Texas Tech and TTU HSC impose travel restrictions until April 30

Local News

LUBBOCK, Texas — Texas Tech and the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center on Monday imposed travel restrictions on faculty staff and students because of concerns from COVID-19, also known as coronavirus.

TTU will cancel all university-sponsored international travel through April 30. Non essential domestic travel will be highly discouraged through March 31.

“Those returning from personal travel to countries with travel notices are also required to follow the 14-day self-quarantine,” Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec wrote on Monday.

The restrictions are higher for the HSC.

“Effective immediately, all university-related international travel by TTUHSC students, faculty and staff, is suspended through April 30,” Interim President Lori Rice-Spearman, Ph.D. wrote.

“Please cancel all pending trips that fall within this time period, even if the president’s approval has been previously obtained,” Rice-Spearman wrote on Monday.

Rice-Spearman also wrote that effective immediately, all incoming (visiting) international travel is suspended through April 30 — including students and visitors alike. In some cases, HSC students, staff and faculty must self-isolate for 14 days before returning to campus.

Letters from both the university and the HSC are copied below.

From the President of Texas Tech University

March 9, 2020

Texas Tech University Community,

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to be a global health concern, and Texas Tech University is closely monitoring this ongoing situation. At this time, there are no confirmed or suspected cases among the Texas Tech University community, including those who are currently studying and working outside the United States.

Study Abroad Updates and Cancelations

We are taking all appropriate precautions to ensure the health and safety of all our students, faculty, and staff. Over the last week, we have planned for the return of a few students who were studying abroad in Italy. Today, we have made the decision to cancel all university-sponsored spring break study abroad trips. The University will refund student deposits for canceled study abroad trips through their student account. Reimbursements for prepaid expenses such as airline change fees, cancellation penalties, and lost travel-related deposits will be reimbursed through the TTU travel system. The Office of International Affairs will assist students in processing such reimbursements. Students should cancel any remaining reservations as soon as possible in order to obtain possible refunds and/or unused airfare credits.

We have 106 students currently studying abroad, including 73 at the TTU Center in Seville, Spain. We are in regular communication with these students and will continue to address matters with them as this situation continues to develop. If CDC guidance in these countries changes, we have plans in place for students to return to campus for the remainder of the semester. To ensure we take every precautionary measure, all individuals returning from countries with travel restrictions must self-quarantine for 14 days. All international educational travel is managed and monitored by the Office of International Affairs.We will make decisions about Maymester and summer study abroad programs on or before March 31.

University-Sponsored Travel

In addition to the cancelation of university-sponsored spring break study abroad trips, we are also canceling all University-sponsored international travel through April 30.All non-essential, domestic university-sponsored travel through March 31, including activities such as conferences, meetings, and site visits, is discouraged. Please review all essential travel with your Department Chair or supervisor. This applies to university employees as well Texas Tech University System Administration employees.

Personal Travel

We urge you to consider delaying all non-essential personal travel. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid exposure to the virus. The CDC also has resources available for those who must travel during this time.

Those returning from personal travel to countries with travel notices are also required to follow the 14-day self-quarantine.

We continue to plan for all scenarios, including the possible impact on face-to-face instruction and the implications for online course delivery. Additional information is available on the CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019 website, and we will be providing ongoing updates on the TTU Coronavirus (COVID-19) website as additional information becomes available.

Sincerely, Lawrence Schovanec

Texas Tech University

From the President of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Dear Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Community, 

Under guidance from the Texas Tech University System, we have updated our travel guidelines relating to COVID-19 for Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) as follows:

University-Related International Travel Effective immediately, all university-related international travel by TTUHSC students, faculty and staff, is suspended through April 30. Please cancel all pending trips that fall within this time period, even if the president’s approval has been previously obtained.

We will monitor closely and re-evaluate this suspension when there is clear evidence that the global public health emergency is abated.

University-Related Domestic Travel

Domestic travel is highly discouraged at the present time. Effective immediately through April 30, all TTUHSC student, faculty, and staff travel requests for university-related domestic travel need to be reviewed by your respective Dean, Vice President or Provost prior to approval. Requests will be reviewed to determine whether travel is considered mission-critical to the health and/or welfare of the university and its activities. Any current pending trips should be re-evaluated under this guidance to determine whether cancellation is necessary.

Conferences and non-TTU System campus site visits should be considered non-mission critical unless there is an extenuating circumstance to support the justification for the travel.

Reimbursement for University-Related Travel
In the event you cancel a trip (international or domestic) in accordance with this guidance, you must seek a refund for any prepaid expenses (such as airline/hotel) in order to mitigate the loss of funds. If vendors refuse reimbursement of prepaid expenses and a refund or travel credit is not issued to you, please work with your supervisor or program administrator to facilitate any reimbursements as provided under TTUHSC Operating Policies. The Travel Office and the Office of Global Health, in conjunction with the President’s Office, will work to ensure employees and students are reimbursed for university-related travel costs consistent with our policies. Click here to view the memo from the president you may provide as applicable to reflect this travel suspension to assist in your efforts to cancel travel and request reimbursements.

Personal Travel
We encourage you to evaluate your personal travel plans regarding both domestic and international destinations. Please carefully consider the avoidance of places identified with a travel health warning notice by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and be aware of the possibility to alter your plans as the spread of COVID-19 continues to develop.

Students, faculty and staff who travel outside of the United States are required to register with the university before leaving or immediately upon return of a trip, using this travel form. If the travel was to a country identified by the CDC with a travel health notice warning of Level 3, travelers will be required to self-isolate off campus for 14 days before returning to campus.

To assist us in providing support to students, faculty and staff who travel within the United States and to ensure that we can adhere to appropriate screening before your return to work and school, please fill out the travel form on our website to identify your travel plans.

Incoming Visitors
Effective immediately, all incoming (visiting) international travel for learners and visitors is suspended through April 30.

Thank you for your understanding as we continue to monitor COVID-19 and update our policies accordingly. 

Lori Rice-Spearman, Ph.D.Interim President
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

CLICK HERE for ongoing coverage of coronavirus on EverythingLubbock.com

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