Important COVID-19 Update
The University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL) is closely monitoring the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. As the situation continues to change rapidly, our top priority remains the health, safety, and well-being of our community, on and off campus. As such, the university encourages students, faculty, and staff to find alternate means of conducting their studies and business associated with non-essential travel.
COVID-19 TRAVEL RELATED FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
03/16/2020 4:19 p.m.
WHERE SHOULD I AVOID TRAVEL?
CDC provides travel notices and makes recommendations on postponing or canceling travel. These are travel notices and are based on assessment of the potential health risks involved with traveling to a certain area. A list of destinations with travel notices is available at on the CDC website travel page. Governor Greg Abbott’s directives on Friday March 13, 2020 requiring cancellation of all non-essential university-sponsored domestic and international travel. UHCL is immediately canceling all non-essential university travel through April 30, 2020 and will continue to update and revise this timeframe as the situation develops. Consider your risks and options when making decisions about personal domestic travel during this time.
WHAT COUNTRIES ARE INCLUDED IN THE CDC TRAVEL NOTICES?
The list of countries is available CDC countries.
WHAT IS ESSENTIAL UNIVERSITY TRAVEL Vs. NON-ESSENTIAL UNIVERSITY TRAVEL?
For questions regarding determining whether specific travel is essential or not, please consult with your respective Department supervisor and/or Division Head.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I TRAVELED INTERNATIONALLY?
Students, faculty and staff who have travelled internationally are required to report that travel through the Report International Registration Form. If that travel was to or through any country or region designated as a Level 2 or Level 3 by the CDC for COVID-19, you are required to self-isolate off-campus for 14 days before returning to campus. (See ‘What Does It Mean to Self-Isolate?’ FAQ) If that travel was to other countries or domestically to other states, you are encouraged to self-monitor. According the CDC website, self-monitoring includes taking temperatures twice a day and remain alert for cough or difficulty breathing. If you feel feverish or develop measured fever, cough, or difficulty breathing during the self-monitoring period, you should self-isolate, limit contact with others, and seek advice by telephone from a healthcare provider.
To download the CDC Check and Report Every Day (CARE) Booklet which helps you understand how to self-monitor your health and how to check your symptoms daily visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/COVID-19_CAREKit_ENG.pdf
GUIDANCE FOR UNIVERSITY-SPONSORED INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL
University-sponsored student education abroad spring programs are canceled. Summer 2020 Education Abroad programs are being, assessed, and currently pending further decisions. Please contact email@example.com for additional information.
WHAT IF I HAVE PLANS TO TRAVEL?
University has canceled all University-sponsored travel outside of the U.S. between March 13 -May 1. The university recommends that individuals strongly consider the risks of personal travel internationally, as this situation continues to evolve. Students, faculty, and staff who travel internationally - whether for personal or university business — are required to register with the university regarding that travel before leaving or immediately upon return through the Report International Registration Form .
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I am RETURNING TO THE UNITED STATES?
Upon return to the United States, register your travel in the Report International Registration Form regardless whether the travel was personal or business related.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO SELF-ISOLATE?
If you are not experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 and are asked to self-isolate after returning from a country listed on the CDC’s COVID-19 travel advisories page as Level 3, you should stay off campus and remain home.
Do not go to campus including work, residence halls and apartments, classes, any events or other social gatherings until 14 days after leaving the Level 3 country or region. Likewise, avoid public places and gatherings in the community. To download the CDC Check and Report Every Day (CARE) Booklet which helps you understand how to self-monitor your health and how to check your symptoms daily visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/COVID-19_CAREKit_ENG.pdf
WHAT ARE THE DOMESTIC TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS?
All University-related non-essential domestic air travel canceled until at least April 30. As applicable, consult with your respective colleges, program chair, or department supervisor and/or Division head and funding sources to determine whether your University-related domestic air travel is essential. We strongly encourage you to consider alternative methods, like teleconferencing. For personal travel within the U.S., we strongly urge you to use extreme caution and judgment. Check the state and territorial health department websites for the latest information.
WILL I GET MY TRAVEL REIMBURSEMENT FOR AIRFARE, IF MY UNIVERSITY-RELATED MEETING/CONFERENCE CANCELED?
