Frequently Asked Questions

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This page was updated on January 31, 2022. 

Questions not covered here may be emailed to the COVID-19 Taskforce.

For COVID-19 regulations, who does Whittier College receive guidance from?

Whittier college receives guidance from the Los Angeles County Dept. of Public Health, State of California Department of Public Health, and the CDC.

How are COVID-19 guidelines delivered to the Whittier College community?

COVID-19 Guidelines are delivered to the Whittier College Community by College leadership, the COVID-19 Taskforce, and weekly COVID-19 e-newsletter.

What are the consequences of not following the guidelines?

Students who fail to comply with COVID-19 guidelines and requirements will be restricted from classes and extracurricular activities and subject to the conduct process as necessary. Student-athletes who fail to comply with required testing will not be permitted to participate in intercollegiate athletics until compliant. Employees may be subject to disciplinary action.

What can I expect for spring 2022?

To manage the surge in COVID-19 cases and to facilitate the process of creating a safe and healthy campus environment, Whittier is undertaking a phased return to campus this spring. The intention is to welcome back our community in phases to allow for required testing, quarantine and monitoring periods, and new vaccination requirements.    

  • Scientific models and projections currently show the Omicron wave slowing down toward the middle of February.
  • Spring semester begins Monday, January 31 with online instruction.
  • February 21 is the target date to begin in-person instruction.
  • To successfully meet this goal, we ask for the cooperation of the entire campus community.

What is a phased return for Residential Students?

More than half of residential students have already moved into the residence halls and are participating in the testing program. Spring residential students must move back to the residence halls between January 24-February 14.

Will the cost of room and board be prorated based on the delayed return to campus?

No, residence halls opened January 24 as previously planned. Contact Residential Life if you have further questions.

Is Ball LLC available as a study space?

Yes, it is available when not in use by a classroom or for testing purposes.

What is a phased return for Winter and Spring Athletes?

Most students participating in winter and spring sports have already returned to campus. These students must adhere to NCAA testing protocol and follow other pandemic-related guidelines. Athletes—both commuter and residential—must complete the health screening form every time they are on campus.

What is a phased return for Commuter Students?

Students not living on campus are asked to stay off campus until in-person instruction begins on February 21. Should you need access to resources and/or printing please email deanofstudents@whittier.edu

Any exception related to academic or athletic activities will be communicated directly by professors and/or coaches. Any commuter student coming to campus must complete the daily health screening form before arriving on campus. Details regarding testing requirements will be forthcoming. 

What is a phased return for Faculty and Staff?

Faculty and staff should work remotely through the end of January and phase back to campus as indicated by their divisional VP. Staff should consult with their supervisors regarding their department’s in-person staffing needs. 

Those supervising student workers should clearly communicate expectations to their students.

What should I do if a professor isn't accommodating of distractions I am dealing with at home that affect my academic performance?

Please contact Associate Dean Fritz Smith with any concerns and questions related to academics.

Will CAAS offer academic tutoring and support services during the remote period?

Yes, see more details.

Will the library be open during the remote period?

From January 21 to February 20: Residential students who have been cleared by the Dean of Students Office are welcome to use Wardman Library, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Students are required to show their ID at the circulation desk to confirm residential status and must wear a mask at all times. No food or drink is allowed in the Library.  

Commuter students, as per the College’s guidelines, are discouraged from coming onto campus. 

  • Library staff can pull books for check out and pick up or can scan pages by request. 
  • Commuter students who require access to campus and/or the library should contact the Dean of Students Office via email or 562.907.423.  
  • Commuter students needing technological support should fill out the technology request form.
  • Students who need access to a copier or printer can contact the Dean of Students Ofice (or 562.907.4233).

Contact us at library@whittier.edu for any questions. See website for more information on the Library’s services between January 21- February 20. 

What Student Services and Activities are available during the remote period?

During the period of remote instruction, all offices and support services will be available remotely. Please see the Whittier College COVID-19 Contacts page for hours and other details. The Poet Update will provide regular information to help students remain informed and engaged during the remote period.

What are the guidelines for on-campus events, gatherings, and non-curricular activities?

