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COVID-19 Information for Study Away

OGO continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on global student travel. The below FAQ will help answer many questions about travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. OGO will update this page as needed.

Questions? Contact us at ogoriskmanagement@ohio.edu or 740-593-4583.

FAQ

Is the Office of Global Opportunities open?

Yes, OGO's offices are open. You can visit us both in person and virtually. Please see the OGO website for more information on our hours. 

What is the status of university-affiliated student international travel?

Students traveling internationally still must seek approval through the Study Away Risk Assessment Committee process managed by the Office of Global Opportunities. This includes student international travel for all independent, university-affiliated experiences such as internships, research, exchange, volunteer, clinicals, work, trainings, and conferences. It is recommended that travelers submit their travel requests no later than three months prior to travel.  

If you have questions about the approval process for international travel, email us at ogoriskmanagement@ohio.edu.

What is the status of university-affiliated domestic travel?

Students may participate in domestic travel. It's important to bear in mind that travel increases the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19. In addition to following the requirements described in Policy 22.001: Student Travel, students planning domestic travel should follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for domestic travel.  

The CDC provides travel recommendations for all travelers, regardless of vaccination status, but advises that individuals who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 delay travel until fully vaccinated. Those travelers who are not fully vaccinated should take additional steps to protect themselves and others from COVID-19, including testing before travel, masking during travel, and testing and quarantining after returning home. 

OHIO students traveling domestically also should consider the following factors when making travel plans: 

Do students need permission from Ohio University in order to travel abroad?

Yes, at this time student international University-affiliated travel is only permitted if University permission has been sought and granted. You can learn how to seek approval for planned travel here. Please start this process early as the approval process can take 1-2 months. If you have questions about how to seek approval for international travel, email us at ogoriskmanagement@ohio.edu.

How does OGO monitor travel health, safety and risk during the COVID-19 pandemic?

OGO monitors information about COVID-19 using information from several different agencies and resources. We look at the impact on travel as well as day-to-day operations in locations around the world. Among the resources we consult are:  

For more information about International SOS, please visit OGO's health and safety resources page

Can I participate in program or independent international travel in future terms?

Yes, as long as you seek and receive university approval, you can plan for program or independent international travel expereinces.

At this time, students traveling internationally still must seek approval through the Study Away Risk Assessment Committee process managed by the Office of Global Opportunities. This includes student international travel for all independent, university-affiliated experiences such as internships, research, exchange, volunteer, clinicals, work, trainings, and conferences. It is recommended that travelers submit their travel requests no later than three months prior to travel.  

Planning for study abroad takes time, so the earlier you start your research, the better. While the COVID-19 pandemic has added new uncertainties to all travel plans, we encourage students start the process now and speak with an OGO advisor about their plans. For appointment information, visit https://www.ohio.edu/goglobal.

Why is it important to be vaccinated for COVID-19 when traveling? 

Travel increases the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19. To minimize the risk, the CDC recommends that all travelers are fully vaccinated for COVID-19. You are fully vaccinated 2 weeks after the last dose of a 2-dose vaccine or 2 weeks after a 1-dose vaccine. According to the CDC, unvaccinated travelers should avoid travel.

If travel is essential, all travelers should follow CDC’s advice for international travelers.  

Some countries only allow fully vaccinated travelers to enter. These requirements are becoming more widespread. Entry requirements may change with short notice. For more information, check the U.S. Department of State's travel advisories regularly.

As a result of local rules, vaccinated and unvaccinated students may have highly unequal program and travel experiences.

Many businesses, venues and locations in the U.S. and abroad have implemented COVID-19 vaccination requirements. If unvaccinated, travelers may need to provide a recent negative COVID-19 test result in order to participate in program activities, stay at hotels, visit cafes and restaurants, entertainment venues and other points of interest for personal or program purposes. Staying current with local testing requirements could entail testing as often as every 24-48 hours and will likely result in additional costs to the traveler (such as paying for the test itself, transportation to/from testing site). Many program itineraries cannot be adjusted to accommodate testing needs. 

Ohio University and/or study abroad program providers may additionally require vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers to participate in mitigation testing before, during and/or after the program. 

Is OGO offering any alternatives to global travel?

A variety of Virtual Global Experiences are available and offer an affordable and safe way for students to gain global experiences and skills while travel is suspended. Check out the OGO Virtual Global Experiences website for more information.

Ohio University also offers several COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning) courses in which OHIO students interact with students at an international university to complete course projects.  See a list of these courses here

Are any scholarships available for Virtual Global Experiences?

Yes! Check out OGO’s resources on the Funding website for more information about which scholarships are offered for both Study Away and Virtual Global Experiences. 

If I'm permitted to travel, what health insurance do I need?

Ohio University automatically enrolls students participating on international trips and programs in our international health insurance. To access the insurance, you must register your travel with us in advance. Read more about the insurance and how to use it here.

In case of early return to the US due to illness or other unforeseen circumstances, travelers should never cancel their domestic U.S. health insurance while traveling internationally. 

If I'm permitted to travel, do you have recommendations for booking a flight?

There are many things to keep in mind when booking a flight, and the COVID-19 pandemic has added new, important considerations. Travelers are experiencing more delays, cancellations, departure and arrival requirements - and just plain hassles. Below are a few recommendations for booking a flight. In addition, we always encourage you to research travel to your destination(s) carefully before booking airfare.

  • Only book your flight when your program director, third party provider or other international partner gives you the go-ahead; and
  • Only book your flight after you have received University approval for your individual international travel plans.
  • Be as flexible as possible.
  • If traveling internationally, try to book a direct flight from a U.S. airport to your destination country. Minimizing the number of international stops and layovers will help you minimize the number of COVID-19 travel restrictions, testing requirements, etc. you have to consider on your trip.
  • Make sure you know what COVID-19 test and test documentation are required by authorities in countries where you transit (change flights) and at your final destination.
  • Read the "small print" before you purchase. Make sure you understand the financial commitment you're making when you book the flight. Check rules concerning itinerary changes, luggage and especially flight delays, interruptions, cancellations, and refunds.
If I'm permitted to travel, do I need any other type of insurance for my trip or program?

The Office of Global Opportunities advises that you consider purchasing travel insurance for your trip. Travel insurance is optional, however it will help you recoup your money if a flight, program or other activity is interrupted or cancelled.

If you choose to purchase travel or trip insurance, make sure you select a plan that includes so-called"Cancel for Any Reason" (CFAR) and "Interrupt for Any Reason" (IFAR) insurance. Participants may choose to purchase this type of insurance through Gallagher Insurance's partner company Travel Insured International.

Many other providers offer similar comprehensive insurance plans. You should research and select the plan that's right for you.

How might my vacation or other plans impact my study abroad travel plans?

As a rule of thumb, prior to travel and ahead of any required COVID-19 tests, we encourage you to stay home as much as possible and reduce exposure to COVID-19. This will benefit your fellow travelers, but also safeguard against any unexpected COVID-19 positive tests that could require you to significantly delay or even cancel you travel plans.

With this in mind, avoid planning international vacations or travel right before or after your study abroad experience. Entry requirements into any country will depend on where you have spent time recently, usually within the last 14 days. For instance, if family has planned a cruise or international vacation right before or after your study abroad travels, you will be subject to entry requirements for travelers not just from the US, but for other countries visited in the last 14 days.

If this affects you, make sure you research travel restrictions at the U.S. Department of State travel advisories page, the accompanying US Embassy page for the country you're visiting and International SOS (app or website, use membership #11BTTA887908).