Yes, in situations like this that result in airline, hotel and car rental imposed penalties for changes to an airline ticket for business reasons or circumstances beyond the traveler’s control are reimbursable. If you arranged your travel through the university travel office, please contact travel office requesting ticket cancellation and a credit availability for future use. You may email Traveloffice@uhcl.edu or you contact at 281-283-2270.
If you personally paid for the airline, lodging, rental, etc., directly please visit the airline’s website for details on cancellation policies, contact hotel for full refund, cancel vehicle rental, and request registration refund from conference host. Because of COVID-19, many airlines are waiving change fees and issuing credits and refunds. Please be sure to apply for all available benefits prior to submitting your expense reimbursement requests. Reimbursement occurs once the future business trip is completed. If the airlines issues a credit for a ticket and the credit goes unused, then reimbursement occurs after the credit has expired.
ARE NON-REFUNDABLE TRAVEL COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH GRANT-RELATED TRAVEL THAT HAS BEEN, CANCELED DUE TO COVID-19 ALLOWABLE AND CAN THEY BE CHARGED TO THE GRANT?
Please contact university Office of Sponsored Programs at 281-283-3016 for federal and state grant travel and expense policy guidance. These situations may have to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
ARE THERE RESTRICTIONS FOR HOSTING NEW VISITORS TO CAMPUS DURING THIS PERIOD?
If a visitor has traveled abroad since March 9, then they must self-isolate for 14 days before coming to campus.
I AM ATTENDING A MEETING/CONFERENCE IN MAY-JUNE TIMEFRAME AND I HAVE NOT PURCHASED MY AIRFARE YET. CAN I GO AHEAD AND BOOK MY FLIGHT?
Before booking new travel, please reach out to the meeting planner and/or conference organization to see if the meeting/conference is still scheduled to occur or if it is being postponed to a later date. Travelers should not book reservations too far in advance. Please contact your respective department supervisor and/or Division head for additional guidance and approval on this subject.
I PREPAID FOR MY HOTEL STAY AND/OR HOTEL DEPOSIT. WILL I GET A ROOM DEPOSIT?
Hotels will typically allow for cancellation with no charge from 24-72 hours prior to the date/time of check-in. Please check the policy as each hotel has different cancellation policies. Yes, in situations like this that result in imposed penalties for changes business related travels and circumstances beyond the traveler’s control are reimbursable
Previous COVID-19 Updates
Date: March 13, 2020
To: University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL)
Subject: University of Houston-Clear Lake Updated Travel Guidelines
The purpose of this message is to provide additional clarification surrounding Governor Greg Abbott’s directives on Friday March 13, 2020 requiring cancellation of all non-essential university-sponsored domestic and international travel.
- UHCL is immediately cancelling all non-essential university travel through April 30, 2020 and will continue to update and revise this timeframe as the situation develops.
- Consider your risks and options when making decisions about personal domestic travel during this time.
- The pace at which travel restrictions and cancellations are taking place will only continue to escalate.
- If you are able to change your personal travel plans in order to limit your exposure to coronavirus, UHCL highly encourages you to do so.
Continue to check the university’s coronavirus website for up to date information.
- Your first step in dealing with travel issues is to reach out to the airline, hotel, any other travel providers directly, and the conference or event host to request a full refund.
- Please contact UHCL Travel office email TravelOffice@uhcl.edu or call 281-283-2270 with questions on your specific situation.
Below are a few steps to resolve some of your travel related questions.
AIRFARE EXPENSES – UNIVERSITY PAID
If you arranged your travel through the university travel office, please contact travel office requesting ticket cancellation and a credit availability for future use.
AIRFARE EXPENSES – PERSONALLY PAID
Please visit the airline’s website for details on cancellation policies. Because of COVID-19, many airlines are waiving change fees and issuing credits and refunds. Please be sure to apply for all available benefits prior to submitting your expense reimbursement requests.
- Reimbursement occurs once the future business trip is completed.
- If the airlines issues a credit for a ticket and the credit goes unused, then reimbursement occurs after the credit has expired.
- Contact the hotel for a full refund. Obtain assistance from your Division/College Business Administrator to deposit the funds into the lodging expenditure account.
- If the hotel withholds any/or all of the pre-paid amount, the difference will be absorbed by the university as part of the trip cost.
RENTAL VEHICLES – COMPANY PAID
- Cancel the reservation with the rental agency. There is no charge for cancellations.
