COVID-19 Updated Directive on Non-essential Travel Restrictions

Dear UCI Community,

UC President Janet Napolitano has issued an amended travel directive based on the latest COVID-19 risk assessment from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). UC students, staff and faculty are to avoid all non-essential, university-related travel to CDC Level 2 countries, in addition to Level 3 countries. Currently:

  • CDC Level 3 Health Notice Countries are China, Iran, Italy and South Korea
  • CDC Level 2 Health Notice Countries: defined as those with “sustained community transmission” of COVID-19, includes just Japan, but please go to the CDC site for the most current information.

Further, individuals with a recent travel history from a CDC Level 3 country must self-quarantine for 14 days from the time they left the Level 3 country and practice social distancing. CDC travel guidance for Level 3 countries applies to all travelers returning from a Level 3 country for any purpose, including personal travel. CDC is advising returning travelers from a Level 3 country who feel sick with fever or cough, or have difficulty breathing to:

  • Seek medical advice. Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.

During this time, anyone who believes their travel to a Level 2 or 3 jurisdiction is essential should contact the UCI International Risk Review Team to request review and approval before travel. Please email global@uci.edu to request a review.

Whether for university business or personal travel, let UCI know if you plan to travel by registering your travel information at UC International Travel Registry. No matter where you travel, always know the status of your visa, and always have some emergency contacts. And, while there, you should also consult the website of the country you are visiting to see what policies are in place. It is emphasized that you should evaluate your trip each day and look for any updates from the local authorities and from the World Health Organization and CDC.

We understand that you may have made plans to travel and booked your trip prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, and that you may have family in these countries. Please note that if you travel to a Level 3 risk country, and are a national of the respective countries, it is not likely you will be let back into the United States.

For U.S. citizens and permanent residents, you will likely be expected to quarantine for 14 days upon your return. Whether you are under mandatory quarantine or self-quarantine, you will not be allowed back onto the UCI campus until after the quarantine ends. Be aware of how this may affect your attendance at classes, study groups, campus events — and ultimately your grades.

Additionally, please take into consideration these recommendations:

  • For domestic travelers: Use caution and judgment before any domestic travel, and check for the latest information from the county health care agency of your destination before your trip.
  • For large conferences and events:  We are following the guidance of health officials and there is currently no recommendation to avoid attending large conferences on campus. However, we still urge you to use caution and judgment if you decide to attend large conferences.
  • For incoming visitors to campus: Any visitor arriving to campus from a Level 3 jurisdiction must also follow the CDC guidelines to self-isolate off campus for 14 days since the date they left that country. This also applies to visitors who have been invited to campus on official university business.

For more tips about traveling at this time, visit the CDC Travel FAQ page.  Please also be sure to visit UCI’s COVID-19 website often as new resources are being posted regularly.

Thank you for your continued cooperation in protecting the UCI community.

Enrique J. Lavernia, Ph.D.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Distinguished Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Albert S. Chang, MD, MPH
Medical Director, UCI Student Health Center
spread the word not a virus