Health updates

Earlham College is committed to keeping our campus and surrounding community safe as we continue to carry out our educational mission.

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. 

Testing and leave protocols

To ensure the continued health and safety of our community as flu season arrives and COVID cases rise, we encourage all members of the Earlham community to receive a COVID booster and a flu shot. If you are feeling sick, please get tested for the flu and/or COVID and stay home.

In accordance with current CDC guidelines, employees who test positive for the flu or COVID should stay home for the recommended time (five days for COVID, four to five days for the flu). After that period, employees can return to work if they are symptom-free without medication and should wear a surgical mask for five days upon their return.

For those who still feel ill after five days, continue to isolate until you are fever-free without medication. Wear a high-quality mask for five days upon your return.

Following are our current protocols for testing and leave for employees, along with guidance for students who test positive.

Teaching faculty protocol for testing and leave

Consult with your department and then Academic Affairs on a case by case basis. Please work with your students and your department to adjust as you see prudent. The general College policy follows.

Staff and administrative faculty protocol for testing and leave

For employees who test positive for the flu or COVID and are required to stay home, the college will provide paid leave to cover those days that fall on a business day.*

The employee may use up to five paid leave days provided by the College. This time can be used for an employee’s own recovery or to care for a dependent who is ill with COVID or the flu. If additional leave is needed, the employee will be required to use either sick or vacation leave until they can safely return to work. Employees may return to work wearing a mask and symptom-free.

If testing positive for a second time within the fiscal year (July 1–June 30) the employee must provide documentation to Human Resources and work out an arrangement with their direct supervisor.

Please consult with Human Resources for a situation not covered above.

*If testing positive on a Monday the leave will cover Monday through Friday. If testing positive on a Saturday leave will be provided Monday through Wednesday.

Students protocol for testing

Please continue to wash your hands, cover your cough, and refrain from sharing food or drink. If you think you are ill, contact Health Services. 

COVID still exists but is not the threat that it was two years ago, in large part due to the high numbers of students and employees who are fully vaccinated. 

Students who test positive for COVID or the flu should isolate for five days—in their own room or an isolation room—and wear a mask. Students are allowed to pick up meals in a to-go container from Metz and should wear a mask when doing so.

If you are ill, please go to Health Services to pick up a “be well kit” with Lysol wipes, masks, hand sanitizer and other items to prevent the spread of the virus.  Health and Counseling Services will also contact you daily to check on your health.

Please note that those who are fully vaccinated can still contract COVID or the flu, but are less at risk of severe illness or death.

Visitors

We ask all visitors to campus to self-evaluate for COVID and flu symptoms prior to their arrival. For those who have been exposed to COVID or are exhibiting any symptoms of COVID or the flu, please refrain from traveling to campus and plan to reschedule your visit at a later date.

COVID-19

Mask optional: Earlham is currently mask optional, although masks may be required in the case of large indoor gatherings and/or changing governmental health advisories. Masks are encouraged at large indoor gatherings. In classrooms, faculty and students will determine whether to mask.

The health and safety of our community continues to be a priority. Our remarkably high vaccination and booster rate make our mask-optional approach possible. For COVID-19, we have moved from a pandemic response to an endemic response Earlham will continue to monitor local trends of viral spread and respond accordingly.

Supportive community: Please be respectful and supportive of those who continue to wear masks. Each member of our community approaches masking from a different perspective—they may have an at-risk family member, a young and unvaccinated child at home, or another personal or health-related reason for continued mask use.

Vaccination required: All students and employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with the exception of those with documented medical or religious exemptions. If you are eligible for a booster, please follow the medical guidance suitable for your age and underlying health considerations. If you have not done so, please share vaccination and booster documentation:

Testing: Please be mindful of any COVID-related symptoms. Students should consult with Health Services if they need testing. Self-tests and Wayne County Health Department are also testing options, and we encourage you to order free self-tests at www.covid.gov/tests. We will not require reporting of test results as we expect those within our community to act with the best interests of all in mind.

Monkeypox

Recently the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern. Monkeypox can spread through several pathways, including intimate contact (kissing, cuddling, and sex); direct contact with infectious rashes, scabs, or body fluids; and touching items (linens and clothing) previously touched by a person with monkeypox. While those currently at highest risk are men who have sex with men (98 percent of cases to date), anyone can be infected with monkeypox if exposed to the virus. While there are no known cases of monkeypox on campus, we are preparing for the possibility of a case. Below, you will find information and resources regarding monkeypox, as well as information on how Earlham is preparing to respond in the event of cases on campus.

What is monkeypox? Monkeypox is caused by an infection with the monkeypox virus. It is part of the same family of viruses that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox symptoms may start like the flu, with fever, low energy, swollen lymph nodes and general body aches. Within 1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) after appearance of fever, the person can develop a rash or sores.

People with monkeypox may experience all or only a few of these symptoms. Most people with monkeypox will develop the rash or sores.

How is monkeypox spread? Monkeypox spreads primarily through direct contact with rash, scabs or body fluids. Monkeypox can spread through touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched infectious body fluids. It can also be spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged face to face contact or during intimate physical contact. Monkeypox is not spread through casual brief conversations or walking by someone with monkeypox.

Is there a vaccine? Yes, there is a vaccine to help protect against monkeypox when given before or shortly after an exposure and for high-risk individuals. Vaccines are currently available at physician’s offices and local health departments within driving distance of campus, in Indianapolis and Muncie. But availability is subject to change daily. (The IDOH has made a form available for those who would like more information about monkeypox and vaccination.) Additionally, for immunocompromised individuals or others at high risk, antiviral medications are available through physicians and local health departments. For more information regarding vaccination, contact Health Services at 765-983-1328.

What should you do if you have had an exposure or symptoms? Please contact Earlham Health Services. Students can schedule an appointment through Medicat or call the office at 765-983-1328 (Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., closed 1-2 p.m. for lunch). Health Services can assist you in getting treatment. Staff and faculty will need to contact their primary healthcare provider.

How is the campus responding? Earlham Health Services is working in conjunction with our campus Housekeeping, Wayne County Health Department and Indiana State Department of Health to continue to monitor the outbreak closely and is taking the necessary steps to ensure the health, well-being and safety of our campus. Isolation spaces have been set aside for students living on campus who contract monkeypox and need to self-isolate until the infectious period has passed.

We understand that news of a new infectious disease on top of the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic can be concerning and result in feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. Campus mental health resources are available through Earlham Counseling Services and Health Services. Faculty and staff may seek EAP resources through Human Resources.

We will continue to monitor the situation and data as needed. For additional information, you may visit the following websites:


Find a COVID vaccination site

Vaccines.gov helps you find locations that carry COVID-19 vaccines and their contact information. Find the vaccination site closest to you.

Learn more

CARES Act

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

Learn more

Employee vaccination submission page

Earlham employees may submit a copy of their vaccination card. Flu vaccination records should also be submitted through this page.

Learn more

COVID-19 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:

  • 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 reidhealthnow.org site.

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

Next steps