In late June, Whitman began returning some faculty and staff to on-campus work in a phased reopening of campus buildings. Because teleworking remains the preferred method for employees able to do their jobs remotely while Walla Walla County is in Phases II and III of the Washington state Safe Start reopening plan, not all employees will be invited to return to campus at this time. Employees authorized to return to work on campus may talk with their supervisors about continuing to work remotely.
Health and Safety
Whitman is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace. The Whitman College Safe Start Plan documents our policies and procedures for controlling possible exposure, mitigating possible spread and recovery information. Below are some basic details for all employees.
Whitman College has identified a COVID Captain for each campus building to provide ongoing support and education to employees. Students, staff and faculty are asked to respect the authority of the COVID Captains when asked to comply with COVID-related workplace safety policies and procedures.
Each building will have one or more entrances designated as authorized entrances, to help control access and tracking. Priority will be given to accessible entrances. Signage around campus will designate traffic flow and maximum occupancy limits.
Facilities will regularly clean classrooms, auditoriums, public areas, restrooms, and disinfect high touch areas (e.g. door hardware, handrails, ADA and elevator push buttons, public used counter surfaces). Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes will be available at strategic locations throughout all Whitman sites.
Students, faculty, and staff should wash their hands frequently and disinfect their personal space within offices, classrooms and teaching laboratories before and after use. Disinfection includes wiping down commonly touched surfaces with a disinfectant wipe. Whitman will provide adequate hygiene and sanitation supplies throughout all facilities.
No unauthorized visitors are allowed in campus buildings. Family members, including children, are not permitted in campus buildings.
Below is the list of COVID captains for each open campus building.
|BUILDING CONTACT (COVID CAPTAIN)|
|Hall of Science||Stephanie Johnson|
|Physical Plant Services||Tony Ichsan and Laurie Doohan|
|Memorial Building||Monica Chapman|
|Boyer House||Christie Fuller|
|Whitman College Technology Services||Dan Terrio|
|Reid Campus Center||Juli Dunn|
|Maxey Hall||Richelle Heilbrun|
|Olin Hall||Deborah Morehead|
|Glover Alston Center||Greg Lecki|
|Hunter Conservatory||Kathy Rogers|
|Harper Joy Theater||Barb DeLauter|
|Dance Studio||Christie Fuller|
|Welty Student Health Center||Claudia Ness|
|Baker Ferguson Fitness Center||Michele Hanford|
|Sherwood Center||Kim Chandler|
|Baker Center||Jaimee Maurer and Maddy Gyongyosi|
|Fouts Center for the Visual Arts||Amber Conner|
|Hall of Music||Kathy Rogers and Katina Henderson|
|Penrose House||Donna Murray|
|Penrose Library||Roger Stelk|
All faculty, staff and student workers must wear cloth face coverings (or equivalent) unless alone in a private workspace or living space. Face coverings must also be worn outdoors while on campus in any area where maintaining a minimum six feet distance is not possible. Whitman will provide face coverings to all faculty, students and staff who are on campus, but individuals may also choose to wear their own cloth face coverings instead, as long as they meet state and CDC requirements.
Face shields are less effective in preventing transmission of the novel coronavirus and are not a suitable alternative. However, face shields are appropriate as a health accommodation, should an employee be unable to wear a cloth face covering for medical reasons. Like other medical accommodations, this would need to be documented by a healthcare professional and requested through HR. In these cases, we are prepared to provide an appropriate face shield to a student worker, staff or faculty member.
Employees authorized to work on campus must complete a Daily Wellness Check any day they are scheduled or intend to come to campus, which is sent via email and the Everbridge mobile app. The Everbridge mobile app is also used for contact tracing; any employee who does not utilize the Everbridge app must complete a paper building log documenting their locations and interactions on campus. Those using the app can also self-report if they test positive for COVID. As stated in the community pledge, we expect every member of the Whitman Community to download the Everbridge app on their smartphone if they are able.
Have questions? Check out the Everbridge FAQs.
Premera is encouraging the promotion of virtual care during this time, enabling you to seek medical care without leaving your home or visiting a medical provider’s office. Premera’s website offers additional advice, including information on how our health plan covers Coronavirus care.
If your health insurance is with another company, you may find they also offer an alternative form of virtual care.
New Telehealth Options
- 98.6 offers on-demand, text-based primary care for all members and dependents ages 1 and older enrolled in an eligible Premera medical plan. To use 98.6, register here.
- Doctor on Demand connects plan members to board-certified physicians and licensed psychiatrists for virtual-based care. To use Doctor on Demand, create an account here.
Employees with Premera coverage can use Teladoc for no cost to the employee. Teladoc provides access to 24/7/365 access to board-certified licensed family practice doctors or pediatricians via phone (1-800-TELADOC) or video to covered employees and covered dependents. Please take the time now to create an account by visiting the Teladoc website, and have your Premera card available.
