COVID-19 Update/Travel Guidance

April 14, 2020

Dear campus community,

We are writing with updated guidance and direction about university-related travel (see below) and strongly urge people to cancel any non-essential travel. Given orders from local, state and federal governments, people should exercise extreme caution in planning travel and making travel arrangements.

The expanding outbreak of COVID-19 and the current Statewide shelter in place order is prompting more aggressive actions in response to this growing public health challenge. In order to mitigate community transmission of COVID-19, UC Berkeley is expanding our travel restrictions to include the following effective immediately:

  • As of 3/19, the U.S State Department has issued a Global Level 4 - Do Not Travel Advisory which instructs “In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.” https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/covid-19-information.html.
  • All University-related non-essential international and domestic travel is prohibited.
  • You may be subject to a government public health order where you live that prohibits you from leaving your home for the purpose of leisure travel or business travel that the University has not specifically told you is essential.
  • Travelers returning from areas where community transmission of COVID-19 is documented to be occurring must not come to campus and must stay at home and self-isolate for at least 14 days from the time they left the impacted area using guidance from University Health Services.

Self-isolation means:

  • Remain at your residence
  • Do not attend class, work, and other group gatherings such as:
    • social events
    • meetings
    • rehearsals
    • team practices, etc.

If this presents logistical challenges, please discuss with your supervisor.

Business Travelers Needing Emergency Assistance

  • UC travelers responding to the State Department advisory to return to the U.S., should contact their airline carriers directly to arrange a flight for immediate departure.
  • UC Travelers who registered with the Travel Insurance program and are unable to change their flight directly with the carrier, or who need financial assistance with the change fare fee, should contact United Healthcare Global (UHCG) directly at the 24 hour hotlines below:

Expense Reimbursement

  • Connexxus - All tickets purchased through the Connexxus portal will be issued a refund or ticket credit for use at a later time. For more information see: Reimbursement for travel impacted as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • International travel - Travelers who registered for the UC Travel Insurance and have out of pocket expenses for business trip cancellation or interruption can submit a claim form directly with the travel insurance carrier for reimbursement.
  • Domestic Travel - business trips canceled or interrupted as a result of COVID-19 are not covered by the UC Travel Insurance business interruption coverage. If your domestic trip is canceled, and you purchased your flight outside of the Connexxus portal, you should contact the airline carrier and request a refund or voucher for a later flight.

International Postdocs, Visiting Scholars, Visiting Student Researchers, and Other Official Campus Visitors

As of now and based on Department of State guidance, the Berkeley International Office will not be issuing visa documents for any visiting researchers with a start date through May 16th. Departments can continue to submit requests for appointments beyond this date with a minimum 60 window to allow for processing of visa documents and the visa application process. For more details you can go to: internationaloffice.berkeley.edu/home

Personal travel

We strongly discourage personal international travel at this time. Government restrictions and public health measures are changing fast. If you travel abroad for personal reasons, those changes may make it hard for you to achieve the goals of your trip and return to the U.S. (or your next intended destination) to resume your academic and professional activities.

You should weigh the current situation and risks of potential exposure, travel restrictions, and isolation/quarantine measures against your personal goals for the trip.

We suggest your decision include the following:

  • Your health and safety, and that of others in your community
  • Your ability to attain the goals for the trip
  • Your ability to get around in country resulting from significant transportation disruptions or government travel restrictions
  • Your ability to maintain a supply of food, water, and basic necessities if businesses close
  • Your access to basic medical care and any prescription medications you rely on
  • Your ability to return to the U.S. (or your next intended destination) and resume your activities as a result of government travel restrictions or isolation measures imposed during your trip

https://news.berkeley.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/travelguidance.pdf