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. 


Learn more about Earlham’s COVID-19 policies, including access to campus, travel, athletics and more in our frequently asked questions section.

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Earlham has received federal funding made available to institutions of higher education to be awarded directly to students as emergency financial aid grants. 

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Employee test result submission

Earlham employees are required to undergo occasional COVID testing. Submit your results securely online.

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Latest campus information

Below, find our latest updates on the College’s COVID-19 response as of March 2021.

In Phase 1, Earlham College begins opening its campus for larger events—in limited circumstances and on an invitation-only basis. This decision follows an announcement by Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb that has loosened restrictions on in-person gatherings.

Earlham will take a phased approach to reopening its operations to those outside the campus community, and all decisions will align with Indiana state guidelines and the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control. All plans are pursuant to Wayne County remaining “blue,” the lowest COVID positivity rate.

To ensure the health and safety of all members of the Earlham community, guests will be required to wear a mask and observe social distancing requirements at all times. It is strongly encouraged that all guests have a negative COVID test and, if possible, receive a COVID vaccine before arrival on campus.

Phase 1 reopening includes:

  1. Limited fans: Opening outdoor athletic competitions two off-campus spectators (family or friends outside the Earlham campus community) per student-athlete effective March 16. This decision was made in consultation with officials from other HCAC schools.
  2. Admitted student event: A drive-through, on-campus event for admitted students in the Class of 2025 on April 10. Visitors will be permitted to get out of their cars for brief periods of time, but will not be interacting with the general campus community.
  3. Commencement: An in-person, outdoor commencement ceremony for members of the Class of 2021, along with graduates of the Earlham School of Religion and the Graduate Programs in Education. Attendance at commencement will be limited to graduating students and two guests of their choice. We understand that the audience will need to be limited to ensure the health and safety of all in attendance, and we are working to determine a safe way to include faculty members in this important event. The baccalaureate program will take place virtually, and other related events will have attendance restrictions. All commencement events will be live-streamed for those who cannot or choose not to attend in person. Each graduating student will receive tickets for two guests. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremonies will move to two indoor facilities to accommodate social distancing guidelines. More detailed information about commencement will be shared in the coming weeks.

In the coming weeks, Earlham will release details on Phase 2, which will address opening facilities such as the Athletics and Wellness Center and the Lilly Library to the public this summer, and Phase 3, which includes more detailed plans for the fall. We have already decided to hold a virtual Homecoming celebration Sept. 30-Oct. 3.

Earlham College intends to offer in-person learning and living for students this fall.

The College will continue to observe guidance from the CDC along with local and state officials to ensure the safest environment for students and employees as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves.

Classes will begin on Aug. 9, earlier than Earlham traditionally begins, allowing for an extended winter break and a virtual January term.

Fall opening calendar:

  • Friday, Aug. 6: New student move-in day.
  • Saturday, Aug. 7 and Sunday, Aug. 8: Returning student move-in days.
  • Monday, Aug. 9: Classes begin (first seven-week term).

On Jan. 21, the Office of Student Life shared two documents: Special Policies for Spring 2021 and the Commitment to Care and Community. These documents specify the considerations and expectations for life together to lessen the risk of virus spread COVID-19. All students, faculty and staff are expected to review and be in compliance with these guidelines. Please note that these policies and protocols may change at any given time based on guidance from the CDC, the state of Indiana and our county health department.

Earlham is committed to offering on-campus, in-person summer research experiences to students, beginning May 26, as part of the College’s Summer Collaborative Research Program. Off-campus, student-faculty research will also be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Other career-discerning experiences (e.g. EPIC Advantage) will also be considered on a case-by-case basis. Those include off-campus, in-person internships, micro-internships, field study and practicum programs, certification and training courses.

Unfortunately, Earlham is not be able to safely accommodate college-sponsored travel in the spring. Under current circumstances, we cannot ensure the health and safety of our students and employees without restricting travel. This means that we are cancelling the Japan Studies program planned for later in the spring.

More information regarding additional details and protocols for anticipated summer program offerings is included in the Rules and regulations for anticipated summer 2021 learning experience document.

Visit Earlham’s COVID-19 dashboard for related information about the College.

Visit Wayne County, Indiana Health Department for information regarding Richmond and the surrounding area.

Employees who are not yet fully vaccinated should be tested between April 5-9 as Earlham begins its Spring 2 Term.

Where to submit results:  Negative tests can be submitted here while positive tests can be submitted here.

Testing centers: A list of local testing centers is available from the Indiana coronavirus website. Please note that the testing site at the former Elder Beerman building (601 Main Street) is now being operated by the Wayne County Health Department. Please call (765) 973-9245 or visit to schedule your test.

All employees and students are required to get a flu shot unless there is a medical exemption that has been approved by a physician.

In an effort to lower risk, all students, faculty and staff are required to be tested periodically for COVID-19.

Students should follow the instructions for testing given to them via email from Vice President for Student Life Bonita Washington-Lacey.  Current plans are for two rounds of on-campus testing for students,  Feb. 10-11 and April 5-9.

All Earlham employees should likewise follow directives for testing as communicated by President Anne Houtman.

College housing re-opens on Saturday, Jan. 30, at 9 a.m. Students requesting to return prior to this time will need to email [email protected] and receive approval in advance.

Unless they have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, employees who travel domestically beyond the scope of their normal day-to-day routines are required to quarantine based on current CDC guidelines after returning home and submit a negative test result to the College before returning to work.

Employees placed in quarantine will work remotely, as possible. Employees who cannot work remotely are placed on paid leave as a provision of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Employees are asked to submit their negative test result at

Individuals with a positive test result should submit their information via the contact tracing portal set up by the contact tracing team. By submitting a positive test result, the College’s contact tracing team will be automatically notified to begin a new investigation.

If a person has been identified as having been in ongoing close contact with an infected individual on campus, they will receive an e-mail and/or phone call from our contact tracing team. They may also be contacted by contact tracers with the Indiana State Department of Health. Teaching faculty will also receive an e-mail notification if one of their students must isolate or quarantine for COVID-related reasons.

Unless they have already been fully vaccinated, anyone identified by the contact tracing team will need to self-isolate for a period of at least 10 days, regardless of whether they are experiencing symptoms, before returning to class or work. After 10 days, and once they are free from a fever for more than 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing drugs and your other symptoms have improved, they must obtain a negative test result, if testing remains available, near the end of their self-isolation.

Prevention and care

The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The CDC always 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.

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. Closely following recommended prevention measures is the best method for protecting yourself from sickness.

Be mindful of these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • 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:

Campus health services information hotline:

  • 756-983-1328

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.

Download the free app through Google Play or Apple’s App Store or enroll on your computer through the site.

If the screening determines you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you’ll be instructed what to do next.

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