Dear faculty and staff,

I hope you are all enjoying the last few days before we welcome students back to campus for the fall semester. I know we are all looking forward to reconnecting with the campus community and I wanted to share some specifics about the fall COVID-19 protocols that I shared earlier this month.

FALL SEMESTER COVID-19 TESTING

In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the beginning of the semester, we are asking all employees to take a COVID-19 test prior to the first day of classes and move-in week activities. Employees can pick up a rapid test kit in front of Cordiner Hall at the following times:

  • Monday, August 22–Tuesday, August 23 from 10 a.m.–2 p.m.

  • Wednesday, August 24–Sunday, August 28 from  12 p.m.–1 p.m. 

  • Monday, August 29 from 10 a.m.–2 p.m.

Any employees who test positive should alert Human Resources at 509-527-5173 or by emailing hr@whitman.edu. In addition, faculty should alert the Provost and Dean Alzada Tipton and staff should alert their direct supervisor.

If an employee develops symptoms at any time during the fall semester or is identified as a close contact to a positive case on campus, they should pick up a rapid test at the back door of the Welty Student Health Center from 7:30 a.m – 11:30 a.m. or from 1:30pm – 4:30 p.m. 

MASK DISTRIBUTION

Employees will also receive a new batch of ten KF94 masks when they pick up their COVID-19 test at Cordiner Hall.

As a reminder, because of the high number of COVID-19 cases in Walla Walla over the summer, as well as the high transmissibility of the new BA. 4 and BA. 5 variants and the still-present Omicron variant, and the large numbers of students traveling from all over the world to return to campus, we will require that face masks (N95, KN95, KN94 or KF94) be worn in indoor public spaces on campus for at least the first two weeks of class. Masking will begin on move-in day, August 24. We hope to return to a mask-optional status as soon as it is safe to do so. 

If you wish to use your own mask instead of the masks provided by the college, they must be N95, KN95, KN94 or KF94.

As we head into this new semester we are not only excited to get back to the classroom, but also are looking forward to all the other activities that make our time on campus so vibrant – events, performances, competitions, internships, volunteer opportunities and social gatherings.  As we get back to these activities, remember to take care of yourself and others by paying attention to how you feel, getting tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 and by making the choices that promote public and personal health.

Peter Harvey
Chair, Coronavirus Task Force