Printed on: 07/17/2019. Please go to http://policy.umn.edu for the most current version of the Policy or related document.
University of Minnisota  Administrative Policy

Student Travel and Education Abroad: Health and Safety

Responsible University Officer(s):
  • Associate Vice President GPS Global Programs and Strategy
Policy Owner(s):
  • Program Director, Global Programs and Strategy
Policy contact(s):
  • Kevin Dostal Dauer
Date Revised:
Jun 14, 2019
Effective Date:
Feb 1, 2004

Policy Statement

Introduction

The University facilitates international travel and education abroad by students for University purposes, while encouraging sound health, safety, and security measures that minimize risks to the traveler and institution. This policy includes the minimum pre-departure requirements and minimum requirements while abroad. The education abroad office on each campus may have additional requirements. For the purposes of this policy, there are four levels of facilitation:

  • Notifying: communicating existing information about an opportunity or potential opportunity abroad not organized by or affiliated with the University of Minnesota, without specifically recommending it.
  • Supporting: encouraging, guiding, or enabling (through financial support, guaranteeing of credit, degree requirement fulfillment, signing of forms or materials) the participation in an opportunity abroad that is not organized by or affiliated with the University of Minnesota.
  • Promoting: distributing and/or creating specialized print, web, and other materials that contain information about a University of Minnesota affiliated opportunity or potential opportunity abroad not organized by the University of Minnesota where the intent is to encourage participation in that opportunity.
  • Organizing: creating, developing, or maintaining an opportunity abroad by University of Minnesota faculty or staff when the opportunity would not exist without such an organization. Examples of activities include, but are not limited to, developing an application or application criteria, setting up exchange criteria, pricing an opportunity, or booking travel or on-site logistics on behalf of the student(s).
    • NOTE: All University units organizing undergraduate credit-bearing student travel abroad must work with the Learning Abroad Center or Carlson Global Institute on the Twin Cities campus or the appropriate education abroad office on their campus to complete the organizing requirements.

Units Pre-Travel and Program Planning Requirements – Vary Based on Level of University Facilitation (as defined above)

Notifying: All University units (including campuses, colleges, departments, centers, offices, other operational units, and education abroad offices) must do the following when notifying student travel abroad:

  • notify students of the Student Pre-Travel Requirements listed below;
  • only notify students of opportunities abroad if they have knowledge that the opportunity is of sound academic value for which there is a compelling academic connection; and
  • attach the disclaimer below on communication of all types, including verbal communication:

“This education abroad opportunity is not affiliated with the University of Minnesota and has not been fully vetted. Notification of an opportunity should not be construed as an endorsement by the University of Minnesota. For more information regarding participation on an education abroad opportunity, contact the Learning Abroad Center or the Carlson Global Institute on the Twin Cities campus. All other campuses should consult the appropriate education abroad office on their campus.”

 

Supporting: All University units (including campuses, colleges, departments, centers, offices, other operational units, and education abroad offices) must do the following when supporting student travel abroad:

  • notify students of the Student Pre-Travel Requirements listed below;
  • support students through the process of participation (“supporting a student through the process of participation” includes signing forms—or guiding students to the proper resources to do so—, as required and appropriate, and supporting students upon return regarding issues such as credit transfer, etc.); and
  • provide students with a 24-7 University emergency contact.

Promoting: All University units (including campuses, colleges, departments, centers, offices, other operational units, and education abroad offices) must do the following when promoting student travel abroad not organized by the University of Minnesota:

  • notify students of the Student Pre-Travel Requirements listed below;
  • support students through the process of participation (“supporting a student through the process of participation” includes signing forms—or guiding students to the proper resources to do so—, as required and appropriate, and supporting students upon return regarding issues such as credit transfer, etc.);
  • provide students with a 24-7 University emergency contact;
  • complete a due diligence review of all affiliates, providers, and/or programs prior to promotion (see Administrative Procedure: Preparing for Student Travel and Education Abroad – Units); and
  • ensure appropriate contracting of affiliates or providers prior to promotion;

Organizing: All University units (including campuses, colleges, departments, centers, offices, other operational units, and education abroad offices) must do the following when organizing student travel abroad:

Prior to student recruitment:

  • obtain International Travel Risk Assessment and Advisory Committee (ITRAAC) approval before promoting any program in a USDOS Level 3 or 4 Travel Advisory location and
  • complete a due diligence review of all affiliates, providers and/or programs prior to promotion (see Administrative Procedure: Preparing for Student Travel and Education Abroad – Units).