Another virtual care option is Premera’s 24-hour NurseLine that allows you to talk with a registered nurse. The nurse will ask you questions and help you decide what course of action to take. The phone number for NurseLine is 1-800-841-8343 and can also be found on the back of your Premera insurance card.
Employee Assistance Program
The uncertainty and ongoing nature of Coronavirus can be anxiety producing. Our Employee Assistance Program (EAP), Cascade Centers, can assist you and family members with preparations. Cascade Centers has a dedicated section about Coronavirus, including information about managing your anxiety about Coronavirus.
Employee Assistance Program counselors are available by phone, online, and text to get you help right away. Start by accessing their website or call 1-800-433-2320.
Premera Blue Cross and Mail-Order Prescriptions
Premera Blue Cross will waive deductibles and coinsurance for anyone requiring the FDA-authorized COVID-19, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza or respiratory tests. Learn more about the changes Premera is making to our policy in response to COVID-19 by downloading the document below.
You can also sign-up for mail-order prescription service and have a 90-day supply of your medication delivered to your door, often for a lower out-of-pocket cost.
For the fall semester and while classes are primarily remote, non-employee student access to building is limited and must be approved as outlined in the Student Access to Buildings procedure. Examples of reasons why students may need access to buildings:
- Seniors needing specialized facilities to complete capstone experiences.
- Students needing specialized non-portable equipment for ongoing practice of skills.
- Students needing internet access or quiet study space (who don’t have these at home).
- Students who are working with faculty on research activities.
- Students accessing activities that provide a healthier and safer environment than the obvious alternatives were Whitman to not provide this access.
Faculty and staff wishing to sponsor non-employee student access to a campus building must review the procedures and submit the Proposal to Allow Student Access to Buildings or Other Campus Resources.
Travel and Quarantine Restrictions
Official college travel outside of Washington, Oregon or Idaho must be approved by a Cabinet member. Faculty, staff and student employees who travel to a location outside of Washington, Oregon or Idaho for any purpose (personal or work-related) must report their travel to a supervisor and self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus. During quarantine, staff are encouraged to explore alternate assignments or arrangements such as telework. Employees may use accrued leave if alternate arrangements are not available.
Parenting During the Pandemic
As many of us know from personal experience, parenting during the COVID-19 pandemic is extremely challenging. Cascade Centers, Whitman College’s EAP, has a number of resources that can help, including general parenting advice, counseling, childcare resources, and how to talk with your child about the pandemic.
If you have not yet registered an account with Cascade Centers, now is the time to do so. Visit their website and click on register. They will ask you to create a username and password and ask for your name(optional) and email address. They will also ask for your employer; start typing “Whitman,” and “WHITMAN COLLEGE” will pop up for you to select.
Contacting Cascade Centers
Cascade Centers makes it very easy to contact them based on your preferred mode of communication.
- Phone: 1-800-433-2320
- Email: email@example.com
- Text: 503-850-7721
Is your child anxious and overwhelmed about the pandemic? Talking to your children and helping them make sense of the current situation can be very difficult. Read more for tips on how to talk to your children.
If you missed Cascade Centers previous webinar on “Family Stress and Parenting Children Under 12 During COVID-19,” you can find it posted on their website here. Topics covered include:
- Family dynamic challenges
- Preventing children under 12 during this time
- Creating a family schedule
- Co-parenting during the pandemic
- Mindfulness practices for coping with anxious feelings.
Additionally, Cascade Centers will be hosting a second webinar on Sept. 2 on “juggling the demands of parenting while schools are remote.” Information on how to register will be forthcoming.
If you are having difficulty securing quality childcare (or eldercare), take advantage of working with one of Cascade Center’s experienced dependent care Work-Life Specialists. These experts can talk with you about how to approach your specific childcare needs. The Work-Life Specialist can do in-depth research to find information and resources available, make referrals to resources, and pre-screen those resources to ensure availability and services match your needs.
Additionally, we recognize that Walla Walla Public Schools and other local districts’ move to online learning creates a heavy burden for parents this semester. Whitman College is committed to working with families to help come up with solutions that would help ease some of that burden during this time.
We have been looking into different ways that we might help faculty and staff with the childcare burden. While on-campus childcare is not a viable option because of coronavirus protocol, we are looking at creative ways to leverage using Whitman students who rely on work study as part of their financial aid package. The campus jobs that many students count on each year – at Bon Appetit, Penrose Library, and other offices on campus are not available in the numbers they have been in the past. We are looking into how we might employ these students as virtual tutors or teachers for the children of Whitman faculty and staff. We are still working out the details of what that might look like so stay tuned for more on that.
During these particularly stressful times, paying attention to the mental health of your family and yourself is so important. Cascade Centers offers counseling to Whitman employees and our dependents via phone and video conferencing, and they offer crisis counseling 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year.
For more information or to set up an appointment:
- Call: 800-433-2320
- Text: 503-850-7721
For many, the pandemic has caused financial stress. Click here to view a webinar on coping with financial stress during times of crisis.