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Released: March 21, 2020 at 12:03 p.m. PDT


Dear members of the Whitman community,

I write to share the unfortunate news that Walla Walla County now has one confirmed case of coronavirus, as reported this morning by the Walla Walla County Department of Community Health. While we do not have any reported cases here at Whitman, it appears that the positive case was transmitted locally (there was no known travel or direct contact with a known positive case), and thus these numbers are likely to grow rapidly.

In light of this news, you must act as if everyone you come in contact with is a carrier of the virus. Now more than ever, it is imperative that you practice good social distancing (at least 6 feet), avoid touching or sharing common objects, avoid touching your face and eyes, and minimize time spent in public and in groups. You should avoid all but absolutely essential travel, even locally.

Also, if you have been traveling over spring break and have a safe and stable home away from Whitman that you are able to return to, you should go there and not return to campus. While we understand that some students need to stay, we urge those who have the capacity to depart campus to do so. We will continue to support the students who have to remain on campus. Reducing numbers on campus and in Walla Walla is important so we do not overwhelm our local healthcare system. This is our collective obligation to both the Whitman and Walla Walla communities.

Thank you for your continued thoughtfulness and care for others during this trying time.

Kathy Murray
President