Prior to student departure:

  • support students through the process of participation (“supporting a student through the process of participation” includes signing forms—or guiding students to the proper resources to do so—,as required and appropriate, and supporting students upon return regarding issues such as credit transfer, etc.);
  • provide students with a 24-7 University emergency contact;
  • ensure appropriate contracting of affiliates or providers;
  • develop a 24-7 contact protocol and emergency plan;
  • implement a system for gathering and accessing independent student travel information during program dates (if applicable) so that program leaders or University staff can contact students in an emergency;
  • ensure completion of the student requirements; and
  • ensure completion of faculty/staff leader requirements, where relevant.

Faculty/Staff Program Leader Requirements:

University Faculty/Staff Program Leaders must, prior to departure:

  • complete the program leader registry process, which includes the program leader acknowledgement form;
  • complete the program leader health and safety training within 12 months prior to the program departure date;
  • complete the program leader companion process, if applicable; and
  • ensure programs have a) two program leaders; OR b) one program leader with onsite partner who has agreed and is able to provide program support.

Education Abroad Offices

In addition to the requirements above, each education abroad office in the system must also:

  • register students for USDOS Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) or advise them on self-registry;
  • implement the student health disclosure form and process;
  • implement consistent processes for any participant under the age of 18;
  • implement the student behavior review and Code of Conduct policy/process; and
  • for any program with a program leader, assist the program leader with the following requirements:
    • completion of the program leader registry process, which includes the program leader acknowledgement form;
    • completion of the program leader health and safety training within 12 months prior to the program departure date;
    • implementation of the program leader companion process, if applicable; and
    • verification that programs have a) two program leaders; OR b) one program leader with onsite partner who has agreed and is able to provide program support.

Student Pre-Travel Requirements

University-purpose student travel abroad that is either non-credit bearing or consists exclusively of graduate student travelers does not require collaboration with an education abroad office. All students must complete the following requirements in advance of University-purpose travel:

  • register their travel officially with the University;
  • sign a Student Release and Waiver detailing their academic, financial, behavioral, travel risk, and health-related responsibilities while abroad;
  • complete the mandatory online health and safety orientation;
  • receive University-approved international travel, health, and security insurance (enrollment upon completion of registration process);
  • ensure an appropriate emergency communications plan is in place; and
  • when applicable, obtain International Travel Risk Assessment and Advisory Committee (ITRAAC) approval.

Students working through an education abroad office will complete the above requirements through a program application process. All other students will complete these requirements through the Student International Travel Registry.

All student travelers are strongly encouraged to:

  • discuss independent travel plans with a University faculty and/or staff member prior to confirming travel plans;
  • address any health and safety concerns prior to departure (e.g., check-ups, immunizations);
  • register with the USDOS Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP); and
  • review the U.S. Department of State (USDOS), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and World Health Organization (WHO) resources for their planned destination.

Travel Approval

The University does not encourage travel to any country or location designated as Level 3 or 4 Travel Advisory by the U.S. Department of State (USDOS).

Pre-Approval of Student Travel

Any student planning to travel for University purposes, as well as any faculty or staff member planning to lead or travel with any University students, to a USDOS Level 3 or 4 Travel Advisory location must obtain approval from the International Travel Risk Assessment and Advisory Committee (ITRAAC). Units who wish to organize an education abroad opportunity in a USDOS Level 3 or 4 Travel Advisory location must receive ITRAAC approval prior to promotion. The University, in its sole discretion, may deny approval for international travel. In addition, travelers may be required to submit a request for permission to travel to locations or participate in programs that pose a specific health, safety, or security concern as indicated by authorities other than the U.S. Department of State, such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), non-U.S. government authorities (e.g., Australian or Canadian authorities), and University of Minnesota authorities.

