COVID-19: Keeping our campus safe
Earlham College is committed to keeping our campus and surrounding community safe as we continue to carry out our educational mission. Here, you can find information about how we are protecting our students, faculty, staff and visitors, current COVID-19 policies and procedures, and more.
The information within these webpages is updated as new developments arise. Major changes are announced to students and employees via email in addition to being added to this page.
Find a vaccination site
Vaccines.gov helps you find locations that carry COVID-19 vaccines and their contact information. Find the vaccination site closest to you.
Earlham has received federal funding made available to institutions of higher education to be awarded directly to students as emergency financial aid grants.
Employee vaccination and test result submission
Earlham employees may submit a copy of their vaccination card or COVID testing results online. Flu vaccination records should also be submitted through this page.
Latest campus information
The following is a message from Chris Little, Earlham director of public safety. Chris sends the campus community “5 things you need to know” emails every week about the status of COVID on campus and in the Richmond/Wayne County area.
As we prepare for the extended winter break, here are five things you need to know about the COVID situation on and off campus.
1. We are prepared to meet the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently issued a declaration requiring employers with 100 or more employees to develop policies that require COVID vaccinations or weekly testing in the workplace. This is currently being contested by several states, but we are already in compliance with this mandate should it come to pass. You can learn more about the OSHA standard here.
2. Over the semester break, individuals with exemptions will continue their weekly testing off campus. During the break, the College will not provide provide weekly testing on campus for those with exemptions. Reid Health, area pharmacies and the Wayne County Department of Health offer testing at several locations in the region. Free testing is available at the former Elder-Beerman building Monday through Saturday. Those with exemptions are encouraged to discuss plans for off-campus testing with their supervisors.
3. Four employees have reported positive cases in the last week and are isolating off campus. Visit our public dashboard to see our cases in real time. Please note: The dashboard will not be updated for the remainder of the calendar year. Reporting will resume in January.
4. We are hopeful — yet cautious — about plans for the spring term. The Crisis Management Team will recommend a plan to Anne Houtman before in-person classes resume in February, including policies related to mask-wearing and testing. It is our hope and expectation that we will move to a mask-optional policy in the spring. Of course, this will depend on our numbers on campus and in Wayne County staying favorable. As I mentioned in last week’s email, I recommend that any community members working or living on campus during the winter break get tested after travel that is outside of normal routine. Individuals working or living on campus during the break who test positive should continue to submit those results using our COVID reporting form. Community members who are not working or living on campus and test positive over the break do not need to submit test results to us.
5. Thank you again for all that you do! I mentioned this earlier in this message, but everyone’s commitment to maintaining a safe and healthy campus this term has been nothing short of extraordinary. If you are one of the few community members who have yet to submit documentation for flu shots, please do so immediately. Students should contact Health Services at extension 1328. Employees can upload a screenshot of their documentation here.
- You only need to request a religious exemption once. There have been some crossed wires about how long medical and religious exemptions are valid. Once the College has approved your religious exemption, you will not need to request one in the future. Medical exemptions may need to be revisited annually depending on your unique situation. Please contact Human Resources or read our FAQ if you have any questions. Less than 1 percent of the campus community has been granted an exemption for the COVID vaccine or the flu shot.
- Our overall mitigation efforts have been outstanding, but concerns remain. After reviewing our records, 99.7 percent of our students participated in COVID testing last month and 97.5 percent received flu shots. Students who have not completed these required actions should contact Health Services immediately.
- We have received COVID testing results from about 95 percent of employees, but only 80 percent of our workforce has submitted flu shot documentation. Employees who have not submitted the required documentation should do so immediately at this link.
- We continue to see low numbers of confirmed COVID cases on campus. We currently have two cases on campus: one from an Earlham employee and the second from a contracted employee. Isolation and quarantine housing for students remains empty. We are prepared for additional cases the deeper we get into cold and flu season, but we remain in excellent shape heading into the winter break.
- White House: 900,000 children have already received the first dose vaccine. Many Earlham community members have begun vaccinating their children age 5-11 in the first week of eligibility. Thank you! Your swift action will offer them full protection by the two-week holiday shutdown at the end of December. Reid Health also reached a milestone earlier this week: Reid has administered 50,000 vaccine doses to date. Even with this recent surge in activity, Indiana’s population is still only about 50 percent vaccinated, 8 percentage points below the national vaccination rate.
- Free vaccines are available at several sites in our region. Reid Health continues to offer free vaccines, including booster shots, at Reid Plaza, 2300 National Road W. Click here to make an appointment at Reid or another vaccination center that is convenient for you and your family.
