An important note regarding this FAQ
Earlham College continues to make extensive preparations to ensure the health and safety of students and employees. With new knowledge about COVID-19 continually emerging, the answers below provide our best guidance at this time. The information here will be updated as new developments arise. Major changes will be announced to students and employees via email in addition to being added to this page.
Most recent information - February 2021
What are the most recent COVID-19-related policies shared with the Earlham community?
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.
For the spring and summer, what is the outlook research experiences and for programs and activities that may include travel?
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.
Where can I find information about the number of COVID-19 cases on campus and in the Richmond area (Wayne County, Indiana)?
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.
What are the testing dates and procedures for employees during winter break?
Between Nov. 26, 2020, and Jan. 31, 2021, employees who follow safety guidelines while traveling outside of their normal activities will not have to quarantine before returning to work. Employees will instead be tested over the break at four intervals; two that coincide with holidays when travel in and out of the region is common, and two at the beginning of Spring Term 1.
The intervals for employee testing are:
- Nov. 30-Dec. 7*
- Jan. 4-11*
- Jan. 25 to Feb. 1
- Feb. 8-15
* Employees who will not be on campus during the months of December and January do not need to be tested during the first two intervals.
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 www.co.wayne.in.us/web/dept/health/ to schedule your test.
Are flu shots required for students and employees?
All employees and students are required to get a flu shot unless there is a medical exemption that has been approved by a physician.
Will COVID-19 testing continue throughout Spring 1 and Spring 2?
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 7-8.
All Earlham employees should likewise follow directives for testing as communicated by President Anne Houtman.
When does College housing reopen for Spring 1 and Spring 2?
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@example.com and receive approval in advance.
What are the travel-related policies for employees during Spring 1 and Spring 2 terms?
Employees who travel beyond the scope of their normal day-to-day routines are required to quarantine for 10 calendar days per 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.
Where should employees submit negative results?
Employees are asked to submit their negative test result at Earlham.edu/coronavirus/submit.
What about positive test results? How does Earlham track positive tests and what happens to those individuals who have been around a person who has tested positive on campus?
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.
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.
What if I have tested positive, feel symptomatic or am rooming with someone who is symptomatic?
Please carefully follow the procedures developed by Earlham's Contact Tracing Team.
Access to campus
- Is Earlham’s campus closed to the public? Will visitors be permitted on campus?
Yes, public access is closed. This also includes areas normally open to the public, such as the College's libraries, Athletics and Wellness Center, Joseph Moore Museum, bookstore and cafes. These areas will remain closed until further notice.
Visitors to campus are limited to deliveries, the College’s contracted service vendors, and parents and guardians of students. All visitors to campus are required to check-in with Public Safety. Visitors are required to wear a face covering and practice social distancing.
- Are any campus facilities open to faculty and staff this summer?
In general, faculty and staff should continue to use campus only as approved by their supervisor. Exceptions include two areas as described below.
The Athletics and Wellness Center is available only for essential employees and students who are living on campus; the pool remains closed for the time being.
Lilly Library is open for curbside pickup and interlibrary loans. Walk-in access to the Lilly Library spaces and services—including the stacks, study spaces, Information Technology Services, Academic Enrichment Center and Archives—will be communicated as more of the campus reopens. Employees working in Lilly Library in all units remain available via email, and can be located through the contact information listed on their respective websites or the campus directory. Check the website of the Earlham College Libraries for the most up-to-date information about access and related policies.
- Is it possible Earlham will have to send students home again should the pandemic worsen?
President Anne Houtman and her leadership team are monitoring government directives and Centers for Disease Control recommendations on how to operate in this pandemic. Several conditions could trigger a need for the campus to close even in the event other colleges remain open, particularly outside Indiana. Those include 1) a rise in the number of students with COVID-19, straining the campus capacity for isolating and supporting them, 2) an inability of the county hospital system to handle additional patients with the virus, or 3) an order to close from the governor or mayor.
Health and safety as students return for classes
- Will the College require mandatory COVID-19 testing?
