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
- Department of State (DOS) Country-Specific Information
- DOS Travel Alerts and Warnings
- DOS Worldwide Caution
- Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) Country Information
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Traveler's Health Update
- World Health Organization
- U.S. Customs & Border Protection
- Federal Aviation Administration
- Association for Safe International Road Travel
- The Center for Global Education: SAFETI Clearinghouse
- NACUBO International Resource Center