With less than one month to go in the fall term, we continue to see promising signs in the Richmond community and on campus that will enable us to finish the first half of the academic term on a positive note. Infection rates and hospitalizations across Wayne County continue to decrease. On campus, our isolation and quarantine housing remain empty. Please read the following five things you need to know this week to help us fulfill our commitment to care for the entire campus community.
1. Mask-wearing will remain in effect — at least for the rest of the fall term. Even though the results of our campus-wide COVID testing have been outstanding, many of us on the College’s Crisis Management Team believe there are considerable risks to relaxing this policy with only three weeks remaining in the fall term. Here’s why we are not recommending a change to the mask policy right now: two employees remain in isolation protocols this week after testing positive during our testing window last month. About 50 students are also unaccounted for and did not participate in the on-campus clinic last month. For a campus of our size, that is not a small number. If you are one of these students, please contact health services at extension 1328 immediately.
2. If you test positive for COVID, please adhere to our reporting procedures. We were notified earlier this week of a student who tested positive for COVID at an urgent care location off campus. While this student notified their professors and isolated off campus until they were free of symptoms, they did not contact health services or submit their test result to the contact tracing team. Failing to notify the college in a timely manner puts our community at further risk for infection and delays the response time of our contact tracing team. Employees who test positive should immediately fill out this form. Students who test positive at an off-campus location should notify health services.
3. Flu shot documentation is now overdue. We are still missing documentation from about 25 percent of our employees and 10 percent of our students. If you did not respond to the email I sent earlier this week, please contact me immediately or submit your information here. Proof of flu vaccination should include your full name, flu vaccine type, and the date the vaccination was administered. Those who were vaccinated at one of the on-campus flu shot clinics do not need to submit a flu vaccination record.
4. Additional personnel will be in place to enforce our mask policy during this weekend’s volleyball tournament. We are hosting the 2021 Heartland Collegiate Athletics Conference’s post-season tournament this weekend in Druley Performance Gym. All fans are expected to wear masks during the competitions. Click here to read about our volleyball team’s outstanding season!
5. The Pfizer vaccine has been approved for younger children. Last week the U.S. Food and Drug Administered authorized the emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine to include children 5-11 years old. Reid Health has published an FAQ that addresses concerns parents might have about getting their child vaccinated.
- Our campus-wide testing results are outstanding. As I write this email, we have zero students in isolation and quarantine housing. Two employees have tested positive and are isolating away from campus. Thank you to the Office of Health Services for administering hundreds of COVID tests and flu shots during the last two weeks.
- If you haven’t submitted your COVID test results, we need to hear from you immediately. Reporting your tests results in a timely manner helps us better understand our risk as a community, and many employees are still unaccounted for. Please share your negative test results here. If you tested positive, please submit your information here so the contact tracing team can be in contact with you. We are only aware of a small number of employees who have requested extensions to our testing requirement due to travel plans.
- Please consider signing up to volunteer. Even though there are no students in isolation or quarantine housing, we need to be prepared to deliver meals if that situation changes. You can sign up to deliver meals by contacting Wendy Stonecash in Student Life at extension 1311 or by emailing her at [email protected]. Volunteers will not have direct contact with infected students.
- Free COVID testing will be available through the Wayne County Health Department for at least the remainder of the fall term. Even though we are not requiring additional testing, I recommend that community members get tested routinely throughout flu season. Free testing is available Monday through Saturday at the former Elder-Beerman building at 601 E. Main St. You can make an appointment here or simply walk in. Hours for walk-in appointments are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
- We’re discussing the future of our mask policy. Many of you have asked if it is still necessary to wear masks in shared, indoor spaces in light of our successful COVID mitigation efforts. In consultation with senior leadership, the College’s Crisis Management Team is discussing potential changes to our policy. We will know more in the coming days, but please stay the course for now.
- The deadline to get a flu shot is Nov. 1. For employees who missed last week’s on-campus clinic, free flu shots are still available through Health Services by appointment only. Please call extension 1328 or make an appointment at an off-campus provider. If you get your flu shot from an off-campus provider, please upload your documentation here.
Flu shots are required for all students and employees – unless you have a medical or religious exemption. Please contact the Office of Human Resources at extension 1393 if you have any questions. Nearly 150 employees have already received flu shots. (Students received flu shots and COVID testing at a separate on-campus clinic earlier this week.)
