COVID-19 Update: Non-Essential Travel | NYS Travel and Quarantine Advisory | CDC Holiday Guidance

Dear Faculty and Staff:

With the holiday season quickly approaching, many of you are likely beginning to plan for travel and family gatherings. Given the significant spike in COVID-19 cases around the country and right here in Central New York, we urge you to be cautious and consider public health guidance when making your plans. Public health officials warn that the anticipated surge in interstate travel, family gatherings and indoor socializing is expected to result in an increased opportunity for exposure and infection, particularly within family groups.

Whether you’re thinking of visiting others or welcoming them to your home, New York State’s Department of Health has instituted travel restrictions and quarantine policies that you should keep in mind as you make your plans. To ensure our community has the most up-to-date information, we offer important updates on:

  • Non-Essential Personal Travel
  • New York State Travel and Quarantine Advisory
  • Travel and Holiday Guidance

Non-Essential Personal Travel: With the ongoing and increased spread of COVID-19, including in our local community, non-essential personal travel could result in the importation of additional virus and further community spread. As such, we are strongly recommending the following guidance for our faculty and staff:

  1. Avoid any non-essential personal travel (both for you and for anyone who may want to visit you).
  2. Faculty and staff should discuss their travel and quarantine plans with their dean, department chair or supervisor prior to the date of travel to ensure their work can be done remotely should they be required to quarantine.
  3. If you must travel, heed all state and local guidance and direction about travel and events in the upcoming holiday season. Please note, guidance is subject and likely to change as circumstances continue to evolve.
  4. Please remember that New York State requires anyone traveling out of state or to a noncontiguous state, U.S. territory or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) level 2 or 3 country to be tested and quarantine upon return to New York. This requirement may impact your ability to return to work as you have planned. If you do travel to a noncontiguous state, U.S. territory or CDC level 2 or 3 country, it is your responsibility to plan for the required testing and quarantine.

New York State Travel and Quarantine Advisory: If you do plan to travel, you should be aware of New York State’s guidelines relative to travel and quarantining. Specifically, there is a new “test out” option. If you have not reviewed this guidance, we urge you to do so by visiting the state’s coronavirus travel website. Here are some key points in the state’s new guidance:

  • Individuals from New York State who travel to a noncontiguous state, U.S. territory or a CDC level 2 or 3 country are expected to complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine unless they opt to follow the state’s test-out guidance.
  • To test out of the 14-day quarantine, the traveler must:
    • Obtain a COVID-19 test within three days of departure, prior to arrival in New York.
    • Quarantine for three days, upon arrival in New York.
    • Obtain another COVID-19 test on day four of their quarantine. If both tests come back negative, the traveler may exit quarantine early upon receipt of the second negative diagnostic test.

Also please note:

  1. Individuals who travel to and from states that are contiguous with New York or who travel out of state for less than 24 hours are exempt from the above requirements. However, these individuals must still fill out the Traveler Health Form.
  2. Be aware that under the requirements of the New York State test-out procedure, your COVID-19 test on quarantine day four must be approved by New York State as a diagnostic test. Syracuse University’s on-campus saliva testing is approved for virus surveillance but does not qualify as a diagnostic test for this purpose. However, any COVID-19 test you would otherwise receive from your primary care physician, an urgent care facility or from any of the Onondaga County testing sites will likely qualify as a diagnostic test for this purpose.

CDC Travel and Holiday Guidance: Anyone who is planning travel should first review current CDC guidance for travel considerations, return policies and preventive measures you should take to protect yourself and those around you. Additionally, the CDC recently released holiday guidance, specific to Thanksgiving travel and gatherings.

We are grateful to all our faculty and staff who have worked to support our students and each other during the most unusual of circumstances. You have accomplished what many have thought was impossible despite challenges and uncertainty—both at work and in your personal lives. Thank you for all you do. Please stay healthy and safe this holiday season.


Andrew R. Gordon
Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer

John Liu
Interim Vice Chancellor and Provost