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About Coronavirus (COVID-19)

  • What is coronavirus (COVID-19)?

    COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) virus. There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. At this point, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes it. It is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.

  • What is the source of COVID-19?

    This virus was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, in December. The first infections were linked to a live animal market, but the virus is now spreading from person-to-person.

  • What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

    Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases. Symptoms may present like influenza and most appear 2-14 days after exposure. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:

    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

    Or at least two of these symptoms:

    • Fever
    • Chills
    • Repeated shaking with chills
    • Muscle pain
    • Headache
    • Sore throat
    • New loss of taste or smell

    Please consult with your medical provider regarding any specific symptom concerns you may have and refer to the CDC website for more information on Symptoms of Coronavirus.

  • How is the virus transmitted?

    The coronavirus is most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:

    • Coughing and sneezing
    • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
    • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands
    • Rarely, fecal contamination with coronavirus present

    People are thought to be most contagious when they are the sickest, though some spread is possible before people show symptoms. 

    You can learn more on how COVID-19 spreads from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Or visit the Washington State Department of Health's frequently asked questions.

  • How many people have been infected with COVID-19?

    Worldwide: For daily reports of total global confirmed cases and deaths, please see the World Health Organization.

    The United States: More detailed information on cases within the U.S. can be found on the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention(or CDC).

    Washington StateThe Washington State Department of Health is tracking current confirmed cases and deaths, with new information updated daily.

Academics

Athletics

Campus Health & Safety

  • What communication is happening at Whitworth?

    Whitworth Health Center employees have been instructing the community about what to do if anyone exhibits COVID-19 symptoms. Health center employees are working closely with the Spokane Regional Health District and following the most current guidelines.

    Please see whitworth.edu/coronavirus for our latest information and communication.

  • Are spaces on campus being extra sanitized?

    Whitworth Custodial Services has increased the cleaning and disinfecting of touch points in public spaces (door knobs, faucet handles, water fountains, etc.) across campus with solutions that are effective against germs – including the virus that causes COVID-19. Weekend custodial services has been increased. Our custodial staff has also provided departments and residence halls with disinfecting wipes so faculty, staff and students can clean their own personal spaces. Custodial services has added additional hand sanitizing units around the campus community as well.

    Sodexo is also taking the necessary steps in regards to sanitation. Employees are frequently wiping down all surfaces in the dining areas and are keeping daily sanitation logs.

  • How is Whitworth handling food safety?

    Whitworth continues to follow strict and thorough processes for food delivery. Sodexo employees meet daily to discuss proper sanitizing and food handling instructions. Employees have also been told to stay home if feeling ill.

  • How long after a potential COVID-19 exposure will my building/workspace be professionally cleaned?

    It will be at least 72 hours before we send custodial or professional services into a building or workspace to clean.

  • After my building/workspace has been professionally cleaned, how long do I have to wait before I can return?

    Employees must wait at least 24 hours after treatment before returning to a building or workspace that has been professionally/chemically cleaned. Prior to reentry, the building or workspace will be inspected by the safety manager to ensure that the work environment is ready for occupants to return to their place of work. Employees will be notified if it is determined that more time is needed for the building or workspace to be completely free of irritants.

Credit & Refund Information

Events

  • I'm a Whitworth faculty, staff or student; is my spring campus event canceled?

    In accordance with the announcement President Taylor made on the evening of Monday, March 16, all Whitworth events are canceled through the end of the semester (May 15) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have not contacted the Whitworth Office of University Events yet, please email events@whitworth.edu, and we will cancel your Facilities Request Form (FRF).

  • Are campus events planned before May 15 canceled for external organizations?

    In order to best protect the Whitworth community and the community Whitworth shares with others, all of Whitworth's campus and external events have been canceled through the end of the semester (May 15) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Whitworth Office of University Events will be in contact with you directly regarding your event. If you have any questions or concerns related to this notice, please email conferences@whitworth.edu

  • What is the status of campus events after May 15?

    In order to best protect the Whitworth community and the community Whitworth shares with others, and in accordance with Governor Inslee's directions for the state, all university events have been canceled until at least June 15. This includes camps and conferences. The Whitworth Office of University Events will be in contact with you directly to cancel and/or reschedule your event. If you have any questions, please email events@whitworth.edu (internal departments) or conferences@whitworth.edu (external groups).

