Travel and Study Abroad
Cal Poly continues to urge all students, faculty and staff to consider canceling plans for non-essential domestic travel.
Our first and most important priorities are the well-being and safety of our community members. We want to share facts, to help decrease any feelings of anxiety or panic that our community may be experiencing.
Traveling During Academic Breaks
Please use these travel recommendations below to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to your family, friends and supporters at home, and others around you while you travel.
In addition, California has issued a travel advisory for non-essential travel. California residents are encouraged to stay home or in their region and avoid non-essential travel to other states or countries. Residents who travel out of state should self-quarantine for 14 days after returning home.
Have a Plan
Consider leaving town early
If you are asymptomatic, have all virtual courses and no in-person commitments (such as a job), you may want to consider voluntarily returning to your permanent residence at your earliest convenience. University Housing recently sent residential students instructions about the early check-out process. Moving bins will be placed around the residence halls to help if you choose to leave.
Get tested on-campus before leaving
Students who are asymptomatic can sign up for the ongoing testing by following the instructions online here. Please make sure you opt to receive your test results via text message or email when you make your appointment to receive your results directly. Do not travel until you receive your test results. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please contact Campus Health and Wellbeing (CHW) for further evaluation immediately. Students who are under any public health orders (isolation or quarantine) should not go to the PAC for asymptomatic testing, as they will be contacted directly by CHW for testing instead.
Employees can also schedule an on-campus test. See below for off-campus testing options.
Get tested off-campus before leaving
An alternate option for testing is to visit one of SLO County’s free testing sites by making an appointment online here; the SLO Veteran’s Hall is the closest site to campus. Again, do not travel until you receive your test results.
Limit your activities and interactions to essential functions only
Ideally you should limit your activities and interactions to essential functions only for 14 days prior to going out of town. For some, that may be difficult to do with school and work obligations. If that is the case, be very diligent about mask wearing, washing hands, and physical distancing from anyone that is not in your household.
Avoid dinners, gatherings, parties and events, even if they are outside.
Take as many steps as possible to avoid bringing COVID-19 home to your family, friends or those at higher risk, like seniors.
Find out how COVID-19 is impacting your travel destination
Review the regulations governing travel to your destination. Some states require the completion of a travelers’ form prior to arrival, along with specific restrictions and testing requirements after arrival.
Do not participate in gatherings
Do not participate in gatherings (like parties) and other in-person events with those outside of your household to reduce the risk of catching COVID-19 before you travel.
COVID-19 most commonly spreads during close contact
- People who are physically near (within 6 feet) a person with COVID-19 or have direct contact with that person are at greatest risk of infection.
- When people with COVID-19 cough, sneeze, sing, talk, or breathe they produce respiratory droplets. These droplets can range in size from larger droplets (some of which are visible) to smaller droplets. Small droplets can also form particles when they dry very quickly in the airstream.
- Infections occur mainly through exposure to respiratory droplets when a person is in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
- Respiratory droplets cause infection when they are inhaled or deposited on mucous membranes, such as those that line the inside of the nose and mouth.
- As the respiratory droplets travel further from the person with COVID-19, the concentration of these droplets decreases. Larger droplets fall out of the air due to gravity. Smaller droplets and particles spread apart in the air.
- With passing time, the amount of infectious virus in respiratory droplets also decreases.
COVID-19 can sometimes be spread by airborne transmission
- Some infections can be spread by exposure to virus in small droplets and particles that can linger in the air for minutes to hours. These viruses may be able to infect people who are further than 6 feet away from the person who is infected or after that person has left the space.
- This kind of spread is referred to as airborne transmission and is an important way that infections like tuberculosis, measles, and chicken pox are spread.
- There is evidence that under certain conditions, people with COVID-19 seem to have infected others who were more than 6 feet away. These transmissions occurred within enclosed spaces that had inadequate ventilation. Sometimes the infected person was breathing heavily, for example while singing or exercising.
- Under these circumstances, scientists believe that the amount of infectious smaller droplet and particles produced by the people with COVID-19 became concentrated enough to spread the virus to other people. The people who were infected were in the same space during the same time or shortly after the person with COVID-19 had left.
- Available data indicate that it is much more common for the virus that causes COVID-19 to spread through close contact with a person who has COVID-19 than through airborne transmission.
Avoid contact with anyone who may be sick
Limit close contact with anyone outside of your household – and with anyone who may be sick. Close interaction with persons outside immediate household present increased opportunities for infection.
COVID-19 spreads mainly through close contact from person to person, including between people who are physically near each other (within about 6 feet). People who are infected but do not show symptoms can also spread the virus to others. Cases of reinfection with COVID-19 have been reported but are rare.
Get your free flu shot at the health center before you leave
Share your travel plans
Before you travel, let those around you know what your travel plans are so they can prepare accordingly.
Consider the following when sharing your plan:
- How is COVID-19 impacting your travel destination?
Traveling to an area with high rates of infection means you are at greater risk of getting infected and spreading the virus to others.
- Do you live with someone who might be at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19?
Remember that if you get infected before or during travel, you can spread the virus to loved ones – even if you don’t have symptoms.
- Are you at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19?
Anyone can get ill from COVID-19, but older adults and people of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness.
Know your status
If your test is negative on Nov. 20, you can still develop COVID-19 the next day. COVID-19 can incubate two to 14 days after your exposure to someone who has it. A negative test does not assure you that you will not bring COVID-19 home, so know your status before you leave.
