Updated August 16, 2022
Cleaning and Disinfecting
Whittier College in collaboration with custodial services provider Flagship is cleaning and disinfecting administrative, academic, and residential buildings with products and practices recommended by the CDC. Cleaning high touch surfaces and shared objects once a day is usually enough to sufficiently remove virus that may be on surfaces unless someone with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 has been in the facility. The Student Health & Wellness Center receives enhanced cleaning and disinfection as does the Campus Inn for food service staff.
When in a 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.
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 on campus to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 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) for all students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors. Note: While the Los Angeles County Health Officer Order no longer requires, workers to wear a face mask while working indoors and in shared vehicles, it is still strongly recommended. Businesses may choose to continue to require indoor masking.
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. 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.
- Employees should communicate their PPE needs to their Department Administrator.
- The Department Administrator will consolidate requests and complete the COVID-19 PPE & Supply Request Form.
- The form is automatically routed to the appropriate Divisional Vice President to authorize or deny.
Face coverings that fit and filter well are an effective tool in reducing disease transmission.
- Face masks remain required indoors in all campus settings for all individuals 2 years of age and older regardless of vaccination status until further notice.
- Face masks are required of positive cases and exposed close contacts for 10 days, including at home or in the residence halls.
- LA County requires masks on all forms of public transportation, transportation hubs, healthcare settings, long-term and senior care facilities, correctional facilities, shelters and cooling centers, and any location where it is the policy of the organization or venue.
- Face masks are recommended in crowded outdoor settings for people at high risk of severe illness or people who live with someone who is high risk.
- Information about acceptable face masks and guidance on how to wear and care for them properly is provided by the LA County Department of Public Health.
- Face coverings should be medical grade masks, respirators (KF94, KN95, N95), or double masks (medical mask + cloth mask). Face masks with one-way valves, bandanas, and gaiters are not permitted. Face masks must cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly against the sides of the face. Disposable face masks should be discarded in the trash after use. They should also be removed and replaced when they become moist or visibly dirty.
- In compliance with Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards, employees may request N95 respirator for voluntary use and must be instructed in their proper fit and care per Cal/OSHA guidelines by consulting with Anahi Molina, Safety & Compliance Coordinator, before use. Cal/OSHA recommends replacing an N95 respirator if it gets damaged, deformed, dirty, or difficult to breathe through. A best practice is to replace N95 respirators at the beginning of each shift. CDC recommends replacing a disposable N95 respirator after it has been taken on and off five times because respirators may not fit correctly after repeated use.
- During a major COVID-19 outbreak, respirators are required of employees indoors and outdoors. Where respirators are not worn, exposed employees should distance from other persons by at least six feet except where it is not feasible and except for momentary exposure while persons are in movement.
Exceptions to the requirement for universal face masks inside are limited to time spent alone in a private dormitory room or single-occupancy office, while actively eating or drinking, or while showering or swimming. Please refrain from eating in classrooms and shared office spaces. Eating outdoors whenever feasible remains advised.
All Whittier College employees, students, and contracted workers reserve the right to kindly ask others to wear a face covering on campus if they are not wearing one in a setting where masks are required. It is recommended that all employees carry an extra face mask while on campus.
Disposable face masks will be available at key campus locations for students, employees, and visitors who lose or forget their face covering.
According to the California Department of Public Health, the following individuals are exempt from wearing masks at all times:
- Persons younger than two years old. Very young children must not wear a mask because of the risk of suffocation.
- Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a mask. This includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a mask could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a mask without assistance.
- Persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
- Persons for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.
Employees and contracted workers seeking a mask exemption must contact Human Resources. Students seeking a mask exemption must contact Student Disability Services.
Cal/OSHA currently considers a face shield plus drape an acceptable alternative to a face mask. 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 with drape, faculty and staff must tuck the drape into the shirt or clothing at the neckline. Similar to a surgical mask or respirator, change a disposable drape once it gets wet or visibly dirty or after a day of wearing it, whichever comes soonest. Cloth drapes should be laundered after a day of use.
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. Gloves may provide a false sense of security and higher risk of cross-contamination. Misusing gloves poses a greater risk than not touching your face and washing your hands properly after completing a task.
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. Staff from the Health Center, Food Service, Athletics, Broadoaks School, and custodial staff will continue using and procuring disposable gloves according to their normal procedures.
Gloves are also permissible if a campus event or activity has been approved to include food and the food is not prepackaged. Staff engaged in serving food or preparing food for self-service should minimize bare hand and arm contact with non-prepackaged food that is in a ready-to-eat form by using gloves or utensils (e.g. tongs).
Non-Health Center employees who respond to COVID-19 cases or exposure, such as Campus Safety and Residential Life personnel, may also request disposable gloves. Similarly, gowns are reserved for designated staff responding to COVID-19 infections or exposures.
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.
All individuals accessing campus must complete a health screening before arriving and moving about campus. All students, staff, faculty, and contracted workers must report positive test results.
To complete the required health screening, please select the appropriate online screening form, which can be bookmarked on your device for easy access. You will receive an approval or non-approval pass via email. Please be prepared to display your pass upon request.
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 (e.g., staplers, pens, coffee mugs, etc.). Where items must be shared (copiers, printers, telephones, keyboards, staplers, surfaces in reception areas, shared workstations, etc.), they should be disinfected at least once daily 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.
Although most physical distancing requirements have been lifted, it is still important to reduce crowding, especially indoors.
- According to Cal/OSHA, during an outbreak among three or more employees, the College is required to evaluate whether physical distancing is necessary to control the transmission of COVID-19.
- During major outbreaks (20 or more employees), employees must practice six-feet physical distancing or be as far apart as feasible.
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. 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.
Ventilation & Filtration
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 State and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) regarding maintenance and system modifications to maximize ventilation and filtration.
Keep windows and other sources of natural ventilation open to the greatest extent possible when weather and air quality conditions allow. Do not open windows and doors if doing so poses a safety or health risk to anyone using the facility.
Consult with Facilities before using fans to increase the effectiveness of open windows. Inappropriate placement of fans could potentially cause contaminated air to flow directly from one person to another. For buildings with both operable windows and mechanical ventilation systems, the interactions between the two need to be carefully considered.
According to State guidance, ceiling fans do not bring additional fresh air into an indoor space and are not considered to be equivalent to fresh air ventilation. Therefore, ceiling fans should remain off unless necessary for temperature regulation and the comfort of occupants.