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Travel guidelines lifted for undergraduate students to allow domestic travel outside Mercer County and Plainsboro

<h5>Bright gold leaves blanket the lawn in front of Nassau Hall.&nbsp;</h5>
<h6>Guanyi Cao / The Daily Princetonian</h6>
Bright gold leaves blanket the lawn in front of Nassau Hall. 
Guanyi Cao / The Daily Princetonian

Restrictions on domestic travel outside of Mercer County and Plainsboro Township have been lifted for undergraduate students, and students in compliance with University vaccination policies are now permitted to travel anywhere in the United States, effective immediately.  

The reversal of the travel policy established on Dec. 27 was announced in an email to all undergraduate students from Vice President for Student Life W. Rochelle Calhoun and Dean of the College Jill Dolan on Saturday morning. 

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According to the email, students who were formerly denied approval to leave the permitted areas under the old policy are now able to travel regardless of previous rejection. 

The previous policy prohibited all travel for personal reasons outside of Mercer County and Plainsboro Township, and was met with pushback from some students.

However, the message noted that the guidelines for University-sanctioned travel have not changed— undergraduate students are still prohibited from traveling internationally.

The email comes amid a rise in cases on campus among faculty, staff, and undergraduates even before the majority of students have returned to Princeton. However, the announcement cited “a welcome decrease in the spread of COVID-19” in communities outside the immediate area of Princeton as reasoning behind the change.

Students who have just finished a five-day isolation period for COVID-19 are instructed not to travel until after the tenth day of the onset of symptoms; all students are asked to consider the risk of contracting COVID-19 as a result of personal travel. 

It is unclear how this change will impact previously canceled travel for student groups or events taking place during the second week of Wintersession; the email instructed student groups to “contact their sponsoring office for guidance.”

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The email to undergraduate students on Dec. 27 that originally banned travel outside of Mercer County and Plainsboro Township included a stipulation that the University would “revisit, and if possible, revise” the travel restriction by Feb. 15 — in today’s message, Calhoun and Dolan called back to that commitment. 

“We hope,” they wrote, “this will reassure you that as promised, we’re reviewing our policies on a regular basis.”

This story is breaking and will be updated as new information becomes available.

Hope Perry is the Head Podcast Editor at the 'Prince' who has covered USG, University COVID-19 policies, and US politics. She can be reached at hperry@princeton.edu or on Twitter @hopemperry.

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