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Infectious Disease Travel Considerations

Today's international travelers should make plans in case of exposure to infectious diseases while traveling. An infectious disease is a disease that can be transmitted from one person to another through contact with bodily fluids, contaminated objects or the air. While most COVID-related travel requirements have been lifted, catching COVID or a new variant is still possible and precautions should be considered when traveling abroad.

COVID-19 Travel Considerations 

According to the Northwestern’s Immunization Requirements, proof of COVID-19 vaccination is no longer required for non-healthcare Undergraduate, Graduate, Continuing and Professional programs, but is still required for Medical and Healthcare-related programs. While vaccines are not required for most students, being sick while traveling can be inconvenient, expensive and can cause travel delays. Vaccines for COVID-19 are safe, effective and readily available.

Masking while traveling internationally is still recommended, especially in crowded or tight spaces with poor ventilation like airplanes or when in close-contact situations like on a train or bus. Read about Masking During Travel from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you or someone in your group tests positive for COVID-19 while traveling abroad, the isolation guidelines will vary depending on the specific circumstance of the trip such as the destination, vaccination status of the group and the severity of the student's symptoms. Check with the local health authorities for requirements. If none exist, follow the CDC isolation guidelines. When traveling with students, it is a good idea to have a plan in case a student tests positive which includes where the student will isolate and how the sick student and other members of the group will be monitored.