    For events after June 15, the office of university events will be in contact with you regarding the details of your event and whether we can accommodate it within the guidelines for the appropriate phases. For external groups, we continue to allow a cancellation of at least two weeks' notice without penalty. Please contact conferences@whitworth.edu regarding any questions regarding your particular event.

  • Has commencement been rescheduled?

    Yes. Commencement will be held Sunday, Oct. 11. Events will take place Oct. 9-10, leading up to the ceremony at the Spokane Arena on Oct. 11. Please visit www.whitworth.edu/commencement for more information.

Fall 2020 Plans

Financial Aid & Billing

Housing

  • What are the options for students packing up belongings in the residence halls?

    If you are a student who still needs to pick up your belongings from the residence halls and check out of your room, please follow the process below:

    • Please plan to pick up your belongings between Thursday, April 9, and Saturday, May 16. To do this, you must schedule an appointment 24 hours in advance of your arrival with your RD (see contact list below). You will receive more instructions from your RD to your Whitworth email address. Please note that not all times may be available. If you show up without an approved appointment, you may be turned away.
    • The number of students and families in a building at one time will be limited so that the university can observe strict social distancing guidelines.
    • If you are unable to come to campus personally to pack up your belongings, Bekins Northwest is able to pack up your room and store your items for a cost of $325 plus an additional $35/month for storage. Please contact Jody of Bekins Northwest at 509.919.3393 for more information (make sure to mention you are a Whitworth student so you receive this discounted price). Bekins will pack up rooms May 18-22. Whitworth is not responsible for any lost or damaged items.
    • If you cannot make either of these options work, email timothycaldwell@whitworth.edu to discuss possible alternatives.

    Please also be advised that if you have any symptoms related to COVID-19 or if you are sick in any way, we ask you not to come to campus.

    To locate your RD, please see the Residence Life and Housing Staff Directory.

  • What if my student already moved out but didn't check out and still has a key?

    Students need to retrieve their possessions by May 16. If they have all of their belongings, and they just need to return the key, they should mail it to Alan Jacob in housing, along with a note including their name, residence hall and room number.

  • My student flew home and can't relocate a car on campus; is it safe?

    If students are still on campus, they can move their car to the lot behind Oliver Hall. If students won't be able to retrieve their car by May 16, they should contact Whitworth Security Services to inform them of their vehicle needs by email (security@whitworth.edu) or phone (509.777.4444).

Prevention & Treatment

  • What do I do if I'm experiencing symptoms?

    Call ahead to your doctor or healthcare professional if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms with a fever, cough, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. Do not just show up at the emergency room or doctor's office. Your healthcare professional will ask you a series of questions, including whether you have traveled to any of the infected areas or come in contact with anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. They will then advise you whether it is best to be seen by a doctor right away for possible testing or whether to self-quarantine.

    Encourage anyone you know who has symptoms to discuss their situation with their healthcare provider. Additionally, if you or a friend, family member, housemate, classmate or coworker are sick, we ask that you stay home.

  • Can I get COVID-19 if a friend of my friend has it?

    Currently, health authorities are not counting tertiary (or third) contact as a risk or asking people in that category to self-isolate.

    If you have had direct contact with an individual who has a confirmed case of COVID-19, please contact your healthcare provider. In this case, it is likely you will need to self-quarantine.

  • What should I do if I suspect someone around me has the virus?

    If they are a Whitworth student and the health center is open, refer them to the health center but make sure they call ahead before going there. If symptomatic with concern for COVID-19, the health center will advise regarding next steps. They can also contact a health care provider or visit an urgent care. A student with COVID-19 symptoms or confirmed COVID-19 should self-isolate at home/in their place of residence until the following two criteria are met:

    • At least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery. Recovery is defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (cough or shortness of breath)
      AND
    • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

    If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should quarantine at home or in your place of residence and monitor your health for any COVID-19 symptoms. You should do so for 14 days after you last had close contact with the sick person who has COVID-19. 

    Additional COVID-19 symptom information can be found on the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention webpage, Symptoms of Coronavirus. More information is also available from the Washington State Department of Health:

    During regular business hours, students can call the health center at 509.777.3259 to speak with a nurse, or they can contact a medical provider in the community with any questions or concerns regarding COVID-19.

  • How long is the self-quarantine period if I think I was exposed to someone with COVID-19?

    It is recommended that you stay home for 14 days. The Washington State Department of Health has provided information on what to do if you were potentially exposed to someone with confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

  • Are older adults at higher risk for complications from COVID-19?

