Travel Guidance for Winter Break

Dear Kent State University Students, Faculty and Staff,

As we prepare to depart for winter break and as the COVID-19 virus continues to surge, we want to take a moment to review our recommendations for safe travel over the holidays and for returning to campus in January.

Other than students returning home, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends postponing travel and staying home. This is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19, which has reached record-breaking numbers in many states, including Ohio.

For those who will travel, however, the recommendations that follow are based on current guidance from the CDC, the Ohio Department of Health, the Portage County Combined General Health District and the Kent City Health Department.

Before You Leave Campus

Testing Considerations

  • If possible, get tested to know your status before you travel. Never travel if you test positive for COVID-19. Instead, you must isolate for 10 days before you travel.

  • Keep in mind that a negative test result reflects a specific point in time. A person can be exposed and test negative yet still be incubating the virus, which might not be detectable until a few days later. A negative test does not mean you will not be ill in the future. Care must still be taken.

  • The DeWeese Health Center remains open through Dec. 23, offering testing on weekdays. CVS Minute Clinics also offer tests at no cost to all Kent State students, faculty and staff. Please note, the DeWeese Health Center will be closed from Dec. 24 through Jan. 3. For tests during those times, please contact a CVS Minute Clinic, your primary care physician or a local urgent care or emergency room, particularly if you are showing any symptoms of COVID-19. The Ohio Department of Health also provides a list of where testing is taking place throughout the state.

  • Please keep in mind that because significant virus spread is expected to continue throughout December, finding a place to get tested could prove challenging. We suggest you consider scheduling a test as close to your departure as possible with assurances that you will have your test result back before you leave.

  • Most testing, regardless of location, will continue to be at no cost for Kent State students, faculty and staff. However, some foreign countries may require proof of more specialized testing, which may not be free. DeWeese Health Center can make recommendations for laboratories for those who require any specialty testing.

Travel Considerations

  • When leaving campus, the safest way to travel home is alone in your own car or with everyone in the car wearing a face covering and the windows partway down to allow fresh air to circulate.

  • If you must use public transportation, be sure to have clean face coverings and plenty of hand sanitizer with you. Always maintain a safe distance from others, particularly when standing in lines at airports or other places. Always wear your face covering and remember to not touch your face until after you have had the chance to wash your hands thoroughly.

  • For international travel, seek guidance from your airline and health officials at your international destination about travel requirements.

  • If you have negative test results prior to air travel, it’s a good idea to carry a copy of your test results with you as you may be asked to produce them at foreign destinations.

  • The CDC’s travel website offers detailed information about airline travel, both foreign and domestic, and other holiday travel. 

While You Are Away

  • Within Ohio: Continue to follow the Flashes Safe Seven principles.

  • Outside Ohio: Follow the Flashes Safe Seven and any quarantine/isolation guidelines imposed by your new locale.

  • International: Follow the Flashes Safe Seven and any quarantine/isolation guidelines imposed by the country you are visiting.

Before You Return to Campus

  • Students living in residence halls are strongly encouraged to obtain a COVID-19 test before coming to campus. Details about pre-campus testing options, provided at no cost to students, will be forthcoming. 

  • Upon return to residence halls, students will be required to take a nasal swab test to detect if they are infected with COVID-19. Students who test negative will not be required to quarantine when they arrive on campus. 

  • Students taking in-person classes are strongly encouraged to get a nasal swab test to detect a COVID-19 viral infection (not antibodies) enough days in advance to know their result before attending their first class.

  • For anyone who traveled by air within the U.S., the CDC recommends you get a nasal swab test to detect a COVID-19 viral infection (not antibodies) one to three days before flying and again three to five days after air travel is completed and quarantine for seven days upon arrival home. Those who do not take a test before and after domestic air travel, once back in Ohio, will be expected to quarantine for 14 days if coming from a state with a positivity rate of 15% or greater and 10 days if coming from a state with a positivity rate of less than 15%.

  • For anyone who traveled internationally, the CDC recommends you get a viral COVID-19 test (not antibodies) to detect if you are infected with COVID-19 one to three days before leaving a foreign location. It is also recommended that you check with your airline for any special requirements related to your travel. Once back in the U.S., you should get tested three to five days after your return home and stay home for seven days. If no test is performed after you return, it is recommended that you quarantine for 10 to 14 days.

Regardless of where you are coming from, do not return to campus if you receive a positive test result. Instead, immediately isolate yourself and follow the public health requirements of the jurisdiction where you are located.

After You Return to Campus

  • Any traveler returning to Ohio from a state with a 15% or greater positivity rate should quarantine for 14 days, according to Ohio Department of Health recommendations. However, these guidelines – currently more restrictive than CDC guidelines – are subject to change, so it’s a good idea to check with the state health department website to review the most up-to-date requirements.

  • Students should limit activities the first two weeks of the semester to only attending in-person classes and seeking essential services, such as food, medical care or for other academic reasons. For students living in residence halls or taking in-person classes, regular testing will be a requirement throughout the spring semester.

Kent State and the city of Kent are working with the Ohio Department of Health and others to bring large-scale testing opportunities to Kent in January. Additional details on these events will be shared as they are available. Kent State will continue to offer COVID-19 testing at the DeWeese Health Center and CVS Minute Clinics and will resume additional on-campus screening testing when the spring semester begins in January.

Please remember that while there is a light at the end of the tunnel with the recent distribution of vaccines, we still have a long way to go before all of us will be safe from COVID-19. We must remain diligent in our actions to control the spread of the virus. Continue to follow the Flashes Safe Seven, whether on or off campus. Wherever you are, remember to wear a face covering, practice frequent handwashing, maintain physical distancing and avoid gatherings.

Enjoy your break and stay safe!


Manfred van Dulmen, Ph.D.
Interim Associate Provost for Academic Affairs
Interim Dean of Graduate Studies
Chair, Pandemic Leadership Committee

POSTED: Friday, December 18, 2020 - 10:03am
UPDATED: Monday, December 21, 2020 - 10:15am