Campus Prevention Measures

Breadcrumb

Personal Health & Wellness

Cleaning and Disinfecting

Whittier College in collaboration with custodial services provider Flagship has increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfection in administrative, academic, and residential buildings. Flagship is implementing products and practices in alignment with public health recommendations. For buildings currently in use during remote operations, procedures include twice daily cleaning and disinfection of restrooms and high touch surfaces such as doorknobs, handles, and countertops and nightly disinfection with the use of electrostactic sprayers. The Student Health & Wellness Center receives enhanced cleaning and disinfection as does the Campus Inn for food service staff. During meal preparation and service hours, high contact surface areas are cleaned and disinfected regularly.

Coughing/Sneezing Hygiene

When in a private setting without a face covering, individuals should remember to always cover the mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing or use the inside of the elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash. After sneezing, individuals should immediately wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, they should clean their hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

If wearing a face covering while sneezing/coughing and the face covering becomes contaminated with mucus, individuals should change the mask and launder it. If wearing a disposable mask, throw the contaminated mask in the trash and replace it.

COVID-19 Vaccination

To protect and support the health and safety of the Whittier College community, the College requires all faculty, staff, students, and contracted workers who work or study or campus to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by July 1, 2021.

For so long as the COVID-19 vaccines are authorized for emergency use only and are not yet approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), faculty, staff, and students may comply with this policy by affirmatively opting-out of COVID-19 vaccination by submitting a Personal Declination Form. 

If/when the FDA issues approval of at least one of the COVID-19 vaccines, all faculty, staff, contracted workers, and students eligible to receive an FDA-approved vaccine will be required to receive such vaccine in order to access College campus and premises or participate in any in-person College programs or activities, and any previously submitted Personal Declination Forms will no longer be valid. 

Any faculty, staff, contracted worker, or student who is unable to receive an FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine due to a disability or sincerely-held religious practice, belief, or observance, may request an exception to this policy once enacted.  Updated participation requirement details will be announced following FDA approval. A person who is granted an exception may be required to use additional personal protective equipment or take other actions such as participation in ongoing testing as directed by the College for the health and safety of the Whittier College community. 

For individuals who have been vaccinated in another country, Whittier will accept immunization records for all vaccines recognized by local public health officials, in accordance with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Presently this includes vaccines authorized for use by the World Health Organization. Students can contact the Health and Wellness Center for more information.

Please see the complete COVID-19 Vaccination Policy.

Face Masks & Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Whittier College requires the use of face masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) in compliance with public health guidance for all students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors. 

Procurement Procedure

The Facilities Department is solely responsible for ordering and replenishing new PPE and cleaning and disinfection supplies related to COVID-19 prevention in order to streamline procurement and reduce cost through bulk purchasing. Departments are responsible for controlled distribution and monitoring. Employees should communicate their PPE needs to their Department Administrative Assistant. Departments are prohibited from ordering these items directly, including through College Office Depot accounts. Exceptions to these parameters have been established for the Student Health & Wellness Center

Face Masks

Evidence suggests that face coverings when combined with frequent and proper handwashing and physical distancing are effective in reducing disease transmission. Whittier College requires that all students, employees, and visitors wear a face mask in any campus setting, both indoors and outdoors, especially when six-foot distancing is not possible. Acceptable face masks and tips on how to wear and care for them properly may be found here. Face masks with one-way valves are not permitted. Face masks must cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly against the sides of the face. Cloth face masks must be properly hand washed or laundered daily before subsequent use. Disposable face masks should be discarded in the trash after use. They should also be removed and replaced when they become moist.

The College will provide all students and employees with one cloth face mask. Individuals may elect to wear their own face mask rather than the one supplied by the College. Face coverings should conform to standards of appropriate and professional attire. 

Exceptions to the requirement for universal face masks inside are limited to time spent alone in a private dormitory room or single-occupancy office with doors closed, or while eating or drinking. Exceptions to the requirement to wear face masks outdoors include sitting, standing, or exercising alone and for individuals whose employment requires they work outside full-time (e.g., some facilities staff) if 6 feet distance from others can be maintained. Everyone must wear face masks when interacting with others or when unable to practice physical distancing.

All Whittier College employees, students, and contracted workers reserve the right to kindly ask that employees, contracted workers, and students wear a face covering if they are not wearing one in a setting where they are required. It is recommended that all employees carry an extra face mask while on campus.

