Penn State directs travelers home amid global Level 4 State Department advisory

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — On March 19, the U.S. Department of State issued a worldwide Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory and is advising all travelers to return home to the U.S., their home country of residence, or prepare to shelter in place until further notice. Penn State is extending the same guidance to all students, faculty and staff who remain abroad.

As the worldwide response to the COVID-19 outbreak continues to change daily, many local and national governments are taking steps to stem the spread of this pandemic. As the situation progresses, Penn State’s ability to assist its students, faculty and staff traveling abroad is diminished by circumstances beyond its control — airline flight cancellations, border closings and strained national health care systems. In addition, the ability of the United States government, as well as other national bodies, to assist its citizens abroad may be compromised by the scale and scope of the outbreak.

For these reasons, Penn State has made the decision to cancel all remaining study abroad programming and is directing all Penn State students, whether on study abroad or traveling individually, to return home. All Penn State travelers still currently abroad have been contacted with recommendations for returning home. If they are unable to travel, Penn State has provided students with guidance on sheltering in place.

Further, Penn State is strongly encouraging all faculty and staff to follow the guidance outlined by the U.S. Department of State. As previously announced, and until further notice, all University-sponsored international travel is suspended. This includes new travel as well as any currently booked trips between now and May 11.

Those returning from travel abroad are advised to read Penn State’s requirements for self-quarantine, as well as information about what to do if they feel sick, at

This decision was made out of an abundance of caution with the health and safety of the Penn State community in mind. Penn State will work with affected students to minimize the disruption to their academic plans and to mitigate financial impacts of this decision.

To contact Penn State Global Programs, call or email the Global Programs COVID-19 call center at 814-865-1491 or Additional information on what Penn State is doing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is available at

Last Updated March 20, 2020