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OHIO updates travel approval process for employees

Published: July 2, 2021 Author: Staff reports

Ohio University has updated its travel approval process for faculty and staff planning University-affiliated travel while pandemic-related safety remains a concern. 

Because the level of risk for contracting or spreading COVID-19 during or after travel varies based on multiple factors, supervisors should consider whether the individual proposing to travel is vaccinated, the mode of travel, travel activities, the prevalence of COVID-19 in area(s) visited, and the personal precautions taken by the individual. 

Please note that the process below is only for OHIO employees. Separate processes are in place for students.

Since the risk and benefit calculation of work-related travel is unique for every situation, review and approval of work-related domestic travel for OHIO employees will be handled at the supervisor level using the most up-to-date guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). International travel to countries on the CDC’s Risk Assessment Level 4: COVID-19 Very High list still will require approval of the respective unit’s Vice President. 

OHIO’s COVID Operations has prepared a toolkit to help supervisors evaluate common travel scenarios considering CDC guidance, including recommendations about information to gather when considering travel requests.

For units where travel is part of an individual’s job description, supervisors are permitted to collect vaccination status of traveling employees, out of business necessity for the limited purpose of scheduling coverage for those employees who are unvaccinated, as they must quarantine (work from home) for up to 10 days post-travel, according to CDC guidance. Supervisors must store the vaccination status securely. Supervisors who are unsure whether asking about employee vaccination status is allowable in a particular scenario may contact COVIDoperations@ohio.edu for additional guidance.

Prior to work-related travel, employees should download the International SOS Assistance App to their mobile device and create an account using their Ohio University email and the OHIO membership ID: 11BTTA887908. The app can be used to access important destination updates and advisories before and during travel. Travelers additionally should be sure to tie their Concur reservation with a mobile phone number and Ohio University email, which allows the full use of the International SOS emergency alert system. For more information, click here.  

CDC travel guidance differs for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals: 

  • Fully vaccinated individuals may travel safely within the U.S. The CDC requires that all travelers, including fully vaccinated individuals, wear a mask on all forms of indoor public transportation and in indoor areas of conveyances, follow local recommendations and requirements, and self-monitor after travel. If traveling internationally, the destination country and/or the airline may require a negative COVID-19 test; in order to re-enter the U.S., all air passengers (even if vaccinated) must have a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past three months.
  • Unvaccinated individuals should delay travel until fully vaccinated. If they must travel, they should get a viral test beforehand, wear a mask, avoid crowds and socially distance. It is recommended that they get another viral test three to five days after travel as well as quarantine for a full seven days after travel, or if not tested post-travel, quarantine for 10 days. Typically, a COVID-19 test is required for entry into foreign countries, though requirements vary greatly. A negative COVID-19 test is required to re-enter the U.S. Upon return, unvaccinated travelers are advised to follow testing and quarantine guidance similar to domestic travel.

For those making decisions on international travel, follow U.S. Department of State guidance at travel.state.gov as well as traveler resources and COVID-19 country specific information when planning. 

More detailed information about the CDC’s travel guidance is available here.