[edited 3/23] Travel

Can an international postdoc go back to their home country and work remotely from there?

There may be tax and visa/immigration implications – more details to follow.

Harvard has prohibited non-essential domestic air travel and all international professional travel. Does this apply to field trips for classes? 

Yes. Faculty should find alternative learning opportunities for our students which can take place online.

Can you help me understand the definition of "university-related travel".  For example, if I am giving a seminar or a public lecture, or attending a meeting, is that "university-related?" 

That is considered professional travel and therefore prohibited. 

What is considered "essential" versus "non-essential"?  If I am giving a seminar or a public lecture, Or attending a meeting, is that "essential"? 

“Essential” travel is vital to the functioning of the University, and very few trips meet this condition. Examples might include legally required depositions, and the like. Academic exchanges are (in this context) non-essential activity and the travel ban applies. 

I have been planning to give a talk outside of town. Do I have to cancel that trip? 

The University has banned all non-essential domestic air and international professional travel.  Cancel or reschedule the trip. 

Is it considered university related travel when postdocs are traveling for interviews?  

At this time, we are treating such trips as personal (provided the host is paying). However, our strong recommendation is to use extreme caution and judgement regarding all outside travel, and follow CDC guidance (quarantine, etc.). 

Is there a uniform policy on small events involving air travel by domestic, outside speakers?  For example, can previously scheduled colloquium or seminar speakers come to Harvard, are all such events cancelled, uniformly across campus, or are they to be treated on a case-by-case basis?  

Even local speakers are to give talks remotely. 

Will I receive reimbursement of cancellation costs? 

For those traveling on University business, the Harvard Travel Policy allows for reimbursement of cancellation or change fees with a valid reason. The current coronavirus outbreak meets this requirement. 

Our students were to fly out to Arizona to be trained on the large telescopes, but we have been directed to cancel all unnecessary travel.  We already paid for their plane fare, that of the faculty member and chaperones. Is there any to recoup this loss?  

In the near term let’s reassure individuals that they don’t have to bear costs associated with cancelling Harvard-related travel due to our new policies. Keep track of these expenses and we will eventually sort out how to handle the consequence. 

Are Visiting Scholars who are spending the year/semester at Harvard subject to the international and domestic air travel bans at Harvard, or are they exempt from these bans, assuming their home institutions have no such bans at this point?  

If they have a Harvard appointment then our policies apply. But if they wish to make a one-way trip home, that’s allowable. We’d consider that personal travel.   

Can we still welcome seminar speakers who are within driving distance? Or are all seminars cancelled, even those with HU speakers?  

We should defer or arrange for remote delivery of seminars. 

While domestic airfare travel is prohibited for university business, what about buses and trains?  Use of a personal or rental car?  

We ask that you conform to the spirit of the travel policies, rather than attempting work-arounds.  

What is the process for requesting approval for domestic travel for an extenuating circumstance?  

You can ask SEAS or Science Dean, but don’t expect approval.   

When do we think travel will return to normal? 

That is hard to predict. All University-related international travel is prohibited until at least April 30, 2020, and all personal international travel is strongly discouraged. Please Review Harvard Global Support Services’ (GSS) international travel guidance for additional advice. For the time being it seems premature to cancel trips planned for after May 1, but stay abreast of our travel policy posted at https://www.harvard.edu/coronavirus/travel-guidance