The University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL) is closely monitoring the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. As the situation continues to change, our top priority remains the health, safety, and well-being of our community, both on and off campus. As such, the university encourages students, faculty, and staff to find alternate means of conducting their studies and business associated with non-essential travel.
COVID-19 Travel Related Questions
Version 12/21/20. Last updated 09/03/2020. Created 03/16/2020.
What if I have plans to travel?
UHCL has canceled all University-sponsored travel from March 13, 2020 through May 31, 2021 for domestic travel, and through July 31, 2021 for international travel (with some exceptions). The university recommends that individuals strongly consider the risks of personal travel, and to check advisories for the location leaving as well as travelling to. Students, faculty, and staff who travel for university business must contact the Travel Office by email at TravelOffice@uhcl.edu or phone at 281-283-2270 before going.
Guidance for university-sponsored domestic travel
All University-related non-essential air travel is canceled until May 31, 2021 for domestic travel, and July 31, 2021 for international travel (with some exceptions). Consult with your respective colleges, program chair, department supervisor and/or Division head and funding sources to determine whether your University-related domestic air travel is essential. We strongly encourage you to consider alternative methods, like teleconferencing. Many states are urging against non-essential travel. Check with the state and country travel advisories and requirements before you go so you will know what to expect or what the restrictions are. Here are the state and territorial health department websites. For personal travel within the U.S., we urge you to use extreme caution and safe judgment.
Guidance for university-sponsored international travel
Student participation in Education Abroad programs is being assessed on a case by case basis through the Office of Education Abroad and Scholar Services. All education abroad programs are subject to cancellation due to instances that fall under force majeure. Education Abroad programs and or participation may also be canceled due to (and not limited to): pandemics (i.e., COVID-19), U.S. State Department travel warnings, potential future travel restrictions, global health recommendations, and or the University of Houston-Clear Lake decision to terminate programs or participation for any reason. For questions regarding programs and applications, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
Where and Why should I avoid travel?
At this time, travel is not advised. Many states and countries have issued travel advisories or restrictions, and urge folks not to travel at this time. Governor Greg Abbott's directives on Friday March 13, 2020 required cancellation of all non-essential university-sponsored domestic and international travel. UHCL has canceled all non-essential university travel through May 31, 2021 for domestic travel, and July 31, 2021 for international travel (with some exceptions) and will continue to update and revise this date as appropriate. The CDC provides travel information and makes recommendations on postponing or canceling travel based on assessment of the potential health risks involved with traveling to a certain area. Consider your risks and options when making decisions about personal travel during this time.
What countries are included in the CDC travel notices?
Covid impacts are world-wide. Most countries are now at a level 4, very high Covid-19 risk. The CDC map of COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination may be referenced for more information. Please also consider the destination country's testing and reporting capability, which may misrepresent their actual risk level.
What should I do if I traveled internationally?
What does it mean to self-quarantine?
If you are asked to self-quarantine after returning from a country, you should stay off campus and remain home to monitor for signs and symptoms. You may be asked by the country to quarantine before or after travel. At this time UHCL is leaving travel related quarantine stipulations to the state or country of destination or origin (for re-entry).
What is essential university travel vs non-essential university travel?
For questions regarding determining whether specific travel is essential or not, please consult with your respective Department supervisor and/or Division Head.
Will I get my travel reimbursement for airfare if my university-related meeting/conference is cancelled?
Yes, in situations like this that result in airline, hotel and car rental imposed penalties for changes to an airline ticket for business reasons or circumstances beyond the traveler's control are reimbursable. If you arranged your travel through the university travel office, please contact the Travel Office by email at TravelOffice@uhcl.edu or phone at 281-283-2270 to request ticket cancellation and a credit for future use.
If you personally paid for the airline, lodging, rental, etc., directly please visit the airline's website for details on cancellation policies, contact hotel for full refund, cancel vehicle rental, and request registration refund from conference host. Because of COVID-19, many airlines are waiving change fees and issuing credits and refunds. Please be sure to apply for all available benefits prior to submitting your expense reimbursement requests. Reimbursement occurs once the future business trip is completed. If the airlines issues a credit for a ticket and the credit goes unused, then reimbursement occurs after the credit has expired.
