COVID-19 Update: Travel Requirements

COVID-19 and the Way Ahead

Recent changes in federal guidance and requirements will impact Smithsonian’s COVID-specific travel guidance. Please remember, traditional (pre-pandemic) Smithsonian-wide and unit-based travel requirements remain in effect; any COVID requirements are additional.

All travelers are reminded that when on official travel, they shall follow Smithsonian guidance to the fullest extent possible. This includes taking the daily health screening questions and following CDC recommendations in public spaces. This often means that official travelers must follow additional mitigations (like masking) that are no longer required of the general public.

If you have further questions, please consult the COVID Way Ahead Handbook and work with your supervisor and/or unit’s travel preparer. If unit travel managers have questions, please contact the OSHEM COVID Program at SI-CoronavirusInfo@si.edu.

Of Note:

  • Unit-level approval (by the director or their designee) is required when your duty station location is in Medium or High.
  • Unvaccinated travelers are no longer restricted from travel; unvaccinated travelers must isolate for a minimum of five days after returning from official international travel.
  • COVID exposure (being a primary contact) or positive diagnosis prior to departure or while on travel will require a quarantine/isolation period.
  • When on official travel, travelers must follow current CDC recommendations regarding domestic and international travel.

COVID Travel Approvals: Unit-level approval (by the director or their designee) is required when the traveler’s duty station is in Medium or High, based on the Smithsonian’s regional COVID level.

COVID Vaccination Status: Vaccination status no longer restricts the type of travel a traveler may participate in. However, if an unvaccinated staff member is on official international travel, they may not return to the workplace until they have completed a five-day isolation period upon their return. The traveler may telework during that isolation period, or if not telework eligible, may be granted Weather & Safety Leave. Additional details are available in the Exposure and Leave Option document.

Units shall manage the verification of vaccination status. Supervisors can see the compliance with COVID Vaccination via the OHS Medical Surveillance Dashboard. Additionally, unit directors and unit safety coordinators are able to view the status of all unit staff.

COVID Cases or Primary Contact Exposure: Official travelers who are diagnosed with COVID or identified as a primary contact MAY NOT TRAVEL for at least five days after exposure. This includes embarking on a scheduled trip and continuing an itinerary (or returning home) if already on travel.

When evaluating travel, supervisors and unit leadership should consider the personnel and financial impact of uncertainties related to COVID. Units shall be responsible for any additional costs incurred should the trip itinerary change due to COVID, including trip extensions should the traveler be required to quarantine/isolate before returning.

Masking on Public Conveyance: Official travelers are required to follow the CDC recommendations regarding domestic and international travel. This includes wearing a mask on all public transportation and in transportation hubs.

Stay COVID Safe,



Posted: 17 June 2022
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