April 8, 2022

Dear Spelman Community,

In spring 2020, colleges and universities throughout the world had to suspend all campus-related international travel for their campus community members, due to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. Based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. State Department travel advisories, Spelman College continued to suspend all campus-related international travel for faculty, staff, and students, as part of our efforts to promote strategies that reduce the risk of COVID-19 infections in our community.

As the pandemic continues, the world has learned much in the past two years. The combination of strategies that we employ on campus led to Spelman being recognized last fall for its low infection rate. Our community did an excellent job with masking, vaccinations, regular testing and so on. At the same time, the College has continued to monitor the pattern of COVID-19 infection cases globally, as we are eager to resume study abroad and faculty global travel engagements.

The growing availability of COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots has increased outside of the United States, which has contributed to a decline in death rates and hospitalizations in many countries. It must be noted, however, that there are variations across countries in their access to vaccines, booster shots, and other mitigation strategies, as well as the quality of medical care in treating COVID-19 infections.

The Spelman Path Forward Task Force engaged in a thoughtful discussion on these points, and following their enthusiastic recommendation, and the approval by the Senior Team, we are pleased to announce that effective immediately, faculty and staff are allowed to travel to international destinations that are currently on levels 1-3 of CDC and the U.S. State Department.

For students, study abroad is approved to resume in January 2023 to countries on levels 1-3 of the CDC and U.S. State Department. This would allow students aiming to spend a semester abroad to plan their academic schedules, make housing arrangements, start the application process, advisement, and registration for GIS 100 -Global Intercultural Seminar, required before traveling abroad. This date would also enable faculty who lead students abroad to make plans with study abroad providers, negotiate program fees and provide an opportunity for students to make installment payments toward their participation.  

For a list of countries and CDC’s advisories/levels based on COVID-19, please click the link below:

In continuing our efforts to promote the safety and wellbeing of our community, we have not approved college-sponsored travel to level 4 destinations, where COVID-19 infections are very high. We are discussing how and when to do so and gathering the data necessary beyond what is available from the CDC.  We will revisit our policies and will inform our community of revisions as conditions change.

Protocols and Travel Policies During the Pandemic

1. Interested faculty, staff and students must be vaccinated and up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and booster shot prior to departure to be considered for international travel approval.

2. Faculty/staff and students must be COVID free 48-72 hours prior to international travel by PCR testing.

3. Prior to travel, Spelman College reserves the right to suspend any planned travel should infection levels increase in any of the destinations that have been approved for travel.

4. Faculty, staff, and students must comply with travel and safety protocols of foreign governments and international airlines, as they reserve the right to determine the requirements for entering/residing in their countries or flying.

5. Faculty/staff and students must comply with travel and safety protocols established by study abroad providers, international conference/workshop/event organizers as they reserve the right to determine the requirements for participation.

6. If in-person study abroad is suspended by the study abroad provider or by Spelman College due to rising levels of COVID-19 infections that are determined to pose risks to students’ safety and wellbeing, students agree to pivot to online instruction.

7. As a follow up to #7, students planning to study abroad must agree to bear the financial cost of change in air fare if study abroad is suspended, but the study abroad provider's insurance or student insurance will not cover the changes in airfare cost. Spelman College will not reimburse such expenses.

8. Students planning to study abroad must agree to purchase COVID-19 rider – an additional insurance coverage to cover the costs of hotel/accommodations, medical expenses, meals, flight change fees, etc., if students will require quarantine at the end of the program or hospitalizations while abroad (especially if the insurance provided by the study abroad provider or their own insurance is not comprehensive enough).

9. As a follow up to #8, for Spelman owned faculty-led programs and international exchange, Spelman College international travel and health insurance may be applicable. The additional insurance would cover the expenses of isolation (to include additional lodging) required due to COVID illness.  Additional information will be forthcoming regarding this coverage. Additional charges to the sponsoring department/funding source for the coverage may be applicable for the current fiscal year.

10. Spelman College will not refund students for any unused portion of the tuition if the Study Abroad Provider suspends study abroad due to rising levels of COVID-19 infections that are determined to pose risks to safety and wellbeing because students will be asked to pivot to online instruction to complete their studies.

11. Students must comply with COVID-19 international travel policies and guidelines. Student cannot participate in study abroad as a representative of Spelman College, with any of the College’s study abroad providers without the approval of Spelman College’s Gordon Zeto Center for Global Education.

12. For clarification, College-sponsored travel includes trips supported by College funds, sponsored grants, institutional scholarships, external scholarships or fellowships received through endorsement or recommendation by any member of Spelman College. It also includes participation in any international activity that identifies the participant as representing Spelman College.

The Gordon-Zeto Center for Global Education will coordinate with Dr. Yemi Brown, Manager of COVID-19 Operations, and Ms. Johnnie Williams in STS to update our International Travel Approval Form located on the Gordon-Zeto Center for Global Education.


Dr. Dolores Bradley Brennan, Interim Provost & Vice-President for Academic Affairs

Ms. Dawn Alston, Vice President for Business Affairs, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer

Dr. ‘Dimeji Togunde, Vice Provost for Global Education & Professor of International Studies

Spelman College
350 Spelman Lane
Atlanta, Georgia 30314

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