During the remote period, we are suspending most in-person events as described below:

  • No indoor events (except for athletics which are covered by different protocols per Los Angeles County Public Health and NCAA)
  • No large events (including outdoor events)
  • No Faculty House events
  • No club, student organization, or society events (on- or off-campus)
  • College departments may occasionally organize small outdoor gatherings to support residential student wellness (i.e. outdoor yoga). 

There will be virtual events and community meetings scheduled and posted on Engage for the next few weeks to help us come together as a Poet community. 

Will events resume after February 21?

As we get closer to February 21, the College will reassess the event plan and provide updated guidance.

What mental health and wellness resources are available to students?

Students who need support during this time can reach out to the Dean of Students’ office at 562.907.4233; Director of CARE and Case Management, Marysol Mendoza, 562.907.5118; and/or Counseling Center. Virtual mental health consultations are provided by the counseling center, call 562.907.4239 for counselor availability. 

Online resources:

  • Talk Campus is a safe place where you can talk anonymously about anything and get support for your mental health and whatever is on your mind. Chat with local and international students to get support and choose groups/wellness activities.
  • You@Whittier digital tool promotes self-reflection, allowing students to be more proactive with their health and well-being in order to make the most of their college experience.

After February 21 can I continue to attend my classes online? Is there the possibility of hybrid (in-person/online) courses? 

Unless a class was scheduled as an online class when you originally registered, the course will NOT continue to be offered online. There are no plans to offer hybrid classes. 

If I take a gap semester, can I participate in student clubs, organizations and/or athletics?

No. 

As a commuter I spend a lot of time on campus to study and do homework, generally until 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. sometimes. Will there be a curfew for commuters/how late will we be allowed to stay on campus?

Ettinger Lounge is open until 11 p.m. There is no plan to implement a curfew.

Are students required to test for COVID-19 before returning to campus?

 Yes, all students are required to test as follows:

  • All residential students from January 24 through February 14 are strongly encouraged to test at home on a voluntary basis prior to departure for the campus. If your result is positive, notify us through the screening form and delay your move-in.
  • All residential students returning to campus from January 24 through February 13 are required to test on campus before entering their residence hall. Please coordinate your move-in time with the testing schedule below. 
  • The College will be administering rapid tests. You will receive your result in approximately 15 minutes.
  • Students unable to arrive during one of the testing sessions are required to test within 24 hours of arrival. 
  • If you have tested positive for COVID-19 within 90 days of your arrival date and have not already informed the Health Center, you must:
    • a) inform us through the screening form, and
    • b) upload your test result to the student health portal. Individuals recovering from COVID-19 infection in the last 90 days are not required to test. However, you will be required to test if you are unable to upload a verifiable test result (e.g. from a home test kit).

Testing for commuter students

Commuter students returning to campus before February 21 for approved academic or work-study purposes are required to test first. This test will fulfill your return to campus testing requirement. See testing schedule below.

Testing details for commuter  students returning to campus for in-person classes beginning February 21 will be issued in February.

Are employees required to test for COVID-19 before returning to campus?

Employees and contracted workers are no longer required to submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test before returning to campus. Employees and contracted workers who are unvaccinated or overdue for the booster dose are required to test weekly unless they have tested positive in the prior 90 days.

What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19?

All students, faculty, and staff—including those studying and working remotely—must self-report a diagnosis of COVID-19 using the online form. These reports will help us monitor the health status of our community and determine which follow-up test is appropriate for you.

Please promptly report symptoms and stay home if you are ill.

What happens after I report a positive COVID-19 result?

Please ensure that you check your email regularly and respond to any requests for more information.

If you tested on campus, reported that you have COVID-19, and/or reported that you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms on the health screening form, a member of the Student Life or Human Resource team will reach out to you. Individuals who test positive are required to self-isolate for a minimum of 5 days.

If I am a residential student and test positive, can I isolate off-campus (at home, nearby relative’s house, etc.)?

Yes, please make sure to contact the Health and Wellness Center to give you more guidance. 

If I have COVID-19 symptoms but have taken a test and it was negative, am I allowed back on campus?

Students must be cleared first by the Health and Wellness Center before returning to campus. Employees must be cleared by Human Resources.  

What are the Whittier College Vaccination Requirements?

