Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is in close contact with the New Jersey Department of Health (NJ DOH) and is monitoring and assessing up-to-date information and recommendations from the NJ DOH and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding the current Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in West Africa.

This policy statement addresses travel to and visits from Ebola-affected countries with respect to students, faculty, staff, and other employees of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Travel to Ebola-Affected Countries

The CDC, in its Advice for Colleges, Universities and Students about Ebola in West Africa, reports that it has posted Warning Level 3 Travel Notices recommending that people “avoid non-essential travel to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone at this time.” They advise that “education-related travel to these countries be postponed until further notice.”

The CDC’s recommendations against non-essential travel have been issued to “help control the outbreak and prevent continued spread in two ways: to protect the health of U.S. residents who would be traveling to the affected areas and to enable the governments of countries where Ebola outbreaks are occurring to respond most effectively to contain the outbreak.”

In addition, the Ebola outbreak has created severe strain and dysfunction of health care systems and significant breakdown in public safety and security in some of the affected regions. A consequence of this is that evacuation for medical or other reasons may not be feasible in many circumstances. The only option for individuals who become infected or injured may be to undergo whatever treatment is available in the Ebola-affected area.

For these reasons, Rutgers has determined to restrict student, faculty, and staff official or authorized travel to Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone (the three countries for which CDC has posted Warning Level 3 Travel Notices) and to Mali, which has recently reported a cluster of Ebola cases.  Accordingly, Rutgers students, faculty, staff, and other employees may not travel to Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Mali for university business, e.g., teaching, study abroad, conferences, presentations, internships, research, recruiting, athletic competitions, or other Rutgers University-related reasons.

Students, faculty, staff, and other employees who wish to be able to travel for official or authorized university-related reasons to any of these countries (including travel to assist in the response to the Ebola outbreak) may petition the University for permission. Requests must be submitted in writing for approval by the appropriate Dean and then the Chancellor.

Travel for personal reasons to Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Mali is strongly discouraged. Personal travel is at your own risk. Be aware that evacuation may not be feasible.

Travel from Ebola-Affected Countries

The CDC has provided written guidance entitled Advice for Students and Faculty Arriving to US Campuses from Countries Where the Ebola Outbreaks Are Happening. In addition, the New Jersey Department of Health has issued a document entitled Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Updated Interim Guidance for Colleges and Universities regarding Students from Ebola-Affected Areas (summarized below):

  • All travelers arriving from Ebola-affected countries are being screened at both their departure and arrival airports for exposure risk and symptoms. Upon arrival in the U.S., travelers from Ebola-affected countries are categorized as: Symptomatic, High Risk, Some Risk, and Low (But Not Zero) Risk.
  • Symptomatic individuals must be transported to a hospital. Transportation must be performed by emergency medical services specifically informed of the possibility of an Ebola-infected patient. No individual with suspected or confirmed Ebola virus disease should be transported via mass transit (car pool, bus, train, etc.).
  • Individuals at High and Some Risk will be quarantined or have movements and public activities restricted. If a student needs to be quarantined, state and local authorities will work with the individual and the institution to find a suitable location. If necessary, the state will provide housing. All of these individuals must undergo “direct active monitoring” by public health authorities.
  • Individuals who are at Low (But Not Zero) Risk will be actively monitored by the local health department for fever or other symptoms suggestive of Ebola for 21 days after leaving the Ebola-affected country.

Rutgers policies are in conformity with those of the New Jersey Department of Health:

  1. All students, faculty, staff, and other employees returning from Ebola-affected countries are requested to make the University aware of their recent travel history, so we may walk you through a quick risk assessment over the phone. 
  2. All students, faculty, staff and other employees are requested to seek guidance from supervisor or Dean prior to making any commitment to invite visitors from these countries to participate in Rutgers-related matters.
  3. Hosting visitors for University-related purposes who have been in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Mali within three weeks of the desired visit is not permitted until further notice.  Students, faculty, staff, and other employees who seek an exception and wish to host an individual from any of these countries for a Rutgers University-related matter, may petition the University for permission. Requests must be submitted in writing for approval by the appropriate Dean and then the Chancellor.
  4. Hosting visitors from these areas for personal purposes is strongly discouraged.

The Ebola virus outbreak situation is very fluid. The future impact of Ebola Virus Disease on New Jersey, the region, and the country is uncertain. Consequently, updates to this policy should be expected. Please continue to access this page on a regular basis for updated information, guidance, and instructions.