Updates to GW’s International Travel Policy

May 20, 2020

Dear SEAS Faculty, Staff, and Students,

Based on GW's interim international travel policy that was announced yesterday by GW Provost M. Brian Blake and Executive Vice President Mark Diaz, we would like to inform you of the approval process for requesting essential international travel in SEAS. This process will assist us in facilitating, tracking, and making informed decisions around travel as we continue to navigate the evolving public health situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beginning July 1st and until further notice, only essential GW-affiliated international travel will be allowed for all SEAS faculty, staff, and students. Any international travel by faculty and staff undertaken in connection with their GW responsibilities is within the scope of this policy (for details, please see: https://global.gwu.edu/essential-travel). International travel may be considered essential for faculty and staff members when avoiding or delaying would cause harm to university operations, would result in loss of existing grant funding, or would result in failure to meet contractual obligations that cannot be renegotiated or postponed. This includes travel outside of the United States for research, education, recruitment, conferences, and other modes of working on-site internationally or representing your department or the university abroad.

The policy also affects undergraduates and graduate students. Undergraduate study abroad and international trips connected with GW are considered "non-essential" and are not allowed for the policy's duration. Essential travel for SEAS graduate students includes travel that is deemed necessary to fulfill graduation requirements. Any international travel that involves research that cannot be postponed or managed by alternative methods and is required to preserve the results of an ongoing research activity is also considered essential for faculty, staff, and students.

All essential travel requests by SEAS faculty, staff, and students must be submitted through my office and are subject to approval by me. Guidelines for the SEAS approval process for essential travel requests will be provided to all of you in the coming days. The guidelines will include GW's interim policy for international travel, definitions of essential and non-essential travel under the interim policy, and instructions on how to request consideration for international travel beginning July 1st. Questions about the interim policy as established for university-wide guidance can be directed to Donna Scarboro, Associate Provost for International Programs, via [email protected].

Thank you for your continued cooperation and understanding as we work together to promote the health and safety of our community.


john lach
John Lach
Dean - School of Engineering and Applied Science
Professor - Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
The George Washington University
(202) 994-6080
[email protected]