Dear Whitman community,

We continue to be encouraged by the low number of cases of COVID-19 among our Whitman faculty, staff and students. Walla Walla County data shows slight signs of stabilization, but confirmed cases remain in the high to critical range. Consequently, the cabinet and elected faculty leadership in discussion with our consulting epidemiologist have decided to remain in Threshold Action Level Level 2 (Medium). 

One change to the currently allowed activities will go into effect on Monday, Feb. 8, opening residence halls to inter-campus visitors. Any visits must comply with the following rules:

  • An on-campus student may host one person from another residence hall in their private room only. Visitors from off campus are not allowed.

  • Visitors are not permitted in residence hall public spaces.

  • The visitor must be met at the entrance by the hosting student and travel directly to the private room.

  • Hosts and visitors must wear face masks and maintain six feet of distance throughout the visit.

  • Students will continue to have swipe card access only to their own residence hall.

Students and employees living off campus must continue to follow state Phase 1 guidelines in effect for Walla Walla County, which forbid indoor gatherings with people from outside your household. You should not have any visitors inside your residence.

As a reminder, here are activity guidelines currently in effect:

  • In-person and hybrid classes are meeting.

    • Academic buildings may be accessed through the card swipe entrance from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Students should wait until five minutes before their class is scheduled to enter the building in order to prevent overcrowding in hallways.

    • Be prepared to show your green Everbridge badge demonstrating completion of the Daily Wellness Check.

    • Review the Spring 2021 Guidelines for Academic Buildings for further information.

  • We have limited sit-down dining in Cleveland Commons and Jewett Cafe for students. If cases remain low and we are able to accommodate student dining needs while maintaining social distancing, we intend to open the dining services to faculty and staff in a couple weeks.

  • Athletic facilities are open for SSRA classes in addition to varsity athletics. If COVID-19 cases remain low on campus, we plan to open the athletic facilities to recreational student exercise with reduced capacity in a couple weeks. 

  • Penrose Library is open. You must make an appointment to use study space or access the archives. 

  • Reid Campus Center is open for student use from 8 a.m.–10 p.m. Monday–Friday and 10 a.m.–10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 

  • Within the residence halls: 

    • Gatherings in common spaces are limited to five people, all of whom must live in that residence hall, wear masks and keep six feet apart.

  • Student clubs and organizations may meet in person for approved activities in groups of five or less. Masks must be worn and students must keep six feet apart. Contact the Student Activities Office for further guidance.

  • Students may be out in Walla Walla for work, recreation and other activities.

    • Off-campus jobs, internships and volunteer activities must be approved by the Dean of Students Office following review of the off-campus organization’s COVID-19 health and safety plan.

    • Follow all local and state guidelines, including:

      • Wearing a mask in all public indoor and outdoor spaces.

      • Outdoor social gatherings and activities are limited to ten people.

It is important to remember that the Threshold Action Level is an evaluative rubric intended to provide guidance for decision making and not to determine a rigid plan of action. Therefore, we are loosening our safety protocols gradually so we can carefully monitor how our situation evolves with an increased level of in-person interactions.

Remember to continue masking up, spreading out, completing the Daily Wellness Check and taking your assigned COVID-19 tests. We hope that taking these steps together will allow us to continue gradually opening up new activities on campus.

Best,

Peter Harvey

Chair, Coronavirus Task Force