/A Required for any exceptions Required Required
Travel booked through World Travel N/A
Required for any exceptions Required Required
Waiver or Assumption of Risk Document Signed N/A
Required for any exceptions Required as appropriate Standard terms & conditions of participation apply
*As of 11/24/2020, this chart has been updated to reflect updates in the CDC advisory level ratings.

How to Seek Approval for Essential Travel

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect locations differently, and travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. All University-related travel must be deemed essential and receive approval by the appropriate entities. The process to seek approval for essential travel depends upon one’s vaccination status, destination(s), duration of travel and travel type as outlined below. Personal travel does not fall under these restrictions, but the University encourages all individuals engaging in travel to be fully vaccinated (see “Am I Fully Vaccinated?” section) prior to their departure.

Travel Type by Vaccination Status Review Process Supports Provided 
Pre-travel Attestation Required  Assumption of Risk Document
Registration Required in GRAND
Fully Vaccinated Local-Domestic – No Overnight  Supervisor approval Guidance Yes No No
Fully Vaccinated Local-Domestic – Overnight
Supervisor approval Guidance Yes No Yes
Fully Vaccinated International Travel ETRC review Guidance doc and customized pre-departure orientations
Yes Yes Yes
*All Non-Vaccinated Travelers ETRC review
Guidance doc and customized pre-departure orientations
Yes Yes
Yes
*Non-Vaccinated Travelers may be required to secure additional approvals. Please contact covid19travel@drexel.edu well in advance of your proposed departure date.

 

Approval Process for Fully Vaccinated Individuals

In order to be considered a fully vaccinated traveler, the vaccine obtained must be an FDA-approved vaccine and one must be two weeks or more after a second dose in a two-dose series, the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks or more after a single-dose vaccine, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

If you have obtained a COVID-19 vaccine in another country, please review the Drexel Vaccine Requirements for more information on Drexel’s acceptance of a non-U.S.-authorized COVID vaccine.

If you will not meet the CDC standard prior to your departure, you are NOT considered to be fully vaccinated and should contact covid19travel@drexel.edu to determine which essential travel approval process is applicable to you.

Overview of Vaccinated Traveler Process

Local Travel/No Overnight Stay Domestic Travel Overnight Stay  International Travel 
Pre-travel Attestation
Supervisor approval
No GRAND registration
Pre-travel Attestation
Supervisor approval
GRAND registration required
Pre-travel Attestation
ETRC Approval
GRAND registration required
Risk Acknowledgement 

FOR FACULTY, PROFESSIONAL STAFF AND GRADUATE STUDENTS WITH ESSENTIAL TRAVEL

No Overnight: Local/Domestic

For essential local or domestic travel that does not require an overnight stay:

  1. Seek approval for essential travel from your dean or school designee (for academic units) or senior vice president/provost or designee supervisor (for administrative units).
  2. Complete the Pre-travel Attestation.
  3. Review the Local/Regional Travel Guidance – Vaccinated [PDF] and ensure you are adhering to the University's travel guidelines and policies.

Overnight: Local/Domestic

  1. Seek approval for Essential Travel from your dean or school designee (for academic units) or senior vice president/provost or designee (for administrative units).
  2. Complete the Pre-travel Attestation.
  3. Register your travel in the GRAND system.
  4. Review the Domestic Overnight Travel Guidance – Vaccinated [PDF] and ensure you are adhering to the University's travel guidelines and policies.

International

International travel continues to pose additional risks, even for vaccinated travelers, and therefore is subject to a more involved review process. Please review the steps to complete the essential international travel process below.

  1. Complete the Exception for Travel Request form [PDF]
  2. Seek Essential Travel approval from your dean or school designee (for academic units) or from the senior vice president/vice provost or designee (for administrative units).
  3. Complete the Pre-travel Attestation.
  4. Submit completed request with dean/SVP sign-off to covid19travel@drexel.edu.
  5. Review the appropriate guidance for your proposed travel: International Travel Guidance – Vaccinated [PDF]
  6. If travel is approved, complete all pre-departure requirements, which generally includes:

Typically, completed requests will be processed within 7-10 days of receipt. Some additional information may be requested from the traveler as part of the review process.

 

FOR STUDENTS

Individual Student and Student Group Travel

Travel will be approved by the Supervisor or the Supervising Unit, for example Student Life, Athletics, etc. and may require the completion of the ETRC approval process.

Co-op Students and Clinical Placements

Domestic travel will be reviewed by supervisors at the time of placement and does not need to go through the Essential Travel review process. International placements, with the exception of international students completing a placement in their home country, are required to complete the process outlined under International Travel and must have support of the Supervising Unit.

 

Please check Drexel University's Response to Coronavirus webpage for University guidelines and updates regarding COVID-19.

Visit this page for additional information regarding the Office of Global Engagement.

Important Links & Documents

Documents

Links

Frequently Asked Questions

How far in advance should I propose my travel?

