Travel Updates – February 2021

The University does not currently permit University-sponsored international travel and does not expect to do so at least through August 15, 2021, longer in some circumstances. Reducing and avoiding any need for University-sponsored international travel should continue to be every employee and student’s guide when considering whether to request, authorize, or direct such travel. International travel as described below will continue to be constrained due to the pandemic. The University is monitoring the expansion of vaccinations among other factors, and shares in the anticipation of the day when international travel can resume. Until then, and thereafter, the University continue to adhere to the guidance provided from civil authorities, the CDC, and U.S. Department of State.

General University Travel Abroad – Students and Employees

This section pertains to University sponsored international travel. This includes international travel that uses University funds, including activity fees; for which academic credit is awarded; or which are subject to the University’s insurance coverage. Any one of those criteria means the travel is University Sponsored.

Visiting professors and/or guest speakers entering the United States from an international location for University sponsored business must meet all CDC, Civil Authority, and University regulations prior to coming on campus. The Provost or relevant vice chancellor must approve these visitors in advance. Risk Management is available for consultation if needed.

Current State

Travel to countries with a CDC or U.S. Department of State travel advisory level of 3 or 4 is prohibited. While the CDC and U.S. Department of State are actively evaluating risks and adjusting travel advisories, foreign governments may still implement restrictions with little notice, even in destinations that were previously a low risk. All requests for an exception to travel to countries with a travel advisory less than a level 3 will require approval from the respective University Provost and Risk Management.

Any student, staff or faculty member who travels beyond Maine for University business or activities will be required follow applicable quarantine and other guidelines as required by federal, state or University officials.

Reference

CDC – COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Country
U.S. Department of State – Travel Advisories

Study Abroad Programs

Due to continued concerns regarding COVID-19 throughout the world, current U.S. Department of State and CDC travel advisories, and lack of key infrastructure and resources worldwide due to the pandemic, there will be no outbound spring study abroad programming with a travel start date on or before August 15, 2021.

Any requests for travel exceptions must be submitted to the Provost of the respective campus and to Risk Management for consideration.

International Student Enrollment

Due to continued concerns regarding COVID-19 throughout the world, including Maine, inbound non-degree seeking international exchange programs for summer of 2021 have been postponed.

Each campus will be evaluating the possibility of welcoming inbound non-degree seeking students beyond summer of 2021. As part of this consideration, guidance from the CDC, U.S. Department of State, Maine regulations, and international education professional organizations will be weighed in the decision making process.

Note: This affects only J-1 exchange students, not international degree candidates or J-1 scholars.

(Last reviewed/updated: 04/02/2021)

Domestic Travel Beyond Maine

The University of Maine System continues to prohibit university-sponsored domestic travel beyond the State of Maine. Any exceptions to this must be approved by the provost or relevant vice chancellor in consultation with the emergency operations team for the respective University (or Law School) with which the traveler is affiliated. Risk Management also is available for consultation if needed or desired. Such requests will be reviewed based on current CDC and civil authority guidance.

If an exception is approved, any student, staff or faculty member who travels beyond Maine for University business or activities will be required to meet the requirements of civil authorities and destination authorities wherever they travel and upon their return to Maine. Travelers must also continue to follow the requirements of the University. When there is variation in the requirements, the most rigorous protocol should be followed. The University ask all travelers to aim for not mere technical compliance but rather to meet the full spirit and intention of the requirements and guidance.

Individuals who do travel beyond Maine must continue to follow the guidance of civil authorities for arriving in Maine (External Site). Generally, visitors to or from other states must get a recent negative COVID-19 test or maintain compliance with a 10-day quarantine (External PDF) upon arrival in Maine. As of March 5, 2021, exemptions from travel-related testing or quarantine are available for:

  • Residents of New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island or Massachusetts
  • Individuals that have had COVID-19 in the previous 90 days, or are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Further, effective May 1, the University expects to follow the directives of civil authorities who at that time are scheduled to shift Maine’s COVID-19 travel policy to automatically exempt all states, unless otherwise determined by the Maine CDC. If one or more states see a spike in cases of highly contagious COVID-19 variants, Maine civil authorities will apply its test or quarantine requirement to travelers to and from that state.

University travel beyond Maine should always be approved in advance, bookings made to the extent bookings (transportation, accommodations, etc.) are needed, and expenses claimed using the Concur travel system.

Any student or employee who undertakes personal travel beyond Maine, including leaving the state during the semester, is also subject to CDC and Maine civil authority quarantine requirements upon their arrival in or return to Maine, which UMS expects to enforce.

Domestic Travel within Maine

The University also prohibits discretionary or unnecessary university-sponsored travel within Maine. Reducing travel and avoiding unnecessary travel should be every student and employee’s guide when considering whether to request, authorize or direct domestic travel within Maine.

The University understands that for certain work and activities, a physical presence is necessary or greatly advantageous. For that reason, travel that is necessary within the State of Maine may be permitted by the respective provost or relevant vice chancellor in accordance with customary protocols. Risk Management does not need to be consulted for in-state travel provided no additional related exceptions such as ride sharing are necessary.

Necessary travel for the purposes of this guidance includes but is not necessarily limited to, for example, travel for providing or participating in-person instruction, research or other such academic endeavors and many types of facilities management-related work. Travel for meetings should be avoided. Nothing in this guidance is intended nor should be construed to preclude normal commuting activities to an employee’s normal work location(s) or a student’s normal instruction location(s) provided social distancing and other criteria are met.

When travel within the state is approved all travelers should take steps to minimize contact and promote physical distancing. Planning is crucial; consider the following suggestions:

  • Fuel the vehicle before you leave
  • If delivering a package: Develop a drop-off plan that doesn’t involve face-to-face contact
  • Wear a face covering unless alone
  • Travel with gloves and/or disinfectant
  • Avoid travel to or interactions in locations with community transmission or outbreaks whenever possible
  • Avoid unnecessary stops

Traveling with others

Current CDC and civil authority guidance must be followed when considering traveling with others. This guidance includes public transportation and campus motor pools.

  • Riding in vehicles with individuals from outside of your household presents a risk of COVID-19 transmission because of the inability to maintain physical distance and potentially poor ventilation in the vehicle.
  • If riding in separate vehicles is not possible, limit the number of individuals in the vehicle and the distance as much as possible.
  • All occupants of the vehicle must wear a mask for the duration of the ride.
  • Everyone in the vehicle should wash or sanitize their hands before entering and as soon as possible after exiting the vehicle.
  • Maximize ventilation in the vehicle cabin to lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
    • Fully opening all vehicle windows is the most efficient way to increase ventilation in the vehicle cabin.
    • If fully opening all vehicle windows is not possible, open all windows halfway or fully open two of the windows in the vehicle.
    • In the event of extreme weather, when opening windows is not possible, use the vehicle’s vents to bring in fresh outside air — avoid using the recirculated air option for the vehicle’s ventilation during transport.
  • If vehicles are used by multiple individuals who are not part of the same household, clean and disinfect the steering wheel, seatbelts, consoles and other frequent touchpoints as part of an end-of-shift or pre-trip routine.
  • Riders should not utilize transportation services if they are sick (e.g. have a fever or cough)

Please contact your campus motor pool administrator for information pertaining to campus vehicle rentals, etc.

Reference:

Maine CDC Transportation Guidelines (External Site)

CDC Cleaning & Disinfection for Non-emergency Transport Vehicles (External Site)

Keep Maine Healthy (External Site)

(Last reviewed/updated: 04/14/2021)