COVID-19 Employee Travel – UConn Health

April 13, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

Background.  On March 19, Governor Lamont modified Connecticut’s rules that had previously required those who traveled into Connecticut from out-of-state to quarantine, or demonstrate a negative PCR test result within a certain time-frame; those travel rules became permissive rather than mandatory for the general community (though not for healthcare facilities).  On April 2, the CDC issued new recommendations relating to travel testing and quarantine.  Specifically, the CDC now recommends that fully-vaccinated travelers do not need to self-quarantine or be tested before or after domestic travel, unless their destination requires it. 

Based on these recommendations, UConn Health is updating its Out-of-State Travel Guideline.

This guideline applies to all travel outside of Connecticut, whether traveling for business or personal reasons.  Employees who have approval to telecommute full-time and therefore do not anticipate returning to any UConn facilities for at least two weeks after returning from planned travel are not subject to these guidelines.

All Employees

  • Notice to HR.  All employees must notify Human Resources and fill out UConn Health’s travel form before any out-of-state travel lasting more than 24 hours. The travel forms are available on the HR website: https://hr.uconn.edu/employee-domestic-travel-uconn-health/.
    • This notice requirement applies to employees traveling out-of-state by whatever mode, whether domestically or internationally, and regardless of vaccination status.
    • All existing approvals and other rules regarding requests to travel on UConn-related business will continue without change.

Domestic Travel - Fully Vaccinated Employees & Those with a Recent History of COVID-19

  • Definitions. For purposes of this guideline:
    • Fully vaccinated” means at least 2 weeks after the 2nd dose for the Pfizer/Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, or at least 2 weeks after the single dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine; and
    • Recent history of COVID-19” means testing positive for or being diagnosed with SARS CoV-2 within the past 90 days.
  • No Quarantine or Testing Required.  Employees who are fully vaccinated or who have a recent history of COVID-19 at the time of their departure for out-of-state travel are not required to self-quarantine or test upon return to Connecticut after out-of-state travel within the United States.  Such employees are able to return-to-work without delay upon return to the state.

Domestic Travel - Employees who are Not Fully Vaccinated & Do Not have a Recent History of COVID-19

  • Quarantine and Testing Protocols Remain.  Employees who are not fully vaccinated or do not have a recent history of COVID-19, as those terms are defined above, at the time of their travel departure will continue to be subject to existing quarantine and testing protocols, specifically:
    • Such employees will undergo a SARS-CoV-2 RNA PCR test within 48 hours after return from travel.  This test must be ordered through the UConn Health COVID-19 Call Center.  Employees will be required to quarantine from work until the result of this first test is available.
      • If an employee is unable to undergo testing within 48 hours after return, testing must be performed prior to return to work.
    • If this first test is negative, the employee will be able to return to work, and will be retested 5-7 days following return from travel.
    • Even if initial testing is negative, during the first 7 days upon return from travel employees will be required to continue to observe the standard COVID-19 precautions, including wearing a UConn Health-issued mask at all times while in UConn Health facilities and self-monitoring for symptoms.  In addition, employees should observe the heightened precautions of eating alone, away from other employees, and limiting time spent in close proximity with others. Individuals who develop any symptoms should promptly leave work and contact the COVID-19 Call Center to schedule SARS-CoV-2 testing.
    • Any individual who tests positive during his or her return from travel testing will be required to isolate in accordance with CDC guidance under the direction of the COVID-19 Call Center.
  • Note:  UConn Health will move to less-invasive anterior nares sample collection for employee travel testing, rather than using nasopharyngeal collection.
  • Exception:  Any travel for less than 24 hours is not considered significant enough to test or quarantine.  Employees can return to work and self-monitor for fever or symptoms of COVID-19 like any other employee.

