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Health & Safety

SCU Structures for Responding to Health and Safety Situations Abroad

SCU has strong policies and procedures, as well as committee structures in place that help us support global programs and initiatives consistently and in a manner in keeping with our values focused on social justice.  These structures support situations related to political unrest, natural disasters, health outbreaks, terrorist incidents, among others. SCU’s structures include:

University International Travel Policy

SCU has had an International Travel Policy in place since 2004, updated in 2013 and 2017.  Our policy refers to guidance from the Department of State and Centers for Disease Control, in particular.  Our policy prohibits travel to countries/areas with DOS Level 3 and Level 4 Travel Advisories. Countries/areas with Level 1 or Level 2 Travel Advisories are not restricted by our policy. Our enables us to respond consistently and in keeping with national best practices. 

Crisis Abroad Response Team

The  Crisis Abroad Response Team was created in 2012 to coordinate a response in the event of an international emergency that may impact participants in university-sponsored travel.  In particular, this group helps ensure there is a consistent institution-wide response when there are multiple departments and areas of the university engaged in activities impacted by a situation abroad.  The members determine when to cancel or suspend University-sponsored education abroad opportunities because of significant health, safety, or legal risks to participants, or significant threat to the educational objectives of the program.  The Crisis Abroad Response Team may incorporate other consultants as needed.  

Travel Policy Advisory Committee

The  Travel Policy Advisory Committee was created in 2012 to review proposals for all university-sponsored travel with students or groups and recommends approval to the Associate Provost for International Programs.  The Committee reviews over 100 proposals each year and spends significant efforts crafting the proposal, itself, to promote strong SCU programs abroad that address health and safety.  The Committee also develops and promotes policies and procedures related to programs abroad.

Individual Faculty/Staff Travel Registry

SCU maintains a travel registry for all university-sponsored travel for individual faculty/staff travelers.   When people register their travel, we can review to ensure that SCU’s insurance will cover travelers abroad and make adjustments, as needed.  In addition, registered travelers receive reminders about monitoring health and safety conditions related to their travel and support from the University in a crisis.

Program Coordinator Role

In SCU’s decentralized structure for global programs, the Program Coordinator role allows any department across campus to initiate global programs and activities by designating a Program Coordinator.  The Program Coordinator role includes departmental responsibilities for health and safety, financial, and other responsibilities to help them succeed.

Resources and National Best Practices

In addition to our strong institutional structures in place, we rely on resources that are considered national best practices for assessing health/safety/risk.  Here’s what we do:

  • Follow the Forum on Education Abroad's Standards of Good Practice for Health and Safety

  • Follow guidance from NAFSA

  • Follow guidance from AIEA.  

  • Monitor the OSAC reports twice daily

  • Review SECUSSA-L listserv

  • Review the OSAC-AWG listserv

  • Proactively reach out to the PULSE group of university global risk managers to gather additional information on what universities are doing nationally

  • Communicate with partners overseas to understand how incidents are impacting them in their communities and whether they recommend adjustments to activities

Our goal in managing health/safety/risk abroad is to respond equally and in a manner that is consistent and non-reactive and so we rely on our policy and these resources in a systematic way to do so.  We follow these practices for all events, e.g., political unrest, physical disasters, health outbreaks.  

In addition, we have practices in place to respond to members of our on-campus community with ties to countries/areas being impacted abroad and extend support to them, as well.

Essential Links for Program Coordinators Preparing to Submit International Travel Permission Applications

U.S. Department of State links

Other Useful Links
Medical Evacuation Services
Passports & Embassies

Chubb Summary of Benefits 2023

Gus Hardy

Diversity Perspective

Gus Hardy

“At the end of the day, it is important to remember that if a situation of discomfort ever arises, your [program] community will never turn you away and will always do its best to support you.”

Global Engagement Calendar