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August 17, 2023: COVID-19 Update

Dear members of the Whitman community,

As we begin the semester, we wanted to send a brief reminder of our practices for addressing COVID-19. For those who were at Whitman last year, you will recognize these approaches from our May announcements.

While COVID-19 cases remained low in Washington state this summer, there has been a slight uptick in infections in recent weeks. As we all continue to adapt to post-pandemic life, it’s still important to pay attention to our health during the fall semester. That includes monitoring your health, staying home if you feel ill, and administering a self-test if you recognize COVID-19 symptoms. As a reminder, the following mitigation measures are still available to members of the Whitman community.

  • The Welty Health Center will provide free symptomatic testing and masks to students, faculty and staff.
  • Students testing positive for COVID-19 should notify the Welty Health Center and their professors. However, the college will not be contact tracing during the fall 2023 semester.
  • Faculty and staff may still require masks in their classes or office spaces.
  • Whitman College will still provide students with isolation rooms when needed and will follow the isolation recommendations put forth by the CDC.

All employees are reminded of the following best practices:

  • Employees who are symptomatic and are awaiting test results should stay home until a negative test result is confirmed. Once the employee receives a negative test result, they may return to work. Employees who test positive for COVID-19 should stay home for at least five days. Employees should use sick time for these days for which they will be out of office, unless they are able to perform their jobs remotely.
  • Other than registering their sick time in BambooHR, employees do not need to advise their supervisors or the Welty Health Center if they are positive for COVID-19. Again, the college will not be contact tracing during the fall 2023 semester.
  • Employees who return to work within 10 days of being sick should plan to wear a mask in common areas. Masks are available at the Welty Health Center, if your office does not have a supply.

The Center for Disease Control says updated boosters shots should be available this fall and we strongly encourage Whitman students, faculty and staff to remain up to date, as defined by the CDC, on their COVID-19 vaccinations when they become available.

In addition to COVID-19, in the coming months we will also be monitoring influenza cases as we move into flu season. We strongly encourage community members to be vaccinated against influenza once vaccines become available. The Welty Student Health Center will hold a flu vaccine clinic for students, likely in October. Any leftover vaccines will be made available to employees. We will send further details when we have confirmation of the dates.

We appreciate your continued commitment to keeping our community as healthy as possible and look forward to a good year ahead.

Whitman College

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