International Travel – All Employees

  • Before Departure to the U.S.  All air travelers coming from abroad, regardless of vaccination status, may be required to have a negative SARS-CoV-2 viral test or documentation or recover from COVID-19 before they board a flight to the United States.
  • Testing Upon Return to the U.S.  Employees returning from traveling abroad will be required to undergo SARS-CoV-2 viral testing:
    • Fully-vaccinated employees & those with a recent history of COVID-19
      • Such employees will undergo a SARS-CoV-2 RNA PCR test 3-5 days after return from travel.  This test must be ordered through the UConn Health COVID-19 Call Center.  If an employee is unable to undergo testing within this timeframe, testing must be performed prior to return to work.
      • Fully-vaccinated employees and those with a recent history of COVID-19 do not need to self-quarantine while awaiting the results of this test; they may return to work without delay.
    • Employees who are not fully vaccinated & do not have a recent history of COVID-19
      • Such employees will follow the existing quarantine and testing protocols outlined above for Domestic Travel associated with employees who are not fully vaccinated and do not have a recent history of COVID-19.

Employees with Impaired Immune Systems

While the COVID-19 vaccines are considered safe for people who are immunocompromised, there is limited data on vaccine protection in some groups of individuals who are immunocompromised.   Such employees with immunocompromising conditions should call the COVID-19 Call Center prior to travel for additional guidance, even if they have been fully vaccinated, to discuss the safest return-to-work plan based on their individual circumstances.

Additional Considerations

  • Employees traveling outside of their local community should still consider that travel increases the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 to others. The CDC, DPH and UConn Health continue to discourage any non-essential travel.
  • All employees – including those who are fully vaccinated – should still follow DPH’s and CDC’s recommendations for traveling safely including wearing a well-fitting mask over your nose and mouth, staying at least 6 feet away from others and avoiding crowds, and washing your hands or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer frequently.
  • After returning from travel, all employees must continue to self-monitor for fever or symptoms of COVID-19 and stay at home and get tested if they experience any symptoms.

9/21/20 – Updated Travel and Return to Work Guidance

September 21, 2020

Updated Travel and Return to Work Guidance

The Governor issued Executive Order 9C, effective September 18, 2020, requiring individuals to self-quarantine following travel to states with a high COVID-19 positivity rate (Affected States) and countries listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with a Level 3 Travel Advisory (Affected Countries). To implement the Executive Order UConn Health has updated its travel guidance on domestic and international travel and issues the following guidance:

Any employee of UConn Health that travels for personal reasons unrelated to their work at UConn Health, including but not limited to vacation, wedding, or personal business to an Affected State[1] or an Affected Country[2] and is present for twenty-four (24) hours or more shall be required to do the following:

Domestic Travel to an Affected State

  • You are required to notify Human Resources and fill out UConn Health’s travel form for out-of-state domestic travel to an Affected State which includes your dates of travel and the date you are scheduled to return to work Domestic Travel Form HR Absence Management Fax: 860-679-4660;
  • You are required to schedule a test for COVID-19 through the COVID Call Center (860-679-3199) as soon as possible following your return date to Connecticut and prior to your return work. You will be required to self-quarantine from your return and until you receive and file a negative COVID-19 test result. This test will be at the employee’s own expense;
  • Employees are required to complete State of Connecticut Travel Forms State of Connecticut Travel Form and to  file the negative COVID-19 test result with the Commissioner of the Department of Public Health (DPH) before an employee will be exempted from self-quarantine;
  • Upon receipt and the filing of a negative COVID-19 test result with Employee Health you will be cleared to report to work.
  • For a period of fourteen (14) days following your return to Connecticut from an Affected State at UConn Health you will be required to observe the following: (i) wear a procedural mask at all times while present on the campus, (ii) during meal periods you are required while consuming food and beverages to do so in isolation from other employees, staff and visitors, (iii) have your temperature screened upon arrival for work and midway through your shift, and (iv) self-quarantine while you are not at work.
  • Within 5-7 days following your return to work (if within 14 days of your last date in an Affected State) you are required to schedule a second COVID-19 test through the COVID Call Center (860-679-3199) and if the result of the 2nd COVID-19 test is negative you will be permitted to continue working. This test will be at no expense to the employee; and
  • Employees will be required to utilize vacation leave for any period of self-quarantine required as a result of travel to an Affected State. If the employee does not have enough vacation leave the employee will be placed on an unpaid leave of absence for the balance of any self-quarantine period.

