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May 11, 2023: COVID-19 Update

Dear Members of the Whitman community,

Today, on May 11, 2023 the federal Public Health Emergency for COVID-19 expires, and just last week, the World Health Organization declared an end to COVID-19 as a global public health emergency.

While experts are quick to point out that COVID-19 has not gone away, today we recognize that the state of the pandemic is much different than it was when the emergency declarations were put in place. COVID-19 cases in our community and globally are occurring at lower rates and the immunity conferred by both prior infection and vaccination are protecting more people from becoming severely ill and our healthcare systems are generally able to handle the current demand for care.

As previously announced and in consultation with cabinet, faculty leadership and our consulting epidemiologist, Whitman College will make the following policy changes, effective today:

  1. Whitman students, faculty and staff will be strongly encouraged to remain up to date, as defined by the CDC, on their COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters, however, it will no longer be a requirement of admission or employment.

  2. The college will no longer require asymptomatic testing for athletic travel.

The Labor & Industries requirement to report daily cases on campus has also ended, so you will no longer see those statistics in Whitman Today. We also plan to archive the COVID-19 dashboard at the end of summer.

We recognize that COVID-19 will continue to be present in a congregant living setting and we will continue to maintain several important mitigation measures:

  • Whitman College will still provide student isolation rooms when needed.

  • The Health Center will continue to provide free symptomatic testing and masks.

  • Faculty and staff may still require masks in their classes or office spaces.

Thank you for your continued commitment to the safety of everyone in our campus community.

Peter Harvey
Chair of the Coronavirus Task Force

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