Dear Members of the Whitman community,

This is not an email I want to send or that any of you want to receive on a Friday evening, but due to a significant increase in positive COVID-19 cases at Whitman, we are reinstating a campus-wide masking requirement for all indoor public spaces. Since Monday, we have seen 19 new cases across campus, 9 of whom tested positive today. Some—but not all—of these cases are connected, which leads us to believe that there is asymptomatic transmission happening in our community.

Having seen other college campuses experience similarly dramatic increases in cases recently, we believe it is essential to return to indoor masking immediately and are also asking you to limit your social gatherings to your immediate residence hall or off-campus household to help minimize the risk of transmission. We want to halt the spread of COVID-19 at Whitman as quickly as possible and protect our ability to maintain our campus activities for the next few weeks, especially as we get close to Commencement. 

We are diligently monitoring the situation and will watch the case numbers and look for signs of ongoing transmission to help determine how long these protocols remain in place. By taking quick action now to resume masking and limit gatherings, we hope to quickly interrupt the spread. Please begin masking immediately whenever you are in an indoor public space and help us stop the spread of COVID-19 on campus.

Students, please remember that if you have symptoms of COVID-19 over the weekend, you should call Security at 509-527-5777 and they will deliver a home test kit to you.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Kathy Murray
President, Whitman College