Students returning to campus are required to be tested for COVID-19 no more than 10 days prior to arriving on campus. Rapid testing is acceptable. The College will have a limited number of tests available on campus for students unable to be tested beforehand. Students should bring their negative test result with them to campus.
- Is Earlham requiring students to quarantine upon arrival to campus?
No quarantine is required, but students may not come to campus with fever or any symptom of COVID-19. Should symptoms develop once students are here, the College will refer them to the Wayne County Health Department for testing.
- Will the College require temperature readings or daily COVID-19 symptom screening procedures for employees and students?
Yes, as a self-assessment measure. Employees and students should take their own temperature daily before they begin normal campus interactions and be attentive to other symptoms that could indicate COVID-19, especially cough, chills, change in sense of taste or smell, or shortness of breath. Thermometers are available in Health Services for those needing them.
To monitor the health of the campus community, and to gauge whether it is safe to remain open, the College requires students and all employees to submit a COVID-19 Daily Symptom Self-Assessment usingthe Rave Guardian app. (Rave is also the app that Earlham uses to public safety alerts, including weather emergencies, power outages, or criminal activity on or nearby campus.)
- Are face masks and social distancing required?
All members of the campus community are required to wear face masks in academic buildings and other indoor gathering spaces while observing social distancing protocols of 6 feet at all times. Masks are especially important when social distancing is not possible and/or where public interactions involving multiple members of the campus community occur. Employees and students should bring their own masks to campus. The College will also have a supply. Exceptions will be reviewed to support documented medical needs and ADA accommodations. The use of face masks is not necessary when in an assigned office or residential space.
- What anti-COVID-19 items should students be prepared to have in their personal supply and what is the College planning to provide for use?
Hand sanitizing pumps are located throughout campus. All members of the campus community are responsible for their own mask supplies and for washing masks after use. The College also is stocking masks. Students are asked to bring their own thermometer, supplies of hand sanitizer, and anti-germ/virus wipes for personal use.
- Should students and employees have up-to-date flu shots?
Every student and employee was asked to have a current flu vaccine by Oct. 31, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control guidelines. New students and employees who are joining Earlham are also required to have a current flu vaccine. The flu vaccine will not protect a person from getting COVID-19, but it will help prevent co-infections (the flu and COVID-19 at the same time) and helps avoid unnecessary doctor visits. Employees are asked to provide documentation to Human Resources and students will provide that information to Health Services. This requirement is being implemented out of concern for the safety of our campus community and an understanding of the capacity of our local healthcare system, which will not be able to handle an outbreak of flu as well as patients with COVID-19.
- How have campus facilities and interactions changed?
Fixtures within campus rooms and venues are being modified as appropriate to support the implementation of social distancing guidelines. For example, some offices, classrooms and common spaces may have some furniture removed. Protective barriers have been installed in areas where interaction commonly takes place, such as checking in at the dining hall. The College is also implementing increased cleaning and disinfection practices to keep the campus, particularly the high-traffic areas, sanitized.
- How will the College enforce the use of masks by students? If some decide to refuse to wear a mask when required to what is your next course of action?
Policies and guidelines are under development now. If the student is in class or in an academic setting, it would be dealt with by the student's instructor. If the student is outside of class, Student Life would handle the response.
- What happens if a student tests positive while on campus for COVID-19?
Plans are in place to isolate and test any students who show COVID-19 symptoms and, if they test positive, for providing continued isolation and support until they have recovered. The College is working with the Wayne County Health Department to trace contacts of students and employees who test positive and implement appropriate quarantines.
- For parents, what happens if my student becomes sick while at Earlham? Some parents live far away.
A staff member would monitor a student with COVID every 8 hours. Health Services would also contact parents at least daily (possibly more). Health Services also will consult with our Medical Director during this time and the monitoring could be more frequent depending upon the student’s condition. If a student tests positive, the Wayne County Health Department will also be in contact with the student daily.
- For families, what are the rules regarding parents/others helping students move in? How do families collect their students at the end of the semester?
New students may have two guests accompany them for moving in. At the close of the semester, the number is limited to one. More details will be provided toward the close of the semester as guidance is reviewed and potentially updated. Please note: All new and returning students (and guests) will have temperature taken prior to moving into residence. Wearing a mask is mandatory.
