Travel Guidance

Updated January 21, 2021

As the COVID-19 infection rate increases across the country, UCSF has updated its travel guidance for all U.S. travel outside of the 9 Bay Area counties, and 4 Fresno-area counties, in accordance with new public health orders. This guidance is effective until further notice.

  • UCSF is restricting all non-essential university-sponsored travel – both domestic and international – and strongly recommends against all non-essential personal travel.
  • Avoid domestic travel beyond the Bay Area. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. If you travel outside the 9-county Bay Area and 4-county Fresno area, refer to the guidance before returning to UCSF.
  • Avoid international travel. In recognition of the continuously changing COVID-19 infection rates, limitations in health care resources, and travel restrictions, as well as the risk inherent in public transportation, University-sponsored essential international travel requires an approval process.

See more detailed guidance:

 


 

NOTE: The City and County of San Francisco (CCSF) has imposed a mandatory 10-day quarantine for anyone traveling, moving or returning to San Francisco from anywhere outside the nine-county Bay Area. UCSF has updated its travel policy while the order is in effect. Learn more about the temporary updates »

U.S. Travel Outside the Bay Area or Fresno

The following guidance applies to UCSF community members who live and work within the Bay Area (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma) and travel outside that region, or those who live and work within the Fresno area (Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare) and travel outside that region. If you do undertake U.S. travel outside the Bay Area or Fresno area, be aware that some state and local governments require you to self-quarantine for up to 14 days upon arrival and return. Also consider the associated risks and ways of protecting yourself while traveling as noted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For On-Site Workers

All employees whose responsibilities require them to be on-site – including, but not limited to, frontline care workers; facilities, transportation, custodial, and administrative staff; environment, health and safety; laboratory animal research center; and police and security personnel – should return to work without quarantine after attesting via the Conversa screening tool that they are asymptomatic and are aware that they will be required to complete three COVID-19 tests.

  • The first must be completed on or before Day 1, which is the day you return to on-site work at UCSF.
  • The second must be completed on Day 3 to 4 after your first test.
  • The third must be completed on Day 7 to 9 after your first test.

visualization of COVID testing schedule

On-site workers who are asymptomatic should continue to work while they are waiting for test results.

On-site workers can use the free COVID-19 testing available for employees and learners, with a priority on those who could not avoid travel. Go to the COVID-19 Testing page to access a test. If you have returned from travel and have symptoms, or have been exposed to a confirmed COVID-positive person at home or during travel, please call OHS at 415-514-7328 for further instructions.

If you are unsure whether you are required to be on site, please consult your supervisor. 

See frequently asked questions about this guidance »

For Researchers; and Remote Workers Who Are Periodically On Site

In accordance with state and local public health advisories, UCSF research personnel (e.g. faculty researchers, postdocs, research laboratory technicians and assistants) who work on site, as well as employees who work remotely but sometimes work on site, must follow one of the following two options before resuming any on-site activities after returning from travel. Please be aware that public health authorities may enact quarantine and testing orders in addition to what UCSF requires.

Option A: 7-Day Quarantine with COVID-19 Test

Option B: 14-Day Quarantine

  • Self-quarantine for 14 days after returning from travel and monitor for symptoms.
  • You may return to on-site work at UCSF after 14 days as long as you pass the daily health screening that is required to work on site.

See frequently asked questions about this guidance »

For Students

All students must answer the questions in the testing portal before returning to campus after traveling. See the Student Health and Counseling Services website for more info.  

International Travel

UCSF strongly recommends against personal international travel as part of a broader effort to limit the transmission of COVID-19 from place to place.

In accordance with guidance from the CDC, UCSF requires all faculty, staff, and students who do travel internationally to stay home and monitor their health for 14 days upon your return. See the sections below on Returning to the US and Returning to UCSF. If you do undertake international travel, review travel recommendations by country from the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Department of State prior to departure. Also consider the associated risks and ways of protecting yourself while traveling as noted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Frequent changes to air travel or government restrictions like mandatory quarantines or border closures are beyond UCSF’s control and may affect your ability to return.

 

UCSF-Sponsored Essential Travel

Frequent changes to air travel or government restrictions like mandatory quarantines or border closures are beyond UCSF’s control and may affect your ability to return.

International Travel

We are restricting all non-essential university-sponsored international travel to any country.

