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Harvard Prohibits Non-Essential University Travel Until May 31, International Travel Cancelled Until August 31

Harvard announced new travel restrictions and cancellations due to the coronavirus Monday.
Harvard announced new travel restrictions and cancellations due to the coronavirus Monday. By Kathryn S. Kuhar
By Michelle G. Kurilla, Crimson Staff Writer

Harvard is prohibiting all University-related international travel and non-essential domestic air travel through at least May 31, according to an email sent to Harvard affiliates from University Provost Alan M. Garber ’76, Executive Vice President Katherine N. Lapp, and Harvard University Health Services Director Giang T. Nguyen.

The University is also barring Harvard-organized and Harvard-funded international travel scheduled to take place between now and August 31, the administrators announced. They cited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s global Level 3 and Level 4 travel advisories, which mean “avoid non-essential travel” and “do not travel” respectively.

“Personal international travel remains strongly discouraged, and we still urge you to use extreme caution for personal domestic travel,” they wrote. “This guidance pertains to all community members—students, faculty, staff, and postdocs/other academics. Because governments around the world, including the United States, may modify travel restrictions at any time, advance, nonrefundable travel purchases are inadvisable.”

Garber, Lapp, and Nguyen added they anticipate travel “will continue to be disrupted for some time.” They wrote that the decision to prohibit travel is “difficult and disappointing,” but encouraged students to explore alternative options for summer study, research, and work.

“It is unclear when those restrictions will be lifted,” the email read. “We know that many of our students – undergraduates as well as graduate and professional school students – rely on summer travel to further their education, fulfill academic requirements, and explore new work environments.”

The administrators wrote they are monitoring the suspension of visa processing at U.S. consular locations worldwide and are advising the University’s international students and scholars accordingly.

“We anticipate that many newly admitted and returning international students and scholars will face delays in obtaining or renewing visas,” they wrote. “The Harvard International Office (HIO) continues to issue the necessary University documentation for F-1, J-1, and other visa applications, so that when consular processing resumes, students and scholars will have the forms they need to schedule visa appointments.”

Garber, Lapp, and Nguyen concluded the email by thanking frontline health care providers and Harvard’s researchers, faculty, students, and staff.

“Thank you to the frontline workers and our researchers, faculty, students, and staff for your tremendous efforts these past few weeks,” they wrote. “We greatly value your patience, empathy, creativity, and resilience as we face these extraordinary challenges together.”

— Staff writer Michelle G. Kurilla can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @MichelleKurilla.

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