Moving Forward Message Deans

August 12, 2021

In anticipation of your return to campus, Whittier College has established protocols to provide a safe and healthy environment for our students, faculty, and staff. 

Welcome Poets. We want to recognize that this last year and a half has presented a number of challenges, and we honor everyone’s journeys, losses, and experiences. We are looking forward to being in community with you this upcoming year. 

We have received a number of questions after last week’s communication from the COVID-19 Task Force regarding our return to campus. We would like to provide additional information that will be helpful as you prepare for the fall semester. 

CLASSES: Whittier College has committed to providing in-person instruction for the 2021-2022 academic year. Despite a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases related to the Delta variant in Los Angeles County, we will continue with our on-campus plan unless guidance from the Los Angeles County Public Health Department indicates we must do otherwise. 

There will be a small number of courses offered through remote instruction in the fall, yet not enough courses to allow any student to be registered full-time and be fully remote. In addition, the courses offered in person will not be available in an alternate/remote format. 

VACCINATION: Whittier College was among the first colleges in the country to mandate the vaccine for students and employees. Public health experts agree that vaccination is the most effective protection from COVID-19 and the Delta variant. We are pleased to report that campus immunity exceeds 90%.

Weekly testing at the Student Health & Wellness Center will be required for those who have received an exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine. Details on the testing program are forthcoming.

MASKS: All students, faculty,  staff, and campus visitors—regardless of vaccination status—are required to wear masks indoors. According to the LA County Public Health Department, Los Angeles has seen a slow down to the increase of COVID-19 cases since the county reinstated masking indoors three weeks ago. 

The type of mask you wear and the way you wear it MATTERS. The best masks (according to the CDC) have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric, completely cover your nose and mouth, fit snugly against the sides of your face without any gaps, and have a nose wire to prevent air from leaking out of the top of the mask. See more guidance on the CDC website. 

Anything that is made of thin, single-layer fabric (gaiter, bandana, etc.) is not an acceptable mask. 

DAILY HEALTH SCREENING & DUTY TO REPORT: All students, faculty, staff, and visitors will be required to complete a health screening any day they are accessing campus. Everyone is required to report COVID-19-related symptoms, a positive test result, or exposure to a positive case. Be prepared to display your pass upon request. Failure to complete the screening may result in disciplinary action.

CLASSROOMS/COMMON AREAS: In addition to masking, we will not allow drinks or food at any time in classrooms or common areas. 

While studies show that surfaces are not a significant mode of COVID-19 transmission, the College will adhere to CDC guidance on cleaning and disinfection. In addition, sanitation stations have been installed throughout campus that include hand sanitizer and disinfectant. 

CAMPUS INN: The CI will be open for dining services. They have established protocols to keep diners safe in accordance with public health guidelines. In addition, taking food “to go” will be encouraged and seating will be available outside. 

RESIDENCE HALLS: Our Housing and Residential halls will be operational. Please know that masks will be required in common areas in our residence halls. We also have a temporary no guest policy. Current students, faculty, and staff will be able to access the halls but no outside guests will be allowed inside the residential halls at this time. More information can be found online regarding residential life COVID-19 policies and procedures.

CAMPUS CENTER: The Campus Center will be open. It is critical that masks are worn at all times when visiting offices and the Ettinger Lounge. Students may also call or email staff in offices to minimize in-person contact. 

Look for an upcoming video from Associated Students of Whittier College President Grace Hagan Martin and Interim Vice President and Dean of Students Deanna Merino Contino for additional information and reminders.

For further information, check out the Whittier College Moving Forward section of the website to read our policies, prevention measures, and FAQs. Reach out with any additional questions to

Together we can keep the Poet community healthy as we return to campus in August.

sal johnston
Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty

Deanna Merino Contino
Vice President and Dean of Students, interim