Are non-refundable travel costs associated with grant-related travel that has been canceled due to COVID-19 allowable, and can they be charged to the grant?
Please contact university Office of Sponsored Programs at 281-283-3016 for federal and state grant travel and expense policy guidance. These situations may have to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
I am planning on attending a meeting/conference in the May-June time frame and have not purchased my airfare yet. Can I go ahead and book my flight?
UHCL has canceled all non-essential university travel through May 31, 2021 for domestic travel, and July 31, 2021 for international travel (with some exceptions) and will continue to update and revise or extend this date as appropriate. Before booking new travel, please reach out to the meeting planner and/or conference organization to see if the meeting/conference is still scheduled to occur or if it is being postponed to a later date. Travelers should not book reservations too far in advance. Please contact your respective department supervisor and/or Division head for additional guidance and approval on this subject.
I prepaid for my hotel stay and/or hotel deposit. Will I get a room deposit?
Hotels will typically allow for cancellation with no charge from 24-72 hours prior to the date/time of check-in. Please check the policy as each hotel has different cancellation policies. Yes, in situations like this that result in imposed penalties for changes business related travels and circumstances beyond the traveler's control are reimbursable.
Previous COVID-19 Updates
Date: March 13, 2020
To: University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL)
Subject: University of Houston-Clear Lake Updated Travel Guidelines
The purpose of this message is to provide additional clarification surrounding Governor Greg Abbott's directives on Friday March 13, 2020 requiring cancellation of all non-essential university-sponsored domestic and international travel.
- UHCL is immediately canceling all non-essential university travel through April 30, 2020 and will continue to update and revise this time frame as the situation develops.
- Consider your risks and options when making decisions about personal domestic travel during this time.
- The pace at which travel restrictions and cancellations are taking place will only continue to escalate.
- If you are able to change your personal travel plans in order to limit your exposure to coronavirus, UHCL highly encourages you to do so.
Continue to check the university's coronavirus website for up to date information.
- Your first step in dealing with travel issues is to reach out to the airline, hotel, any other travel providers directly, and the conference or event host to request a full refund.
- Please contact UHCL Travel office email TravelOffice@uhcl.edu or call 281-283-2270 with questions on your specific situation.
Below are a few steps to resolve some of your travel related questions.
Airfare Expenses - University Paid
If you arranged your travel through the university travel office, please contact travel office requesting ticket cancellation and a credit availability for future use.
Airfare Expenses - Personally Paid
Please visit the airline's website for details on cancellation policies. Because of COVID-19, many airlines are waiving change fees and issuing credits and refunds. Please be sure to apply for all available benefits prior to submitting your expense reimbursement requests.
- Reimbursement occurs once the future business trip is completed.
- If the airlines issues a credit for a ticket and the credit goes unused, then reimbursement occurs after the credit has expired.
- Contact the hotel for a full refund. Obtain assistance from your Division/College Business Administrator to deposit the funds into the lodging expenditure account.
- If the hotel withholds any/or all of the pre-paid amount, the difference will be absorbed by the university as part of the trip cost.
Rental Vehicles - Company Paid
- Cancel the reservation with the rental agency. There is no charge for cancellations.
Rental Vehicles - Personally Paid
- Cancel the reservation with the rental agency.
- The traveler will be reimbursed for any cancellation fees.
- Contact the conference host and seek a refund. If no refund allowed, find out if the registration fee may be used at a future conference or transferable to another attendee if you are unable to attend in the future.
- If the future conference date is set and the original traveler plans to attend, update the "Travel Authorization Request Form."
- The traveler will be, reimbursed for personally paid registration fees if the fees are not refunded or transferable.
- If you received an Advance via Travel Advance Program (TAP) card, the TAP card must be returned to the university with the completed travel expense report and supporting documentation.
For questions regarding determining whether specific travel is essential or not, please consult with your respective department supervisor and/or division head.
For assistance with travel reimbursements, please contact the university travel office at TravelOffice@uhcl.edu or 281-283-2270.
We request your patience as we all work together to get through this challenge. The Travel office will do everything possible to answer your questions and serve everyone in as timely a manner as possible.
For university and health alert updates related to Coronavirus (COVID-19), please visit the UHCL Health Alert webpage.