- What medical care is available in the isolation dorms and when would a student be sent to Reid Hospital?
Students are provided with food, drinks, medication, cleaning supplies and hand soap, a thermometer and a log sheet to record their symptoms, as well as other needed supplies. If a student’s condition worsens, they would be sent to Reid Health via ambulance for further evaluation. The College also has the necessary personal protective equipment our staff would need to go in and check on the student in person as needed.
- Is there a plan should there be a COVID-19 outbreak at Earlham or in Richmond?
The College will respond immediately to any orders from the mayor of Richmond or the governor of Indiana to close. In such a case, most students would be sent home for remote learning. In the absence of any order, decisions are made based on the College's capacity to house and assist students who are ill and the availability of hospital rooms in town. Or, if a significant number of faculty and staff were to become ill, that might also require us to send students home. In the event we have to close, the process will be similar to the one implemented at Earlham in March 2020. As in March 2020, Earlham will work with those students who can make it back to their homes as well as those who cannot.
Campus events, travel and sports
- What will on-campus events look like?
They will be limited and, in some cases, canceled. The College has developed guidelines that pertain to all categories of large meetings and events with recommendations on what can be allowed if social/physical distancing is possible and what attendance limits would best support the College’s overall approach to health and safety. Large gatherings like homecoming and parents’ weekend were canceled. On-site convocations also have been canceled until further notice.
- Does the College plan to restrict College-sponsored travel for employees and students?
College-sponsored local, domestic and international travel (seminars, conferences, meetings) travel is restricted until further notice, including travel for local experiential and recreational trips for students. With certain precautions in place, some Admissions and Athletics recruiting travel may occur.
- Will faculty be permitted to take students off campus?
Walking off campus in a socially distanced manner is fine; traveling in vans will not allow for social distancing, and so is not permitted.
- What protocols do student-athletes follow during their competitive seasons? Who will be allowed to be present as fans at competitions?
Student athletes in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) have been granted an exemption from Earlham’s travel ban because they all follow strict testing guidelines above and beyond what is expected of students not in varsity athletics:
Student-athletes in each sport program are being tested weekly according to NCAA recommended testing strategies for high, medium and low-risk sports.
Before being allowed on the socially distanced travel bus, athletes must report any COVID-19 symptoms and pass a temperature check. On the bus, they must wear masks. No overnight travel is allowed.
Athletic competitions are limited to Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and all competition venues are held to the same, strict standards governing COVID-19 safety.
No outside spectators or participants are allowed at HCAC games.
- Will the campus and its facilities be restricted from the public?
Yes. Public access to campus in general and specifically to the Athletics and Wellness Center, the Joseph Moore Museum, and Lilly Library is restricted until further notice.
- Regarding planned student activities, how have those changed?
The Student Activities Board, student clubs & organizations, the Events Office, the Health & Wellness team, Public Safety, Religious Life, Residence Life and others plan activities and programs to get students involved in campus community life. And they do so with the central priority of keeping everyone well. With everyone wearing masks in public, and with hosts monitoring to maintain limited occupancy in indoor spaces, we continue to offer a robust variety of activities.
Some events that would typically be held in more intimate spaces will have to move to larger locations to avoid crowding in smaller venues. Student Life and Public Safety personnel will provide additional guidance to advisers, conveners and leaders of student clubs and organizations to assist with planning campus events.
- What will the College policy be regarding student parties and how will this be communicated to the students and followed up on?
The Student Life staff is working through policy and guidelines. Updates will be made as these guidelines are developed.
- What about student travel independent of school sponsored activities?
Students are expected to limit their travel as much as possible to Richmond and the local Wayne County area. This also applies during the days between Spring 1 and Spring 2. For safety purposes, on-campus students are expected to request permission from a Residence Life professional staff member in advance for any travel outside the county. Reasons for such travel might include specialized health care appointments or extenuating circumstances such as a family emergency. Requests for travel outside the county during the spring semester should be made via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: 765-983-1317.
