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Penn State Suspends Faculty & Staff University-Affiliated International Travel

Penn State is suspending all university-affiliated international travel for faculty and staff, according to a news release.

Administrators said the move comes amid “uncertainties across the world” related to the coronavirus pandemic that have made travel difficult and potentially dangerous.

“There are a number of reasons that we have suspended University travel abroad, and primary among them is the pace of the latest surge of COVID-19 infections in Europe and elsewhere,” Provost Nick Jones said. “This rapid increase in the spread of COVID-19 has led to quick action by various governments, including new national lockdowns going into effect.”

Penn State added the policy change is a result of overseas developments regarding the pandemic, including spiking case numbers and newly implemented lockdowns. Both the United Kingdom and France, for example, rolled out new lockdowns, while Chinese airlines require passengers to jump through hoops, including multiple phases of testing, before boarding a flight.

Faculty and staff can still submit requests for essential (or mission-critical) university-affiliated travel to select corresponding offices, including:

  • Faculty and staff travel requests will be vetted by the Provost’s office; 
  • Research-related or ARL requests should be submitted to Lora Weiss, senior vice president for Research;
  • College of Medicine requests should be submitted to Kevin Black, interim dean of the college.

Once requests are submitted, Penn State’s Global Safety Office will evaluate each case for importance any associated risk.

“While we understand that during these remote periods an employee may wish to engage in business travel and work activities abroad on a temporary basis, the pandemic has made it impossible to determine when any individual may be able to return and what the requirements will be if they do return,” Roger Brindley, vice provost for Global Programs at Penn State, said. “It is an unpredictable and risky situation from a health and safety perspective.”

For the time being, Penn State is “strongly discouraging” employees from personal international travel.

Faculty and staff can read more about Penn State’s specific international travel guidelines through its coronavirus-specific website.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State with distinction in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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