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Released: March 23, 2020 at 8:29 p.m. PDT


Dear members of the Whitman Community,

I am writing to inform you that Washington Governor Jay Inslee has given a Stay Home, Stay Healthy order to help slow the spread of the coronavirus in our state.

What does that mean? This means staying at home or in your residence hall unless you need to leave for something essential – to access healthcare services or supplies, get food or household products, or perform essential functions for businesses.

In Washington State, essential functions include things like healthcare, infrastructure, grocery stores, gas stations, and facilitating distance learning at educational institutions.

Residents are allowed to exercise outside with proper social distancing. That means running, biking or hiking, for example, by yourself or with another person as long as you can keep a six-foot distance. Group sports and activities are not allowed. Both public and private gatherings of any size are not allowed.

Students

Take this order seriously. Governor Inslee has instructed law enforcement to enforce this order. Campus security will do the same, and has the authority to inquire about and restrict your movements. Stay inside your home or residence hall and do not congregate. This means you cannot visit other people’s homes or residence halls. Students who do not comply with the order will be subject to sanctions under the student code of conduct.

If you are a student worker whose work is considered an essential function and must be performed on campus (ask your supervisor), you will be allowed to travel on campus for the purposes of attending work. Other students must work from home or discontinue work. If you live off campus and need access to campus resources to complete your schoolwork (for example, wifi), you should make arrangements with the dean of students office to access those resources. Bon Appetit will move to boxed meal pickup. More information about pickup locations will follow.

This order could further affect the support services available on campus. If you plan to leave campus to return home and are still able to do so, you should make these arrangements immediately, before travel restrictions are increased.

Staff

Businesses have 48 hours to comply with this order, but Whitman plans to comply with this directive as soon as possible. If you have any question about whether your duties are considered essential functions, please talk with your supervisor. Within 48 hours, every non-essential employee must be working remotely. If you are unable to work remotely, please reach out to your supervisor for further instruction.

Faculty

Our current understanding is that faculty who need to be on campus to facilitate online learning are allowed to do so.

Stay Home, Stay Healthy

Taking this order seriously will help reduce the burden on our local healthcare system. It is critical that we here at Whitman do our part to help protect each other and the greater Walla Walla community from this dangerous virus. The more strictly we all adhere to this order, the sooner we will be able to get back to normal life.

As coronavirus-related restrictions escalate, opportunities to connect with each other and provide emotional and social support become more challenging. But I am committed to doing what is best for the health and safety of each member of the Whitman community. We will continue to do all that we can to support students, faculty and staff whether you are near or far. I hope that you continue to find ways to connect and support each other during this time of uncertainty.

Kathy Murray
President