Disposable face masks will be available at the Student Health & Wellness Center and Campus Safety for students and employees who lose or forget their face covering. Medical grade and N95 masks are reserved for the College’s healthcare professionals and personnel assisting with the isolation or quarantine of infected or exposed individuals. Similarly, medical grade masks will be available for Broadoaks School employees who care for a sick child or who have close contact with any child with a medical condition that precludes the child’s use of a face mask. 

Employees must be authorized to use N95 masks. The voluntary use of N95 masks is strongly discouraged per CDC guidance to reserve them for healthcare workers. Employees authorized to use N95 masks are instructed in their proper use per Cal/OSHA guidelines. Requests to voluntarily use N95 masks must be directed to Anahi Molina, Safety & Compliance Coordinator.

Face Shields

Whittier College will provide faculty and designated staff a face shield with cloth drape to use instead of a cloth face covering to minimize any impediments under the following circumstances: 

  • Lecturing or giving campus tours
  • Assisting students with disabilities
  • High-intensity activities
  • Accommodating those unable to wear a cloth face covering

While wearing a face shield, faculty and staff must tuck the drape into the shirt and must remain 10 feet from the nearest student or other employee. 

Gloves & Gowns

Gloves are not necessary for general use and do not replace good hygiene. Washing hands often is considered the best practice for common everyday tasks. Generally, if a task did not require gloves prior to the pandemic, gloves are not required now. If a task (e.g., laboratory) required a specific type of gloves as PPE prior to the pandemic, those requirements remain in place. Healthcare, food service, and custodial staff will continue using disposable gloves. Designated employees whose jobs require frequent handling of high touch items will also receive disposable gloves. Gowns are similarly reserved for designated staff responding to COVID-19 infections or exposures.

Handwashing

Everyone should wash their hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom; before eating; when hands are visibly dirty; and after blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Whittier College has added hand sanitizer dispensers near entryways and building restrooms. All hand sanitizer and hand soap dispensers are checked regularly by Facilities and refilled as necessary. 

Health Screening & Self-Report

In order to protect the campus community and contain the spread of infection, all Whittier College students, employees, and contracted workers have the duty to report COVID-19 symptoms, exposure, or positive test results.

Any individual requesting access to campus to perform essential duties or participate in an approved campus activity by appointment, must complete a health screening before arriving on campus. All students, staff, and faculty must report positive test results.

  • Employees performing essential work who have been designated by their divisional vice president for on-campus access and residential students who were approved by Residential Life for on-campus housing are required to complete health screening for daily clearance to move about campus.

There are two ways to complete the required health screening. 

  • Whittier College strongly encourages all students and employees to download the Everbridge and Everbridge Contact Tracing Apps. The app facilitates College compliance with public health reporting requirements. Everbridge currently powers the College’s emergency alert system and provides convenient COVID-19 screening and reporting features. Your pass to access campus can be retrieved directly on your phone through the app and email. 
  • For those without a smartphone or who opt not to download the app, health screening forms are available online and can be bookmarked in your browser for easy access. You will receive your approval or non-approval pass to access campus via email.

Influenza Vaccine/Flu Shots

In accordance with the Los Angeles County protocol for Institutions of Higher Education, all students who have reason to be on campus to conduct a permitted activity must be immunized against influenza as long as influenza viruses are circulating locally (usually November-April). Flu shots are more important than ever as symptoms of COVID-19 may appear similar to flu symptoms. Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses.

  • Students accessing campus are required to first schedule an appointment at the Student Health & Wellness Center or provide proof of vaccination.
  • Whittier College also strongly encourages all employees to receive a flu shot unless contraindicated by personal medical conditions.

Flu shots are FREE this year at the Student Health & Wellness Center for students, faculty, and staff.  To schedule an appointment, please call 562.464.4548. Flu shots are also available through your healthcare provider and at many local pharmacies. 

Minimize Shared Use

Students and employees should use only their own equipment and supplies to the extent feasible. Sharing of held items should be minimized or eliminated (e.g., staplers, pens, coffee mugs, etc.). Where items must be shared, they should be disinfected by employees between uses including the following: shared office equipment such as copiers, printers, telephones, keyboards, staplers, surfaces in reception areas, shared workstations, etc. These should be disinfected regularly using EPA-approved disinfectants provided by the College. Always follow label directions for safe and effective use. Cleaning assignments should be scheduled during work hours as part of employee job duties.

