Given the protracted uncertainty regarding the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, Brown has extended its travel restriction for all University-sponsored international and domestic travel until further notice. Faculty, staff and graduate students can request exemptions for essential travel, and each request will be reviewed by Brown’s Global Travel Risk Assessment Committee (GTRAC) for travel health and safety considerations. Maintaining the health and safety of our community is the University’s highest priority, and continued understanding and compliance with this updated policy remains essential in Brown’s effort to minimize risks related to the spread of COVID-19.
The restriction on all University-sponsored international and domestic travel applies to all students, faculty and staff, and pertains to all for-credit and non-credit travel including the following:
- faculty-led student travel;
- business travel (such as conferences, meetings, symposia, trainings); and
- any other activities that involve University-administered funds.
The travel suspension also applies to externally supported travel arising from or associated with employment at Brown. As announced on Oct. 8, Spring 2021 study abroad has been suspended. Brown will continue to monitor the situation before making any determinations about study abroad for Summer and Fall 2021.
Exemption for Essential Travel
While the University is operating under this restricted travel policy, no exceptions for University-sponsored travel will be granted for undergraduate students until further notice.
The University will continue to review requests for essential travel by faculty, staff and graduate students on a case-by-case basis. For travel to be deemed essential by the appropriate senior departmental leader, it must include at least one of the following conditions:
- essential or time-sensitive research, defined as either non-deferrable or mission-critical research;
- directly related to research of or support for the COVID-19 response;
- and/or mission-critical business within the U.S. or overseas that cannot be carried out through remote means or postponed.
If the purpose of travel is to carry out essential field research, the research plan must first be approved by the Field Research Subcommittee before submitting the request to GTRAC for essential travel.
As a reminder, GTRAC reviews travelers’ risk and safety plans — but the determination and pre-approval of travel as essential is made by the traveler’s relevant senior departmental leader (e.g. dean) with final approval granted by the provost. Travel plans must be approved before any travel expenses are incurred.
Faculty, staff or graduate students meeting one of the essential criteria above and who wish to be considered for essential travel approval must submit a Safety Plan Proposal and Request for Approval for Essential Travel for GTRAC review and may do so via the Safety Plan Proposal and Request for Approval for Essential Travel form.
All approved essential travelers must comply with the guidance from the Rhode Island Department of Health regarding returning to Rhode Island from travel outside of the state either from abroad or domestically.
In addition, faculty, staff or graduate students who plan to return to Brown’s campus must also comply with the protocol for a safe return to Brown's campus found on the Healthy Brown website.
Faculty- and student-run field trips off campus
As outlined in Brown’s Plan for a Healthy and Safe 2020-21, travel guidance and policy will reflect the University’s overall plan for academic classes, including de-densification or reduced capacity of spaces, social distancing and other public health best practices in accordance with our shared responsibility for health and well-being. As such, no off-campus faculty- or staff-led, course-based, non-academic or administrative field trips involving faculty, staff and/or students will be permitted at least through the fall semester. This includes any field trips to or in the greater Providence area.
Consistent with Brown’s extracurricular activities policy and Student Activities Office policy, student-run field trips that are considered part of a student club, academic or administrative department, or organization that is affiliated with the University will not be permitted until further notice.