Travel Updates – November 2020

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 and risk management.

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 directives of civil authorities upon their return to Maine. These requirements currently include quarantining for 14 days or obtaining a negative COVID-19 test upon return to Maine before leaving quarantine and returning to campus.  Certain locations are exempted by civil authorities. The currently exempted states are Vermont and New Hampshire. (Massachusetts also currently remains exempted, but will be removed from the exempt list effective November 16, 2020.)  Should that list change, the University’s guidance is understood also to change in accordance with civil directives.

Any student or employee who undertakes personal travel beyond Maine, including leaving the state at the end of the in-person portion of the fall 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 until the end of the in-person portion of the fall semester on November 25. 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. Even necessary travel that can be deferred appropriately until after November 25 should be deferred.

For any University travel that may occur, carpooling and sharing transportation with others except immediate family members remains prohibited. Narrow exceptions to the carpooling/sharing restriction may be approved by Risk Management if physical distancing measures can be met. No one shall use public transportation for official university business unless necessary for an essential purpose in keeping with the directives of civil authorities.

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

For situations where travel with others is authorized and required, the following guidelines must be adhered to when considering transportation options, including public transportation or campus motor pools.

  • Social distancing requirements as outlined by the CDC and civil authorities must be
    met
  • Face coverings must be worn – if traveling with more than one person
  • Riders should not utilize transportation services if they are sick (e.g. have a fever or cough)
  • Riders are encouraged to practice good hand hygiene during travel, sanitizing hands
    before boarding, after touching high-touch surfaces, and after disembarking

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

Reference:

Maine CDC Transportation Guidelines

CDC Cleaning & Disinfection for Non-emergency Transport Vehicles

Keep Maine Healthy

(Last reviewed/updated: 11/12/2020)

The University does not currently permit University-sponsored international travel and does not expect to do so at least through the remainder of the 2020 calendar year, 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 for the remainder of the calendar year and in some cases into 2021 as described below will continue to be constrained due to the pandemic. Everyone is encouraged 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.

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. Therefore, in addition to prohibiting travel to level 3 and 4 locations, 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 may be 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 before April 30, 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 spring of 2021 have been postponed.

Each campus will be evaluating the possibility of welcoming inbound non-degree seeking students beyond spring 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: 11/11/2020