Effective August 1, 2021
Last revised September 9, 2021

Whitman’s COVID protocols are subject to change in response to the evolving pandemic circumstances.

Student and Employee Campus Access

All Whitman students must provide proof of having completed COVID-19 vaccination prior to arriving at Whitman for the fall semester. Exemptions will be given for medical and religious reasons, as well as for those who wish to delay vaccination until one or more COVID-19 vaccines are available that are fully FDA approved (those who elect to use this exemption will be required to get vaccinated once a FDA approved vaccine is available). Details about each of these exemptions and how to apply for an exemption are included in our COVID-19 vaccination policy

To ensure that only vaccinated individuals are entering Whitman buildings, all buildings will continue to require card swipe access. Members of the Whitman community who have submitted proof of vaccination or received an exemption will have a sticker added to their Whitman ID card that indicates that they are approved to be in campus buildings for the fall.

Visitor Campus Access

Personal visitors are not permitted on campus, including family members of students or employees. Visitors who are fully vaccinated and who have specific business or educational reasons to be on campus may enter buildings providing that the host has followed the procedures in the Visitor/Event Access to Whitman Campus Facilities*. 

No campus buildings are open to the general public.

Individuals who do not provide proof of vaccination, including family members of students or children of employees too young to be vaccinated, are not currently allowed in campus buildings. We do not have any exemption process for visitors who are unable to get vaccinated due to age, medical, religious or other reasons.

Visitors are permitted in outdoor areas of campus without providing proof of vaccination and should follow general state guidelines on masking and physical distancing in outdoor public spaces. Unvaccinated visitors outdoors should mask when in crowded settings where it is not possible to maintain at least 3 ft. of distance from others.

*Whitman login required

Masks

In response to guidance for counties with a high coronavirus transmission rate, all individuals at Whitman, including those who are fully vaccinated, are currently required to wear face masks when they are indoors in group settings or public spaces. 

  • Individuals alone in a private office do not need to wear masks if they are vaccinated. 
  • Unvaccinated individuals must wear masks at all times in indoor office areas even if no one else is present.
  • Students living on-campus do not need to wear masks when alone or with their roommate in their residence hall rooms. If anyone other than the room occupants are present in a residence hall room, all individuals must be masked.
  • Residence hall lounges are considered public areas and face masks must be worn in that space.

We do not intend for the face mask requirement to be in place for the entire academic year, and will reevaluate conditions at intervals throughout the fall semester. 

People who are not yet fully vaccinated or have campus access through a vaccination exemption must wear a mask at all times when inside Whitman facilities. They are not required to wear a mask outdoors as long as they maintain at least 3 ft. of distance from other individuals.

Fully vaccinated individuals are not required to wear a mask outdoors.

Physical Distancing

Fully vaccinated students, employees and visitors do not need to maintain any physical distancing while at Whitman. However, we recognize that members of our community have different risk levels and some fully vaccinated individuals may wish to continue distancing. If physical distancing is the best choice for you, we fully support you in continuing that practice.

Signage and plexiglass barriers to assist in encouraging physical distancing in office and classroom spaces are available from Facilities Services upon request.

People who are not fully vaccinated or have campus access through a vaccination exemption must maintain at least 3 ft. of physical distance from others at all times on Whitman’s campus.

Gatherings and Occupancy Limits

Because our campus is fully vaccinated according to the state higher education guidelines, we do not have any COVID restrictions on the number of participants at indoor or outdoor gatherings. General space-specific occupancy limits should be followed.

Symptom Monitoring/Daily Wellness Check

If a student, faculty or staff member is not vaccinated for COVID-19 but has an approved COVID-19 vaccination exemption, they will be expected to self-certify on a daily basis that they are free of COVID-19 symptoms and have not been in close contact with a COVID-positive person in the past 14 days.

What to do if you have symptoms of COVID-19

If you have any symptoms of COVID that cannot be explained by another current illness or condition, please stay home. Students should contact Welty Student Health Center and employees should notify their supervisor and Human Resources. 

Symptoms of COVID are:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

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.

COVID Testing

Anyone who has campus access due to an approved vaccine exemption must take part in weekly COVID-19 surveillance testing. Compliance with this testing strategy is a condition for access to campus and any missed test will be dealt with as a disciplinary matter by the appropriate office.

At the start of the fall semester, Whitman performed two rounds of testing for all our employees and students to develop an understanding of the baseline present of COVID-19 in our community. The results of these tests are on our COVID-19 Dashboard.

Beginning Monday, September 13, we will offer the following testing services:

  • STUDENTS: Symptomatic and exposure testing at Welty Student Health Center; appointments are required and can be made by calling the health center at 509-527-5295.
  • EMPLOYEES: Symptomatic testing and exposure testing for employees who are a close contact to someone in the campus community with COVID-19 at Cordiner Hall, Monday–Friday from 12–1:30 p.m.
  • STUDENTS AND EMPLOYEES WITH VACCINATION EXEMPTIONS: Required weekly testing for anyone with a vaccination exemption at Welty on Tuesday from 8:30–10 a.m.