    Yes. Older adults are considered higher risk for serious complications from COVID-19. For more information:

    Please consult with your healthcare provider about your personal risks.

  • What if I have underlying health conditions?

    Some individuals may be "vulnerable" or have the potential for higher risk of complications from COVID-19 due to preexisting conditions, such as lung disease, cancer, immune problems, or diabetes, or those who are pregnant or older adults. 

    Please consult with your healthcare provider regarding your specific risks as they pertain to COVID-19 to determine if precautions (or which precautions) are appropriate for you. You also can refer to the resources listed on our website to further understand specific recommendations or guidance.

  • What if I'm experiencing anxiety over COVID-19?

    The current coronavirus (COVID-19) situation may cause stress, fear and distrust within our communities. There are many resources that can help. Students can make counseling appointments with Whitworth counselors by calling 509.777.3259 or have an informal, one-on-one conversation with a counselor through Let's Talk, a drop-in service on campus. Whitworth faculty and staff are encouraged to utilize the Employee Assistance Program.

  • Will those who've come in close contact with a COVID-19 patient be notified?

    Due to the increasing regional volumes of testing (many of which are negative), the health authorities do not conduct interviews of person(s) undergoing testing unless there is a confirmed positive. After a positive diagnosis, health officials will contact the close contacts of the infected person and notify them of their exposure. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) defines close contact as:

    • Living in the same household as a person with COVID-19
    • Caring for a sick person with COVID-19  
    • Being within six feet of a sick person with COVID-19 for about 10 minutes
    • Being in direct contact with secretions from a sick person with COVID-19 (e.g., being coughed on, kissing, sharing utensils, etc.)

Travel & Study Abroad

  • Is Whitworth still sponsoring domestic or international travel?

    Effective immediately, no Whitworth-affiliated travel will be allowed domestically or internationally outside of Spokane.

  • How does this affect study abroad programs?

    In response to significant changes in global advisory levels issued by the U.S. Department of State and CDC, Whitworth has canceled all university-sponsored study abroad programs currently in operation. We are working closely with affected students and our study abroad partners to support the logistical needs associated with this change, including airfare rebooking and credit issuance concerns.

  • What does the travel ban announced by the White House mean for U.S. citizens?

    Recently, the White House announced that a travel ban will be in place beginning March 13, which prohibits non-U.S. citizens from travelling to the United States from mainland Europe and the United Kingdom. There is no restriction on U.S. citizens seeking to return home from Europe or the U.K. Whitworth is currently working with all study abroad students in Europe and the U.K. to arrange new flights home.

  • I am a student or employee returning to the U.S. from Europe. Do I need to self-isolate? What steps should I take?

    The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends that travelers returning to the U.S. from Europe and the United Kingdom stay home for 14 days, monitor their health and practice social distancing. If you have spent time in mainland Europe or the United Kingdom in the past 14 days, the CDC has provided the following guidance:

    • Stay home for 14 days from the time you return from travel, monitor your health and practice social distancing. Social distancing means staying out of crowded places, avoiding group gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately six feet or two meters) from others when possible.
    • If you get sick with fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher), cough or have trouble breathing, you are instructed to seek medical advice. Call ahead before you go to a doctor's office or emergency room. Tell your doctor about your recent travel and your symptoms. Avoid contact with others.
    • Do not travel while sick.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

    For a full list of all European countries included in this guidance, go to the CDC's Global COVID-19 Pandemic Notice (opens in new tab).

  • Is Whitworth allowing employees and students to travel internationally?

    Whitworth has canceled all university-sponsored domestic and international travel until further notice. This change is in response to a global health advisory issued by the U.S. Department of State and related alerts issued by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

  • Are students still traveling for May Term?

    Whitworth has canceled all university-sponsored domestic and international travel until further notice. We are evaluating the financial and logistical implications of canceling May Term off-campus programs and will be in contact with faculty and students soon to provide further information and support.

  • Will this affect Jan Term 2021 study abroad programs?

    Should global health and intelligence reports from Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the state department forecast substantive concern into 2021, Whitworth Off Campus Programs (OCP) would certainly assess Jan Term 2021 programs in locations most likely to be affected. This planning would include preemptive briefings with Whitworth’s insurance carrier and service provider to clarify evacuation protocols, tentative arrangement of alternate housing options in neighboring countries, and budget assessment of needed cost for program relocation (transit fare, housing and programmatic details).

    We continue diligent monitoring and OCP receives monthly reporting which will inform these decisions.