To be considered fully vaccinated all eligible individuals must have the booster shot. According to the Los Angeles Public Health Department everyone ages 12 or older should get a booster dose. A Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is preferred. See more information on the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health website. Individuals can schedule an appointment to receive a free booster shot by contacting their healthcare provider or by visiting myturn.ca.gov

The first deadline to submit proof of booster vaccination was extended to January 21. Subsequent deadlines will be two weeks after the individual’s eligibility date.

  • Students must upload proof of booster vaccination to the Student Health Portal.
  • Employees must submit proof of booster vaccination (photo or scan) to Human Resources.

Individuals who are not currently eligible for the booster must submit proof within two weeks of their eligibility date.

Employees and contracted workers who are unvaccinated (exempt) or booster eligible but are overdue for their booster shot are required to test weekly. Testing must begin the week of January 31 for any individual working on campus. Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 are not required to test for 90 days following their positive test result.

If someone was infected with COVID-19, do they have to wait to receive the booster?

According to LA County, if you have been infected with COVID-19 and are eligible for the booster, you can receive the booster dose after completing the required isolation period and symptoms have resolved. If your doctor advises you to wait longer, you must submit a doctor’s note to the Health and Wellness Center (students) or Human Resources (employees).

What if I want to request an exemption for the booster shot?

Those who have already received an exemption for the vaccine do not need to submit a new exemption for the booster shot. Non-vaccinated individuals must continue weekly testing. New requests for exemptions must be submitted by January 21. Students should email Tracy Ocampo, interim health director, to get the appropriate application. Employees and contracted workers can email Human Resources for more information.  

Is the flu vaccine also mandated for the campus community?

We strongly recommend receiving the flu shot as combined cases of Coronavirus and the flu have been detected. You may receive your flu shot at the same time as the booster if offered by the provider. Please also upload your flu shot information.

Is testing available on campus?

Testing is available on campus weekdays at A.J. Villalobos Hall. Please verify the testing schedule and comply with mandatory testing dates as they are communicated. Staff and students who are overdue for their booster shot will be required to test weekly until proof of the booster shot is submitted. Unvaccinated, exempt individuals will continue to test weekly as required.  

What are the current masking guidelines?

Face masks remain mandatory indoors on campus regardless of vaccination status. Per Los Angeles County protocol we are strongly recommending students wear a medical-grade mask, KN95, KF94, or N95 respirator.

Individuals released from isolation or quarantine are required to wear an upgraded mask indoors and outdoors for a full 10 days from the beginning of their isolation or quarantine period. If you need a medical-grade mask you can obtain one at the Health and Wellness Center.

All employees and contracted workers are required to upgrade from cloth masks to a well-fitting medical-grade mask or respirator (surgical, KN95, KF94, N95).

Employees working on campus prior to the resumption of in-person instruction may retrieve a pack of five KN95 masks from the Human Resources office (2nd Floor, Campus Center) as follows:

  • Monday and Wednesdays from noon – 4 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Thursday, and Fridays from 9 a.m. -1 p.m.

Employees returning to campus on or after February 21 can retrieve masks directly from their office or departmental administrative assistant. Future requests for additional masks should be submitted to administrative assistants who will place orders through the PPE/Supply Request Form

Properly Wearing a Respirator

  • When choosing a respirator (KF94, KN95, N95), observe how well it fits and read the manufacturer's instructions. These instructions should include information on how to wear, store, and clean or properly dispose of the respirator. 
  • To work well, respirators need to make a tight seal on your face. Find the right size, style, and model. 
    • Respirators with straps that go around the back of the head provide a better seal than those with ear loops. 
    • Respirators may not fit as well if you have facial hair.
    • Keep track of your respirator so that you do not mistakenly use someone else's respirator.
  • Check the seal each time you put one on. See NIOSH instructions for how to put on, take off and check the seal of a respirator. This video may also be helpful.
  • If you have breathing difficulties check with your doctor before wearing a respirator. 
  • Do not wear an N95/KN95 with another mask (i.e., do not double mask). 

Guidance on reusing respirators             

The CDC suggests limiting the number of reuses to no more than five total uses per respirator. Consider rotating your respirators. Number them and store them in a paper bag between uses to keep the respirator clean and dry.