UA cancels all international travel scheduled for March


Rebecca Griesbach | @rebach97, News Editor

An email sent at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4 announced that the University would be cancelling all UA-sponsored international travel set to occur this month. Below is the full statement.

Students, faculty and staff,

Effective immediately, UA is canceling all university-sponsored international travel that is scheduled to depart in the month of March. Faculty, staff and students MAY NOT TRAVEL anywhere outside the United States for university business or academic purposes (“university-sponsored travel”), including but not limited to study abroad or other international academic work, research or grant activity; service projects; internships; conferences or presentations; teaching or training; performances; recruiting; or athletic competitions.

Additionally, university-sponsored travel outside of the United States that is scheduled to depart after the month of March is suspended effective immediately. Regarding future university-sponsored travel outside of the United States beyond March, this is a complex decision that is based on new and evolving information. Decisions on those future programs are ON HOLD and will be addressed as soon as possible. Please read the full updated interim policy issued by the University of Alabama System.

Due to the expanding global coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the significant risk of exposure during international travel, and guidance from experts in public health and infectious disease, we expect full cooperation and compliance with this updated interim policy to maintain a safe and healthy environment for everyone. Faculty, staff, students, and visiting students and scholars who fail to comply with this policy may be subject to disciplinary action.

We recognize the significance of these measures to members of our campus community and are committed to providing support. Our number one priority is the health and safety of our campus and community. Students with questions about international travel should call Education Abroad at 205-348-5256 or email [email protected]. Faculty, staff and visiting research scholars should contact the Associate Director for International Health, Safety & Risk Management at 205-348-5256 or [email protected]. These offices are available to provide guidance and assistance to our travelers, in addition to providing resources through our System travel provider, International SOS.

While we cannot restrict individuals’ travel for personal business or affiliate programs (i.e., travel that is not university sponsored but related to academic or business pursuits – e.g., travel through another institution or program), the UA System strongly encourages students, faculty and staff to consider the updated policy and follow CDC travel watches, alerts and warnings, and be aware of additional CDC and State Department updates. The global situation is rapidly evolving, and risk of acquiring COVID-19 may change abruptly. Please be mindful of potential associated risks of disruptions to reentry to the United States, including possible quarantine.

Any and all travelers returning to the United States or coming to the United States to participate in university-sponsored business or programs must comply with all U.S. re-entry, quarantine, self-isolation or self-monitoring requirements in place before returning to or engaging with the university community. Travelers must provide verification from the Alabama Department of Public Health or their health provider confirming they have completed the appropriate monitoring process. To the extent a traveler is monitored or otherwise reporting to the university during any monitoring period, the traveler must receive express approval from the university in order to return to the university community. Additional detail is available in the updated interim policy.

Returning travelers should follow guidance provided by the Alabama Department of Public Health for returning travelers on the ADPH website. Any traveler should be aware of CDC Travel Health Notices and observe CDC travel precautions for COVID-19.

We understand that many members of our community may have upcoming spring break travel, conferences or summer study abroad plans that this policy may affect. We further understand that the longer the travel restrictions remain in place, more questions will arise related to future plans for international travel. To assess the impact of the virus on faculty, staff and students, a dedicated team composed of members from throughout the UA System, including our clinical and infection prevention experts, is monitoring the outbreak and utilizing guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization, and international governments and health agencies. Administrators at each campus are continuously evaluating and receiving advice on potential impacts and will provide future information and guidance.

While there are no known cases of COVID-19 in Alabama at the time of this communication, there are confirmed cases in Florida and Georgia, and it could be seen in Alabama soon.

Please continue to be vigilant, plan ahead and protect against spreading viral illness:

More information and tips can be found at

This announcement marks a shift from previous guidelines, which restricted travel only to China, South Korea, Japan, Iran and Italy as of Feb. 28. These new restrictions will be in line with protocol at Auburn University, as well as institutions across the nation. 

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information is revealed.