If an employee has traveled out-of-state to a state that becomes an Affected State while they are present in such state and it is within 14 days of their return to Connecticut such employee shall be required to notify Employee Health, to fill out UConn Health’s travel form for out-of-state domestic travel to an Affected State and to follow the procedures for domestic travel to an Affected State.

Important Note:

If an employee makes the decision to forgo a COVID-19 test following travel to an Affected State, such employee will be required to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days from the date of their last contact with an Affected State. The employee will be required to utilize personal and vacation leave for the period of self-quarantine. If the employee does not have enough personal or vacation leave the employee will be placed on an unpaid leave of absence for the balance of any self-quarantine period. 

International Travel to an Affected Country [1]

  • Employees must notify Human Resources and fill out the International Travel Form through the Department of Global Affairs for international travel to an Affected Country;
  • Employees must schedule a test for COVID-19 through the COVID Call Center (860-679-3199) as soon as possible following your return date to Connecticut and prior to your return work. You will be required to self-quarantine from your return and until you receive and file a negative COVID-19 test result. This test will be at the employee’s own expense;
  • Employees are required to complete State of Connecticut Travel Forms State of Connecticut Travel Form and to  file the negative COVID-19 test result with the Commissioner of the Department of Public Health (DPH) before an employee will be exempted from self-quarantine;
  • Upon receipt and the filing of a negative COVID-19 test result with Employee Health you will be cleared to report to work;
  • For a period of fourteen (14) days from the last contact with an Affected Country at UConn Health you will be required to observe the following: (i) wear a procedural mask at all times while present on the campus, (ii) during meal periods you are required while consuming food and beverages to do so in isolation from other employees, staff and visitors, (iii) have your temperature screened upon arrival for work and midway through your shift, and (iv) self-quarantine while you are not at work;
  • Within 5-7 days following your return to work (if within 14 days of your last date in an Affected Country) you are required to schedule a second COVID-19 test through the COVID Call Center (860-679-3199) and if the result of the 2nd COVID-19 test is negative you will be permitted to continue working. This test will be conducted at no expense to the employee; and
  • Employees will be required to utilize vacation leave for any period of self-quarantine required as a result of travel to an Affected Country. If the employee does not have enough vacation leave the employee will be placed on an unpaid leave of absence for the balance of any self-quarantine period.

If an employee has traveled out-of-state to a country that becomes an Affected Country while they are present in such country and it is within 14 days of their return to Connecticut such employee shall be required to notify Employee Health and to follow the procedures for international travel to an Affected Country.

Important Note:

If an employee makes the decision to forgo a COVID-19 test following travel to an Affected Country, such employee will be required to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days from the date of their last contact with an Affected Country. The employee will be required to utilize personal and vacation leave for the period of self-quarantine. If the employee does not have enough personal or vacation leave the employee will be placed on an unpaid leave of absence for the balance of any self-quarantine period.

Travel for Work or on Government Business by an Essential Employee

An Essential Worker[2] is exempt from self-quarantine if they meet the following criteria, but will be required by UConn Health to comply with the guidance contained herein:

  • Returning to Connecticut from an Affected State or Affected Country when the travel is related to their work; or
  • State, local and federal officials traveling in their official capacity on government business; and
  • Essential Workers traveling for reasons other than work (e.g., vacation) shall be required to self-quarantine or utilize the testing alternative; and
  • Essential Workers are required to complete the Travel Health Form required by the Travel Advisory prior to or no later than the day of arrival.

UConn Health Essential Workers will be required to:

  • Notify Human Resources and fill out UConn Health’s travel form for out-of-state domestic travel to an Affected State Domestic Travel Form and if to an Affected Country the International Travel Form which includes your dates of travel and the date you are scheduled to return to work.
  • Schedule a test for COVID-19 through the COVID Call Center (860-679-3199) as soon as possible following your return date to Connecticut and prior to your return work.
  • Within 5-7 days following your return to work (if within 14 days of your last date in an Affected Country), schedule a second COVID-19 test through the COVID Call Center (860-679-3199) and if the result of the 2nd COVID-19 test is negative you will be permitted to continue working.
  • Where travel by an Essential Employee is related to their UConn Health work or is an official traveling on government business the tests will be conducted at no expense to the employee.