Suspension of Travel

ITRAAC will review student travel currently in process when a significant health or safety concern arises regarding that travel including new and renewed USDOS Travel Advisories, travel warnings from the CDC or WHO, natural disasters, wars or other political disturbances, or other indicators of potential health or safety threats. The University, in its sole discretion, may withdraw approval for international travel at any time.

While Abroad

Students and faculty/staff/units traveling with students and/or organizing, promoting, or supporting student programs abroad must keep their 24/7 University emergency contact apprised of any changes to their address and contact information while abroad. Changes should be submitted as soon as possible and at a minimum within 24 hours of the change taking effect.

Students are held to Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code while abroad for University purposes in addition to any additional codes of conduct or behavior codes from the University unit organizing, promoting, or supporting travel or the education abroad office, affiliate, or host.

Students are not permitted to drive motor vehicles (including but not limited to electric or gas-powered scooters, motorbikes, motorcycles, and cars) while participating in an education abroad opportunity.

Faculty and staff may not drive vehicles in which students are passengers abroad without an approved exception from the Office of Risk Management and Insurance in advance of departure from the U.S. Faculty and staff who need transportation for students must either use public transportation or hire a local driver/vehicle.

Travel in Violation of this Policy

Students who choose to travel in violation of this policy are acting outside the control and responsibility of the University. If the travel is occurring during a required term, the student must take a leave of absence from the University, where possible. Students on leave of absence from the University are not eligible for financial aid, scholarship, travel stipends, and other University supports including credit. If a leave of absence is not an option, students who travel in violation of this policy risk losing their student status.

Exclusions

This policy does not apply to personal, non-University travel by students. For information on reimbursement for travel and faculty and staff travel requirements, see Administrative Policy: Traveling on University Business.

Reason for Policy

This policy endeavors to support education abroad by balancing the educational value of participation in international activities with the potential risks to the welfare and safety of students.

Procedures

Forms/Instructions

Appendices

Frequently Asked Questions

Contacts

Subject Contact Phone Fax/Email
Primary Contact Kevin Dostal Dauer 612-625-5107 dauer001@umn.edu
International Insurance Kevin Dostal Dauer 612-625-5107 dauer001@umn.edu
Non-education Abroad Office travel registration Kevin Dostal Dauer 612-625-5107 dauer001@umn.edu
Education Abroad Programs Offices Crookston: Learning Abroad Office 218-281-8442 218-281-8588
umclabrd@umn.edu
Duluth: International Programs and Services 218-726-8764 218-726-7352 studyabroad@d.umn.edu
Morris: Academic Center for Enrichment (ACE) 320-589-7014 ummace@morris.umn.edu
Twin Cities: Learning Abroad Center 612-626-9000 612-626-8009 (fax) UMabroad@umn.edu
Twin Cities: Carlson Global Institute 612-625-9361 cgi@umn.edu
Emergencies Abroad - Students University 24-7 international emergency phone 612-301-2255  
Legal Approval: International Agreements Don Amundson 612-624-4100 612-626-9624
amund015@umn.edu
Purchasing/Travel Services Beth Tapp 612-624-5255 612-624-3410
bethtapp@umn.edu
Office of Risk Management and Insurance Steve Pardoe 612-625-0062 612-624-7384
pardo012@umn.edu
Export Controls and travel to embargoed countries (including Cuba) Pat Briscoe 612-625-3860 bris0022@umn.edu

Definitions

University-Purpose Education Abroad Travel

Travel by students (both for credit and not for credit) that is affiliated with the University in any way. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • travel through a sponsored or affiliated program of a University education abroad office;
  • travel through unit-organized or promoted education abroad programs or activities.
  • travel to a University or unit exchange partner;
  • travel as part of, or in support of, a University research activity;
  • travel for University credit;
  • travel that fulfills a degree requirement (including internships, field studies, service learning, research);
  • travel that fulfills University contractual agreements;
  • professional development opportunities promoted by or supported by any University unit (including conference attendance);
  • travel for which you are acting as a representative of the University;
  • travel for University athletics;
  • travel supported by University funding including grant awards, scholarships, informal financial awards, and financial aid;
  • travel with, or organized by, a University faculty or staff member; and
  • travel with a University Campus Life Program.

