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Testing Positive for COVID-19 While Abroad

A guide for MSU travelers

Below are recommended steps and resources for MSU-sponsored travelers who have tested positive for COVID-19 while abroad. While abroad, it is important that travelers follow local public health regulations - this may mean quarantining / isolating for longer than recommended by the US CDC.

When applicable, additional information is provided for specific travelers – such as Education Abroad students or program directors, non-EA students, or faculty/staff.

The full guide is also available for download as a PDF.

Step 1: Call ISOS for medical assistance, testing or a doctor’s order

International SOS is MSU's medical and security assistance provider. They have regional offices throughout the world as well as an extensive network of doctors and security experts. ISOS can offer great support with:

  • Advising on local public health regulations and guidance.
  • Connecting you with a local provider for a physician-administered COVID-19 test and physician’s order for quarantine to help with reimbursement (see reimbursement section).
  • Connecting you with free mental health counseling.
  • Connecting you with a doctor for any medical questions.

Contacting ISOS:

  • Tel: +1 215 942 8478
  • Identify yourself as a Michigan State University traveler. If needed, you can provide our membership number on the membership card (see below).
  • Give your current location and timeline of symptoms, test results, etc.
  • Ask for clarification of local public health regulations.
  • Ask for assistance, if needed, with obtaining additional testing or consulting with a doctor for treating your symptoms.

Reference the ISOS Membership Card for phone numbers of regional offices. You can also download the International SOS app (log in with your MSU email, and if prompted, the MSU membership number from the membership card) and give them a call or use the chat function in the app.

Step 2: Rebook your flight (if dates of return change due to COVID-19)

Please work through your ticketing agent or directly with the airline. There may be an opportunity for reimbursement for certain ticketing costs – please see section of quarantine coverage.

StudentUniverse – sometimes used for Education Abroad or student flights
• Toll-free within the US and Canada: +1 800 272 9676
• Toll-free within the UK: +0 808 234 4107
• From outside the US, Canada or UK: +1 617 321 3100

Frosh / Conlin – sometimes used for MSU-sponsored travel
• Phone (24 hrs): +1 517 884 9400
• Phone (Weekdays 8am – 8pm EST): +1 844 434 5026
• Phone International: +1 517 827 2719
• Email: msu(at)conlintravel.com

Step 3: Ensure accommodation and resources for quarantine

EA students: Please reach out to your on-site staff, whether this is an on-site provider, host institution or your program directors.

  • They can provide additional information about quarantine options. If you and your roommate are both positive, you may stay in the same room.
  • However, if not, we ask that the person who tested positive for COVID-19 work with their on-site staff on identifying a private room.
  • On-site staff can also help direct you to food delivery options, laundry services, etc, to help you take care of your needs during quarantine.

EA program directors: Please work directly with your accommodation provider.

Non-EA travelers: Please work directly with your accommodation provider. If they are not able to provide additional lodging, hopefully they can direct you to other lodging options.

ALL travelers: It might be necessary to change accommodations partway through your quarantine if your current accommodations cannot be extended. Please identify the safest way to travel from one location to another that helps to protect others.

Step 4: Inform MSU and others

ALL travelers: Please inform Global Safety at globalsafety(at)msu.edu.

  • Please let us know if this is an FYI or a request for assistance.
  • Please let us know if your anticipated return date has changed, and we can update the Global Travel Registry.

EA students: Please inform your on-site staff, whether this is an on-site provider, host institution or your program directors.

  • They can assist with arranging quarantine support.
  • They can also clarify the academic contingency plan, if applicable, to ensure your ability to complete the course.
  • They may be familiar with local guidance and/or resources to help your quarantine.

EA program directors: Please inform Elizabeth Wandschneider (wandsch(at)msu.edu), your EA program coordinator, and the EA point person in your college.

Non-EA travelers: Consider informing your department or others to reschedule any in-person work commitments such as classes and to provide greater information about reimbursement options.

  • Depending on the nature of your travel, you may be required to cover any expenses that are not reimbursable through insurance.

Step 5: Plan for your return to the US

For EA travelers on a faculty-directed program: During your program, you may exit quarantine after Day 5 in line with CDC guidance, unless local public health regulations mandate a longer quarantine period. Please contact International SOS (see Step 1) for information about local quarantine guidance and regulations. EA students can elect to receive support from MSU or the local provider if they need to quarantine past their planned return date.

All other MSU travelers: Please contact International SOS (see Step 1) for information about local quarantine guidance and regulations.

For traveling to the US,

INFO: Quarantine coverage through MSU’s international travel health insurance

MSU has quarantine coverage through our international travel health insurance, in which all registered MSU-sponsored travelers (faculty, staff and students) are automatically enrolled.

MSU international travel health insurance quarantine coverage with Chubb (see page 13) has a maximum limit of $2000. Covered expenses are:

  • a limit of $150/day for up to 10 days for lodging/meals
  • the cost of a one-way economy airfare ticket either home or to rejoin the trip
  • non-refundable travel arrangements

In order to seek reimbursement for covered expenses related to COVID-19:

  • Simply following public health guidance after a stay-at-home test is not sufficient.
  • At a minimum, you will need to submit proof of a physician-administered positive COVID-19 test. You will also need to submit a doctor’s order for quarantine; if this is not available, you can submit a physician-signed claim form (click link to download) which might be sufficient. Please refer to the insurance policy (page 1 and 2) for specific conditions and contact Chubb (1-800-336-0627 or 1-302-476-6194) for further information on required documentation.
  • International SOS can help arrange a visit with a local physician to review your test and, after their review, write a doctor's order if applicable. You can also ask that they email you a summary of the consultation for additional documentation. This might be a telehealth visit or it might be in-person.
  • Please keep your receipts for any medical care related to your diagnosis, and you can submit a reimbursement claim – or if you go through ISOS, they can set up the appointment and pay directly so you don't have to up front.
  • Keep all receipts for anything that might be a covered expense (see above).
  • Claims must be submitted within 90 days of incurring the expense. You can submit a reimbursement claim to Chubb (scroll down) with your receipts or you can submit invoices for direct payment (see specific instructions on the claim form – click to download). Note that you can still submit the claim form without a physician's signature.

INFO: EA Program Directors – guidance for students testing positive

If you are a program director on an Education Abroad program and a student tests positive for COVID-19 during the program:

  • Please refer to your Health & Safety Plan for your academic contingency and quarantine plan.
  • Please inform Elke Schmidt (schmi822(at)msu.edu) and clarify if this is an FYI or if you are seeking assistance. Elke will email you the student resources, including information about free mental health counseling through ISOS.
  • Please consider if any other students should get tested as well. Anyone who is fully vaccinated and has been exposed to COVID-19 does not need to quarantine (per CDC COVID-19 exposure guidance) but should get tested at a minimum 5 days later. You can call ISOS (+1 215 942 8478) for information about local guidance.

When a student tests positive for COVID-19 at the end of program:

  • Please refer to the EA Stay-Behind Policy to see if you or your co-director might need to stay behind with the student. Students can elect for or decline MSU support during quarantine if it extends past the end of their program.
  • Please inform Elke Schmidt (schmi822(at)msu.edu) and Elizabeth Wandschneider (wandsch(at)msu.edu) with your plan and any requests for assistance.
  • Please do not share any student medical information with those who do not need to know.
  • Please feel free to refer any parent communication to Elke Schmidt (schmi822(at)msu.edu; +1 517 884 2174).
  • Please share this guide with the student in question. Encourage them to contact Elke Schmidt (schmi822(at)msu.edu) for additional resources for their quarantine and to extend their registered stay in country if needed due to quarantine.