Housing and dining for students
- Can students continue to share rooms — will the dorm assignments they received in May remain stable? Is there an option for a single-person room?
Room assignments remain the same for returning students. New students are housed with roommates, but only two per room. The College has established protocols for wearing a mask in public spaces, using social distance whenever possible, and by being careful to clean after using shared spaces in areas such as laundry rooms and bathrooms. In addition, the College is asking every student and employee to do a daily assessment of their temperature and to isolate themselves if they have any COVID-like symptoms.
- Will guests be allowed in student residential spaces?
No guests are allowed from outside a student’s housing assignment, including students from other halls, apartments, or houses. Residents only have access to their building and can only visit a building-mate with the consent of those assigned to the room. Only one building-mate per resident can visit a room at a time. Apartments and houses are not permitted to have any guests, including on their immediate porch or lawn areas. Any violations of the no guest policy by house, apartment or hall residents may result in loss of housing assignment.
For Houses: House residents will continue to partner with Student Life in planning gatherings at venues that will accommodate and maintain expected social distancing and at which all participants wear masks.
- How will the College promote social distancing in residence halls?
Students are to enter each hall via the main entry and exit via the stairwell doors to decrease close cross-traffic. Signs and restricted card access will help to facilitate traffic flow. Residents will have key card access only to their assigned hall. Students are encouraged to visit friends and classmates from other halls in outdoor areas or larger indoor spaces on campus. Occupancy limits are posted for lounges, kitchens, and community bathrooms in each of those spaces.
- Will the college offer housing service from Thanksgiving to the end of January Term for students who cannot go back home? It is our expectation that students will leave for the break as we will not have support services given that the college will be closed. However, students will be able to petition for consideration for an exception in extraordinary cases. There will be an additional housing charge if allowed to remain on campus.
- Will the College allow students to stay on campus to isolate for two weeks at the end of the semester before returning home?
No, there are no plans to allow this. There would only seem to be a benefit to doing this in the case that the Richmond and Earlham communities have a spike in infections. In that case, the plan to send most students home and shift to lower-contact learning would be enacted sooner. As always, the College will be attentive to changing public health concerns and adjust its response accordingly.
- How will food service work? What do the meal procedure look like?
There are two separate periods for lunch in the dining hall to minimize the number of people there for each sitting. Options for pickup in the Cafe and one other location on campus allow room for social distancing. Our dining partner, Metz, has created their own guidelines to ensure the safety of students and employees. Picnic tables will also be placed on the Heart and other areas around campus so that students and employees can eat outdoors whenever the weather cooperates.
Costs: Fees, room and board and tuition for students
- Will the College charge less or more to accommodate online courses where those are helpful or necessary?
Tuition and fees will be the same whether a student is on campus or is taking classes remotely, as the College’s operational costs will not decline.
- Will room and board fees be different than a usual semester because of the shortened academic calendar?
No. The number of days for classes is approximately the same, despite the changes. The semester was shortened by removing breaks—days when many students typically leave campus and do not eat in the dining hall.
- If enrolled students cannot return to campus due to travel bans or VISA issues, would they be required to pay for room and board?
A student in this circumstance who is not living on campus would not be expected to pay meal and housing charges.
- How will charges for meals and housing work if I am studying remotely?
If you are studying remotely for the entire Fall semester, we will be reversing your Fall meal and housing charges. If you are studying remotely for Fall 1 only, we will reverse half of your meal and housing charges. This is a manual process, so it may take up to a week to show on your account.
Students are expected to pay for their own meals and housing if they are studying remotely. Earlham financial aid awards for meals and housing are only provided for those who are on campus. Therefore, if you had an award for meals and housing, your financial aid will be reduced if you change to studying remotely. As the Financial Aid Office is made aware of students choosing to learn remotely, we are processing financial aid changes. You should receive a revised award notice sent to you electronically once we have done so, indicating that the reason for the change is due to a change in enrollment. If you have not received a revised award notice within 3 working days of changing your enrollment status to remote learning and confirmed by the Registrar’s Office, please contact the office at email@example.com to request a new award.
