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COVID-19 FAQ: Travel & Study Abroad

Is Whitworth still sponsoring domestic or international travel?

Effective immediately, no Whitworth-affiliated travel will be allowed domestically or internationally outside of Spokane.

How does this affect study abroad programs?

In response to significant changes in global advisory levels issued by the U.S. Department of State and CDC, Whitworth has canceled all university-sponsored study abroad programs currently in operation. We are working closely with affected students and our study abroad partners to support the logistical needs associated with this change, including airfare rebooking and credit issuance concerns.

What does the travel ban announced by the White House mean for U.S. citizens?

Recently, the White House announced that a travel ban will be in place beginning March 13, which prohibits non-U.S. citizens from travelling to the United States from mainland Europe and the United Kingdom. There is no restriction on U.S. citizens seeking to return home from Europe or the U.K. Whitworth is currently working with all study abroad students in Europe and the U.K. to arrange new flights home.

I am a student or employee returning to the U.S. from Europe. Do I need to self-isolate? What steps should I take?

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends that travelers returning to the U.S. from Europe and the United Kingdom stay home for 14 days, monitor their health and practice social distancing. If you have spent time in mainland Europe or the United Kingdom in the past 14 days, the CDC has provided the following guidance:

  • Stay home for 14 days from the time you return from travel, monitor your health and practice social distancing. Social distancing means staying out of crowded places, avoiding group gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately six feet or two meters) from others when possible.
  • If you get sick with fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher), cough or have trouble breathing, you are instructed to seek medical advice. Call ahead before you go to a doctor's office or emergency room. Tell your doctor about your recent travel and your symptoms. Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

For a full list of all European countries included in this guidance, go to the CDC's Global COVID-19 Pandemic Notice.

Will students be able to travel internationally this school year?

Following a thorough review of myriad travel- and health-related factors, the Whitworth Cabinet, in cooperation with the staff of the Whitworth International Education Center, has made the following decisions regarding AY 2020-21 off-campus programs:

  • ​​Fall 2020: All domestic and international off-campus programs have been canceled, including faculty-led programs and exchange/partner programs.
  • Jan Term 2021: All international travel for Jan Term off-campus programs has been suspended. The staff of the Whitworth Off-Campus Programs Office are working with faculty and their respective deans in an effort to shift Jan Term programs to May 2021. Students enrolled in these programs will be contacted shortly by their faculty leaders and the OCP office with more information. Select domestic-based faculty-led programs have been approved for operation or are currently under review.
  • Spring 2021: There is currently no decision regarding the continuance of semester-long off-campus programs in Spring 2021. Ongoing assessment of program viability and evaluation of health and safety factors will continue until a final determination is made later this fall.

What are travel guidelines during academic year 2020-21?

Until such time that the state of Washington enters Phase 4 of reopening, Whitworth travel is restricted to a limited number of exceptions that must be approved by an area vice president. Priority exceptions are those that provide safe student experiences (e.g., forensics or athletic competitions that have been approved by appropriate organizing bodies with appropriate travel protocols in place). Limited exceptions may also include admissions and advancement events (again, provided safe travel protocols are in place), while travel to conferences and seminars would generally not be eligible.

Essential research travel

Essential research is defined by the governor's higher education proclamation. Travel related to this category may be allowed provided that all members of the research team follow the guidance provided in the checklist.

  • Faculty members leading the planned travel should obtain approval from their respective Dean.
  • Each request should include an explanation of why this travel is essential at this time, and how you will ensure your safety and the safety of others in the course of your travel.
  • Each request will be evaluated and a response will be provided.

Faculty and students – Off-campus travel

If there are off campus activities attended by both students and staff, the Off-Campus Activity Approval Request Form must be completed by the trip leader 30 days prior to the event. This form is found in the Master Forms – Risk Management section and covers all students and staff attending. Under the Risk Assessment section the trip leader must detail how COVID prevention guidelines will be met.

What about traveling in Whitworth campus vehicles or personal vehicles?

  • Individuals should not ride together in personal vehicles.
  • Individuals living together can ride in the same personal vehicle.
  • Masks are required for all passengers riding together.
  • Staff can ask students who will be driving in their own vehicles to fill out a standard waiver: www.whitworth.edu/forms/form/program-activity-release. This waiver has a section that addresses the risk of travel.
    • Health and Safety Risks: "I understand that, although the university has made every reasonable effort to assure my safety while participating in the program, there are unavoidable risks associated with any program, activity or field trip including the following specific risks: travel to, from and during the program or activity, and risk of personal injury as a result of participation in physical activities, such as walking."
  • Students driving in their own vehicles are covered by their personal insurance.

The following is specific guidance for multiple passengers in a van.

  • Checklist for Whitworth Vehicle Travel

    Approvals needed:

    • Vice President
    • Dean (Essential Research)
    • ICT

     Health and Personal Hygiene:

    • Each passenger needs to complete the Daily Health Check on the LiveSafe app or, if athletes, the Sway app. If they do not have the app, they need to provide verbal or signature confirmation of the Daily Health Check Form.
    • Conduct temperature screenings of each passenger prior to departure
    • Face coverings are required in the vehicles
    • All passengers need to have hand sanitizer
    • Remind passengers of the importance of frequent hand washing with hand sanitizer and instructions to avoid touching their face
    • Maintain 6 feet of personal distance

     Vehicle Safety:

    • Keep a log of all the passengers in the vehicle to support public health tracing
    • When using the vehicle's HVAC system, do not use the inside air circulation system
    • Make sure you have extra of the following items
      • Hand sanitizer
      • Face masks
      • Cleaning/disinfection products
    • If possible, travel with the windows cracked or open