Letters to the UMB Community

Holiday Travel Guidance

December 11, 2020

Dear UMB and UMMS Community: 

As we approach the holiday season, we want to provide all University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) faculty, staff, and students and University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) employees and medical staff with guidance on travel and COVID-19 testing, as well as on family gatherings and how to keep you and your family safe during the holidays and beyond. We are in the middle of a second COVID-19 surge in Maryland that is expected to get worse through December and into January, and it's important that we all take action by making the personal decisions necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

We strongly advise that people refrain from nonessential travel and gatherings with people outside of current members of your household due to the recent and substantial increase in COVID-19 infections. 

We know that many of you are used to traveling to see family and friends for seasonal holidays. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that travel, and hosting guests who travel to you, increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Staying home with only current members of your household is the best way to protect yourself and others.

If you must travel, follow these CDC recommendations.

STAYING IN MARYLAND: Employees or students who are staying local this holiday season must be mindful of this same advice. Hosting or attending family celebrations with individuals who are not already part of your immediate household is risky for yourself, your colleagues, and the patients or clients you interact with. We do not support your involvement in these activities and strongly advise that if you are planning to host any holiday celebrations, it is only with individuals who are already part of your immediate household.

If you do not follow this strong advice about gatherings, you should obtain a COVID-19 test using a community testing location within five to seven days after any social gathering. 

For more information, please review CDC Recommendations on Small Gatherings of Family and Friends.

TRAVELING OUTSIDE OF MARYLAND: YOU SHOULD NOT TRAVEL OR INVITE FRIENDS/FAMILY FROM OUTSIDE MARYLAND. However, if it is mandatory that you travel or family or visitors are required to travel, we are asking students and employees to adhere to the guidance that follows:

1. All travelers entering Maryland, regardless of where they traveled from, are strongly advised to immediately get a COVID-19 test upon arrival in Maryland or within 72 hours before travel to Maryland, and to self-quarantine until the test result is received. Please encourage out-of-state visitors to get tested within 72 hours prior to arrival and to cancel travel plans if they test positive. Visitors waiting for their test results should stay at home or self-quarantine upon arrival. 

           NOTE: The testing and quarantine recommendations above do not apply to the travel that is part of a student's or employee's daily commute

2. Employees and students should be aware of the COVID-19 test positivity rate of wherever they are traveling to in advance of their travel plans. Also consider your available leave balance to accommodate the recommended quarantine period and work with your supervisor/manager for anticipated coverage in your absence. Here is a good resource for checking on COVID-19 statistics. 

DO NOT CALL THE UMMS EMPLOYEE HEALTH SCREENING HOTLINE/UMB EXPOSURE HOTLINE, INFECTION PREVENTION, OR EMPLOYEE HEALTH FOR QUESTIONS ABOUT TRAVEL-RELATED TESTING. TESTING SHOULD OCCUR AT COMMUNITY TEST SITES. FOLLOW THE GUIDANCE PROVIDED IN THIS COMMUNICATION.

Anyone experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms should take the following precautions:

  • UMMS Employees: Please call the Employee Health Screening Hotline at 410-328-2793 to speak to a nurse practitioner if you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. Please contact your local Employee Health department if you have been exposed to COVID-19, if you have been advised to quarantine by a physician or a public health official, if you have received positive test results personally, or if anyone in your household has received a positive COVID-19 result.
  • UMB Students and Employees: In addition to the guidance above, students participating in in-person activities and on-campus UMB students and employees should call the COVID-19 hotline at 800-701-9863 if they are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, if they have been exposed to COVID-19, if they have been advised to quarantine by a physician or a public health official, or if they or anyone in their household have received a positive COVID-19 test. 

Off-campus employees or students should contact their health care provider. Students may contact UMaryland Immediate Care at 667-214-1899.

Students and employees with no symptoms who are obtaining a test after out-of-state travel should seek testing at a community testing center location

Find a testing site near you.

All UMB students are advised to monitor messaging and communications from their deans and program heads for testing guidance and information specific to their individual schools. For more information, please see the UMMS and UMB travel guidance. 

We know that the holidays look very different this year. Staying home, taking extra precautions, and doing everything possible to keep yourself and those you love healthy and safe hopefully will translate into celebrating many more holidays with our loved ones in the years to come.

Sincerely,

Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS 

President

University of Maryland, Baltimore

 

Mohan Suntha, MD, MBA

President and CEO

University of Maryland Medical System

 

FAQs 

1.    I am traveling out of state, do I need to quarantine when I return?

It is strongly advised that you quarantine at home until your test result is received unless the travel is part of your regular commute. This means that you should not report to work until a negative test result is received. 

2.    Is testing required?

It is strongly advised, and your specific school may require it. Testing is strongly advised upon return from out-of-state travel (unless the travel is part of your usual daily commute) or if you host/attend a family celebration or social event with members outside your existing household. You should quarantine at home until a negative test result is received.

3.    If I want to be tested, where can I go to get a test?

If you have no symptoms and want to be tested after out-of-state travel, we ask that you use one of many options available across Maryland. Do not call the UMMS Employee Health Screening Hotline.

4.    Do I need to report my post-travel test?

There is no need to report a negative test result, but you do need to report a positive test result per the usual process. If you are enrolled in the UMB/FPI SAFE on Campus symptom monitoring program, please report your results here.

5.    I was planning to travel out of state for the holidays. Should I reconsider?

Yes. The CDC says that travel increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. If you must travel, follow these CDC recommendations.

6.    What if I travel only within Maryland?

If you do not leave the state, you do not need to be tested, provided you don’t have any COVID-19 symptoms and did not come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

If you do not leave the state but decide to host or attend a social gathering with individuals who are not already part of your immediate household, it is strongly advised that you seek a COVID-19 test within 5-7 days following the social gathering and self-quarantine until results are received.

7.    What if I live in a surrounding state and travel to Maryland for work?

Out-of-state travel to and from work is covered under the UMMS/UMB travel policy. It is not required you be tested or self-quarantine if you have no symptoms and did not come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

8.    What about hosting a gathering of friends and/or family?

Hosting or attending gatherings that include people not in your household is strongly discouraged. If you decide to host or attend such a gathering against public health guidance, it is strongly advised that you get a COVID-19 test within 5-7 days afterward, at one of the many testing sites available in Maryland. And follow the CDC Recommendations on Small Gatherings of Family and Friends.

 


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