  • We realize this may affect some researchers who are under contractual obligation to complete projects within a given timeframe. 
  • Requests for approval of essential university-sponsored international travel to any country must follow the approval process outlined below. If you do undertake personal international travel, review travel recommendations by country from the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Department of State prior to departure. Also be aware that in accordance with guidance from the CDC, UCSF requires you to stay home and monitor your health for 14 days upon your return. If you are a healthcare worker who believes a 14-day quarantine after travel would create an unrealistic staffing burden, call OHS at (415) 514-7328 to discuss plans before you travel and after you return. See the sections below on Returning to the US and Returning to UCSF.

Domestic Travel

We are restricting all non-essential university-sponsored domestic travel.

  • We encourage finding other ways of conducting business, such as videoconferencing.

Approval for Essential Travel

Anyone planning to travel internationally or domestically for university-sponsored purposes must obtain prior approval according to the information in this section.

  • Deans of the Schools and the Graduate Division are responsible for ensuring that students residents, and fellows are aware of this requirement.
  • Department Chairs and Institute/Organized Research Unit directors are responsible for ensuring that their faculties, staff, and postdoctoral scholars are aware of and adhere to this requirement.
  • University leadership may consult with the UCSF Recovery Operations Center (ROC) regarding specific circumstances.

Defining Essential Travel for Faculty and Staff

Defined as travel that is required — and cannot be postponed — in order to preserve the:

  • Safety of a patient or research subject or
  • Results of a research activity.

Essential faculty and staff travel does not include travel to attend educational conferences. Many other activities would also be considered non-essential travel.

  • Faculty and staff approvers: Approval for university-sponsored travel outside the nine Bay Area counties or Fresno area by faculty,  research-project staff (including postdoctoral scholars), and independent contractors may only be provided by the appropriate Dean of the School of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, or Graduate Division, or the Executive Director of the Institute of Global Health Sciences. Research-project staff, including postdoctoral scholars, and independent contractors must have essential approval requests submitted by the UCSF principal investigator or chief administrator of the project.
  • Administrative staff approvers: Approval for university-sponsored travel outside the nine Bay Area counties or Fresno area by administrative staff may only be provided by leadership based on the departments where they are assigned: Chancellor (for staff in the University Development and Alumni Relations, Offices of Communications, Community & Government Relations, Diversity and Outreach, Legal Affairs, Science Policy & Strategy, and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer); Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost; UCSF Health CEO; or Senior Vice Chancellor Finance & Administration.

Defining Essential Travel for Students, Residents, and Fellows

Defined as travel that is required – and cannot be postponed – in order to:

  • Meet a graduation or completion requirement.
  • Student, resident, and fellows’ approvers: Approval for university-sponsored travel outside the nine Bay Area counties or Fresno area by students, residents, and fellows may only be provided by the Dean of their respective school or the Graduate Division.

Obtaining Approval for Essential Travel

  1. The Requester should complete the Pandemic Travel Approval Request Form. ​If you have not heard about your approval within 10 days after your request, please notify Travis Pentz, and include these details: dates of trip, location of trip, your designation (faculty, staff, student, resident, fellow, or postdoc), and to whom the Travel Request was submitted.
  2. After the Requester clicks Finish, the form will automatically be routed through DocuSign to the appropriate Approver based on how the requestor selected their UCSF affiliation as faculty, staff, fellow, resident or student, and jurisdiction within UCSF. Broader approval may be granted for multiple travel events for an individual traveler in one identified country at the discretion of the Approver and within a clearly defined period of time, and according to the laws and regulations of that country.
  3. The Approver receives and reviews the Request. Based on the travel itinerary and justification, the Approver accepts or does not accept the Request, and signs and dates the form. This documentation is automatically sent via DocuSign to the Recovery Operations Center with copy to the Requester and Approver.
  4. ROC reconciles these requests with the UC Insurance Travel registration list in the case of international travel, and
  5. If travel approved, ROC will contact the Requester to share standard links and a person to contact for travel safety information if needed, and will require email confirmation that the Requester has registered for UCSF travel insurance.
  6. If travel not approved, ROC contacts anyone planning travel without approval to verify travel has been cancelled. If Requester wants to appeal the non-approval of travel, the ROC will send an email with the appeal process.

