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March 9, 2020

As circumstances surrounding the current COVID-19 outbreak rapidly evolve, I am writing to remind MSVU travelers of the associated risks.

Faculty and staff 

The University’s travel insurance provider for faculty and staff (SSQ) has indicated that travel insurance may not be valid when travelling to countries under a Government-issued travel advisory. Specifically, they will not reimburse expenses, including medical expenses, incurred during travel to countries with level 3 or level 4 travel advisories, as issued by the Government of Canada. A level 3 advisory indicates a recommendation to “avoid non-essential travel” while a level 4 advises travelers to “avoid all travel.” As well, our insurance provider has noted that in places where governments or public health authorities have taken control of the local COVID-19 situation, the support they will be able to offer will be very limited – they will not be able to refer to a provider, nor provide evacuation assistance. 

The University encourages all faculty and staff to consider cancelling non-essential university-related travel to all countries currently on the Government of Canada’s list of countries affected by COVID-19, particularly those with level 3 and 4 advisories. These currently include: 

  • China (mainland) – Level 3 
  • Iran – Level 3 
  • Italy – Level 3 
  • Japan – Level 2 
  • South Korea – Level 2 
  • Hong Kong – Level 1 
  • Singapore – Level 1 

Note that this list could change and travelers should visit the Public Health Agency of Canada website for the latest information. 

If you are planning university-related travel to any of these countries, please speak to your department Chair or supervisor/manager, or contact Human Resources: Stephanie.Girard@msvu.ca or 902-457-6368. 

All travelers, whether heading out on university-related or leisure travel, are reminded to take appropriate precautions – you can review the Government of Canada’s travel health advice

Students 

We are working to support any students currently abroad, though none of our students on exchange right now are in an “affected country.” All outbound students are required to purchase insurance through guard.me; guard.me has advised that students already abroad will continue to be covered, but no new policies will be issued for travel (originating in Canada) to the above noted locations, except Hong Kong. Please note that this is a rapidly evolving situation and this information could change at any time. We will continue to monitor the situation and work closely with students who are studying abroad for the 2020-2021 academic year. 

If any student has travel concerns, including travel concerns outside of study abroad (e.g. conference or research related), please contact Amy Braye in the International Education Centre: Amy.Braye@msvu.ca or 902-457-6130.