Should our symptomatic and exposure testing show increasing numbers of positive cases on campus this fall, we will reconsider the possibility of implementing surveillance testing.

If an individual tests positive for COVID outside of the Whitman testing process (by, for example, taking a home test or getting tested via county health), that individual is expected to report their results to Whitman College. Students should report to the Welty Student Health Center, faculty should report to Provost and Dean Tipton, and staff should report to their supervisors and Human Resources.

Symptomatic Testing Guidance

If you have COVID-19 symptoms that cannot be explained by another current illness or condition, you should self-isolate in your residence hall room or off-campus housing and do not attend classes or come to work until you get a negative COVID test. Employees should notify their supervisors and Human Resources and students should contact Welty Student Health Center.

Exposure Testing Guidance

We will offer exposure testing for all students, as well as for employees who are considered a close contact with someone on campus who has been confirmed to have COVID. This testing should take place 3-5 days following exposure. If an employee is a close contact with someone from outside the Whitman community, we ask that they get tested at a local community testing center or using an at-home test kit. 

Quarantine Due to Exposure

Whitman will follow the CDC guidance on quarantine for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals who are close contacts to a person who has COVID-19. “Close contact” is defined as being within 6 ft. 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 FULLY VACCINATED

If you are fully vaccinated and a close contact to someone with COVID-19, you must wear a face mask at all times when indoors, maintain at least 3 ft. of distance from others and get tested 3-5 days after exposure. Even if you remain asymptomatic and your test is negative, you must continue to mask and distance for 14 days. You do not have to quarantine unless you develop symptoms (see "What to do if you have symptoms of COVID-19" above).

IF YOU ARE NOT FULLY VACCINATED

If you are not fully vaccinated and are exposed to someone with COVID-19, you must quarantine at home or (for students living on-campus) in your residence hall room. Your quarantine may end after 7 days if you take a COVID test at least 5 days after your exposure and it is negative or after 10 days if you do not take a COVID test. You should continue to monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID for 14 days following the exposure.

Students in quarantine on campus will have food delivered to them and will receive other support services from Residence Life. Residence halls will have designated bathroom facilities for quarantined individuals to use. 

Students in off-campus quarantine should use grocery delivery or curbside pick-up services to minimize their potential interactions. 

Academic accommodations will be made for any student in quarantine. Students in quarantine should contact their professors to discuss the options available based on classroom structure and pedagogy.

Employees needing to quarantine should contact their supervisor and Human Resources to discuss remote work and/or sick leave options.

Isolation

If you test positive for COVID-19, you must enter isolation. Students should contact Welty Student Health Center as soon as they have a positive test result. Employees should contact their supervisor and Human Resources to discuss remote work and/or sick leave options.

Asymptomatic COVID-19

If you have no symptoms but test positive for COVID-19, you must isolate at home/in designated on-campus isolation housing until 10 days have passed since you had a positive viral test for COVID-19.

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. 

Employees needing to isolate should contact their supervisor and Human Resources to discuss remote work and/or sick leave options. Faculty may teach online if they feel well enough to do so.

Symptomatic COVID-19

If you have symptoms and a positive test for COVID-19, you must isolate at home/in designated on-campus isolation housing until:

  • 10 days since symptoms first appeared and
  • 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
  • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving

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. 

Employees needing to isolate should contact their supervisor and Human Resources to discuss remote work and/or sick leave options. Faculty in isolation may teach online if they feel weel enough to do so.

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 the student to reach out to their professors to discuss how they can make up for missed work. Students may report to their professors that they have tested positive or that they are COVID-positive, though 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 or that they are COVID-positive, then and only then may that professor ask to see that student’s paperwork before letting them attend class in-person.

Employment Accommodations and Notifications Following a Positive COVID Test

Following a confirmed case of COVID-19, staff should notify their supervisor and Human Resources. Based on the needs of their position as well as the severity of their symptoms, they may explore remote work options or COVID leave. Human Resources 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 HR notification on the return-to-work date.

Following a confirmed case of COVID-19, faculty should notify the Provost and Human Resources. Based on the needs of their position as well as the severity of their symptoms, they may explore teaching classes online or other accommodations. Human Resources 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 HR 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. A close contact is defined as being within 6 ft. 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.”

One free, anonymous tool that we encourage you to use to in identifying 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

Those who are vaccinated may travel without quarantining upon return to campus. Anyone who is not yet fully vaccinated or has campus access through a vaccination exemption must quarantine for ten days before returning to campus. Anyone traveling should follow the CDC guidance on domestic and international travel.