Clarification on Travel Suspension

To: OSU Faculty and Staff

From: Edward Feser, Provost and Executive Vice President

March 13, 2020

Dear OSU Colleagues,

As you likely are aware, effective Saturday, March 14, 2020, all non-essential OSU-sponsored travel is suspended. I write with additional guidance on this policy.

The travel suspension policy applies to all university students and employees, as well as anyone OSU reimburses for travel. Because grants and contracts are awarded to the university, not to a principal investigator, this travel suspension includes research travel on grants and contracts, regardless of the funding source.

Also, OSU is strongly discouraging all travel, including personal travel.

Exceptions to OSU’s travel suspension may be granted by the relevant dean, vice provost or vice president. Exceptions should be rare, and requests should weigh the relative risks of travel against the potential serious disruption to research or university programs. Examples of essential travel may include:

  • Travel required to fulfill contractual agreements and that may not be cancelled or postponed under the terms of those agreements;
  • Field work-related travel with seasonal or other particular constraints;
  • Travel—generally by automobile—between university locations that is essential to maintain business continuity or to carry out critical research, teaching, engagement, operational or leadership activities. (In these cases, we ask travelers to take care to sanitize their vehicles, especially motor pool or other shared use vehicles; manage occupancy in order to maximize social distancing; avoid overnight stays; and limit use of hotels or other public spaces when possible.)

We have advised students currently participating in OSU-sponsored educational programs abroad to return to the U.S. Other students and employees who are currently overseas will receive information from relevant OSU offices so that individual decisions can be made regarding an immediate return to the U.S. The relevant dean, vice provost or vice president will make the final decision on the need for a return in these cases.

At this time, we are not able to determine when the university’s travel suspension will be lifted. We continue to assess the evolving COVD-19 situation, and will communicate any change to the OSU community at the earliest opportunity.

We are aware that these travel measures will disrupt important research and other critical activities, but we must act collectively to do what we can to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

University communications; links to OSU, local, state, and federal resources; and updates on the latest federal travel restrictions will continue to be available online.

Thank you for your cooperation and all you are doing to reduce the risk and spread of COVID-19.


Edward Feser
Provost and Executive Vice President