If you already paid in cash for your full balance due for the Fall, your account will have a credit (negative) balance when the meals and housing charges are reversed. You can see your balance on the Student Account Center at earlham.afford.com. If you have a credit balance, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a refund.
If you set up a monthly payment plan to pay your balance due for the Fall, you should adjust your monthly payment after your meal and housing charges are reversed so you don't overpay for the semester. If you need assistance with this, please email email@example.com.
Academics and registration
- Why was this academic calendar chosen?
The academic calendar has been restructured to create fours seven-week terms: Fall 1 and Fall 2, Spring 1 and Spring 2). This allows students to be able to remain at home for a good part of the winter flu and virus season, complete a fully online January term, if desired, and return for another pair of seven-week terms beginning Feb. 1. A typical student will take only two courses per term, resulting in a lower number of interactions with others throughout the academic day. It will also make it easier to augment courses with online instruction as needed, or even transition to distance learning if that becomes necessary due to new developments with COVID-19. View the full academic calendar for 2020-21.
- How will credits be awarded under the 7-week term system?
Most courses are now 4 credits. One exception is music lessons, which will remain 1 credit. Another exception is for independent study, which will now be 1 credit in both Fall 1 and 2. There may be a few other courses for no credit or for 1 or 2 credits that are scheduled either in one term or across the entire semester.
Students may take up to 18 credits with 4 courses over Fall 1 and 2. Sixteen credits is the expected load for both semesters. Students with a reduced course load should consult with their academic adviser, registrar or director of academic enrichment. While all internships and similar types of experiential learning will be virtual, some of these opportunities are available, including the possibility of using EPIC Advantage and similar types of funding to cover the costs of remote internship placements.
- Can students double major given the current academic schedule?
Yes. The current schedule allows students to take the same number of credits per year as the previous academic schedule. We will work carefully with students who are already declared double majors and are close to graduation. For sophomore students just declaring majors, we anticipate they will still have enough time to complete two majors.
- What arrangements can be made for seniors and juniors facing conflicts in the class schedule that might prevent timely completion of degree requirements?
Since every situation is unique, we work individually with seniors who have concerns to ensure that we resolve any conflicts that might prevent them from completing their degree requirements on time. Juniors also will receive special consideration. Students should talk with their adviser immediately if they see an issue.
- Will all courses also be available online? Will students be able to choose an online option for classes in addition to or instead of in-person classes?
Not all courses are available online. Some courses will only be offered in-person because the curriculum/pedagogy does not lend itself easily to online, such as lab or studio courses. The type of delivery for each class will be available in the course schedule during registration.
- Can students fulfill the lab portion of their courses, such as chemistry, from home?
In most cases, the answer is no. Most labs cannot be replicated online without substantial loss in what would be gained during the lab. There may be some exceptions; Chem 111 is planning to offer an online version of the lab. And physics is investigating a possibility for labs at the introductory level.
- Are all on-campus courses taught in person?
On-campus courses are taught in person but there may be some remote components. Instructors are devising plans for their courses in order to limit close contact in the classroom and to meet the needs of students who are learning remotely.
On-campus courses are offered in a variety of formats as determined by the faculty member. Some are only in-person, some have a mix of online and in-person and others are online for content delivery. Faculty members are working out the best plans for their classes; what works in one class may not work in another. Faculty will have office hours and be available to meet, even if the course content is online.
- If hybrid teaching occurs for in-residence students, what will the balance be for in-person and online components? Will online instruction be synchronous (in real time) or asynchronous?
For hybrid courses, the balance between in-person and online is determined by the faculty member based on the needs of that course. Some courses offer their online instruction synchronously (in real time) while others offer this asynchronously (you will be able to decide when to attend the class).
- How will you ensure that lab experiences are available and safe?
Similar to classrooms, labs arearranged to allow for social distancing, and students are required to wear masks. Labs are cleaned between sessions.
- How will you ensure that Honors students are able to partake in their seminars?
Students may still take 1- and 2-credit courses, which includes Honors seminars. Most of these seminars will meet once a week at night to avoid conflicts with other courses.
- Will students who cannot return to campus be able to submit paperwork such as the declaration of major form online?