Physical Distancing

It is critical to maintain physical distance between yourself and other to avoid exposure to and reduce transmission of COVID-19. Since people can spread the virus before they know they are sick and are not experiencing symptoms, it is important for everyone on campus to heed these required practices to protect one another:

  • Stay at least 6 feet from other people whenever possible
  • Avoid crowded places and large gatherings
  • Engage in non-contact methods of greeting that avoid handshakes

The College recognizes that maintaining 6 feet of distance may not be possible in all circumstances, but we ask the community to make every effort to do so while also observing the face mask policy.

Prevention Training

As mandated by State and County public health guidance, all students, faculty, and staff are required to complete COVID-19 Prevention Training. Whittier College will be offering the online interactive training Staying Healthy in a Changing Environment. 

Support for Persons at Greater Risk for COVID-19

Whittier College recognizes that some members of our community may be at greater risk for COVID-19 or may live in a household with someone who is at increased risk.  Please consult CDC Guidelines regarding people who should take extra precautions and the conditions that may increase risk of severe illness. 

Whittier College is committed to offering classes in a manner that permits participation by students who are at greater risk for COVID-19 and wish an accommodation or need to be out of class due to illness or quarantine. Students may request accommodation or other resources by completing a COVID-19 Request for Services Form

Whittier College encourages employees who are high risk for COVID-19 or who live in the same household with someone who is at high risk for COVID-19 to seek an accommodation by contacting Human Resources. Human Resources will work with divisional vice presidents to identify appropriate accommodation. Accommodations may include remote teaching or work.

Environmental Health and Safety

Whittier College is implementing environmental measures to enhance infection control and modifying campus facilities to support physical distancing requirements.  

Air Conditioning/Heating/Ventilation

The Facilities Department has evaluated the operation of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems to help minimize the chance of spreading COVID-19 through airborne exposure. The College is following guidance from the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) regarding maintenance and potential system modifications to maximize ventilation and filtration.

Athletic & Fitness Facilities

At present, no organized collegiate sport or competition is taking place on campus. Whittier College will fully comply with the State of California’s Specific Interim Guidance for Collegiate Athletics when sport is authorized to resume. 

Outdoor recreational facilities will be open to registered students by appointment only for recreational play, skill-building, training, and conditioning. 

Bookstore

The Bookstore complies with Los Angeles County guidance for retail establishments. Maximum occupancy is currently limited to 75%, plexiglass barriers have been installed at the register, and visual cues for distancing and traffic flow have been positioned.

Buildings

Where practical, signage indicates one-way traffic to maintain physical distance in stairwells and designates entrance and exit routes. Elevator capacity is posted and limited to the number of people that can be accommodated while maintain 6-foot physical distance. Physical cues will be utilized to ensure appropriate distance in lines and spaces where groups typically congregate.

Classrooms

Upon return to in-person learning, State guidance will determine maximum classroom occupancy. Classroom furniture and layouts may be reconfigured to support physical distance. Outdoor classrooms may also be utilized, weather permitting, to increase instructional space.

Common Areas

Indoor and outdoor communal spaces have been modified to limit occupancy and some furnishings have been removed. Congregating is not permitted.

Food Service

The Campus Inn and The Spot are currently closed. Meal plans for residential students are restricted to Grab-and-Go service.

Residence Halls

On-campus housing has been limited to students with no other feasible residential option per County guidelines. Occupancy is limited to one student per room. Lounges and study rooms have been closed. Kitchen occupancy is limited to one student. Occupancy in communal bathrooms and laundry rooms is limited to two students. Every other restroom sink has been disabled and covered to comply with distance requirements. Signage reinforces physical distance requirements and hygiene protocols. 

The College anticipates full occupancy for Fall 2021 yet awaits guidance from the LA County Public Health Department. All residential students must be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Offices

Work areas will be modified to facilitate 6-foot physical distance to the extent possible including the removal of furnishings. Plexiglass or other barriers may also be installed at reception desks and counters where documents or items must be exchanged. Congregating in work areas is discouraged and traffic flow will be adapted to minimize contact.

Water Systems

Use of drinking fountains is currently prohibited. Everyone is encouraged to bring their own water or to use water refilling stations, which are regularly cleaned and sanitized. The Facilities Department is following CDC guidance to ensure that the College’s water systems remain safe during remote operations and to minimize the risk of Legionnaires’ disease and other disease associated with water.