Employees Who Have Had a Previous COVID-19 Positive Test Result

Positive Test Result will qualify for an exception if the positive result (nucleic acid COVID-19 test, e.g., an RT-PCR test) was performed within the last 3 months prior to arriving/returning to Connecticut from an Affected State or an Affected Country and the individual has clinically recovered, has been symptom free for a period of 10 days from the onset symptoms or such positive test result if the individuals was asymptomatic. The Affected Traveler must:

  • provide written proof of such result to the Commissioner of Public Health
  • complete the Travel Health Form in accordance with the Travel Advisory

An individual who had a positive test result for COVID-19 received more than 3 months prior to arriving in/returning to Connecticut will be required to follow the guidance for travel to Affected States and Affected Countries in accordance with this guidance.

Employees who fail to adhere to this Travel Guidance may be subject to disciplinary action.

[1] An Affected State is a state or territory with a COVID-19 positive case rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or higher than a 10% test positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average. Affected States are listed on the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) website and the list is updated each Tuesday.

[2] An Affected Country is a country for which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a level 3 Travel Health Notice. The CDC website lists the countries with a level 3 advisory.

[3] This guidance does not address the University and UConn Health’s policy with respect to approval process for business travel to high risk countries.

[4] An Essential Worker is an individual who works in critical infrastructure as designated by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, including students in exempt healthcare professions. An Essential Worker includes any state, local and federal official or employee traveling in their official capacity on government business. Required military training is considered official travel on government business.

8/12/20 – Updated Domestic Travel Guidance FAQs

August 12, 2020

Dear UConn and UConn Health Colleagues,

To provide further guidance and clarification on domestic travel requirements for employees, in response to the Governor’s Executive Order, Human Resources has updated several Frequently Asked Questions. Updated or new FAQs are noted as (NEW).

Employees with additional questions may contact hr-employeeresource@uchc.edu.

Thank you,
Human Resources

7/28/20 – Updated Domestic Travel Guidance Communication and FAQs

July 28, 2020

Dear UConn Colleagues,

To provide further guidance and clarification on domestic travel requirements for employees, in response to the Governor’s Executive Order, Human Resources has developed several Frequently Asked Questions.pdf.

Employees with additional questions may contact or hr-employeeresource@uchc.edu.

Thank you,

Human Resources

7/24/20 – Updated Domestic Travel Guidance Communication

Dear UConn Employees,

On July 21st, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order No. 7III instituting a mandatory quarantine for all travelers arriving in or returning to Connecticut from states with high prevalence of COVID-19 (“Affected States”). This Order goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 24, 2020.

Governor Lamont’s Executive Order updates and clarifies earlier guidance issued on June 24th. The list of Affected States requiring quarantine will be updated weekly by the state’s Department of Public Health.

It is important for employees planning a vacation that involves out-of-state travel to be aware of the state’s list of Affected States and the requirement to quarantine for up to fourteen (14) days upon their return. Most importantly, employees need to be aware of the expectations and the impact to them as a result of the decision to travel to an Affected State.

UConn and UConn Health strongly discourages employees from any non-essential out-of-state travel to Affected States at this time. While we recognize that some instance of travel to Affected States cannot be avoided, all employees and managers need to be aware of the following travel requirements. It is the obligation of employees who are thinking about traveling out of state to know if a state is an Affected State in accordance with Executive Order 7III.Requirements for any employee traveling out of state to an Affected State:

  • Employees are required to fill out a form (which can be found on the Human Resources Website) and notify their manager if they are planning to or have traveled to one of the identified Affected States.
  • If employees are able to perform the functions of their job from home, employees will be permitted to telecommute for the recommended period of quarantine following return from an Affected State.
  • Employees who travel to an Affected State for personal (as opposed to business) reasons, are unable to telecommute and are mandated by Executive Order 7III to quarantine for a period of time beyond the period of their pre-approved leave will be required to utilize any available vacation time to cover the period of their quarantine. If an employee does not have sufficient vacation time to cover the period of quarantine the employee will be placed on unpaid leave for the balance of the quarantine period. If an employee has no available vacation time to cover the period of quarantine, the employee will be placed on unpaid leave for the required period of quarantine.
  • Employees who were traveling from one of the Affected States that was not listed as an Affected State at the time the employee began their travel must notify via email or telephone their manager upon their return to Connecticut. If the employee has not yet had any paid COVID leave and cannot telecommute, such employee will be granted paid COVID leave for any required period of quarantine not to exceed ten (10) workdays.