- COVID testing must be completed by Friday, Oct. 22. Many employees have already been tested this week and are awaiting results. If you have not been tested, please visit an off-campus testing center before Friday. We have separate portals where you can upload positive and negative results. If you test positive, a member of the College’s contact tracing team will contact you. A list of locations offering free testing can be found on the Wayne County Health Department’s website. Though we have heard differing reports about the need to make a reservation for testing at the former Elder-Beerman building, you will be able to receive a test either way. We highly recommend filling out the attached form that Bobbi Cayard-Roberts created. Thank you, Bobbi!
- Four students are isolating after testing positive during the last week. Each of these students has experienced mild symptoms. An additional 29 students were identified as close contacts. These close contacts are all fully vaccinated and will be tested after five days of exposure. They do not need to quarantine unless they start exhibiting symptoms, per CDC guidance.
- Our county’s seven-day positivity rate is now below 8 percent. For the last several weeks, Wayne County has reported steady declines in the percentage of individuals testing positive for COVID. To hear the latest about the pandemic’s impact on Wayne County, tune in to Whitewater Community Television on Thursday, Oct. 21, for a special edition of its live “IN Focus” program. The topic is COVID-19 and vaccinations. Several area doctors from Reid Health will be guests on the show. “IN Focus” airs at 6 p.m. on WGTV, Channel 11 on Comcast cable in Wayne County. Those who live outside Wayne County or who don’t have Comcast can watch the show live on WCTV’s Facebook page as well as on WGTV Online.
- As testing continues this week, we may see additional cases. As I’ve said in past emails, this isn’t cause for worry. Nearly everyone on campus is fully vaccinated and we continue to see favorable conditions for in-person living and learning.
- Employees can get their flu shot on campus tomorrow (Thursday, Oct. 14)! Health Services is offering a flu shot clinic from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Comstock Room for all Earlham employees and our neighbors at Bethany Theological Seminary. (Please note: We do not have any flu vaccines that are recommended for individuals who are 65 years of age and older.)If you cannot make tomorrow’s clinic, please email [email protected] to make an appointment at a later date. If you are not getting your flu shot on campus, please make plans to receive one at a location of your choosing before the Nov. 1 deadline.
- COVID testing procedures are changing at the former Elder-Beerman location. We have been informed by the Wayne County Health Department that they have contracted with a private company to facilitate testing at the former Elder-Beerman building nearby campus. All appointments are now walk-in only — even if you made an appointment for next week. Employees are required to have a PCR test the week of Oct. 18 (students are being tested on campus). Rapid test results will not be accepted. Testing should be completed by Friday, Oct. 22, and results should be submitted here.
- Attention students: Please read this before showing up for your COVID test next week. Students will participate in COVID testing on campus Oct. 19-20 at the Athletics and Wellness Center. Students will be given a saliva test and should not eat or drink for 30 minutes prior to getting tested. Students also must bring their health insurance card to the clinic. Flu shots also will be available to students at the same time. The Student Life Division will send additional details via email, which will include a form for students to complete prior to arriving.
- There are four confirmed positive cases on campus. Three students and one employee have tested positive in the last week and are following our COVID protocols. While this represents a larger number of positive cases than we’re accustomed to seeing, this isn’t reason for panic.
As we begin mandatory testing next week, we may see additional cases and will respond accordingly. Remember: testing is an important step in our overall mitigation efforts and is an opportunity to assess our risk of future cases, especially as we enter flu season. If you test positive, a member of the College’s contact tracing team will get in touch with you.
- The region’s seven-day positivity rate continues to drop. The Wayne County Health Department is reporting an 8 percent, seven-day positivity rate this week, which is down substantially from the previous month. Reid Health also has seen fewer COVID patients, but unvaccinated individuals continue to represent the majority of those receiving care.
- Please, don’t wait to schedule your COVID test! As I’ve mentioned in previous emails, COVID testing will be required for all Earlham community members during the week of Oct. 18. Employees can schedule their test through the Wayne County Department of Health or another location of their choosing. The WCDH is offering free testing clinics across our area, but some sites are not taking walk-ins. Testing must be completed before Friday, Oct. 22, and results can be submitted here. Students will be tested on campus on either Oct. 19 or 20 in the Athletics and Wellness Center
- After testing, be prepared for an uptick in cases on campus. This isn’t reason for panic. Mandatory testing is an important step in our overall mitigation efforts and an opportunity to assess our risk of future cases, especially as we enter flu season. If you test positive, a member of the College’s contact tracing team will get in touch with you. This team has been responding to cases since the onset of the pandemic and is doing a wonderful job. Since the start of the academic year, we have had 10 cases, or about one case per week. No cases have been reported since the start of the second fall term.
