Dear Whitman community,

We are pleased to come to the end of another week with no new cases of COVID-19 on campus. You may remember that last week we had one case identified through our campus pooled surveillance testing; so far, there is no evidence of transmission from that case as we follow up with repeated testing of close contacts. 

However, this is an important reminder that even as cases on campus and in the county are low, the virus that causes COVID-19 is still present and causing illness, particularly as new variants become more widespread. As a residential college with a tightly integrated off-campus community, any case of COVID-19 among our students, faculty and staff could quickly accelerate into an outbreak like we saw earlier this semester in Anderson. Other colleges around the country are currently experiencing severe disruptions to learning and campus life as they deal with outbreaks largely traced to student parties and non-socially-distanced gatherings. 

We must remain vigilant in protecting ourselves and each other by wearing masks, practicing social distancing, completing the Daily Wellness Check and taking our assigned COVID-19 surveillance tests.

In consultation with our epidemiologist, elected faculty leadership and the Cabinet have determined that Whitman will remain at Threshold Action Level 1: Low with no new changes to campus activities. As a reminder, here’s the overview of what’s available for the Whitman community:

  • Inter-campus visitors are allowed in residence halls following social distancing guidelines (one visitor per resident, masks required at all times, visitors not allowed in hall public spaces, no visitors from off-campus).

  • Students may gather outdoors on campus in groups of up to 15 people. 

  • Student clubs and organizations may submit proposals to hold outdoor activities and gatherings of up to 15 people. 

  • Off-campus residents may gather for indoor visits of up to a total of five people from two households and outdoor visits of up to 15 people from two households.

  • Socially-distanced in-person dining is available for students at Cleveland Commons and Jewett Cafe. 

  • Faculty and staff may place grab-and-go orders from Cleveland Commons and Jewett Cafe. 

  • BFFC, the Climbing Wall, Harvey Pool and the outdoor tennis courts are open for recreational student use.

  • BFFC, Harvey Pool and the outdoor tennis courts are open for recreational employee use.

As more members of the Whitman community receive the COVID-19 vaccine, please remember that we do not plan to change any of our standard COVID protocols before the end of this academic year. Regardless of vaccination status, all faculty, staff and students must continue to participate in our surveillance testing, wear masks in all public spaces and limit all non-essential travel as agreed to in the Spring 2021 Community Pledge.

Going into this weekend, enjoy the spring weather and stay safe!

Peter Harvey
Coronavirus Task Force Chair