14.18 Coronavirus Travel Authorization

Last Revised Date
Monday, September 14, 2020 - 12:31 pm

Policy Information

Policy Number: 14.18 Effective Date: 08/03/2020
Responsible Unit: Accounts Payable - Travel Last Revised Date: 09/14/2020
Email: fso_travel_pay@fso.arizona.edu Phone: 520-621-9097

Purpose and Summary

In collaboration with the Office of the Provost, Research Innovation & Impact (RII), UA Global, Financial Services and University Senior Leadership, the following guidelines are provided to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), while the University conducts essential academic and business travel. Domestic out-of-state and international travel is restricted unless deemed essential and approved by Senior Leadership. The following guidelines are designed to assist travelers on navigating business during the Coronavirus pandemic. The University continues to encourage the use of alternatives for virtual meetings, such as Zoom, Skype, Go to Meeting, etc.

Scope

This policy applies to all University locations and units, including all University extensions, satellite locations, and off-site campus units, both domestic and international.

Policy

In-State Travel

  1. In-State travel to conduct institutional research or meetings is currently not-restricted although, travelers should monitor the Arizona Department of Health for Coronavirus reported outbreaks and follow CDC guidelines while traveling.

Domestic Out-of-State Travel

  1. University Departments may deem travel "essential" if one or more of the following will occur, should the travel be cancelled or significantly delayed:
    1. Loss of grant or contract funding, failure to meet required deadlines/deliverables, and/or loss of ability to gather time-sensitive, seasonal data
    2. Significant damage to relationship with institutional partner/community agency
    3. Significant delay or negative impact on career progression for assistant professors/early career researcher
    4. Significant delay in academic progress, degree completion, or graduation
    5. Significance of research for understanding and mitigating the public health, economic, and social consequences of the Coronavirus pandemic
  2. Travel for the following scenarios will not be approved:
    • Conferences or meetings, without a sponsor memo that demonstrates a requirement.
    • Professional development that cannot be conducted remotely.

Supplemental Travel Policy

  1. All domestic travelers must refer to CDC guidance regarding domestic travel safety.
  2. Travelers must understand the associated symptoms of Coronavirus and agree to cancel their travel if they begin to experience symptoms prior to departure.
  3. It is the responsibility of every individual conducting travel on behalf of the University, to ensure they do not begin or continue with their travel if they are experiencing symptoms associated with Coronavirus. For a list of updated Coronavirus symptoms please refer to the CDC website.
  4. Anyone traveling out-of-state by any means other than a personal vehicle are strongly encouraged to self-quarantine for 14 days after returning to Arizona and must not return to campus during those 14 days. Self-quarantine upon return from travel will be at the traveler's expense.
  5. Personal travel must not be included with business travel to extend the travel event and may not include family members to avoid potential spread of the Coronavirus.
  6. University Travel Authorizations are mandatory. Non-compliance may result in the traveler not being reimbursed for expenses, or disciplinary action when placing the University or community at an increased risk during the Coronavirus pandemic.
  7. The University of Arizona's presence in a community should not put that community or our employees at a greater risk. The traveler should evaluate health conditions, hospital capacity, number of reported cases, as well as curfews and potential violence in the area, prior to traveling to any destination.
  8. Travelers who feel pressured due to research commitments may seek guidance from Human Resources or Office of Institutional Equity.

Procedures

Out-of-State Travel for Research

  1. Traveler must have an approved Research Innovation & Impact (RII) restart checklist, and approval of applicable compliance protocols.
  2. Travel must document pandemic conditions and restrictions at the research site(s) as well as along travel routes and attest in writing that they have verified they can conduct the research desired at the time of travel. Should the sites to be visited be in a substantially different phase of re-opening or community at risk, additional documentation, criteria, and restrictions for travel approval may apply.

