Pitt's Healthcare Advisory Group has for University-related travel, personal travel and commuting.
Across operational postures, University-related travel should be kept to a minimum. If a University member is traveling when the University moves to an Elevated or High Risk Posture, the individual should contact either the University’s Travel Office (for domestic travel) or Pitt Global (for international travel) who may consult with the EOC for guidance on whether returning to their home campus is necessary and safe to do so.
- High Risk Posture: International, domestic or campus-to-campus travel are not permitted. Exceptions may be granted by the overseeing member of the Senior Leadership Team if the travel is necessary to fulfill a primary job function and provide crucial support to the University.
- Elevated Risk Posture: International, domestic or campus-to-campus travel is restricted to that necessary to fulfill a primary job function and approved by the overseeing member of the Senior Leadership Team or their designee.
- Guarded Risk Posture: University-related travel is permitted if approved by an individual’s unit, following the process outlined in the unit’s Activity Area Plan.
Commuting and Personal Travel
While there are no restrictions on commuting or personal travel in any operational posture, University members are strongly encouraged to keep both activities to the absolute minimum. Additionally, all forms of transportation are permitted, but each come with their own risks. University members are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the risks of each type of travel and take precautions as they are able.
Quarantine after Travel
Regardless of the University’s operational posture, if a University member travels outside of the local region and adjacent counties, or engages in higher-risk activities like visiting crowded places where maintaining physical distancing is difficult or attending large social gatherings, quarantine for up to 14 days prior to returning to on-campus work is strongly recommended in order to monitor their health for COVID-like symptoms.
Individuals should also follow all current guidance from public health authorities including the CDC, Pennsylvania Department of Health, and their local county health department. Additionally, anyone who experience COVID-like symptoms should refer to guidance for symptomatic individuals.
Inbound International Travel
Based on the Meetings, Conferences, Events and Guests Standards and Guidelines, the Office of the Provost has lifted the suspension of the J-1 program at Pitt. As outlined in that document:
Academic Visitors are governed by the standard processes usually in place for these individuals, rather than the protocols relating to campus guests outlined in Section V. Information about categories of Academic Visitors, and requirements related to their time on campus, is available here. For the duration of the pandemic, or until the University declares a return to normal operating procedures, Category 1 Visitors are generally not permitted at the University, while Category 2 and 3 Visitors are permitted subject to the completion of all items normally required for such a visit as provided at the Academic Visitors website, as well as the Visitor’s adherence to all University standards and guidelines.
All units and academic departments wishing to sponsor an academic visitor should follow these and other COVID-19 Standards and Guidelines and work with the Office of International Services (OIS) for the appropriate visa paperwork.
In addition to Pitt policies, there are several federal travel bans that currently affect certain visa holders:
With a few specific exceptions, foreign nationals who have been in any of the following countries during the past 14 days may not enter the United States: Brazil, China, Iran, European Schengen area (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City), Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom. These countries are current as of September 1, 2020, but are subject to change. For a current list of countries affected, see the CDC website. Please note that F-1 students have been offered a blanket waiver if they are traveling from any European nation. However, J-1 and other visa holders will need to obtain a waiver prior to traveling. Also note that this ban may affect even those who have been in these countries in transit. Therefore, when traveling to the U.S., you are advised to check your flight schedule and avoid this region if at all possible.
On June 22, 2020, the White House issued a proclamation suspending travel to the US by individuals who will seek entry to the United States using certain “non-immigrant visas.” The Proclamation is currently in affect until December 31, 2020 and may be extended after that date. The proclamation suspends entry for all NEW H-1B visas, L-1 visas, and for J-1 visas in the categories of intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program. The OIS website has additional information on this proclamation.
On May 29, 2020, President Trump issued a proclamation refusing entry into the United States of certain Chinese citizens. The ban affects individuals in the F or J category for graduate study or to perform research who have been affiliated with an institution that the U.S. believes implements or supports the PRC’s military-civil fusion strategy. The OIS website has additional information about this proclamation.
Given the uncertainty of the situation, students, faculty, or staff who are unsure of their status should not hesitate to contact Pitt's OIS. As always, OIS will be working to support our international community members, promote educational and research excellence, and continuously advocate for a humane and fair immigration system in the United States.
General Travel Best Practices
For all travel, regardless of the type of transportation, following these general guidelines will help mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infection during the course of the trip:
- Practice hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette as provided in University guidance for face coverings, personal protective equipment, and personal hygiene.
- Before traveling, wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol for at least 30 seconds; keep the hand sanitizer within easy reach.
- Use hand hygiene frequently during trip if stops are made for food, gas, etc.
- Upon reaching final destination, wash or sanitize hands again.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use the inside of the elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash and wash/sanitize hands immediately.
- Practice physical distancing—during travel, try to keep at least six (6) feet from people who are not part of your household.
- Wear cloth face coverings, especially when physical distancing is difficult.
- Have adequate supplies: before traveling, pack sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Bring cloth face covering to wear at times when physical distancing is difficult (e.g., while riding on a train or bus, waiting at a rest stop, or riding in a car with people outside of the same household).
- Consider preparing food and water for the trip. Pick up food at drive-throughs or curbside restaurant service. Pack non-perishable food in case restaurants and stores are closed.
- Before traveling, consult CDC for additional travel considerations.
See more specific recommendations for Travel-to-Campus Tips.