U.S. Off-Campus Travel & Engaged Learning Guidance during COVID-19

Following the Provost’s Office Guidance for Engaged Learning Activities, students must complete the Student Application for Engaged Learning Activity form for any in-person, U-M-related engaged learning activity that takes place outside of the state in which they are residing or it entails at least one overnight away from home. This enables the university to know the locations of U-M students and communicate public health updates as needed. Details are provided in the sections below.


  • While the Washtenaw Country PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC STAY IN PLACE ORDER FOR UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN STUDENTS is in place, all undergraduate student off-campus U-M engaged learning activities must have the support of their college’s dean and must complete the Student Application for Engaged Learning Activity. The Stay in Place Order states:

    “Students who have clinical rotations, student teaching or other off-campus experiential learning assignments that are held in person will be allowed to continue only with approval from the college dean and disclosure to the organization of placement such that both the school and site are aware and supportive of continued participation. Strict adherence to preventive measures is required.” https://www.washtenaw.org/DocumentCenter/View/18386/Order—Stay-in-place-Order—Final-Oct-20
  • This page will be updated with further instructions should the Detroit Region (region 1) of the MI Safe Start plan, issued by Governor Whitmer on May 7, 2020, changes to Phases D or E. 
  • See Global Michigan for international travel guidance and for the COVID-19 & Travel FAQ

Following President Schlissel’s April 20th COVID-19 update, all non-essential expenditures, including travel, are to be suspended.

To travel for essential business reasons within the United States, faculty and staff should:

  • Request approval from their school/college/unit 
  • Register travel in the U-M Travel Registry
  • And ensure that the activity follows relevant local laws and regulations, including those related to human gatherings/in-person interactions.

To support the health and well-being of our university community during the pandemic, the following guidelines for off-campus U-M engaged learning activities are in effect during the ongoing pandemic. These Provost’s Office guidelines will subside once the Detroit Region (region 1) of the MI Safe Start plan, issued by Governor Whitmer on May 7, 2020, changes to Phases D or E: https://www.detroitchamber.com/covid19/michigans-covid-19-status-and-reopening-phases-by-region/

The purpose of these temporary guidelines is to track the locations of U-M students engaged in off-campus U-M-related experiences and enable communication and public health updates as needed. 

The guidelines apply to U-M-Ann Arbor students participating in off-campus activities that:

  • Have an in-person component (e.g. in-person internships, research, volunteer projects, Sponsored Student Organization activities, recreation sports activities, research, or other educational experiences). They do not apply to any on-campus activities or any activity offered exclusively in remote format.
  • Takes place outside of the state in which they are residing or it entails at least one overnight away from home.

Off-campus, university-related domestic activities for individual students are permissible if students meet the following conditions: 


  • Obtain written verification from a U-M department chair or unit administrator that the engaged learning activity is acceptable given the special considerations for any travel outside of the home during the COVID-19 pandemic and associated curtailments of travel and other activity. The simplest way to document this written acceptance is via email. 
  • Submit a Student Application for Engaged Learning Activity form (view instructions and preview the form here) and receive a no-objection review from the Chief International Travel Safety Officer and the International Travel Oversight Committee.  Within the registration, students must agree to follow any applicable laws, rules, regulations, orders, and public health guidelines at their host location. They must also agree to follow any applicable U-M requirements for returning to campus after their engaged learning activity concludes. 
  • If there is a travel component, students must register travel in the U-M Travel Registry.
  • Following the U-M suspension of domestic travel, students may not use U-M funding for non-essential travel.

Note 1: Clinical rotations in the health sciences are not considered engaged learning activities for purposes of this guidance.

Note 2: If the activity reoccurs multiple times, students should register only once, indicating the date of the first possible occurrence and the date of the last overnight travel.

Note 3: Sponsored Student Organizations are prohibited from travel outside of Michigan and overnight travel. Visit the Center for Campus Involvement site for details.

For questions, please contact umich-itoc@umich.edu