Student Group Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Please get familiar with the requirements for resuming Kent State employee-led student domestic group travel programs. 

The Need for Requirements 

These requirements help mitigate risk for employees and students who participate in employee-led student domestic group travel.

The following considerations should guide your request and planning process:

CONSIDERATIONS

  • Programs should consider purpose of the proposed trip and the population that students will be exposed to/exposing when making decisions to move forward with planning.
    • Will students be interacting with populations at higher risk for contracting COVID-19 such as older individuals and those with pre-existing health conditions?
    • What is the current prevalence of COVID-19 at the location(s) you plan to travel to and through if making stops along the way?
    • Are there currently travel restrictions or quarantine requirements in place at the proposed location(s)?
  • Students/faculty/staff should be made aware of expectations for travel including awareness of Flashes Prevention Information, which includes guidelines about facial coverings and physical distancing, throughout the entirety of the experience and what the protocol is if they develop COVID-19 symptoms while away.
  • Faculty/staff leadership should be voluntary, and the risks associated with travel understood:
    • Staff leaders may need to drive a symptomatic participant to the nearest hospital/medical center if they become symptomatic.
    • Exposure to an infected individual on the trip would result in self-isolation of the faculty/staff member upon their return to campus. The consequences of isolation would include disruption to staffing in the office as well as to their personal lives.

PLANNING

The following questions should be addressed when planning and all guidelines and protocols must align with the Flashes Prevention Information, regardless of the guidelines in place at your destinations.

  • Are physical distancing protocols in place and outlined in all locations that participants will visit?
  • Can lodging be provided in such a way as to allow for required physical distancing?
  • How will meals be organized to ensure required social distancing? Are restaurants on your itinerary using proper protocols?
  • Can mode of transportation ensure proper social distancing? For example, trip capacity may need to be limited to 12 travelers per 56-passenger motorcoach bus.
  • Is emergency contact information current for all travelers?
  • Do you have a PPE emergency pack? It should include a face shield or eye goggles, gown and gloves.

BEFORE DEPARTURE

  • Consult with the Office of General Counsel to determine any necessary updates to liability waivers that need to be signed by participants.
  • Conduct temperature checks and the Flashes Safe Eight health assessment of each traveler and receive verbal confirmation that all participants are free of symptoms.
  • Ensure each traveler has cloth face coverings.
  • Assign a staff member to be responsible for having the PPE emergency pack on hand throughout the duration of the trip.

DURING TRAVEL

WHAT IF SOMEONE BECOMES SYMPTOMATIC ON THE TRIP?

  • Self-isolate (room assignments may need to be adjusted).
  • PPE should be offered to the sick traveler to protect other travelers. At a minimum, a face covering must be worn.
  • Testing should be conducted as soon as possible at a local testing center. Maintain the CDC physical distancing guidelines when in transit.
     

Program Parameters

All employee-led student domestic group travel programs (including but not limited to study away programs - experiences part of a credit-bearing course/program, co-curricular experiences, off-campus visits - shall be reviewed and modified to comply with these requirements. Educational objectives should be reviewed. Non-essential travel should be minimized. Itineraries for all programs must be reviewed and modified to accommodate advisories and local conditions as outlined by applicable authorities listed below.

  • Center for Disease Control
  • Destination State/Coumty/City Guidelines

All programs must continue to have contingency plans in case of any disruptions. Where feasible, a plan for academic continuity should be in place in case the in-person portion of the program is canceled.

Approval process

All KSU sponsored and active employee-led domestic student group travel programs will be reviewed and approved on a semester basis. Approval is based on each individual program assessment of local access to resources (e.g. health care, testing), adequate on-site support and guidelines set forth by the agencies listed within this document.

Employees proposing employee-led programs will continue to follow the guidelines and continue to work within their unit for the development of their program. In addition to requirements within the unit, employees will be required to submit their assessment and supporting documentation of their program modifications to an ad-hoc committee for approval in the division that is housing the program (e.g., academic and co-curricular programs – Office of the Provost); student organizations/club sports – Division of Student Affairs).

Travel Requirements

Students participating in KSU sponsored programs must follow all TSA guidelines for travel: https://www.tsa.gov/coronavirus. While away, students must follow local travel authorities’ guidelines for travel. Travel that is not part of a travel request is not recommended.

Students are responsible for adhering to all entry and exit requirements of their home, host and transit states including any financial obligations to address personal needs.

Housing requirements

Housing policies and contractual partners shall be reviewed and modified to comply with safety protocols. When possible, occupancies should be reduced to no more than 2 students per room and common areas should accommodate physical distancing requirements. All entrances to bedrooms must be able to be secured from inside the room to prevent entry. AirBnB, VRBO and other similar hosted options are not permitted at this time.

Pre-Departure Requirements

Requirements must be covered in the pre-departure orientation. All students participating in a KSU sponsored study away program must attend a pre-departure orientation delivered by the unit organizing the study away program.

This pre-departure orientation should include information on transit, protocols and recommendations (e.g. health requirements), itineraries, risk mitigation policies for programs, student conduct expectations, local resources, and emergency contacts. The pre-departure orientation will be modified to be state/city specific and provide specific information relevant to their host location. The unit organizing the group travel - in conjunction with University Health Services -will continue to monitor guidance in the host state/county/city and make students aware of relevant program modifications when necessary.

Prior to departure, students will be notified of relevant local agencies to be used to best monitor health and safety protocol while traveling. Agencies may include:

  • Center for Disease Control
  • Local Destination Health Department
  • State Destination Health Department