Students traveling abroad for University purposes are held to this policy within the dates of their activity. Thus, they must follow this policy for any weekend or overnight travel taken during the activity. See definition of non-University travel below for more information on when this policy does not apply. Notified travel that fits any of the above criteria remains subject to this policy.

Campus Life Program (CLP)
A voluntary association comprised primarily of students whose activities, operations, and decision-making processes are directly governed by University academic or administrative departments and for which the University is ultimately responsible. Campus Life Programs (CLPs) must be affiliated with a University of Minnesota academic or administrative department and have a designated University faculty or staff advisor. The sponsoring or affiliated department, through the designated faculty or staff advisor, is responsible for ensuring compatibility between the group’s operations and actions and University interests. The CLP and its advisor must comply with all policies and procedures for Campus Life Programs, as identified within student group and University policies. University Recognized Organizations (UROs) at Morris are treated like CLPs for the purpose of this policy.
Education Abroad Program

An education abroad program at the University of Minnesota must meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • meets the definition for University-purpose education abroad travel within this policy;
  • meets the definition for “Organizing” a program within this policy;
  • some portion of the activity takes place outside of the continental United States, Alaska, or Hawaii;
  • has a defined start and end date;
  • has multiple student participants;
  • frequently engages participants onsite in group activities that share common learning or experience outcomes; and
  • participants are not pre-selected but are able to apply to participate (subject to defined eligibility requirements).
Faculty and Staff
Full and part-time faculty, including adjunct faculty and staff employees at the University. Graduate assistantship appointments and other appointments that require student status are not considered employees for the purpose of this policy. Where faculty and staff are also taking classes, they are faculty/staff when traveling for work and a student when traveling for education/coursework.
International Travel
Travel to any country (including Mexico and Canada) or territory outside the continental U.S. (such as American Samoa, Guam, Midway Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Wake Island) is considered international travel for purposes of this policy and CISI insurance.  Travel to Alaska and Hawaii is not considered international travel.
International Travel Risk Assessment and Advisory Committee (ITRAAC)
Committee responsible for reviewing all proposed student travel to USDOS Level 3 or 4 Travel Advisory locations and other locations that pose a specific health, safety, or security concern as indicated by authorities other than the U.S. Department of State, such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), non-U.S. government authorities (e.g., Australian or Canadian authorities), and University of Minnesota authorities. Committee has University-wide jurisdiction and its decisions apply uniformly to all campuses. Composed of the Associate Vice President and Dean for International Programs (Chair), the General Counsel, the Associate Dean of Graduate Education, and the Vice President for Health Sciences (officials may delegate their responsibilities to others within their areas of authority and consult other administrators, faculty, and experts as they choose). The Dean of the School of Public Health will serve on the committee whenever a decision is being considered to cancel or suspend an education abroad opportunity for public health reasons.
Non-University-Purpose Travel

Travel that is not related to the University in any way. This means travel that is not in support of University business, programs, or education and for which the University assumes no control or responsibility, and therefore this policy does not apply. Examples include:

  • Registered Student Organization travel (see definition below) that is not otherwise funded or supported by the University (see University-Purpose Education Abroad Travel above);
  • Personal travel such as vacation;
  • Personal travel before or after a University/education abroad activity.

Students traveling abroad for University purposes are held to this policy within the dates of their activity. Thus, any weekend or overnight travel taken during the University-purpose activity dates is subject to this policy.

