Ebola Response - Frequently Asked Questions

Questions and answers will be added to this list on an ongoing basis. 

Will UCSF trip insurance cover me while I am in West Africa?  Who will cover costs if I contract Ebola while on University-approved leave? 

To be approved, host NGOs should have emergency medical coverage for their own volunteers.  As a second line of support, UC’s travel accident emergency medical coverage – for registered travelers – to cover the care needed preparatory to and during transport home.  Once you are back in U.S., the ongoing care costs will fall to your group health insurance coverage.

What will happen to my benefits when I am on University-approved leave? 

If you are on paid leave using vacation leave, hours from the Emergency Vacation Leave Sharing Program (EVLSP), or sick leave, you are eligible to continue health benefits if you maintain an average regular paid time of at least 17.5 hour per week.  For more details about these and your other benefits, see the 

If you are on a personal leave without pay, you can continue coverage for health benefits for a limited time by making personal payments for the full premiums directly to the Controller’s Office.  Review the Leave Without Pay factsheet for more details.

What should I do if I become disabled during my leave? 

If you become disabled during your leave, please contact your HR Service Center (Campus employees) or the Leave Management Department at [email protected] (Medical Center employees) immediately upon your return to update your status and discuss your options for continuing your leave and benefits.  You may also find the UC Travel Insurance, the Family and Medical Leave Factsheet, and the Your Guide to Disability Benefits fact sheet helpful.

How can I donate vacation days to volunteers with Ebola response effort? 

We are no longer accepting donated hours for the Emergency Vacation Leave Sharing Program (EVLSP).  Thank you for your interest and to everyone who donated.  Travelers may still request donated hours.

What if my primary employer is not UCSF?  Do these guidelines apply to me? 

The guidelines above apply to you if your primary employer is UCSF. If you work at a UCSF site but your primary employer is not UCSF, such as the City and County of San Francisco or the Department of Veterans Affairs, you should refer to your primary employer’s guidelines. 

What if I travel to West Africa to assist with the response without being on UCSF-approved leave?  

Those who wish to travel to the affected countries as private citizens, without formal UCSF sponsorship, must still request and be granted a written leave of absence from the Vice Dean for Education and Dean of their school. Residents and clinical fellows must similarly be granted a written leave of absence from their program director and then by their department chair and Dean (see FAQ Can I volunteer if I am a trainee?). Faculty and staff who wish to travel without taking part in the formal University-approved leave process must obtain the permission of their department chair for Campus employees or supervisor for Medical Center employees. In these circumstances, the travel will not be as part of a UCSF-sponsored educational or training program, and all requirements must nonetheless be met. Travelers in this category must meet all pre- and post-travel requirements as outlined above.

Can I volunteer if I am a trainee?

To protect our students and trainees from extraordinary risk, UCSF, by policy, does not approve or sponsor international educational programs (either financially or by providing academic credit towards degree or program completion) for students, residents or fellows from any school or program  to any international site for which the US State Department has issued a travel warning or IJET has issued a Level 5 Security Warning. Requests for sponsorship of an educational program in a high-risk environment as an exception to this campus policy may only be approved by the Dean of the relevant school or the Graduate Division. Such an exception is unlikely except in the rare circumstance when the student or trainee’s graduation requirements cannot be met by any other experience or travel. Students or trainees who wish to travel to Western Africa as private citizens, without UCSF sponsorship, must request and be granted an approved leave of absence from their program director.  In this circumstance, the travel will not be as part of a UCSF-sponsored educational program.