Binghamton University's Office of International Affairs (OIP) offers the following information to members of the University community relevant to travel risks associated with the Ebola outbreak:
Binghamton-sponsored travel to any destination that might pose a risk will be evaluated and approved/disallowed. The University's aim is to support and encourage business and academic travel abroad and to provide information that guides individual travel decisions and helps travelers avoid risks associated with the Ebola outbreak. This plan supersedes any prior-approved travel or travel that may be supported through external funding.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a primary information source
The CDC has created the following travel alert system to help travelers avoid exposure to contagious diseases:
- Warning Level 3: Avoid non-essential travel
- Alert Level 2: Practice enhanced precautions
- Watch Level 1: Practice usual precautions
The CDC also provides information specific to colleges, universities and students with basic information about the outbreak and travel planning advice online. Travelers should be aware of the following possibilities:
- Any traveler who is exposed to the Ebola virus may be required by government officials to remain in the country they are visiting and cooperate with requirements such as health screenings, a 21-day quarantine or a self-monitoring regime for exposed individuals.
- Governments have requirements and procedures in place to contain additional outbreaks.
- Airlines and medical evacuation companies may not be permitted to transport individuals who become infected or who have been exposed within the 21-day incubation period.
- Medical evacuation companies will likely not transport Ebola-infected patients to a different destination for care.
Binghamton University travel procedures
The following procedures are in place for official Binghamton University travel, defined as applying to faculty, staff and students who are traveling abroad on University business and research using state, foundation or Research Foundation funds as well as faculty, staff and students participating in study-abroad programs and/or research operated by the University.
- The SUNY Chancellor has declared that all official travel to a CDC Warning Level 3 country is prohibited.
- Binghamton University will not operate a study-abroad program in a location with a Level 2 warning.
- Faculty and staff who wish to travel to a Level 2 alert country for SUNY business or research must seek prior approval for such travel. Faculty will follow the procedures for "Faculty/Staff/Student Request to Travel to Restricted Countries" and will be required for travel to Department of State warning-listed countries and Level 2 (and 3) CDC warning-list countries.
- The University will evaluate, on a case-by-case basis, any travel restrictions that may be prudent to Level 1 countries or even countries with no CDC travel alert. For example, Spain currently has one confirmed Ebola case, and the University will still offer a program to Spain in summer 2015. There are no plans to suspend the program under the current conditions.
International travel insurance requirements
SUNY contracts with HTH Worldwide for international travel health insurance. Detailed information can be found online.
- All faculty and staff travelers should enroll in this coverage by contacting the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Students who are traveling independently or enrolled in a non-SUNY study-abroad program should contact ISSS at email@example.com.
- Study-abroad students will be enrolled in the HTH program through the Office of International Programs if they are participating in a Binghamton program.
- For Research Foundation travel, insurance is available free of charge through International SOS Insurance. Travelers need to contact Sponsored Funds for additional information.
Medical evacuation insurance
SUNY contracts with Frontier Medex to provide international medical evacuation services. Frontier Medex benefits are included for individuals who purchase full HTH Worldwide coverage. If a Frontier Medex insured individual is exposed or infected and requires medical care, Frontier MEDEX will provide support in locating care and will also support transportation to a facility capable of providing appropriate care should care be unavailable locally. However, costs to transport are not reimbursed.
In the event of a significant pandemic, indications are that travel will be restricted and that medical isolation or quarantine will be effected around the globe. This will likely result in coordination and oversight of care on a localized basis because evacuations may be severely limited by travel and related restrictions, particularly because governmental resources may begin to control all care in many places.
SUNY does not contract with a provider for trip cancellation insurance. However, standard trip cancellation/trip interruption policies will also have restrictions about coverage related to Ebola. Policies which allow cancellation without the traveler having to provide a reason for the cancellation are helpful in this regard, but the provisions of a policy should be carefully reviewed before a decision on purchase is made.
For any questions regarding the University's position on international travel during
the 2014 Ebola outbreak contact:
Office of International Programs