Yes, many forms are already online — including the declaration of major — and we are moving others online as well. This method has been in place for the last year.
- Is there be an alternative for the EPIC Experience? What about Bonner service?
The Center for Global and Community Education has been working diligently to generate alternative options for students who have not yet been able to use their one EPIC Advantage experience funding. These options will include virtual opportunities.
For this year, there will not be Bonner in-person service and internships due to COVID-19; however, we will have remote service and internships instead. Those administering the Bonner program are diligently seeking remote opportunities for all scholars in the program.
- Do students have the option to choose not to return to campus, or is that only for students unable to travel back? If a student is unwilling to return, even with the precautions being taken, what should they do? Can they take online courses?
Students not returning to campus will able to enroll for online courses but they should be aware that not every course is available online. Also, each semester comprises two 7-week blocks and financial aid, room and board and billing are built around that. So, students will need to complete a full semester either on campus or online. Given changing restrictions and to provide optimum opportunity for students, a student may study online Fall/Spring 1 and on campus Fall/Spring 2.
- What about students who may need accommodations for learning and teaching?
Deaf or hard-of-hearing students may consider requesting academic accommodations from the Academic Enrichment Center. These include:
-Requesting a peer notetaker or transcription for lectures.
- Requesting a live captioner or someone willing to transcribe lectures in real time so students don’t have to rely on understanding the sound.
- Assistive Technology: FM systems, infrared and audio Induction Loop systems. Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART), speech to text, Phonak hearing aid, Smartpen, etc .
- One-on-one peer tutoring.
- How is the College managing large classes?
In-person teaching is capped at 24 students. Classes with more than 24 students are structured so that the number of students in a single classroom at one time does not exceed the 24-student cap. This might mean departments offer multiple sections of some classes, especially introductory courses. It might mean using a flipped-classroom approach so that students watch mini-lectures or engage with other resources outside class and meet in smaller groups for discussion. Classes might also be offered completely in a remote manner.
- Will academic departments plan for online-only courses?
Yes. Larger classes in particular might be safer online, or in a hybrid format such as a flipped classroom with smaller discussion-oriented meetings in person.
- How will the College support employees and students who are unable to return to campus for COVID-19 pandemic related reasons (for example, international students unable to obtain visas, immunocompromised individuals, etc.)?
The College will support all community members unable to return to campus through guidelines and policies currently under development. This will include the creation of HR return-to-work policies, academic policies for online and hybrid courses, and policies related to health- and travel-related restrictions for students.
- What factors will play into the decision on allowing students to study abroad during spring 2021?
The College will continue to review what experts and external resources recommend and collaborate with program providers in order to make informed decisions about spring 2021 off-campus programs. Some of Earlham's external program providers may have their own policies that will dictate what the College can do. Some of the factors considered for each program location include public health conditions; travel advisories; legislation and policies enacted by the destination country (including whether that country is issuing visas, if applicable); and travel conditions to and within the program location. As always, the circumstances and public health concerns will be monitored and guidelines will be updated as appropriate.
Faculty hours, use of technology and face cover
- For faculty, what about online use of class time or a combination of classroom and online teaching?
Faculty are encouraged to think creatively regarding the use of online teaching since it is less likely to be affected by COVID-19 complications. Workshops about teaching online and classroom/online hybrid will be offered over the summer, and more information will be shared about the technology tools that will be supported by the College.
- Will faculty members need to wear face cover while teaching?
Yes. If health and safety guidance changes, our policy can adapt accordingly.
Please contact the Academic Enrichment Center for other possible options to aid teaching and learning, including classroom speakers, plastic face shields and plastic shields that may be used while lecturing.
Deaf or hard of hearing faculty may consult with Human Resources for employment accommodations if they face spoken communication challenges due to universal masks.
- How will faculty offer office hours with social distancing?
Faculty members are encouraged to use Zoom for office hours or to find an unoccupied classroom near their office so that sufficient space can be offered for a conversation.
- Are professors required to do hybrid or online teaching?