RENTAL VEHICLES – PERSONALLY PAID
- Cancel the reservation with the rental agency.
- The traveler will be reimbursed for any cancellation fees.
- Contact the conference host and seek a refund. If no refund allowed, find out if the registration fee may be used at a future conference or transferable to another attendee if you are unable to attend in the future.
- If the future conference date is set and the original traveler plans to attend, update the “Travel Authorization Request Form.”
- The traveler will be, reimbursed for personally paid registration fees if the fees are not refunded or transferable.
- If you received an Advance via Travel Advance Program (TAP) card, the TAP card must be returned to the university with the completed travel expense report and supporting documentations.
For questions regarding determining whether specific travel is essential or not, please consult with your respective department supervisor and/or division head.
For assistance with travel reimbursements, please contact the university travel office at Traveloffice@uhcl.edu or 281-283-2270.
We request your patience as we all work together to get through this challenge. The
Travel office will do everything possible to answer your questions and serve everyone
in as timely a manner as possible.
For university and health alert updates related to Coronavirus (COVID-19), please visit the UHCL Health Alert webpage.
The UHCL Travel Group has been in operation since October 1997 and was established to provide UHCL employees with efficient and improved travel services. We take care of most of your business travel needs, from reservations to reimbursement. The following information is provided as a resource to UHCL business travelers. This site contains documents on travel policies, latest travel news, contracted travel vendors, forms, and links to outside sources of travel information.
Important to Know Before You Travel
** Please Note: New requirements effective September 1, 2019 **
- Itemized meal receipts are not required for reimbursement, however, travelers should not seek reimbursement for expenses not incurred.
- When going to a conference the agenda must be included with the expense report
When traveling on University business, you will most likely spend money on airfare, hotels, meals and other incidental items, such as business phone calls and cab fares. Subject to your department's approval, the University will reimburse you for some of these expenses. However, for others it will not. Examples of some of the non-reimbursable items include:
- Meals for non-overnight travel
- Any tips exceeding 20%; tips are limited to 20%
- Pay TV and video rentals
- Personal entertainment such as attending a professional sports event
- Personal phone calls
- Health club fees
- Domestic car rental collision and damage waiver (CDW) insurance
- Personal injury (PI) insurance coverage.
Employees may be reimbursed for a meal expense incurred while outside of his or her designated headquarters on a day that the employee conducts state business .
The Traveler should assume that any item not specifically addressed in the Texas Travel Allowance Guide is not allowed as a University travel expense. You should be familiar enough with the Travel Policy to be aware of what can and what cannot be reimbursed.
NOTE: Individual units (e.g. colleges, departments, institutes, divisions) have budgetary oversight for travel expenditures and therefore may establish travel procedures which reduce allowable expenses to a level below that available through the University policy. Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) may also require a greater degree of documentation for expenses than the University policy. Therefore prior to taking a trip, travelers should consult with the Travel Office for documentation requirements.
NOTE: Expense reports must be submitted within 60 days of trip completion. The IRS requires that travel reimbursements must be submitted within sixty days of completion of the travel or it becomes taxable income to the employee. The taxable amount will be forwarded to Human Resources to be included on the traveler's W-2. This does not apply to blanket mileage.
Mount all receipts or other attachments with tape onto an 8-1/2" x 11" paper, carefully taping all sides without taping over printed information. For multiple receipts, please attach calculator tape to assist with the auditing of the expense report.
If 50% or more trip days are primarily personal vs. business, traveler will not be reimbursed for domestic travel to/from destination.
Mileage Reimbursement Rates
57.5 cents beginning January 1, 2020
58 cents January 1, 2019
Effective November 1, 2013 all Travel-related documents will be accepted via campus mail or scanned through email to the Travel office email account.
This includes: Travel Authorization/Foreign Travel Authorization and all supporting documentation Expense Report and receipts (employees or department should retain the originals of any scanned/emailed receipts until final, correct payment is received (approx. 60 days) and then shred. When emailing expense reports, send with subject title T# and name of traveler - Expense Report and Travel Overage Approval. The Travel Office will furnish the Hotel Credit Card Agreement form when hotel card is picked up. Please note: Hotel cards must still be picked up at the Travel Office at NOA II (North Office Annex II).