Spring Semester Update

January 12, 2022

As a way to manage the current surge in COVID-19 cases and to facilitate the process of creating a safe and healthy campus environment, we are planning a phased return to campus this spring. 

A pivotal element in this phased return is starting the first three weeks of the spring semester with remote learning. Scientific models and projections currently show the Omicron wave slowing down toward the middle of February. Therefore, February 21 is the target date to begin in-person instruction. To successfully meet this goal, we ask for the cooperation of the entire campus community.

The intention is to welcome back our community in phases to allow for required testing, quarantine and monitoring periods, and new vaccination requirements.    

Phased Return to Campus // Campus Access

Residential Students Move-In

More than half of residential students have already moved into the residence halls and are participating in the testing program. Residential students may begin moving in on January 24 and are expected to be moved in and attending classes remotely before February 14. Details regarding testing requirements will be forthcoming.

Students must submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test to the Student Health Portal 48 hours before returning to campus and complete the health screening form. Once students have moved in, they will be required to complete the health screening form daily before leaving their room.  

Winter and Spring Athletes

Most students participating in winter and spring sports have already returned to campus. These students must adhere to NCAA testing protocol and follow other pandemic-related guidelines. Athletes—both commuter and residential—must complete the health screening form every time they are on campus.

Commuter Students

Students not living on campus are asked to stay off campus until in-person instruction begins on February 21.

Any exception related to academic or athletic activities will be communicated directly by professors and/or coaches. Any commuter student coming to campus must complete the daily health screening form before arriving on campus. Details regarding testing requirements will be forthcoming. 

Student Services and Activities

During the period of remote instruction, all offices and support services will be available remotely. Please see the Whittier College website for hours and other details. The Poet Update will provide regular information to help students remain informed and engaged during the remote period.

Faculty and Staff

Faculty and staff should work remotely through the end of January and phase back to campus as indicated by your divisional VP. Staff should consult with their supervisors regarding their department’s in-person staffing needs. Faculty and staff must submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test to Human Resourcesbefore returning to campus (within 48-hours of return) and complete the dailyhealth screening form. 

Those supervising student workers should clearly communicate expectations to their students.

Existing and Updated Guidelines

Daily Health Screening & Self-Report 

All students, faculty, and staff—including those studying and working remotely—must self-report a diagnosis of COVID-19 using the online form. These reports will help us monitor the health status of our community and determine which test is appropriate for you. Please promptly report symptoms and stay home if you are ill.

Communication is VITAL

Please ensure that you check your email regularly and respond to any requests for more information.

If you tested on campus, reported that you have COVID-19, and/or reported that you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms on the health screening form, a member of the Student Life or Human Resource team will be reaching out to you. 

Whittier College Vaccination Requirements

To be considered fully vaccinated all eligible individuals must have the booster shot. According to the Los Angeles Public Health Department everyone ages 12 or older should get a booster dose. A Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is preferred. See more information online. Individuals can schedule an appointment to receive a free booster shot by contacting their healthcare provider or by visiting myturn.ca.gov

The first deadline to submit proof of booster vaccination has been extended to January 21. Subsequent deadlines will be two weeks after the individual’s eligibility date.

  • Students must upload proof of booster vaccination to the Student Health Portal.
  • Employees must submit proof of booster vaccination (photo or scan) toHuman Resources.


Those who have received an exemption for the vaccine do not need to submit a new exemption for the booster shot. Non-vaccinated individuals must continue weekly testing. New requests for exemptions must be submitted by January 21. Students should email Tracy Ocampo, interim health director to get the appropriate application. Employees and contracted workers can email Human Resources for more information.  

**In addition, we strongly recommend receiving the flu shot as combined cases of Coronavirus and the flu have been detected. You may receive your flu shot at the same time as the booster if offered by the provider.


Testing will be available on campus for all students. Please comply with mandatory testing dates as they are communicated with students. Staff and students who are overdue for their booster shot will be required to test weekly until proof of the booster shot is submitted. Unvaccinated, exempt individuals will continue to test weekly as required.

  • Note: Those who’ve tested positive within the last 90 days should notify the on-campus testing facility before getting a new test. These individuals must take an antigen test instead of a PCR test. PCR tests may continue to yield positive results for weeks after an individual is no longer infectious. 

Staff and faculty are asked to seek pre-arrival testing off-campus to prioritize space for students. Testing is available via your healthcare provider. There are numerous free testing sites in Los Angeles, see online for more information.  


Face masks remain mandatory indoors on campus regardless of vaccination status. Per Los Angeles County protocol we are strongly recommending students wear a medical-grade mask, KN95, KF94, or N95 respirator. Due to new workplace regulations, all employees must wear a medical-grade mask, KN95, KN94, or N95 respirator. Those employees who do not have such masks can obtain one from the Health and Wellness Center.

  • Individuals released from isolation or quarantine are required to wear an upgraded mask indoors and outdoors for a full 10 days from the beginning of their isolation or quarantine period. If you need a medical-grade mask you can obtain one at the Health and Wellness Center.


It is likely that non-academic events/activities will continue to be limited to prioritize in-person instruction. Athletic contests will continue as planned and follow strict NCAA protocols for both participants and spectators. As we get closer to February 21, the College will reassess the event plan and provide updated guidance. 

As we have reported previously, the number of COVID-19 cases has spiked dramatically on campus, with numbers changing daily.

We have recorded almost 100 cases within our College community since the end of the Fall semester. Regular updates will be posted online. 

Once again, we thank you for your cooperation and patience during this time. We are confident that by working together we will come out of this wave of the pandemic successfully and be back to in-person instruction soon. We encourage all students, faculty, and staff to remain fully engaged in our community. In addition to classes, we have virtual events and community meetings scheduled for the next few weeks to help us come together as a Poet community. 

Students who need support during this time can reach out to the Dean of Students’ office at 562.907.4233; Director of CARE and Case Management,Marysol Mendoza, 562.907.5118; and/or Counseling Center. Virtual mental health consultations are provided by the counseling center, call 562.907.4239 for counselor availability.

Should you have any questions please email the COVID-19 Taskforce.


Linda Oubre, MBA, Ed.D.  

sal johnston, Ph.D. 
VP Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty

Deanna Merino-Contino, Ed.D. 
Interim VP and Dean of Students