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Travel Restrictions and Guidance

Last Updated: January 29, 2021

Otis College recommends the suspension/cancellation of all planned international travel through the end of the spring semester, if possible.

The CDC announced an order stating that starting on January 26th, 2021, if you plan to travel internationally, you will need to get tested no more than three days before you travel by air into the United States and show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight, or be prepared to show documentation of recovery (proof of a recent positive viral test and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel). 

The CDC also recommends that you get tested three to five days after international air travel AND stay home for seven days. Even if you test negative, stay home for the full seven days. If you don’t get tested, it’s safest to stay home for 10 days after travel. See CDC’s Testing and International Air Travel for more information.

The most recent list of travelers from countries that are barred from entering the U.S. can be found here. As of January 26, 2021, this list includes China, Brazil, and the United Kingdom, among others, as the U.S. attempts to restrict newer, more contagious strains of COVID-19 from entering the country from abroad. 

General information and CDC guidance on domestic air travel can be found here. Information about travel restrictions for the state of California can be found here

The Los Angeles Department of Public Health (LACDPH) discourages all non-essential travel for area residents until after the current surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations subsides (the latest local data is available here).

In addition, all persons traveling into Los Angeles County, whether by air, car, train, or any other means, directly or indirectly from a point of origin outside the Southern California Region, must quarantine for at least 10 days after arrival, per the mandate issued on December 30, 2020. More information about this can be found here

Anyone who must travel is advised to regularly check the CDC Travelers’ Health website and the State Department website for the latest information and advice regarding their destination. Traveling to an area affected by the COVID-19 pandemic may also make it difficult to return to the U.S., or result in travelers having to self-quarantine upon their return. 

Otis College will assist travelers however we can, and students affected by these restrictions can contact Nick Negrete, Dean of Student Affairs, via email at nnegrete@otis.edu or by calling 310-665-6967, as he will work in partnership with Academic Affairs and the Student Health and Wellness Center to ensure continuity of a student’s coursework and additional support while off-campus.

Travel Study

International, out-of-state, and local travel study, including field trips, has been paused. Comprehensive travel study activity will remain under constant review as it relates to local, state, and national COVID-19 guidelines. No new international, out-of-state, and local travel study, including field trips, will be planned until further notice.

Factors contributing to the cancellation of travel study include:

  • Health and safety risk—the CDC has declared a large portion of the globe as a Level 4: COVID-19 is very high. 
  • Unstable travel conditions—the current rapidly-changing situation surrounding long-distance travel greatly complicates successful travel study activity, including but not limited to air travel portions.
  • Educational viability—courses’ educational objectives are thwarted substantially by current travel-related and venue-specific conditions.
  • Return-related complications—unpredictable but more likely than usual travel delays, possible medical needs outside the U.S., possible quarantine requirements upon return, etc., all of which are unknown and unpredictable at this time, semester schedule factors notwithstanding.
  • Similar decisions/best practices—many institutions of higher learning have also been obliged to cancel similarly planned international travel with students, faculty, and staff, including most AICAD (Otis’s family of comparable independent art and design) schools.

Otis College leadership is truly saddened that affected College Travel Study plans must go unfulfilled this year, especially with so many years’ success behind the program. The current international and long-distance domestic travel environment is truly unique in the unprecedented challenges it poses for schools making such travel plans, and for the students who would have benefited from them in normal times.