COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions

March 13, 2020


Updated March 24, 2020


Are the Residence Halls Closed?

All residential students are required to complete the Residence Hall Exit Form by March 25. The residence halls will close after March 31 for the remainder of the spring term. To remain in on-campus housing after March 31, a student must receive prior approval. Email with any questions.  

Is the dining hall open still?

Beginning Monday, March 23, the Campus Inn has changed to a daily prepackaged to-go format for residential students still living on campus for the spring 2020 semester.

Based on their existing meal plan, students will complete a menu for each week and submit no later than 1 p.m. each Sunday. Students can also use flex points for additional meals. The menu can be accessed here. Students can pick up their meals each day at the Campus Inn between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

Seated dining in the Campus Inn will not be available until further notice. The Spot will be closed until further notice. 

How will my billing work for housing?

Students who choose to vacate their meal and room plans as of March 31, 2020 will receive a partial credit or refund of spring 2020 charges. A student’s vacate decision will be evidenced by submission of the Residence Hall Exit Form no later than March 25, 2020. If no Residence Hall Exit Form is received by March 25, 2020 the defaulted decision will be taken as “not to vacate."  Vacated rooms will be inspected during the period of April 1 through April 15 to determine if any additional charges apply such as room damage and keys not returned.

The credit or refund amount will be based on published room and board rates exclusive of flex dollars. The refund amount will be prorated to equal the unused portion of room and board from April 1, 2020 through the end of the spring semester.  Any unused flex dollars as of April 15, 2020 will be refunded as well.  

The credit amount will first be applied to a student’s current outstanding account balance, if any, for cumulative tuition, room and board days used (prior to April 1, 2020), fees, and other charges, net of accepted student aid. Any remaining credit will be processed as elected on the Cash Management Form submitted to the Office of Financial Aid at the beginning of the academic year. Students may change that election by completing the Room and Board Credit Preference Form. Students who have submitted an application to graduate in May 2020 by April 15, 2020 to the Registrar, will receive cash refunds starting April 30, 2020.

I’m unable to come back now for my belongings, what should I do? 

Students should complete the Residence Hall Exit Form and indicate when they plan to pick up their belongings on the form. If possible, students should pick up all essentials from their room by March 31. 

Due to the unusual circumstances, residential students who will not be living on campus for the rest of the semester may leave belongings in their rooms beyond March 31. As long as students have properly completed the Residence Hall Exit Form they will not be charged or penalized for leaving items in their room.

Students leaving belongings on campus past March 31 must retrieve them between May 4 and May 12. Access to rooms before May 4 will not be allowed, unless approved by Housing & Residential Life .

I can’t leave and need to stay in my hall, what should I do?

Complete the Residence Hall Exit Form to request an exemption. Students are not approved until they receive an email indicating a decision on their request. 

What services will be available if I’m approved to stay?

Due to the state’s and county’s “Safer at Home” order, most support services (CAAS, registration, Student Life, career services, etc.) will be provided to students remotely. Students are encouraged to review the office hours and operation details online.

Does the College have campus storage for the summer?

No. Students are encouraged to take advantage of local storage companies. Whittier College has compiled a resource page on the website

Can I leave my car on campus?

Campus Safety will be closing down some of the parking lots on campus. This move will allow us to better monitor who is on campus and facilitate patrols during this time.

The following lots will be closed beginning Wednesday, March 25 at midnight:

  • Shannon Center lot
  • North Music (Broadoaks) lot
  • Amphitheater lot

Residential students are not encouraged to leave vehicles on campus and the College does not assume responsibility for vehicles left on campus. Students wishing to leave a car on campus must email to receive prior approval. Students will receive information about which lot they can park in and must drop off their car key at Campus Safety prior to leaving campus.  

How can I check out?

Express checkout is available by filling out an envelope (provided) and dropping your key off in one of two places -- outside Campus Safety or Bal Hall basement outside the Housing Coordinator’s office. For your safety and that of our staff, we are not conducting in-person room check-outs or room inspections. 

Will I be able to stay in my current room if approved to stay after March 31?

The residence halls will close after March 31. Students who need to stay in the halls after March 31 are required to submit a request via the Residence Hall Exit Form. Students are not approved until they receive an email indicating a decision on their request. 

Am I allowed to self-isolate/quarantine in my residence hall room?

No. Whittier College is not equipped to support students in these circumstances. Please reach out to if you would like to discuss this request further.  