Program Leader
Designated individual who oversees education abroad program and is physically present on-site for the duration of the program.  Every program must have at least one program leader who is a University of Minnesota faculty or staff member. Undergraduate students may not serve in the role of program leader.
Registered Student Organization (RSO)
A voluntary association comprised primarily of students that does not have a direct relationship to the University. Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) are independent and autonomous from the University and are responsible for managing their own affairs. RSOs are not units or agents of the University, and they should not represent themselves as such. Events and activities conducted by RSOs are not considered University sponsored under this policy. RSOs will comply with all policies and procedures for RSOs, as identified within student-group and University policies.
Sponsored or Affiliated Programs through Education Abroad Offices
Sponsored programs are study abroad experiences developed, administered, and evaluated by an education abroad office. Affiliated programs are administered by other institutions/organizations and approved by the University (students will receive support and services from the education abroad office, and credits will be posted as resident credit).
Students
Any undergraduate, graduate, or professional student enrolled in a degree program, credit bearing non-degree program, professional certificate, or executive education program at the University (including residents and fellows). Students traveling as part of assigned duties within an assistantship are considered students and not employees for the purpose of this policy.
Unit
A campus, college, department, program, research center, institute, business center, office, or other operating unit.
Unit-Notified Travel
Student education abroad travel that resulted from notification by a University faculty or staff member. Notification consists of sharing existing information about an opportunity or potential opportunity abroad that is not organized by or affiliated with the University of Minnesota. Notification requires disclaimer language found in this policy and should not specifically recommend the opportunity.
Unit-Supported Travel
Student education abroad travel supported by a University unit by encouraging, guiding, or enabling (through financial support, guaranteeing of credit, degree requirement fulfillment, or signing of forms or materials) the participation in an opportunity abroad that is not organized by the University of Minnesota. Units are required only to notify students of the student requirements in this policy.
Unit-Promoted Travel
Student education abroad travel promoted by a unit through the distribution and/or creation of specialized print, web, and other materials that contain information about a University of Minnesota affiliated opportunity or potential opportunity abroad that is not organized by the University of Minnesota where the intent is to encourage participation in that opportunity. Attaching the notification disclaimer to an existing communication piece does not mean the piece is being promoted.
Unit-Organized Travel

Student education abroad organized by a University of Minnesota unit. The unit created, developed, or maintained an opportunity abroad and the opportunity would not exist without such organization.  Examples of activities include, but are not limited to, developing an application or application criteria, setting up exchange criteria, pricing an opportunity, or booking ravel or on-site logistics on behalf of the student(s). Units are required to comply with the Procedure: Preparing for Student Travel and Education Abroad (Units) and, for all undergraduate student travel abroad, work through one of the University’s education abroad offices.

U.S. Department of State (USDOS) Travel Advisories

The USDOS has issued Travel Advisory Levels for all locations outside the United States. There are two types of Travel Advisories:

  • Country-wide Travel Advisories– each country in the world has a designated advisory level from 1 (Exercise Normal Precautions) to 4 (Do Not Travel).
  • Regional Travel Advisories– select countries have within-country advisories that pertain to localities or sub-sections where higher levels of vigilance are recommended.

Level 3 or 4 Travel Advisories are issued when long-term, protracted conditions make a country dangerous or unstable and lead the State Department to recommend that Americans avoid or consider the risk of travel to that country or location. They are also issued when the U.S. Government's ability to assist American citizens is constrained due to the closure of an embassy or consulate or because of a drawdown of its staff. See list of all Travel Advisories at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html.