- Employees can get a flu shot on campus as early as next week. Health services is offering an employee flu shot clinic from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 14, in Comstock Room located in Runyan Center. Students and employees can also get a flu shot from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on either Oct. 19 or 20 in the Athletics and Wellness Center. This is the same clinic that will be administering COVID testing to students. Please contact Health Services at [email protected] if you need to make an appointment for a flu shot at a different time. Please note: We do not have any flu vaccines that are recommended for individuals who are 65 years of age and older.
- Health services still needs our help! Volunteers are still needed to assist at our flu shot and COVID testing clinics on Oct. 19 and 20. Click here and add your name to a list of volunteers who are willing to help. Thank you to the students and employees who have already signed on to help us make this important community event a success!
- Hospitalizations and confirmed COVID cases continue to drop in our region. Wayne County’s seven-day positivity rate now stands at just under 11 percent, continuing a downward trend for in our region and nation in recent weeks. Reid Health also reports a decrease in hospitalizations due to the virus. Nearly all of those receiving treatment in containment areas are unvaccinated individuals. Visit Reid health’s “Safe Pathways to Care” website for the latest information and advice related to the pandemic.
- We have had our first confirmed, positive case of COVID in three weeks. One student tested positive last Friday and was immediately placed in isolation housing at campus village apartments. This student was fully vaccinated and has experienced mild symptoms. The Office or Residence Life will be delivering meals to this student every day and Health Services will also be in regular contact to ensure they are receiving care, as needed.
- With mandatory testing approaching, it’s likely that we’ll see additional positive cases. As students and employees participate in mandatory COVID testing during the week of Oct. 18, we are preparing to see a higher volume of cases than we’ve experienced at other points of the academic year. Mandatory testing is an important step in our overall mitigation efforts and has become a regular practice for our campus community during transitions in the academic year. Please complete testing before Friday, Oct. 22 so we can quickly process test results and complete contact tracing, if necessary. This is the last time we will require testing during the fall portion of the academic year, with the exception of those with exemptions, who will continue to test weekly.
- Don’t wait to schedule your COVID test. As I’ve mentioned in previous emails, the Wayne County Department of Health continues to offer free testing clinics in the local area. Some sites are not taking walk-ins, so employees should schedule an appointment between Oct. 18 and Oct. 21 to ensure that you are able to complete testing on time. Students will be tested on campus on either Oct. 19 or 20. Employees must submit their results here. There are separate portals to upload positive and negative tests so please read instructions on this page carefully. If you test positive, a member of the College’s contact tracing team will get in touch with you.
- It’s flu season. Please help us have a successful flu shot clinic on campus. In addition to mandatory COVID testing, we are also requiring all members of our community to get a flu shot before Nov. 1. Employees can get their flu shot on campus from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 14, in Comstock Room (located in Runyan Center).
Students and employees also can get a flu shot from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on either Oct. 19 or 20 in the Athletics and Wellness Center. This is the same clinic that will be administering COVID testing to students. Please contact Health Services at [email protected] if you need to make an appointment for a flu shot at a different time. Please note: Health Services does not have any flu vaccines that are recommended for individuals who are 65 years of age and older.
Finally, Health Services is looking for volunteers to assist at the student clinics on Oct. 19 and 20. Click here and add your name to a list of volunteers who are willing to help.
- Reid Health is moving its vaccine clinic to a new location one mile west of campus. Reid Health announced this week that it is anticipating high demand for COVID vaccine booster shots now that they have been approved by the FDA and the CDC. Booster shots are recommended for individuals who received their initial series of vaccines six months ago, are 65 and up or have underlying health conditions. The new clinic is located at Reid Plaza, one door down from the PACE Center at 2300 National Road W. This location uses the Pfizer vaccine, which has been approved for individuals 12 and up.
Prevention and care
Get vaccinated! Find a vaccination site nearest you.
The CDC also recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Be mindful of these symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
For more information about symptoms, please visit the CDC COVID-19 Symptoms page.
Need to talk to a medical professional?
Indiana State Department of Health COVID-19 Call Center:
- 877-826-0011 (available 24/7)
- [email protected].
Campus health services information hotline:
Reid Health virtual screenings
Reid Health offers a free virtual COVID-19 screening tool available through its “Reid HealthNOW” urgent care app, so you can connect with a nurse via your smartphone or computer.
If the screening determines you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you’ll be instructed what to do next.