Travel to and Visits from Ebola-affected Countries


February 2016

University Policy Statement

Columbia-sponsored travel to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone is no longer subject to special restrictions that were put in place last year because of the Ebola outbreak. Travel to these countries no longer requires approval from the Provost, and guests from these countries do not need special approval for their visit to our campuses. Travelers are strongly encouraged, however, to take all precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of State, and other resources in connection with any international travel. Additionally, routine policies and practices regarding international projects and travel continue to apply.

For more than a year, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone experienced the largest and most complex and devastating outbreak of Ebola in history. Based on guidance provided by resources both within and outside the University, including recommendations issued by the CDC, the University previously restricted travel to these countries. Conditions have now improved, and the CDC no longer recommends against travel to these countries. Although the risk of Ebola transmission currently is reportedly low, the healthcare infrastructure in all three countries was severely strained by the Ebola outbreak and the University remains concerned that getting medical care in the region might be difficult and sometimes impractical. Accordingly, the University recommends that anyone considering travel to these countries contact the Columbia Health Clinical Nurse Coordinator, Babie Mar Regner, at br2331@columbia.eduor 212-854-7426 for guidance prior to departure and upon their return.

In order to ensure that we can contact and provide services to individuals traveling abroad should incidents occur, all students, Officers of Instruction and Officers of Research traveling with students, Officers of Administration, and support staff are required to register all Columbia travel outside the U.S. with the University’s travel emergency assistance provider, International SOS (ISOS). This can be done by following the steps listed on Columbia’s Global Travel website page to Register a Trip. Also on that website, you can find contact information that you can use to reach ISOS in case of Emergencies, a wallet card that you can carry with you, and other helpful resources.

For more information regarding the University’s travel planning policy and how it addresses other types of international Columbia travel, please refer to the International Travel Planning Policy page of the Administrative Policy Library website.