 

What To Do When Returning to the U.S. from Travel

Many country borders are closing and flights are limited. If you face challenges when attempting to return to the U.S., please read the following guidance:

  • Members of the UCSF community who are currently abroad and intent on returning to the United States are urged to work with their airlines to update travel arrangements. 
  • UCSF travelers who are stranded and cannot get a return flight to the U.S. AND who are traveling on UC-related business (e.g., rotations, research, meetings, consultancies, etc.) can contact United Health Care Global Assistance:
    1-800-527-0218 (US and Canada)
    1-410-453-6330 (Call collect from outside the USA)
    Email: [email protected]
  • UCSF travelers on personal travel or vacation who are US citizens, and who cannot obtain a flight back to the US, should contact American Citizen Services (ACS). Lawful permanent residents (LPRs, or "green card holders") are included in emergency evacuations when there is the capability to do so.
    • ACS may be inundated with a high volume of inquiries from travelers currently impacted by the widespread flight cancelations, so please excuse any delay in response.
    • Rest assured that ACS (globally) is monitoring the situation closely and working on solutions for U.S. citizens abroad.
    • For country-specific information, travelers need to contact the local ACS at the Embassy or Consulate nearest to them. Get Embassy and Consulate information abroad.
  • Non-U.S. Citizens from many countries are not being allowed to enter the U.S. Please check current border restrictions before you attempt to return to the United States.
  • Please be aware that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises you to stay home and monitor your health for 14 days after returning from abroad, due to the risk of exposure during transit. See the following section for UCSF-specific requirements on return to work.

 

What to Do When You Return to UCSF

All members of the UCSF community are encouraged to monitor updates on the CDC's information for travel webpage. 

For Faculty, Residents, Fellows and Staff

Domestic Travel

Anyone who travels outside the nine-county Bay Area or four-county Fresno area should refer to the guidance above before returning to work.

Anyone regardless of travel who is symptomatic or is concerned about a high-risk exposure should call OHS at (415) 514-7328 for further evaluation. Examples of high-risk COVID-19 activity:

  • Being in an area that is experiencing high levels of COVID-19. You can check states, counties, and cities to determine if these areas are experiencing high levels of COVID-19.
  • Going to large social or community gatherings  (e.g., a wedding, funeral, party, public demonstration, etc.) where significant numbers of people are not wearing masks.
  • Hearing that people with whom you attended a community or family gathering have come down with COVID-19 or tested positive.
  • Attending a mass gathering like a sporting event, concert, or parade.
  • Being in crowds– for example, in restaurants, bars, shared transportation, airports, bus and train stations, or movie theaters.
  • Traveling on a cruise ship or river boat.

International Travel

Those returning from international travel are required to do the following:

  1. All faculty, residents, fellows, and staff need an OHS clearance letter after international travel to return to campus. Contact your supervisor to discuss your return to work and contact OHS before you come back to campus. International visitors see this guidance.
  2. All UCSF returnees from international travel are required to be interviewed by OHS and will quarantine at home for 14 days from your return date per UCSF campus policy. Working from home, if available and approved by your supervisor, may be available, but you are restricted from any UCSF work site for 14 days. Exceptions to 14-day quarantine may be made for clinical or essential staff without symptoms, particularly in times of limited staff availability, but these exceptions need OHS approval.
  3. For those new to UCSF, COVID testing is required. A 14-day quarantine is also required for those traveling from an international location.
  4. Contact OHS at (415) 514-7328 to be interviewed and, if applicable, to have testing ordered.
  5. Begin to monitor and record daily any COVID symptoms over the 14 days, beginning on the first day of arrival back to the U.S. This includes taking your temperature twice daily:
  6. Contact your supervisor about return to work and bring a copy of the clearance letter to your department/unit when you return to work.

For Students

All students must answer the questions in the testing portal before returning to campus after traveling. See the Student Health and Counseling Services website for more info.  

 

What To Do If You Become Ill During or Following Travel

In the event that a member of the UCSF community becomes ill and suspects COVID-19 due to symptoms of respiratory illness, such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing or other known symptoms of COVID-19, please take the following steps:

  • Stay home or separated, avoiding contact with others.
  • Seek medical attention immediately for significant symptoms, as directed by a public health authority, a physician or emergency department. Call ahead of a medical visit whenever possible.
  • If you become ill while traveling, call the emergency phone number on your travel insurance card (obtained by registering for UCSF travel insurance or by purchasing personal travel insurance).
  • If you become ill after traveling and suspect COVID-19: