Effective August 2022; Updated 9/20/2022

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

Student and Employee Campus Access: COVID-19 Vaccine and Booster Required

All Whitman students, staff and faculty must provide proof of being up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccination and booster(s) by December 31, 2022. Exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccine will be offered for medical and religious reasons as well as for those who wish to delay getting the booster until it is no longer under emergency use authorization.

Incoming and transfer students can provide proof of vaccination and booster or apply for an exemption by setting up their account with Magnus Health at https://mymagnus.com.

Employees should contact human resources at hr@whitman.edu.

Fall 2022 Baseline Testing

At the start of the fall semester, Whitman provided individual rapid antigen tests for every member of the Whitman Community—students, staff and faculty—to be self-administered. This mandatory self-test allowed us to gain an understanding of the baseline presence of COVID-19 in our community and plan accordingly. We also asked that all students take an antigen or PCR test prior to returning to campus if traveling from outside the Walla Walla area.

Visitor Campus Access

Campus buildings are open to people from the extended Whitman community as well as the general population. We will continue posting signs at building entrances encouraging visitors to date on their vaccines, however, we will not ask for verification or proof of vaccination when entering buildings. Building hours are as follows:

  • Campus academic buildings will be unlocked at the card-swipe entrances Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays.
  • Campus administrative buildings will be unlocked at the card-swipe entrances Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Reid Campus Center will be unlocked at the card-swipe entrances from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.
  • Welty Student Health Center will be unlocked 8 m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Penrose Library will be unlocked at the front card-swipe door from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7:30 m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays.
  • Sherwood will be unlocked at the card-swipe entrance from 8 m. to 4 p.m.
  • BFFC and Bratton Tennis Center will continue requiring card-swipe access (as was the case prior to the COVID pandemic), with card-swipe access for members of the extended Whitman community who have WIDs. 

Masks

Modifications to Campus Activities for the Start of the Fall 2022 Semester

Because of the level of COVID-19 spread in Walla Walla County during the summer, the fact that we had hundreds of students traveling from all over the world to return to campus, and because of the high transmissibility of the new BA. 4 and BA. 5 variants as well as the still-present Omicron variant, face masks (N95, KN95 or KF94) were required to be worn on campus for the first two weeks of class.

Mask Policy Fall 2022 when conditions allow

Indoor public spaces will be mask-optional for everyone. In research labs/classrooms, faculty will have the choice to continue requiring masks or making them optional.

Each person should consider their own risk factors to decide if masking remains part of their individual COVID-19 protective practices. For members of our community who are themselves vulnerable or live with people vulnerable to severe illness, proper masking is an essential way to minimize the risk of transmission.

We encourage anyone who wants or needs to maintain a high level of protection to continue masking with N95, KN95, or KF94 masks. It is our hope that our mask-optional status will allow everyone to feel comfortable making their individual choice while keeping the well-being of our community in mind — and trusting that others are doing the same. Please be in communication with your colleagues about their wishes regarding masking, and if you would like a sign asking people to mask while in your office space, please email the Communications Department (communications@whitman.edu) to place this request.

Physical Distancing

Fully vaccinated and boosted 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 individuals may wish to continue distancing. If physical distancing is the best choice for you, we fully support you in continuing that practice.

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 educational gatherings for most spaces, including classrooms, offices and most auditoriums.

Symptom Monitoring/Daily Wellness Check

We do not currently require a mandatory daily wellness check process for our general campus population. However, any student, faculty or staff member who has an approved COVID-19 vaccination and/or booster exemption is expected to self-monitor on a daily basis to ensure 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 are not 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.

On-Campus COVID-19 Testing

Whitman offers the following COVID-19 testing services for students and employees on a regular basis:

  • WEEKDAY TESTING FOR STUDENTS: Students can pick up self-administered COVID rapid tests at the back door of the Welty Student Health Center from 7:30–11:30 a.m. and 1:30–4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. No appointment is necessary. 
  • WEEKEND TESTING FOR STUDENTS: 

    On campus students:
    Students who live on campus should self-isolate in their room and wait one day after symptom onset. If symptoms persist, the student should ask their RD for a test. If the test is negative the student should continue wearing a mask while symptomatic. If their symptoms worsen they should test again on day three. If the student tests positive they should alert their RA to be moved to isolation housing.

    Off campus students: Students who live off campus and become symptomatic during the weekend should self-isolate, wear a mask if around roommates, and get a test from the health center the next business day. If the test is negative the student should continue wearing a mask while symptomatic. If their symptoms worsen they should test again on day three. If the student tests positive they should report it to the health center on the next business day.

  • EMPLOYEES: Employees can pick up self-administered COVID rapid tests at the back door of the Welty Student Health Center from 7:30–11:30 a.m. and 1:30–4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. No appointment is necessary. Employees who need to be tested on the weekends should utilize local community testing options; if none is available, please pick up a test at the Welty Student Health Center first thing Monday morning.

If an individual tests positive for COVID outside of the Whitman testing process (for example, through an at-home test or at a county health facility), that individual is expected to report their results to Whitman College. Students should report to the Welty Student Health Center at 509-527-5295. Employees should alert Human Resources at 509-527-5173. In addition, faculty should alert the Provost and Dean Alzada Tipton and staff should alert their direct supervisor.

Symptomatic Testing Guidance 

If you have COVID-19 symptoms that are not explained by another current illness or condition, you should quarantine 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 offer exposure testing for all students and employees who are identified as close contacts to someone confirmed to have COVID-19. In accordance with current CDC guidance, this testing should take place 5–7 days following exposure.

Quarantine Due to Exposure

Whitman will follow the CDC guidance on quarantine for 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 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 10 days. You do not have to quarantine unless you develop symptoms (see "What to do if you have symptoms of COVID-19" above).

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 or in designated on-campus isolation housing and can be released with a negative antigen test on day 5 or later.

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. Symptomatic cases can 

  1. be released with a negative antigen test on day 7 or 10 can be released from isolation on day 8 if symptoms have improved without testing but must continue to mask until day 10. 

These isolation timelines are slightly longer than the CDC isolation recommendations, due to the dense living and learning environment present on a residential college campus and the high number of people interacting on campus daily.

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 well 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. In times of unusually high case counts, contact tracing resources may be focused on individuals deemed to be at the highest risk of exposure, such as people within the infected person's household.

According to the CDC, 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 identify 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

Anyone traveling should follow the CDC guidance on domestic and international travel.