If you have COVID-19 or have been quarantined by county health officials and haven’t been cleared prior to your departure, do not travel home. We strongly recommend students remain in their current residential location if they are under a county public health order to isolate or quarantine. Please visit the Student Quarantine and Isolation page for additional guidance.
Do not travel if you are sick
If you have COVID-19 or have been quarantined by county health officials and haven’t been cleared prior to your departure, do not travel home. We strongly recommend students remain in their current residential location if they are under a county public health order to isolate or quarantine.
Additionally, avoid contact with anyone who is sick. People who are sick, have recently tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, or have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 should delay travel.
Learn when and for how long to delay travel to avoid spreading COVID-19.
While you are Traveling
- Wear your mask at all times in public – this includes planes, buses, trains and other vehicles with others present.
- Avoid ridesharing. If you are healthy and choose to share a ride, do so safely: wear a face mask at all times, open the car windows, keep the middle seat open, and wash/sanitize your hands before and after the ride. Students under quarantine or isolation orders should under no circumstances share rides with anyone or use public transportation.
- Stay at least 6 feet apart from other travelers whenever possible.
- Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol before eating or immediately after touching common surfaces.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible.
Before you Return to Cal Poly
- Avoid gatherings with people outside of your immediate household during the academic break.
- Wear your mask and maintain physical distance when interacting with those outside of your household. Be mindful of situations where it may harder to keep distance.
- Get tested before your arrival on campus. Students living on campus or accessing campus for any reason (in-person classes, work, services, etc) are required to submit proof of a negative test result 3-7 days prior to their arrival on campus.
- Check your Cal Poly email often for additional messages about mandatory testing requirements upon your return to the San Luis Obispo area.
- Develop a plan to keep you and others healthy when traveling to return to campus.
University Travel Guidelines
Please visit the university's Administration and Finance website for details regarding travel guidelines and reimbursement of expenses related to canceled travel.
CSU Travel Advisories
The CSU Chancellor’s Office has extended all international and non-essential domestic travel restrictions through June 30, 2021 for all CSU campuses and associated auxiliary organizations. This includes all registered student organizations (RSO).
Any travel exception must be routed to the appropriate vice president with final approval by the university president and will only be made when compelling reasons are given that support the academic and co-curricular mission of the campus.
The U.S. State Department continues to maintain a Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory applicable to international travel, which is the highest warning level and reflects a greater likelihood of life-threatening risks.
International Center Updates
Cal Poly has suspended all current study abroad programs worldwide. Students and faculty currently abroad have been asked to make immediate plans to return to the U.S. Exceptions to this suspension have been considered for students who have medical reasons for the request.
For the latest updates, please visit the International Center website.
For international travel advisories visit the U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories website or the CDC Travel Health Notices page.
Travel Advisories FAQs
What should students, faculty or staff do if they return from an affected area?
Cal Poly is following recommended guidance from the County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Department to minimize our community’s exposure risk. The county has advised that travelers refrain from returning to Cal Poly's campus for 14 days after international travel. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends self-quarantine for 14 days from the time you left the area. Please do not return to campus during this time and discuss your work situation with your supervisor before returning.
In addition, we strongly advise against international travel to minimize the risk of exposure and/or disruption of course work.
The CDC also strongly advises that you take the following precautions if you travel to any affected area:
- Practice social distancing - this includes not taking public transportation, taxis or ride-shares.
- Take your temperature with a thermometer two times per day and monitor for fever.
- Watch for cough or difficulty breathing.
- Stay home and avoid contact with others.
- Avoid crowded places (such as shopping centers and movie theaters) and limit your activities in public.
- Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet or 2 meters).
I have university-related travel planned. What should I do?
Faculty and staff who were to travel abroad on university business not deemed essential must cancel plans for international travel immediately. International insurance coverage and fees will be reversed.
Campus community members who do plan to travel internationally for non-university matters are asked to notify the campus where and when they plan to go by completing this online form: https://baseline.campuslabs.com/cpsuslo/studenttravelspring2020.
I feel fine. Why should I take these precautions?
Please remember that although you may feel healthy, our campus community includes individuals with compromised immunities who are counting on the diligence of others to help prevent the spread of illness. Thank you for taking care to keep all of our community members safe.
Can I travel if I'm on county-mandated orders?
If a student in on-campus isolation or quarantine insists on traveling home, they must make a telehealth appointment with a medical provider at Campus Health and Wellbeing to discuss the risks.
Any student on a county-mandated order must further comply with the following:
- Absolutely no travel using public transportation (bus, train, airplane, ride-share, Uber, etc.).
- Travel only via private car with no stops and no other passengers.
- Family may transport the student if they are aware and accept the increased risk.
- Student must isolate and quarantine at their destination (private room and private bathroom).
- Must accept responsibility of increased infectious risk to family, destination occupants.
- Adhere strictly to public health guidelines (wear mask, physical distance, etc.).
For additional travel guidelines, please visit the Travel and Study Abroad page.
Will my student be able to stay on campus if they are on county-mandated isolation/quarantine orders? Will they be charged for the extra days?
Residential students who are on county-mandated isolation or quarantine at the end of in-person term (Nov. 20) will continue to be supported by our university support team, which coordinates moving students from their permanent housing assignment on campus to apartments throughout the university housing system. Students will not be charged for the additional time in on-campus housing.
Students are confined to a self-contained living unit with bathrooms, kitchen and living space during the isolation or quarantine period, as prescribed by the San Luis Obispo County Department of Public Health.
Students living off-campus on county-mandated isolation/quarantine should follow all county public health guidance.