COVID-19 travel update for the McMaster community
On October 21, 2021, Global Affairs Canada lifted the blanket advisory against all international non-essential travel for fully vaccinated Canadians. However, the government continues to advise caution when planning international trips. Travel still includes inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 and travelers are advised to stay informed of COVID-19 activity at their destination, including any travel restrictions or public health mandates.
What does this mean for McMaster?
As a result of this change, McMaster has reviewed its guidance for university-related travel. For more details about university-related travel for undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty and staff, please visit the Travel Safety and Planning page on McMaster’s HR website.
Field trips, research activities and student placements
These activities continue to be managed through Risk Management Manual (RMM) #801. As a temporary measure, advance approval from the Provost and AVP International will be required for field trips, research activities and student placements that require any international travel. This applies to all countries from Level 1 (L1) to Level 4 (L4) risk as defined by Global Affairs Canada. This approval process will remain in place for the balance of the Fall 2021 term and will be reassessed for the Winter 2022 term.
Other university-related travel, including conferences
Other university-related travel, including conferences (for faculty, staff or students), falls outside the scope of RMM #801. Faculty travelling internationally (e.g., for a conference) do not require approval, but in advance of travelling must inform their Chair of their plans including the timeline and destination, any potential travel risks, and a contact number in case of emergency. Staff travelling internationally on university-related business require approval from their supervisor and must also provide details of their travel plans and an emergency contact number.
Undergraduate and graduate student travel, outside of placements or research activities/field trips, requires approval from their supervisor or Chair.
What do I need to consider if I’m travelling internationally on university-related business?
- It is important to check travel advisories before leaving and during your trip. Global Affairs Canada provides updated information for Canadians.
- The Canadian travel advisory has only changed for those who are fully vaccinated. Confirm specific vaccination rules for your destination as they vary by country and can change with little notice.
- Check the provincial or territorial requirements when travelling within Canada for restrictions and quarantine requirements.
- Consider that in some countries, as well as in parts of Canada, healthcare systems may be restricting access to medical care and treatments due to COVID-19 demands.
- Review your travel and health insurance coverage to make yourself aware of any potential restrictions. Some plans may have time limits for travel, a maximum dollar amount for reimbursement, or exclusions that may void your travel medical coverage such as pandemics or existing travel advisories.
- For faculty and staff who are enrolled in McMaster’s Extended Health Care plan, SunLife Emergency Travel Assistance coverage continues to be in place. Please review your individual coverage to check for any restrictions.