Process:

  1. The traveler completes a Coronavirus Domestic Travel Questionnaire and emails to the Senior Leadership of the unit describing how the travel meets the University criteria to be designated as essential travel.
    1. Describe how the proposed travel meets one or more of the Domestic out of state essential travel requirements.
      1. Details must include a Coronavirus mitigation plan, including details on travel destination, mode of transportation, increased number of Coronavirus cases at the destination of travel, any travel restrictions if applicable, medical care accessibility, and traveler's ability to 14-day self-quarantine upon return at the traveler's expense.
  2. The traveler should work with their department head and college to document the Coronavirus mitigation plan.
  3. Once approved by the Department Head and Dean/designee, forward completed questionnaire along with all approvals to Research Innovation & Impact for review.
  4. Research Innovation & Impact will evaluate the request and approve or deny the travel and forward to the Office of the Provost.
  5. Upon approval by the Office of the Provost, traveler or business office will initiate and route a Travel Authorization via Adobe Sign prior to travel departure, and attach the approval(s) of essential travel that includes senior leadership approval.

Out-of-State Travel for Non-Research

Process:

  1. The traveler completes a Coronavirus Domestic Travel Questionnaire and emails to the Senior Leadership of the unit describing how the travel meets the University criteria to be designated as essential travel.
    1. Describe how the proposed travel meets one or more of the Domestic out of state essential travel requirements.
      1. Details must include a Coronavirus mitigation plan, including details on travel destination, mode of transportation, increased number of Coronavirus cases at the destination of travel, any travel restrictions if applicable, medical care accessibility, and traveler's ability to 14-day self-quarantine upon return at the traveler's expense.
  2. The travel will be reviewed by the appropriate Senior Leadership, who will evaluate the risk to the traveler and approve/deny the travel.
  3. Senior Leadership will email the traveler the final decision and determination of approval or denial of the travel event.
  4. Once the approval is received, traveler or the business office will initiate and route a Travel Authorization via Adobe Sign prior to travel departure and attach the approval(s) of essential travel that includes senior leadership approval.

International Travel for Research

COVID-19 has brought about fundamental changes to international travel. Please see the CDC's Travel Guidelines website and the Department of State's COVID-19 Travel Information page for information about international travel risks and restrictions. Anyone traveling internationally is strongly urged to follow CDC guidance on returning from international travel. Travelers should also be aware that foreign nationals may be barred entry back into the United States. Please see the CDC announcement on travelers prohibited from entry to the U.S. for more information.

  1. Please visit the University International Travel Registry for updates on International business or academic travel.

Process:

  1. Traveler completes a Research Innovation & Impact restart checklist and obtains RII approval for the checklist as well as applicable compliance protocols.
  2. Traveler registers trip in the University Global Travel Registry and provides documentation justifying why the trip should be considered essential University travel. Inclusive in the registration process, travelers complete a Coronavirus supplemental travel questionnaire with questions that pertain to mitigating risk while traveling during the Coronavirus pandemic.
  3. UA Global composes a travel risk analysis (including Coronavirus portal information and identify high risk location(s) inclusive of all details from step 1) and sends it to the Department Head and the International Travel Safety Oversight Committee (ITSOC).
  4. If after receiving the travel risk analysis, the department head agrees to support the travel, the Department forwards all travel documentation listed above to the College Dean (or a dean's appointee) for their approval/denial.
  5. The College Dean (or a dean's appointee) notifies UA Global of their decision. If approved, UA Global forwards the travel information to Research Innovation & Impact for review.
  6. Research Innovation & Impact evaluates the request and approves or denies the travel and alerts UA Global.
  7. UA Global documents an Executive Summary of the trip and any ITSOC recommendations and sends to the Senior Vice President and/or Office of the Provost with all documentation for final approval or denial of the travel request.
  8. Travel or business office initiates and routes a Travel Authorization via Adobe Sign, prior to travel departure.

International Travel for Non-Research

Process:

  1. Traveler registers trip in the University Global Travel Registry and provides documentation justifying why the trip should be considered essential University travel. Inclusive in the registration process, travelers will complete a Coronavirus supplemental travel questionnaire with questions that pertain to mitigating risk while traveling during the Coronavirus pandemic.
  2. UA Global will compose a travel risk analysis (including Coronavirus portal information and identify high risk location(s) inclusive of all details from step 1) to the Department Head and the International Travel Safety Oversight Committee (ITSOC).
  3. If the Department Head agrees to support the travel, the department will forward the information to the College Dean (or a dean's appointee) for their approval/denial.
  4. The College Dean (or a dean's appointee) notifies UA Global of their decision. If approved, UA Global documents an Executive Summary of the trip and any ITSOC recommendations and sends it to the Senior Vice President and/or Office of the Provost with all documentation for final approval or denial of the travel request.
  5. Traveler or business office initiates and routes a Travel Authorization via Adobe Sign, prior to travel departure.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Does this travel policy apply to students returning to the fall semester?
    No, this policy is to assist employees, Designated Campus Colleagues (DCCs) and student employees traveling on University business during the Coronavirus pandemic. Students returning to campus should follow the campus reentry plan.
     