Please note that, at this time, the state’s mandatory quarantine does not apply if an individual has spent less than twenty-four (24) hours in one or more Affected State(s) prior to arriving in Connecticut.

  • An employee may be permitted to substitute a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours prior to returning to Connecticut for a period of quarantine if UConn or UConn Health determine that the employee is unable to self-quarantine. An employee permitted to substitute the above referenced test, may be allowed to return to work subject to additional conditions by which the employee shall be required to abide.
  • An employee’s out of state travel to an Affected State that is approved, related to their work in Connecticut and such travel is on official business will be required to adhere to the same standards applicable to those unable to quarantine as noted above.

Upon return to Connecticut, employees must provide appropriate documentation (e.g., boarding passes, car rental receipts, hotel invoices, etc.) to support need for leave upon return from travel. The failure to report travel from an Affected State could result in disciplinary action and a civil penalty for failure to comply with the Executive Order 7III requirements.

Questions on domestic travel may be sent to hr-employeeresource@uchc.edu or hr@uconn.

Thank you,
Human Resources

7/2/20 – Original Employee Domestic Travel Guidance

Dear UConn Health Colleagues,

On June 24th, Governor Lamont announced quarantine guidance for all travelers arriving in or returning to Connecticut from several southern and western states. As the situation remains dynamic, it’s important for employees traveling out of state domestically to review the state’s most up to date guidance before departing and returning from travel. Employees should consider the impact of this guidance when considering whether to travel.

NON-CLINICAL EMPLOYEES

The following guidance is for employees returning from an identified “quarantine” state:

  • Employees will be required to fill out a form and notify their manager if they are planning to or have traveled to one of the states on the domestic travel list. As the list changes frequently based on state guidance, employees should complete the form for all out-of-state travel;
  • Where possible, employees should be permitted to telecommute for the recommended period of quarantine;
  • For classified employees unable to telecommute, employees who have not previously been granted paid COVID leave will (1) be granted up to fourteen (14) days (10 paid) COVID leave. If an employee has previously been granted paid COVID leave they will be required to use any available vacation time for any period of quarantine and if the employee does not have sufficient vacation time to cover the period of quarantine then the employee will be placed on unpaid leave.;
  • For unclassified employees unable to telecommute, employees will for the period of quarantine be required to use any available vacation time or compensatory time and if an employee does not have sufficient vacation or compensatory time then the employee will be placed on unpaid leave.

To ensure accurate tracking, employees must upon return, provide appropriate documentation (e.g. boarding passes, car rental receipts, hotel invoices, etc.) to support the need to provide leave upon return from travel.

Employees, classified or unclassified, who were traveling from one of the states listed at the time of the Governor’s travel guidance was issued and any updates thereto should notify their manager upon their return to Connecticut and if they have not already had paid COVID leave and cannot telecommute they will be granted paid COVID leave for the period of quarantine up to ten work days.

FRONT-LINE CLINICAL EMPLOYEES (EMPLOYEES IN CONTACT WITH PATIENTS)

Guidance for front-line clinical employees:

  • Employees will be required to fill out a form and notify their manager if they are planning to or have traveled to one of the states on the domestic travel list;
  • Report to work unless symptomatic;
  • Undergo several daily temperature checks (4-6 hour intervals);
  • Wear facemasks at all times on UConn Health premises;
  • Eat alone and separately from others;
  • Prohibited from sharing meals or socializing in circumstances that would require facemask removal;
  • Self-isolate when not at work.

NOTE:

To ensure accurate tracking, all employees must upon return, provide appropriate documentation (e.g. boarding passes, car rental receipts, hotel invoices, etc.) to support the need to provide leave upon return from travel.

The failure to report travel from a quarantine identified state could result in disciplinary action.

Questions on domestic travel may be sent to hr-employeeresource@uchc.edu.

Thank you,

Human Resources