COVID-19 Vaccination Policy
Effective January 2023; Last updated 1/13/2023
Whitman’s COVID protocols are subject to change in response to the evolving pandemic circumstances.
Student and Employee Campus Access: COVID-19 Vaccine and Booster Required
All Whitman students, staff and faculty are required to remain up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccination and booster(s) , as defined by the CDC. Exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccine will be offered for medical and religious reasons as well as for those who wish to delay getting the bivalent booster until it is no longer under emergency use authorization. At this time proof is not required, but all students, faculty and staff are expected to fill out an attestation form using their Whitman account to login.
Visitor Campus Access
Campus buildings are open to people from the extended Whitman community as well as the general population.
Whitman campus is mask-optional unless otherwise indicated. Faculty members may require masks in their labs or classrooms, staff members may require masks in their offices, and event organizers may require masks for their events.
For members of our community who are themselves vulnerable or live with people vulnerable to severe illness, proper masking is an essential way to minimize the risk of transmission.
We encourage anyone who wants or needs to maintain a high level of protection to continue masking with N95, KN95, or KF94 masks. Please respect the wishes of your colleagues regarding masking.
Physical distancing requirements are not currently in place at Whitman. However, we recognize that members of our community have different risk factors and if physical distancing is the best choice for you, we fully support you in continuing that practice. Please communicate your preference to those around you.
What to do if you have symptoms of COVID-19
If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 that are not explained by another current illness or condition, please stay home. Students should contact the Welty Student Health Center and employees should notify their supervisor.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention guideline, even if you are fully vaccinated you should get tested and stay home and away from others. If your test is positive, you must isolate (see below for further detail). If your test is negative, please stay home until you recover from your symptoms or have confirmation that the symptoms are caused by a non-transmissible condition.
Whitman offers the following COVID-19 testing services for students and employees:
- WEEKDAY TESTING: Students and employees can pick up self-administered COVID-19 rapid tests at the Welty Student Health Center any time during standard operating hours, Monday through Friday.
- WEEKEND TESTING FOR STUDENTS:
On campus students: Students who live on campus should self-isolate in their room and wait one day after symptom onset. If symptoms persist, the student should ask their resident director (RD) for a test. If the test is negative the student should continue wearing a mask while symptomatic. If their symptoms worsen they should test again on day three. If the student tests positive they should alert their RD to be moved to isolation housing.
Off campus students: Students who live off campus and become symptomatic during the weekend should self-isolate, wear a mask if around roommates, and get a test from the health center the next business day. If the test is negative the student should continue wearing a mask while symptomatic. If their symptoms worsen they should test again on day three. If the student tests positive they should report it to the health center on the next business day.
- WEEKEND TESTING FOR EMPLOYEES: Employees who need to be tested on the weekends should utilize local community testing options; if none is available, please pick up a test at the Welty Student Health Center first thing Monday morning.
For Whitman students, faculty and staff, positive COVID-19 test results should be reported to Whitman College, regardless of where the testing occurred. Students and employees should report positive test results to the Welty Student Health Center at 509-527-5295. In addition, faculty members should alert the provost and dean of faculty and staff members should alert their direct supervisor.
Whitman does not currently require routine COVID-19 testing for our general campus population. However, there will still be periodic testing for some specific groups, such as sports teams traveling for a game.
What to do if you were exposed to COVID-19
Whitman will follow the CDC guidance for individuals who are close contacts to a person who has COVID-19. “Close contact” is defined as being within six feet of another person for 15 minutes or more over the course of 24 hours; whether or not either individual is masked has no bearing on the definition of “close contact.”
If you are identified as a close contact to someone with COVID-19, you must wear a face mask at all times when indoors, maintain at least three feet of distance from others and get tested 5 days after exposure. Even if you remain asymptomatic and your test is negative, you must continue to mask and distance for 10 days. Follow isolation protocols if you develop symptoms or have a positive test result.
What to do if you have a positive COVID-19 test result
Regardless of vaccination status or symptoms, if you test positive for COVID-19, you must enter isolation for a minimum of 5 days and wear a mask for 10 days while around others.
If you have no symptoms but test positive for COVID-19, you must quarantine at home or in designated on-campus isolation housing and can be released with a negative antigen test on day 5 or later.
On-campus isolation housing is available to students regardless of whether their regular residence is on-campus or off-campus. Students in isolation on campus will have food delivered to them and will receive other support services from Residence Life.
Students in off-campus isolation should use grocery delivery or curbside pick-up services to minimize their potential interactions.
If you have symptoms and test positive for COVID-19, you must isolate at home or in designated on-campus isolation housing. Symptomatic cases can be released with a negative antigen test starting on day 7.
Student Academic Accommodations and Notifications Following a Positive COVID Test
Following a confirmed case of COVID-19, students will receive excused absences for classes missed during the isolation period. When a student is issued an excused absence, the Dean of Students Office encourages students to reach out to their professors to discuss how they can make up for missed work. Students may choose to report to their professors that they have tested positive for COVID-19, but they are not required to do so. A student released from isolation will receive paperwork confirming that status. If a student has previously chosen to share with their professors that they have tested positive for COVID-19, then and only then may that professor ask to see that student’s paperwork before letting them attend class in person.
Employee Accommodations and Notifications Following a Positive COVID Test
Following a confirmed case of COVID-19, staff should notify their supervisor and the Welty Student Health Center. Based on the needs of their position as well as the severity of their symptoms, they may explore remote work options or COVID-19 leave. Welty Student Health Center will notify the employee and their supervisor of the date the employee is eligible to return to on-campus work. If the employee shares that they tested positive with other members of the Whitman community, those community members may request to see the notification on the return-to-work date.
Following a confirmed case of COVID-19, faculty members should notify the provost and the Welty Student Health Center. Based on the needs of their position as well as the severity of their symptoms, they may explore teaching classes online or other accommodations. The Health Center will notify the faculty member and the provost of the date the faculty member is eligible to return to on-campus teaching. If the faculty member shares that they tested positive with other members of the Whitman community, those community members may request to see the notification on the return-to-work date.
Following a confirmed case of COVID-19, faculty should notify the Provost and the Welty Student Health Cetner. Based on the needs of their position as well as the severity of their symptoms, they may explore teaching classes online or other accommodations. Welty Student Health Center will notify the faculty member and the Provost of the date the faculty member is eligible to return to on-campus teaching. If the faculty member shares that they tested positive with other members of the Whitman community, those community members may request to see the notification on the return-to-work date.
Close Contacts and Contact Tracing
Walla Walla County Department of Health and Whitman College will work together on contact tracing and making sure that any exposed individuals are notified and able to quarantine appropriately. In times of unusually high case counts, contact tracing resources may be focused on individuals deemed to be at the highest risk of exposure, such as people within the infected person's household.
According to the CDC, close contact is defined as being within six feet of another person for 15 minutes or more over the course of 24 hours, regardless of whether masks were worn.
Students, faculty or staff who are identified as being a close contact for somebody who tested positive for COVID-19 should wear a mask for 10 days from the date of exposure and watch for symptoms. If symptoms develop, get tested and respond accordingly.
One free, anonymous tool that we encourage you to use to identify possible COVID-19 exposures is WA Notify, a Bluetooth tool that works on smartphones to alert users if they may have been exposed to COVID-19 without sharing any personal information. It is completely private and doesn’t know who you are or track where you go; neither the state of Washington nor Whitman College receive any information from it. For instructions and more information, visit the WA Notify website .
Travel and Quarantine
Anyone traveling should follow the CDC guidance on domestic and international travel .