  2. If the traveler neglects to obtain approval to travel during the Coronavirus pandemic, can they still be reimbursed?
    No, it is the discretion of University Senior Leadership to deny a travel reimbursement if guidelines to mitigate travel during the Coronavirus pandemic are not met by the traveler. Approval by a Dean/Department Head along with an exception memo maybe required to disburse payment.
     
  3. Can an employee be reimbursed travel mileage to travel to/from campus to pick up remote work essentials such as mail, office supplies, etc.?
    No. Travel to and from an employee's duty post are considered commuting to the workplace and remain an unallowable expense. Employee should consider an in-person workday(s) to navigate work that cannot be performed remotely and maintain workplace protective measures.
     
  4. If the travel dates change or the travel is cancelled, are there any requirements?
    Yes, traveler or business office must notify Financial Services via email at fso_travel_pay@fso.arizona.edu with any changes in travel itineraries to ensure University records are maintained. If travel is international, the traveler must also alert UA Global Travel of the change and they will update the itinerary in the UA Global Travel Registry.
     
  5. Is the business office able to submit the Travel Authorization form prior to receiving final senior leadership approval?
    The travel is not considered "authorized" unless fully approved by senior leadership; therefore, obtaining approval from internal departmental senior leadership and institutional senior leadership (international) is advisable prior to submitting the Travel Authorization and supporting documentation during the Coronavirus pandemic.
     
  6. If the traveler or business office forgets to attach senior leadership approval(s) for the travel before routing the Travel Authorization via Adobe Sign, will it automatically be cancelled by Financial Services?
    The travel is not considered "authorized" unless fully approved by senior leadership; therefore, obtaining approval from internal departmental senior leadership and institutional senior leadership (international) is advisable prior to submitting the Travel Authorization and supporting documentation during the Coronavirus pandemic. If these details are not included, Financial Services will follow up with the business office to ensure the trip is deemed essential and has the appropriate approval to ensure the reimbursement goes smoothly.
     
  7. Is an employee required to submit a Travel Authorization when engaging in personal travel?
    The University does not require employees to complete a Travel Authorization when traveling on personal business since there is no expense to the University. It is highly recommended that the employee discuss any out-of-state travel with their direct supervisor to determine if the individual needs to self-quarantine upon return, or if their job duties are essential to the unit how to mitigate any exposure to the unit. The University encourages all employees to follow CDC Guidelines when conducting personal travel.
     
  8. Can multiple employees travel in one vehicle to conduct research or do we have to drive separately?
    Travel by personal/motor pool vehicle is ideal for one person per vehicle in order to meet social distancing and CDC guidelines and avoid 14-day self-quarantine. If the supervisor deems multiple employees must travel in a personal/motor pool vehicle, each traveler should follow CDC guidelines and the vehicle must have adequate supplies such as hand sanitizers, facial masks, disinfectant spray/wipes, etc., in order to reduce the risk of exposure. Facial masks must always be worn while multiple employees are traveling in the same vehicle. A supervisor may deem a 14-day self-quarantine is required if employees did not follow proper CDC guidelines.
     
  9. Is a Travel Authorization required to attend a virtual conference when expenses will be incurred for the conference fees?
    No, a Travel Authorization is not required since the employee is not traveling 35 miles from their duty post. A Travel Authorization number is not required to pay for or reimburse conference registration fees or other expenses. Departments are welcome to utilize the Travel Authorization form if it is beneficial for internal processes. If doing so, please indicate "virtual/expense tracking" in the exception box since there is no actual travel occurring.

Arizona Department of Health Services
Research Innovation & Impact
UA Global University of Arizona Global Travel Registry
International Travel COVID-19 Travel Advice
Risk Management Considerations of International Travel
Center for Disease Control and Prevention Travel guidance
Travel - Coronavirus Domestic Questionnaire

* Please note that sections titled Frequently Asked Questions and Related Information are provided solely for the convenience of users and are not part of the official University policy.