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Sec. 1 Purpose
This policy provides a framework of institutional oversight that promotes the health, safety, and security of UT System travelers and initiatives abroad. This policy replaces the 2010, 2011, and 2014 Chancellor’s directives relating to international travel health, safety, and security.
Sec. 2 Principles
University-sponsored international activities play an essential role in academic, health, and research agendas, presenting both opportunities and risks to University-sponsored travelers. Registering travel with UT System’s emergency assistance provider and providing a framework for international travel assessment enables appropriate oversight of such activities.
Sec. 3 Applicability
This policy applies to The University of Texas System academic and health institutions and to all students, faculty, staff, and official guests/volunteers participating in University-sponsored international travel.
Sec. 4 Responsibilities
4.1 It is the responsibility of UT travelers to assess and mitigate health, safety, and security risks when engaging in University-sponsored international travel. This includes pandemic, epidemic, and endemic-related risks and destination-specific requirements. Travelers must abide by all UT System and institutional rules governing international travel, as well as any relevant United States and destination countries/transit countries’ laws and regulations governing international travel.
4.2 It is the responsibility of UT institutions to assess the health, safety, and security risks of University-sponsored international travel, with special consideration for High Risk travel. Institutions must provide clear information to UT travelers about international travel policies, procedures, and requirements for travel. Institutions may adopt additional international travel guidelines or rules, including consequences for noncompliance.
4.3 It is the responsibility of all UT institutions to develop processes that result in the registration of all University-sponsored travel to any international location, regardless of risk level, with UT System’s emergency assistance provider prior to departure.
Sec.5 International Oversight Committees (IOC) Required
5.1 Each institution must have an International Oversight Committee (IOC) comprised of members appointed by the President. The Risk Management Executive Committee will serve as the IOC for UT System Administration.
5.2 IOC membership must include broad, cross-functional expertise representing multiple offices. Examples of roles that could be considered, but are not required, for IOC membership, either in voting or advisory capacities, include:
a) representative(s) from the office of the president or provost;
b) senior/chief international officer;
c) senior faculty or deans with significant international experience;
d) individuals involved in international safety and security or risk management;
e) senior business affairs, financial services, or travel management staff;
f) senior academic affairs or dean of students staff;
g) senior health affairs, medical, or infectious disease staff;
h) campus police or public safety staff;
i) general counsel or senior legal affairs staff;
j) study/education abroad staff (note: it is imperative to avoid even the possible appearance of a potential conflict of interest for roles directly involved in both promoting/increasing international mobility and enhancing student safety);
k) compliance, research, or export control staff; and
l) external relations, communications, or public affairs staff.
5.3 The IOC is responsible for reviewing and approving all University-sponsored travel to areas of High Risk. This includes travel to locations where:
a) the U.S. State Department has issued a Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel or Level 3: Reconsider Travel (note: this includes “Do Not Travel” and “Reconsider Travel” advisories for sub-regions within a country, regardless of a country’s overall rating; e.g., states in Mexico); or
b) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued its highest Travel Health Notice Level advising against travel; or
c) the IOC has deemed significant health, safety, or security risks are present; this could include:
i. countries with emerging medical, security, or natural disaster risks that have not yet been elevated to the prescribed High Risk levels from the U.S. State Department or CDC.
ii. any region with a high, extreme, or critical medical or security risk rating from a contracted emergency assistance provider.
iii. all countries worldwide amid a global pandemic declared by the WHO.
5.4 The IOC is responsible for recommending protocols and overseeing institutional efforts to facilitate registration of University-sponsored travel with UT System’s emergency assistance provider prior to departure.
5.5 The IOC, in coordination with other appropriate departments or individuals as designated by the President if applicable, is responsible for travel suspension decisions and oversight of international crisis response. Individuals designated to act as a crisis response team for major international emergencies are not required to be IOC members, but the IOC is responsible for overseeing this crisis response function and any resulting evacuation decisions.
Sec. 6 High Risk Travel Authorization Required
6.1 When reviewing High Risk travel, the IOC must carefully consider:
a) the purpose, goals, and value of the travel;
b) the classification of persons associated with the trip (i.e., staff, faculty, student, or guest/volunteer);
c) the health, safety, and security risks involved; and
d) the risk management plan in place, including UT’s ability to assist in an emergency.
6.2 The IOC must provide advance written documentation for authorization of High Risk travel, in accordance with Regents’ Rules and Regulations, Rule 20801: Travel.
6.3 Planned travel that is not yet in progress when a destination becomes High Risk is automatically suspended pending review by the IOC.
6.4 Travel that is in-progress when a location becomes High Risk must be reviewed by the IOC within a reasonable timeframe to determine if the threat is imminent and if travelers should be recalled or relocated.
6.5 Travel that has been approved by the IOC may be subject to additional review if there is a change in circumstances and/or additional review is deemed necessary by the IOC.
6.6 The IOC may withdraw travel approval at any time.
High Risk – Refers to any location that meets criteria in Section 5.3.
Official Guest/Volunteer – Any individual invited and authorized by the sponsoring institution to participate in University-sponsored travel.
University-Sponsored Travel – Any educational or business travel that is UT-sponsored, UT-administered, UT-organized, or conducted within one’s capacity as a UT representative, regardless of credit or funding. This includes:
a) Any student traveling internationally for a UT-sponsored, UT-administered, or UT-organized activity or program. This includes, but is not limited to:
i. study abroad programs;
ii. student exchange programs;
iii. field studies;
iv. research trips;
v. internships or practicums;
vi. conferences, seminars, or meetings;
vii. service learning opportunities; and
viii. volunteer, experiential, or work programs organized, endorsed, or promoted by UT.
b) Any event, program, or activity involving international travel that is UT-sponsored, UT-administered, or UT-organized. This includes, but is not limited to:
i. study abroad programs;
ii. class field trips;
iii. registered student organization trips;
iv. sponsored student organization trips;
v. conferences, seminars, or meetings;
vi. service learning opportunities; and
vii. volunteer, experiential, or work programs organized, endorsed, or promoted by UT.
c) Any UT medical resident or fellow traveling internationally for a UT-sponsored, UT-administered, or UT-organized purpose. This includes, but is not limited to:
i. medical rotations;
ii. internships or clerkships;
iii. conferences, seminars, or meetings;
iv. service learning opportunities; and
v. volunteer, experiential, or work programs organized, endorsed, or promoted by UT.
d) Faculty, staff, and official guests/volunteers traveling internationally to conduct University business as a representative of UT, such as participation in research, conferences, meetings, and teaching endeavors.