It is recommended that you begin the review process as soon as you are aware of a need to travel, but given the evolving nature of the COVID19 pandemic, the Essential Travel Review Committee will aim to review travel at 8 weeks or less before travel. Some travel may also be approved conditionally subject to a review of the case counts in the travel destination closer to the time of departure.

How long does it take to complete the full Essential Travel Review process?

The Essential Travel Review Committee aims to complete thorough reviews as quickly as possible. Generally, requests will be processed within 7-10 days of receipt of a fully complete request. All requests must be approved as essential by the appropriate Dean/SVP prior to submission. Some additional information may be requested from the traveler as part of the review process.

What does it mean to be “fully vaccinated”?

Per the CDC, “People are considered to be fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine”. For more information, visit the CDC website.

What if I received a COVID vaccine in another country?

There are numerous vaccines that are available in other countries but are not currently authorized or recommended by the United States FDA. A list of FDA-authorized vaccines can be found here: Different COVID-19 Vaccines. If you have obtained a COVID-19 vaccine in another country, please review the Drexel Vaccine Requirements for more information on Drexel’s acceptance of a non-U.S.-authorized COVID vaccine.

I have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Do I still need to make a request for Essential Travel?

If you are engaging in domestic travel and you meet the CDC standard for being “fully vaccinated,” you are not required to seek approval via the Essential Travel Review Committee. You should seek approval for your travel from your supervisor.

If you are travelling internationally, even if you meet the CDC standard for being “fully vaccinated,” you are required to seek approval via the Essential Travel Request Committee. Please review the "Approval Process for Fully Vaccinated Individuals" section on this webpage for more information.

What if I have a qualifying medical/religious exemption for the vaccine?

If you have confirmed your University-approved qualifying medical/religious exemption with Human Resources for faculty and staff or with Student Health for students, you will need to complete the Pre-travel Attestation to receive your next steps for review of travel. If you need more information about obtaining a medical/religious exemption, please email covid19travel@drexel.edu.

Should I be concerned about new variants of the COVID-19 virus?

Yes. Viruses change constantly over time through mutations, and variants or strains that have an ecological advantage will ultimately predominate in populations. A number of new variants have emerged that appear to be more contagious. The current vaccines may not be fully protective against some of these new variants.

While these strains were first recognized in specific locations (e.g., United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, and California), they are now circulating all over the globe and new variants continue to evolve. To protect yourself during travel, be sure to wear an effective mask whenever you are with people outside your immediate household and observe all physical distancing recommendations. For more information about variants, see: cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/transmission/variant.html.

What is the Essential Travel Review Committee?

The Essential Travel Review Committee (ETRC) was developed by the University Travel Task Force under the oversight of the Return Oversight Committee (ROC) to review each Essential Travel Request for health and safety considerations. After a request has been reviewed, the ETRC will provide a recommendation to the Provost or EVP, whichever is appropriate. The ETRC has representation from the Offices of Research and Innovation, Global Engagement, Risk Management, General Counsel and the Dornsife School of Public Health. Additional representation and expertise may be included in the review process according to the specific nature of the proposed travel.

If my travel is related to specific research travel, must I complete the return to research process?

Yes. The return to research approval must be received from ORI prior to submitting an Essential Travel Request to the Essential Travel Review Committee. For more information, please check the Return to Research Guidance.

When will restrictions be removed?

The easing of restrictions will be informed by informed by public health protocols, including recommendations from the PA Department of Health, the US Department of State and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Does the Essential Travel Review Committee approve funding for travel?

The ETRC does not provide approval for travel funding. Its purpose is to review the travel for health and safety considerations. Decisions about funding of travel should be made by the department/unit/college prior to the review of travel.

Who gives the final approval for Drexel business-related travel?

For fully vaccinated individuals engaging in Local/Domestic non-overnight and overnight travel, one’s Dean or school designee (for academic units) or senior vice president/provost or designee (for administrative units) provides final approval. For fully vaccinated individuals engaging in international travel, with input from the ETRC, final approvals for faculty and students come from the Provost. For postdoctoral fellows and employees, the Executive Vice President provides the final approval.

Do I have to get approval for personal travel?

The review process for travel only applies to University-related travel and not for personal travel, though the University is encouraging caution with personal travel at this time, especially for international travel. It is recommended that you are fully vaccinated prior to any travel. If you engage in personal travel, please follow all guidance provided by the PA Department of Health, the US Department of State and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Does the Essential Travel policy apply to visitors coming to Drexel?

No, the Essential Travel policy applies to outgoing travel for Drexel students, faculty and staff. If you are hosting visitors to the University, please follow the Visitor Guidance from the University Coronavirus website.

Do I have to complete a Pre-travel Attestation each time I travel?

Travelers engaging in the same type of travel will need to complete the Pre-travel Attestation only once. If a traveler has questions regarding the Pre-travel Attestation, they may contact covid19travel@drexel.edu.