Travel Restrictions

March 6, 2020

The State of California and the Los Angeles County Health Department have declared a state of emergency in regards to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), with several cases now confirmed throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

This is a developing situation and Whittier College continues to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and its implications. Currently, there are no known cases (confirmed or suspected) of this virus on the Whittier campus. 

Whittier is developing appropriate responses for various scenarios that may arise related to COVID-19, as well as implementing new procedures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 on our campus. 

How is Whittier College preparing?

  • Whittier College has been following the CDC’s guidelines for institutions of higher education and the College’s emergency response team has met to discuss needed plans to respond to the situation. 
  • Classes are continuing without interruption, in keeping with the most recent guidelines from the CDC for institutions of higher education with no identified cases of COVID-19 on campus. 
  • Students, faculty, and staff who are ill are being asked to stay home and seek medical care, especially if they have a cough or high fever. Individuals may communicate via email with supervisors, coworkers, and professors to let them know they are sick.
  • Faculty are asked to make needed accommodations and support students who may be impacted by COVID-19 so that they can complete their coursework. 
  • Supervisors are encouraged to make their best efforts to support employees who may be impacted by COVID-19 so that they can meet work requirements. 
  • Students, staff, and faculty will not be penalized for staying home if they are sick. Employees and students should confirm COVID-19 with their regular physician and get clearance from their doctor before returning to campus. Moreover, the College will work with employees and students to make needed accommodations in the case that individuals are impacted due to childcare or other family obligations related to COVID-19.     
  • The Office of Academic Affairs is working with faculty to ensure accommodations can be made for individuals affected by COVID-19 and to maintain instructional continuity in the event that the situation requires a larger disruption of classes. 
  • Campus Cleanliness: to reduce the likelihood of any transmission and to ensure that high-traffic contact surfaces are regularly cleaned, the facilities department is adding new steps to disinfect certain areas more often. The College is also adding hand sanitizing stations in buildings throughout campus.  
  • The CDC has prepared bulletins with additional information about COVID-19. Faculty and staff may post this information in their offices, classrooms, and throughout campus.  

International Travel Restrictions

Currently, there are no Whittier students studying abroad in the affected countries (China, Japan, Iran, Italy, and South Korea.)

Faculty, staff, students, or visitors arriving from any particular area affected by the 2019 COVID-19 on or after February 15, 2020 should not return to campus until 14 days after their arrival in the U.S. This is an expectation of the College for those arriving to the U.S. between February 15 and March 2. It is an expectation of the College and a requirement of the United States for those arriving on or after March 2, 2020.

This procedure is aligned with the January 31, 2020 declaration by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regarding a public health emergency for the nation. For more information on travel restrictions, see the posting below.

Spring Break 

COVID-19 is quickly spreading to a number of countries. Students, faculty, and staff making spring break travel plans should visit the U.S. State Department Travel Advisories and CDC Coronavirus Information for Travel websites for up-to-date advisories. 

Summer Travel Abroad

Although it is unknown if the Level 3 Travel Health Advisories for the affected countries will remain in place over the summer, the College strongly advises students, faculty, or staff planning to participate in or lead any programs of study, work, or research in those countries to make alternate plans. The College is looking at contingency plans for students who might be required to stay on campus this summer, including housing. 

What you can do

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you cough or sneeze, or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60 to 95% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty. Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue away. 
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces with disinfectant products. See EPA recommended list.  
  • Maintain your immune system by getting plenty of rest, sleep, and a nutritious balanced diet.
  • Symptoms to be wary of include fever and respiratory symptoms, including coughing. If you experience these symptoms, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others immediately, and seek medical attention. 

Stay updated 

  • Keep track of all emails sent directly from the College, which will continue to send out notifications to the campus community.
  • Continue to follow this Poet Health Alert online, where updates will be posted on a regular basis. 
  • Make sure the College has your up-to-date contact information, including a cell phone number and email, to receive emergency alerts. To update your contact information, visit my.whittier.edu

Anti-Discrimination Policy

Whittier College is a campus that values equity and inclusion, as well as kindness and generosity. It is important to keep these values in mind when facing a stressful situation such as this one. It is also important to get the correct facts to avoid making assumptions that could lead to discrimination. Unfortunately, we have seen the spread of prejudice toward certain communities as a result of the spread of COVID-19 regionally and across the country. 

Whittier College does not condone any form of discrimination or racism. Speak up if you hear, see, or read misinformation, or witness or experience harassment or discrimination. You can file a bias incident report here

We appreciate your cooperation in keeping the Whittier College community healthy and safe.