China Travel Restriction FAQ

SARS-CoV-2, previously refered to as the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), is a virus that can be spread from person to person, causing a respiratory illness called COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 (2019-nCoV) was first detected in Wuhan, China, and has quickly spread throughout China and is confirmed to be present in other countries. It is important to know that based on current information, the immediate health risk from SARS-CoV-2 to the general American public is deemed to be low at this time. Virginia Tech and the Virginia Department of Health are closely monitoring the situation.

In response to SARS-CoV-2, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Warning – Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel advisory for China on Jan. 27. 2020; the U.S. Department of State issued a Travel Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel to China on Jan. 30. 2020; the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a Public Health Event of International Concern (PHEIC) on Jan. 30. 2020; and the White House issued a Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus on Jan. 31. 2020.

Many major airlines are canceling flights because of underutilization and concern for exposure. The logistics of traveling in and out of China are increasingly difficult.

In accordance with Virginia Tech Policy 1070, Global Travel Policy, because of the CDC Warning Level 3 advisory, no travel is authorized to China, and no travel is authorized from China.

In extreme circumstances, departments can petition the Global Travel Oversight Committee (GTOC) for a waiver to allow for critical travel. Waivers are not guaranteed and can be revoked at any time, as the situation progress. Waiver requests require the following information be sent to VTGlobalSafety@vt.edu, 30 days prior to planned travel:

  • Traveler’s relation to Virginia Tech
  • Traveler's full trip itinerary from point of origin
  • Reason exception is warranted
  • Mitigations by the traveler and the sponsoring department
  • Enforcement mechanisms for planned mitigations
  • Other considerations relevant to the individual case

No travel is authorized to or from China. This applies to all faculty, staff, students, and guests. This includes, but is not limited to, faculty, staff, graduate students, undergraduate students, international students, post doctorates, visiting scholars and researchers, business partners, training and workshop participants, conference attendees, and job candidates.

Virginia Tech is monitoring this situation closely. Too much is unknown at this time to estimate when Virginia Tech’s travel restriction will be lifted.

Individuals and departments that wish to plan future travel to or through China do so at risk of having to cancel travel because of continued advisories. 

Virginia Tech does not regulate or track personal travel. We strongly recommend following CDC and Department of State guidance in not traveling to China until after the situation improves.

While there is no requirement from Virginia Tech to self-quarantine, university support is available for those that wish to self-quarantine. If a community member wishes to self-quarantine, they are asked to share that decision with appropriate individuals in their department to coordinate support.

If a recent traveler from China experiences a fever, they should seek medical attention immediately either from the Schiffert Health Center (students) or their personal health care provider (non-students). The CDC has specific guidance available for travelers arriving from China.

Please see the Schiffert Health Center recommendations for medical support.

Keep in mind that it is flu season! The CDC estimates that the flu has caused at least 14,000 deaths in the U.S. already this flu season. The flu is present on all VT campuses and is likely to continue to spread.