Responsibilities

Associate Vice President and Dean for International Programs
Promote the global dimensions of teaching, research, and engagement across all colleges and campuses of the University. Chair the International Travel Risk Assessment and Advisory Committee (ITRAAC).
Director of International Health, Safety, and Compliance, GPS Alliance
Provide background information on specific health and safety risks and participate in the decision whether to cancel or suspend education abroad opportunities. Call a meeting of the International Travel Risk Assessment and Advisory Committee (ITRAAC). Notify unit and/or program directors when an educational opportunity has been suspended or canceled by the committee and when ITRAAC approves applications to travel to a USDOS Level 3 or 4 Travel Advisory location or other locations that pose a specific health, safety, or security concern as indicated by authorities other than the U.S. Department of State, such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), non-U.S. government authorities (e.g., Australian or Canadian authorities), and University of Minnesota authorities. A member of the Director's staff will provide assistance to ITRAAC applicants and facilitate ITRAAC reviews of applications.
Education Abroad Offices
Ensure compliance with University policy for all programs and activities they support. Serve as a resource to units, faculty, and staff planning international activities.
The Following are the Education Abroad Offices:
Export Controls Officer and Designated Cuba Representative
Review and approve proposed student travel to embargoed countries and work with travelers to apply for any licenses needed for U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba. Advise on any restrictions that may apply during travel to embargoed countries.
Faculty, Staff, and Units Supporting, Promoting, or Organizing Student Travel Abroad
Ensure compliance with University policy before and during organizing or promoting travel or leading student travel abroad.
International Travel Risk Assessment and Advisory Committee (ITRAAC)
Determine when to cancel or suspend education abroad opportunities because of significant health or safety risks to students at any time. In the members' absence, appoint alternates to serve on the ITRAAC. Make exceptions to suspension of education abroad opportunities and approve applications for travel to USDOS Level 3 or 4 Travel Advisory locations or other locations that pose a specific health, safety, or security concern as indicated by authorities other than the U.S. Department of State, such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), non-U.S. government authorities (e.g., Australian or Canadian authorities), and University of Minnesota authorities on a case-by-case basis.
Office of General Counsel (OGC)
Create and approve the student release and waiver. Serve on the International Travel Risk Assessment and Advisory Committee (ITRAAC). Work with the International Health, Safety, and Compliance Director to review mandatory health and safety orientation, assist faculty and staff with related questions and resources while abroad.
Office of Risk Management and Insurance (ORM)
Regularly review and approve the University's mandatory international travel, health, and security insurance. Work with the International Health, Safety, and Compliance Director to review mandatory health and safety orientation and assist faculty and staff with related questions and resources while abroad.
Purchasing/Travel Services
Advise University faculty and staff on appropriate contracting procedures for activities involving travel or purchasing. Assists those traveling for University purposes on a variety of travel items. Ensure the integrity, accountability, and efficiency of purchasing processes.
Students
Complete the requirements detailed in this policy and procedures before departure on international travel. Take independent measures to promote one's own safety, the safety of fellow travelers, and the safety of the broader University community including consulting with experts on the region of travel, as appropriate. Abide by the University Student Code of Conduct while abroad.
24/7 Emergency Contacts
Be available to support the traveler 24/7 during their education abroad opportunity and collaborate with and report all traveler health and safety incidents to the International Health, Safety, and Compliance (IHSC) team. More details can be found at: http://global.umn.edu/travel/emergency/24_7_contact.html

Related Information

Board of Regents Policies

Administrative Policies

Other Policies

Related Websites

History

Amended:
June 2019 - Comprehensive Review. Major revision.

1. Adds four definitions of the level of program facilitation (notify, support, promote, organize) including requirements of units pending their level of support.
2. Includes an undergraduate requirement of working through an education abroad office that the requirements only to for-credit programs.
3. Requirements units organizing education abroad opportunities to implement a travel tracking system for students doing independent travel during program dates.
4. Specifies that program leaders must receive health and safety training within 12 months of the start of their program (which has already been the standard practice.)
5. Defines the use of the Travel Registry for students not working through an education abroad office.
6. Updates the term label from Travel Warning language to Travel Advisory language.

Amended:
October 2014 - 1. Adds the involvement of the collegiate dean(s) in any situation where ITRAAC is considering a rejection (or request to delay travel) of an application submitted by a graduate student. 2. Explicitly notes the role of the Vice President for Academic Affairs when consensus cannot be reached. 3. Standardizes processes carried out the education abroad offices across the University system. 4. Clarifies the pre-travel and program planning requirements for units and students. 5. Adds a new requirement that units may not promote or organize an education abroad opportunity for undergraduates unless they work through an education abroad office. Title changed from Education Abroad Opportunities: Addressing Health and Safety Risks to Student Travel and Education Abroad: Health and Safety
Amended:
January 2009 - Statement and Responsibilities clarified, Updated Contacts section, Updated procedures, and added Appendix: International Insurance Eligibility Requirements.
Amended:
January 2007 - Statement, definitions and responsibilities and procedures rewritten.
Effective:
February 2004
Policy published publicly
April 2005
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