Union Where You Are: Plans for 2020-21

COVID-19 Union Travel Guidelines

[page updated April 29, 2021]

Travel increases your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19. Domestic and international travel also have been shown to increase the spread of variant strains of the virus that causes COVID-19. CDC continues to recommend that you do not travel at this time and instead delay travel and stay home to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

As a result, the College continues to limit all non-essential, College sponsored travel and encourages our employees and students to conduct activities remotely, whenever possible. However, there are essential activities that may require travel for Union employees and students. In addition, there are certain practices that can reduce the risk of transmission when essential travel does occur. If you must travel, take the following steps to protect yourself and others:

  • If you are eligible, get fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
  • Comply with all state and local requirements for travel, including testing and quarantining.
  • Wear a mask when in public.
  • Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet away from others.
  • Limit the number of people that you interact with and, when possible, only interact with people who are either fully vaccinated or who have recently tested negative for the virus.

Employee Travel

Employees must secure approval prior to making plans for any business-related travel.

  • Employees must submit a detailed written request for travel using the Employee Travel Request Form documenting the reason the work cannot be completed remotely, why travel is required, and the precautions that will be taken to limit risk during travel. The request should first be approved by the employee’s manager and then sent to the senior staff member in the functional area for final approval. Faculty should send this form to the Dean of Academic Departments & Programs for approval.

It is the responsibility of the employee to verify the status of travel advisories prior to embarking on travel. Due to the constantly evolving nature of the COVID-19 public health emergency, state, local and College guidelines related to travel and other business matters are subject to change without prior notice.

Any travel-related purchases (e.g., airfare, hotel, etc.) must be fully refundable.

While employees are not expected to obtain approval for any personal travel, employees who undertake travel on their own time are required to adhere to all state, local and College guidelines upon return to assure the safety of those in our Campus community.

Student Travel

Course-related Travel [updated 4/29/2021]

Students who choose to be on campus this spring should not leave campus for course-related activities. This also applies to internship courses, courses that require a service-learning component, research-based or practicum courses, and independent study work. Exceptions for field trips to outdoor settings will be considered if a supervising faculty member accompanies the trip and submits a detailed safety plan at least 10 days in advance to Director of Academic Planning and Finance Greta Donato. The plan should document the reason the activity cannot be completed remotely, why travel is required, and the precautions that will be taken to limit risk during travel. The Director of Academic Planning and Finance will consult with the academic deans to determine whether the travel will be allowed.

The College is restricting field trips to indoor venues because of the increased risk associated with interacting with other members of the public outside the campus community who are not routinely tested or who may not have the same level of compliance with protective measures for COVID-19. There is still increased risk associated with interactions with members outside the campus community.

The main question is whether this risk is mitigated for students who are fully vaccinated. The CDC recently released recommendations for activities that fully vaccinated individuals can undertake. These do allow fully vaccinated people to interact with others who are fully vaccinated without masks or distancing, or with people in one other household who are not fully vaccinated as long as there is no one at high risk for severe illness. They continue to recommend against attendance at medium or large gatherings. Based upon these recommendations, the current policy restricting attendance at off campus venues remains in effect. The one exception is that students can attend an event at an off campus venue if the only people who will be in attendance (besides staff of the establishment) are members of the Union College campus community, since they are regularly tested and comply with COVID-19 protective measures.

Athletic Events

For all lower, moderate, and higher risk sports, travel for practice or play is approved to and from other Liberty League schools, which are all located in New York State. Union will adhere to Liberty League guidance for travel which does not include overnight stays. Teams will travel to and return from competitions on the same day. Teams also will avoid competitions with multiple teams in one venue or competition and instead compete against one team at a time to limit the potential exposures to persons from other states or regions. All Liberty League schools have agreed to test student athletes, to limit spectators, and assure compliance with mask use and physical distancing during travel and when not in competition.

Interstate travel for practice or play outside of states that are contiguous to New York State is strongly discouraged and requires separate approval.

Other Student Activities

Other travel by student organizations will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. Student organizations must submit a detailed written request for travel documenting the reason the activity cannot be completed remotely, why travel is required, and the precautions that will be taken to limit risk during travel. Travel by student organizations will continue to be greatly limited, although events at outdoor venues with little risk for interaction with members of the public outside the campus community will be considered.

New York State COVID-19 Travel Advisory Guidelines (Employees and Students)

Domestic Travel

Travelers are no longer required to quarantine or test after entering New York from any U.S. State or U.S. Territory starting April 1, 2021. If you travel, you are encouraged to continue to follow New York State COVID-19 travel advisory guidelines. Unvaccinated individuals who have not recovered from a COVID-19 infection within the past 3 months are recommended to get tested 3-5 days after arrival and to consider quarantining for 7-10 days. All individuals coming into New York from another state or territory, or any other country are required to complete the NYS Traveler Form upon entering New York unless coming from a contiguous state from routine work purposes or for less than 24 hours.

All individuals who travel should monitor for symptoms that could be related to COVID-19 for 14 days after return and immediately report any potential symptoms to Union College Health Services and/or Union College Human Resources to obtain further instruction.

International Travel

Employees and students are recommended to continue to follow CDC’s recommendations for international travel, which is to avoid any travel to countries with a CDC Level 2 or higher warning. Current CDC guidance requires air passengers traveling to the U.S. from another country show either documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 within the previous 3 months or a negative test result from no more than 3 days prior to day of travel to the airline before boarding the flight. This applies to both U.S. residents and visitors from other countries. (Documentation of vaccination status or antibody test results will not be accepted as proof of COVID status prior to boarding, per CDC guidance).