Travel Information

Travel Information

information for students, employees and others traveling to and from UMass Amherst

Updated Jan. 14, 2021

New and returning students traveling to UMass Amherst for the Spring 2021 semester

For undergraduate students living in residence halls, a phased move-in will occur starting Monday, Jan. 25, 2021 so students can complete the required quarantine in time to participate in face-to-face classes, activities or research activities. The first phase, from Jan. 25-27, includes undergraduate students living on campus who are taking face-to-face courses, international students, and out-of-state students who may travel by air. These students should not plan to arrive before January 25. All other on-campus students will move in January 28-31.  

All students living off campus, both graduate students and undergraduate students, as well as post-docs and visiting scholars should arrive Jan. 25-31 so they can have access to campus in a timely fashion.

More information on Spring 2021 move-in for all students and visiting scholars living on and off campus.

University-related travel by UMass Amherst employees and students

This is the latest university-related travel guidance. Please note that while this information pertains to university-related travel, the university continues to strongly discourage all personal travel and to limit any travel beyond Massachusetts to states designated as COVID-19 lower-risk states.

Testing and Quarantine Requirements

To return to campus after traveling out of state, employees must adhere to one of two options: 

Option 1:  Receive two negative COVID-19 test results

  • Get a COVID-19 test upon arrival in the Commonwealth and limit all interactions.
  • Get second test on day four. Continue to limit all interactions until receiving a second negative test. Upon receipt of a second negative test result, you can return to work on campus.

Option 2:  Quarantine for 10 days from the date of arrival in Massachusetts

If you choose this option, please be advised that the university does not provide travel-related quarantine accommodations.

University-related Travel Procedures

  • University-related travel is restricted for faculty and staff, as well as students. Examples of university-related travel include conferences, research, colloquia, data gathering, fieldwork, archival work, human subject research, and student organization sponsored/organized travel, to any location.
  • Travel to international or to domestic locations that are not classified as lower risk is permitted only with an exceptional approval (see details below). Exceptional approvals generally will not be granted if a quarantine would interfere with the performance of university duties. All exceptionally approved travel, international or domestic, must be entered in the Travel Registry, whether or not reimbursement is requested.
  • Travelers are responsible for following any governmental or public health directives in effect at their destination, such as quarantine on arrival. Travelers returning from any domestic or international locations that are not classified as lower risk must adhere to the campus quarantine protocols described above.
  • Please also view additional state travel policies, but note that the university has a different testing requirement for employees to access campus, as noted above.
  • Domestic travel to areas that are classified as lower risk requires standard approvals, except for commuting by employees or students, which does not require approval. However, commuters are expected to comply with campus virus testing protocols.
  • All travel by air is strongly discouraged and public transportation should be avoided where possible.
  • Travel by auto to any location should be restricted, where possible, to one person or to members of the same household.
  • Environmental Health & Safety will work with departments on travel for instructional purposes.

Exceptional Approval Process

Domestic Travel: Travel to locations that are not classified as lower risk require exceptional case-by-case approval. Risk classifications may change frequently. Exceptions for faculty, staff or student travel will require approval from the department supervisor, college dean or unit director, and the appropriate vice chancellor. All exception requests must address the topics in the COVID-19 Travel Request Exception Checklists along with additional guidance as applicable, e.g., for research involving farms, fieldwork and human subjects.

International Travel: Requests for all university-related international travel require exceptional case-by-case approval. Exceptions for faculty, staff or student travel will require a recommendation from the dean and approval from the provost. All exception requests must address the topics in the COVID-19 Travel Request Exception Checklists along with additional guidance as applicable, e.g., for research involving fieldwork and human subjects. Deans should send their recommendations concerning exceptions to Kalpen Trivedi, associate provost for international programs, at ktrivedi@umass.edu. Any additional approvals required, e.g., for research activities, will be arranged by IPO.

Visiting the UMass Amherst campus

Visits to campus should be arranged only if the purpose of the visit is impossible to fulfill remotely until the COVID-19 emergency is resolved.

The Robsham Memorial Center for Visitors is currently closed. Please go to umass.edu/visitorsctr for information about virtual tours and online events 

All visitors to the UMass campus must follow the Massachusetts travel order and university guidance, which includes more stringent requirements.

The university requires a 10-day quarantine even in the presence of a negative COVID-19 test in order to protect the campus population. Exceptions may be made by the relevant vice chancellor or their designee for limited access to campus with appropriate safety measures, e.g., for critical repairs to infrastructure. 

For all university-related business visitors to UMass, the following guidelines apply:

  • Vendors and service providers entering labs should follow the procedures established by Environmental Health & Safety 
  • All visitors must have a UMass host who will inform their supervisor or department chair with basic information about visitors (name, dates, contact information, overview of activities and facilities involved) and obtain permission if required. 

The host is responsible for:

  • Informing the visitor of any UMass and state requirements related to COVID-19 response,
  • Communicating all UMass campus and community guidelines and requirements to the visitor, obtaining any additional permissions related to the visitor including updating Research and Libraries Operating Plans (RLOPs) as appropriate, requesting library access, obtaining a U-Card (if applicable), etc. For visitors who plan to stay for more than a few days, e.g., to access labs, libraries, etc., the host should arrange a Non-Employee, Non-Student (NENS) account for the visitor.  This is the mechanism by which the visitor can obtain a UMass NetID, participate in a Research & Libraries Operating Plan, EH&S training, etc.
  • Ensuring that the visitor has completed any required trainings for safety protocols necessary for their work or access to labs or equipment.

The visitor is responsible for:

  • Completing the UMass COVID-19 Daily Self Checklist each day prior to coming to campus or participating in campus activities
  • Complying with UMass guidelines and requirements
  • Keeping careful records of their itineraries, including any close contacts (within six feet for 10 to 15 minutes) arising during the travel, to facilitate contact tracing should the need arise

Education Abroad

Please visit the International Programs Office website for the latest information on study abroad programs for UMass Amherst students. 

COVID-19 Lower-Risk Domestic Locations

As of Jan. 6, 2021, the only state defined as lower risk is Hawaii.

These locations are updated on this page based on metrics for disease transmission and/or as required to meet Massachusetts public health regulations.