What is Whittier College doing to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)?

  • Whittier College is continuing to monitor the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and its implications. Senior administrators are communicating daily to review updates from the CDC, World Health Organization, and county and state public health agencies.
  • 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.

Is the College closing?

  • The State of California and Los Angeles County have issued a "Safer at Home" order, asking everyone to remain at home except for essential activities as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

  • During this time, all Whittier College buildings are closed to the public. However, the College continues to operate with essential personnel onsite and all other staff working remotely. The directory online provides operating hours and the best way to contact each office during this time.

How will students access their courses?

  • There is currently a plan in place to use Moodle as the primary platform for all online courses. Students will receive specific instructions from their professors via email before Monday, March 23.

Are students required to still pay tuition?

  • While we are moving to remote education, classes will still be Whittier College courses taught by Whittier College professors. Our intention is to focus on providing a high-quality student experience and ensure students can continue learning in an engaging manner, in keeping with the Whittier ethos. Students will also have access to their professors, online and, in some cases, in person. Our goal is also to make sure all of our students can continue making progress toward their academic goals.

What will happen to students who receive work study?

  • All work-study, including exception funding, students will continue to be paid for their regularly scheduled hours, until further notice. Students should communicate with their supervisors to get additional direction and remote work assignments. 

I’m a veteran. Will I still receive my Post-9/11 GI Bill?

  • At this time, no changes will be made to your certification, and therefore your benefits will continue as is for the time being. 

What do I do if I think I have COVID-19?

  • Individuals needing medical services due to symptoms of respiratory illness including fever, cough, and shortness of breath should FIRST call the Student Health & Wellness Center (562-464-4548) or their doctor for further instructions BEFORE visiting the medical facility. A physician or nurse will determine the level of medical care an individual may need and either schedule an appointment with them or refer them accordingly.
  • For students: If you have any non-life-threatening health concerns after clinic hours when the Student Health & Wellness Center is closed, please call the RN Telephone After Hours Advice line at 562-464-4548 and press 1 or 855-456-9455.
  • Any suspected or confirmed cases of the COVID-19 need to be reported to the College. For faculty and staff, this should be Human Resources and for students, this is the Student Health & Wellness Center in conjunction with the Dean of Student Life. Currently, there are no known cases (confirmed or suspected) of COVID-19 on the Whittier campus.

What do I do if I have a cold or other illness (not related to COVID-19)?

  • 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.

What if I have to miss work?

  • 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. 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.

Are all events being canceled?

  • In response to the "Safer at Home" order, all Whittier College buildings are closed to the public and most events have been cancelled or moved online. End-of-the-year activities including honors convocation, URSCA, cultural graduations, and baccalaureate have also been canceled. Although we will continue to monitor the situation, it is expected that the traditional all-College commencement exercises will be canceled and/or modified. Whittier faculty and staff are working on plans to ensure that the College can honor the accomplishments of our graduating seniors.

  • The Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's (SCIAC) has decided to indefinitely suspend all spring regular season conference competition and conference championships. The NCAA also announced the cancelation of all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships. 

How will students register for fall classes?

  • Fall registration will continue as planned but will be done remotely. More information will be forthcoming.  

How can I stay informed?

  • Make sure to check your email daily for the Poet Update newsletter. All of our updates will also be posted online. In addition, if you are not receiving emergency text messages from Whittier College please update your contact information on your myWhittier account. 

How is the campus being cleaned to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

  • 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. This includes working with our custodial provider to bring additional staff to increase the frequency of cleaning.

    The College is also adding hand sanitizing stations in buildings throughout campus.

  • Bon Appetit has also increased its cleaning frequency in the Campus Inn and is cognizant of keeping tables clean.  

Are there any students, faculty, or staff traveling in affected countries?

  • 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. 

What resources will be available for students with disabilities who depend on the ability to have live interaction via lectures/classroom discussions as well as the ability to meet with their professors when needed for office hours?  

  • Please rest assured that as we shift to remote instruction, previously activated accommodations will still be in place. In some cases, in-person accommodations will no longer be necessary, and in other cases, new accommodations may need to be made. In all cases, Student Disability Services is still available to students.
  • Visit the website for accommodations that are typically available for students with disabilities, as well as an update on how accommodations will be provided for the remainder of the semester. . 

What can I do to stay healthy?

  • 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.

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