Travel Guidance

Updated March 20, 2020

We must support every action that helps to “flatten the curve” of new COVID-19 cases. To limit the spread of the virus from city to city and reduce the chances that UCSF travelers will be unable to return:

  • UCSF is restricting all non-essential university-sponsored travel – both domestic and international – and strongly recommends against all non-essential personal travel.
  • Avoid all international travel, in accordance with the “Level 4: Do Not Travel” advisory issued March 19, 2020 by the U.S. Department of State.
    • Members of the UCSF community who are currently abroad should arrange for their immediate return to the U.S. or prepare to remain abroad for an indefinite period.
    • For UC business travelers (students, faculty and staff) who require travel assistance, the United Health Care Global Assistance hotline is available to help:
      1-800-527-0218 (US and Canada)
      1-410-453-6330 (Call Collect from outside the USA)
      email: [email protected]
  • All non-essential domestic travel is also strongly discouraged, in accordance with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • On March 16, 2020, the United Kingdom and Ireland was added to the 30-day ban on travel from Europe that went into effect on March 13, 2020. The ban does not apply to U.S. citizens and permanent residents and their families.
  • Please review UCSF’s guidance on international and domestic travel below, before you travel or make travel plans.

The following guidance is effective through April 15, 2020, and will be updated as conditions change:

 


International and Domestic Travel Guidance

International Travel – UCSF-Sponsored

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.

International Travel – Personal

We strongly recommend against personal travel out of the country.

  • We strongly recommend avoiding all non-essential international travel as part of a broader effort to limit the transmission of COVID-19 from place to place.
  • If you do undertake such travel, be aware that changing circumstances may require self-isolation for 14 days upon your return.
  • In addition, changing air or governmental restrictions that are beyond UCSF’s control may affect your ability to return.

Domestic Travel – UCSF-Sponsored

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

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

Domestic Travel – Personal

We strongly recommend against personal domestic travel.

  • We strongly recommend avoiding all non-essential domestic travel as part of a broader effort to limit the transmission of COVID-19 from place to place.
  • If you do undertake such travel, be aware that changing circumstances may require self-isolation for 14 days upon your return.
  • In addition, changing air or governmental restrictions that are beyond UCSF’s control may affect your ability to return.

Approval Process for Essential Travel

Anyone planning to travel internationally for university-sponsored purposes must obtain prior approval as follows:

Essential faculty travel is 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 research activity.

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

To request approval for university-sponsored international travel, faculty should contact their Dean in writing. Such travel may only be approved by one of the school Deans. The Deans may consult with the UCSF Emergency Operations Center.

All staff travel is generally defined as non-essential.

To request approval for university-sponsored international travel, staff should contact in writing one of the following offices depending on where they are assigned:

  • Chancellor (for staff in the University Development and Alumni Relations, office of Communications, Community & Government Relations, Diversity and Outreach, Legal Affairs, Science Policy & Strategy, and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer offices); Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost; Deans; UCSF Health CEO; or Senior Vice Chancellor Finance & Administration.
  • Such an exemption may only be approved by one of the University officials listed above. University leadership may consult with the UCSF Emergency Operations Center.

Essential student and trainee (clinical and non-clinical) travel is defined as that which cannot be postponed and is necessary to meet a graduation requirement.

To request approval for university-sponsored international travel, students and trainees should contact in writing the Dean of their respective school or of the Graduate Division.

  • Such essential travel may only be approved by the Dean of the relevant school or the Graduate Division.
  • The Deans may consult with the UCSF Emergency Operations Center.
  • Deans of the schools and the Graduate Division are responsible for ensuring that students and trainees are aware of this requirement
  • Department Chairs and institute/Organized Research Unit directors are responsible for ensuring that their faculties are aware of and adhere to this requirement.

What To Do When Returning to the U.S. from International 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:

  • UCSF travelers who are returning to the United States are urged to work with their airlines to make travel arrangements while flights are still available. 
  • 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).
    • ACS is presently 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.
    • All travelers need to make contact with the local ACS at the Embassy or Consulate nearest to them. Get Embassy and Consulate information abroad.
  • Non-US Citizens from many countries are not being allowed to enter the US. Please check current border restrictions before you attempt to return to the United States.

What to Do When You Return to UCSF

For Faculty, Residents, Fellows and Staff

All members of the UCSF community are encouraged to monitor updates on the CDC's information for travel webpage. Those returning from a CDC Level 2 or 3 Travel Health Notice should do the following:

  1. Contact your supervisor to discuss your return to campus and contact OHS before you come back to campus.
  2. On the first day of arrival back to the United States, complete a symptom self-monitoring questionnaire from UCSF Occupational Health Services (OHS).
  3. Begin to monitor and record daily the symptoms of infectious diseases on the first day of arrival back to the U.S. This includes taking your temperature twice daily.
  4. Send an email to OHS ([email protected]) or voicemail (415) 514-7666 indicating the following:
  5. Your name, contact phone number, date of departure and destination:
    • Confirm that you are asymptomatic
    • Confirm that you have begun self monitoring and
    • Confirm that you are not returning to campus until cleared by OHS.
  6. OHS will follow up within 24 hours and thereafter regularly until you are able to return to campus. You can expect OHS to provide the following:
    • Review your travel destinations, confirming the CDC watch levels
    • Review any symptoms that you may be experiencing
    • Contact the Department of Public Health in your county of residence if you have positive symptoms not requiring emergency treatment
    • Provide direction to stay at home if you have positive symptoms or are undergoing COVID-19 testing
    • Provide a return-to-work clearance letter when the review is completed.
  7. Submit the completed 14 days self-monitoring questionnaire to OHS by email to [email protected]
  8. 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

Students who are returning from countries at CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notice should follow these steps:

  1. Return to campus must be cleared by UCSF Student Health & Counseling Services (SHCS). Please notify your instructor and discuss academic accomodations.
  2. Obtain on the first day of your arrival a symptom self-monitoring questionnaire from SCHS.
  3. Begin to monitor and record daily the symptoms of infectious diseases on the first day of arrival back in the United States. This includes taking your temperature twice daily.
  4. Send a secure message to the Student Health Nurse or contact the Student Health Nurse by calling (415) 476-8736 indicating the following:
    • your name, contact phone number, date of departure and destination
    • confirm that you are asymptomatic
    • confirm that you have begun self monitoring and
    • confirm that you are not returning to campus until cleared by SHCS.
  5. SHCS will follow up within 24 hours and thereafter regularly until you are able to return to campus.
  6. Submit the completed self-monitoring questionnaire via secure message to the Student Health Nurse.
  7. You can expect that SHCS will provide the following:
    • Review your travel destinations, confirming the CDC watch levels
    • Review any symptoms that you may be experiencing
    • Contact the Department of Public Health in your county of residence if you have positive symptoms not requiring emergency treatment
    • Provide direction to stay at home if you have positive symptoms or are undergoing COVID-19 testing
    • Provide a return-to-school clearance letter when the review is completed.

What To Do If You Become Ill During or Following Travel

In the event that a member of the UCSF community has symptoms of respiratory illness, such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing AND a history of travel from a country where there is an ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 listed on the CDC website, please take the following steps because the virus can spread from person to person in these destinations:

  • Seek medical attention immediately as directed as a public health authority, or with a physician or emergency department, as appropriate for the condition. Call ahead whenever possible.
  • Separate the individual from others while arrangements are being made for transport to appropriate medical care.
  • Contact your county health department immediately.

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.)