Each faculty member is the best judge of how to teach their courses. That said, it is likely that some students will have to self-isolate during the semester following potential exposure to COVID-19. Those students will need options for keeping up with coursework remotely on a temporary basis. It is also possible that some international students will not be able to easily return to campus. If there are courses they must complete, faculty will work with these students to help them have the best academic experience possible under the circumstances. Finally, it is possible that pandemic conditions become so difficult that the College may have to pivot to fully remote classes. For all of these reasons, faculty are encouraged to include online teaching or hybrid online/classroom arrangements in course planning, even if only as a Plan B.
Visa compliance and related issues
- If I’m an international student and may not be able to travel because of flight restrictions in place due to COVID-19, how would this affect my visa status?
Students who are not able to return to the U.S. may proceed in taking online-only courses from home. Your visa status will become inactive, and you will need to apply for a new student visa and pay a new SEVIS fee before returning for the spring semester 2021. Being in an inactive status for the fall semester 2020 will affect your eligibility for OPT or CPT in spring and summer 2021. However, for students who would like to get some practical experience and who still have their EPIC Advantage funding available, you will have some options for remote internships or other remote experiences that can be completed from home.
For new international students, Earlham encourages you to begin your studies at Earlham remotely if you are not currently in the U.S., and to delay your planned arrival date to campus until the start of the Spring 2021 semester to allow for visa processing and securing flights. You also can register for the January term, which will be online only.
If you are an international student living in the United States already, you should be aware that regulations for fall 2020 require that F-1 students take at least one course that meets in person, including hybrid courses. If you choose an online-only course, you must also choose seated and hybrid courses to ensure your visa status is in compliance. Your academic advisor can assist you in choosing the right courses. Students may select online-only courses for part of their course load, but each online course must meet a specific degree requirement. In addition, if you have a choice between an in-person or hybrid section and an online-only section of the same course, you will need to choose the in-person or hybrid section unless it competes with another in-person course that you also must take to meet your degree requirements.
- If at any point during the semester Earlham decides to move to a lower-contact model for its classes (due to the pandemic), will it be at all possible to have some in-person classes for international students given the new rules for student visas that were recently announced?
All international students who are in-residence must be sure to register for at least one in-person course, including hybrid courses that are a mixture of in-person and online components. In the event that Earlham must move to a lower-contact plan for proceeding with the fall semester, the College will make every effort to enact a plan that allows international students to remain in residence in the U.S. and maintain their student visa status. We will work with individual students to ensure that they remain in compliance with their immigration requirements.
- Will international students who cannot return to campus be able to submit their required paperwork electronically?
For the most part, yes. Because the Center for Global and Career Education has been implementing an online paperwork system for international students called Terra Dotta, students will be able to handle many of their processes online beginning in late July. You may do so from anywhere in the world that you can access a secure internet connection and log in to your Earlham identity. As for immigration-related documents like I-20s and DS-2019s, the answers vary. Students can manage their preparatory steps online. When CGCE team members issue the forms to students, the normal means is a paper form, usually sent by FedEx if students are away from campus, whether in the U.S. or abroad. At the moment, the SEVP authority is allowing us to send I-20s electronically, so F-1 visa students can get these by email (and soon, though Terra Dotta). However, this is a pandemic-related exception to policy and will likely discontinue at some point. For students on J-1 visas, the form DS-2019 must be still be shipped to you by FedEx, as no exception has been approved. If you have any other questions about paperwork for international students, please feel free to consult with the team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- How can I find out more? What other information does Earlham offer for its international students?
Earlham's office of International Student and Scholar Services may have further information available on its TerraDotta site and also on the International Students page at Earlham.edu. You may contact an international student adviser directly by writing to email@example.com.
- Will students who are attending Earlham remotely from home also be allowed to work in Earlham student employment positions remotely for positions that allow for remote work?
This most likely answer is no, but it may be possible in some circumstances. Students should contact their supervisor (or potential supervisor) to see if remote work for a specific job is allowed.
- For those working on campus, will work/study jobs look different? You shouldn’t see any difference in work/study jobs, except that you might be asked to make adjustments to your schedule or working arrangements to keep everyone at a safe distance. And there are protocols regarding cleanliness and sanitation that all of us observe.