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Earlham Spring 2020 Exodus FAQ

The coronavirus/COVID 19 situation is serious and evolving rapidly. In response to the threat, Earlham College has decided to shift all classes to remote learning as classes resume after spring break, March 16-20, 2020. Online instruction will begin no later than Wednesday, March 25, and students will receive information about their courses from their faculty.

Students have been asked to pack their belongings and prepare to return home for the remainder of the semester after their face-to-face classes end on Friday, March 13. Students are expected to be checked out of campus housing by 5 p.m. Monday, March 16.

In making difficult decisions, Earlham has and will continue to follow the advice of public health professionals. Reliable information and current updates on coronavirus/COVID-19 can be found directly from the Centers for Disease Control and Indiana State Department of Health

Please note that we expect some updates of the FAQ to continue. If answers are updated, we will include the date of the most recent update for that question.

Update - March 18, 2020: With Wayne County on a Level II travel alert (only essential travel permitted) and additional travel restrictions highly likely in the coming days, Earlham College has notified students who could not vacate campus last week due to extenuating circumstances, to find alternative housing arrangements by Sunday evening, March 22. All domestic students previously approved to stay now need to make arrangements to go home or find accommodations outside the college. Domestic students should be checked out of college housing by 5 pm Sunday, March 22. International students who can go home or who have a place to stay off campus should also relocate. A question related to this development has been added to the top of the FAQ list below.


The College announced March 12 that students were being sent home and would complete their coursework online for the duration of the Spring Term to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. Most students immediately began packing and returning home; however, some were unable to do so for various reasons, and the College began making preparations to accommodate them.  In the ensuing days, the local travel restriction and other developments caused the College to reevaluate the situation. 

The new Level II Travel Advisory for Wayne County and the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in our region warranted a re-evaluation of on-campus staffing and reduction in personnel on site. Should a closure be mandated by the state or federal government, the College would not have enough personnel on site to provide basic food or support service to the number of students currently on campus. 

As mentioned elsewhere in this FAQ, the College will issue refunds for room and board charges, prorated based on date of departure from campus housing.  

International students unable to return home or without alternative housing locally will be provided meals from a central location for as long as advised. If it becomes necessary for those students to remain in their living space without permission to leave, meals will be delivered to each occupied facility for distribution by available Residence Life and Student Life staff.

If the government were to forbid personnel living off campus from reporting to work, regular meal distribution could be disrupted further, perhaps completely. In such a  circumstance, the College would provide a stock of food to be distributed among those remaining on campus, but would not have the employees from off-campus available to help prepare or distribute. 

For the health and safety of students remaining on campus, residents are being assigned to select buildings where resident assistants and their live-in supervisors are available. Students should refer to messages from the Residence Life Office regarding these changes for further information.

The Campus Village apartments are being prepared to serve as quarantine space should that be needed. 

(Updated March 18, 2020) 

As of March 17, no one on Earlham's campus was identified as having the virus. Earlham made the switch to remote learning and moving students off campus out of caution. This was an effort to slow the spread of the virus through social distancing, a practice to keep people from being in close proximity to each other.

Updates on the impact of coronavirus/COVID-19 in Indiana, including cases by county of residence, are available on the State of Indiana's Coronavirus Response page. Earlham is located in Wayne County.

(May 1, 2020)


Faculty members are preparing to deliver classes through online learning management systems such as Moodle, for example. They will also use videoconferencing and other tools as appropriate to provide the best possible experience for students under the circumstances, with consideration given to the differing time zones.

The College's libraries, Athletics and Wellness Center, Joseph Moore Museum, bookstore and  cafes are closed to the public. 

At the request of the Wayne County Health Department, the Athletics and Wellness Center has also now been closed to all students, faculty and staff. 

(Updated March 19, 2020)

ESR announced a similar suspension of residential classes for the rest of the spring semester. For the most up-to-date information, please visit esr.earlham.edu.

(May 1, 2020)

May Term courses for Earlham undergraduates and in-person undergraduate summer courses will not take place.

Online undergraduate courses will take place as scheduled. 

(May 4, 2020)


Students who are currently living in College-owned housing and/or have purchased a meal plan and who leave campus before the end of the semester will be entitled to a pro-rated refund of the fees they were charged for housing and/or meals. This refund will be applied to their student account after they have checked out of campus housing with Residence Life staff. If students purchased a meal plan but do not live in College-owned housing, they must contact Metz to cancel their meal plan and receive a pro-rated refund.

Quaker Points are included in the meal plan cost and would not be refunded separately.

We know that asking students to leave campus means some are having to make travel plans on short notice which might create undue financial hardship. The beginning of spring break was chosen as a date in part because it could minimize the impact of travel costs, since many students would expect to be traveling at that time. We do not want finances to be a barrier to your ability to leave campus. If you need financial assistance, please contact Student Life to discuss your situation.

If students need money to be able to travel, and if they will have a credit balance on their account due to housing and meal refunds, they may visit the cashier window to request a cash advance of that refund on Monday, March 16.

Yes, in most cases. Please contact the Public Safety Office for an appointment to make sure they understand which car you are leaving and where you should park it. They will also ask for a set of your keys in case the car needs to be moved.

Dining services will continue to be provided to the students unable to leave. Any changes in dining services for them will be communicated with the affected students.

Students who were away from campus when the announcement was made and were unable to move out by March 16, should contact the Public Safety Office -- 765-983-1400 or PublicSafety@earlham.edu -- for an appointment to return to campus to gather their things. Public Safety will coordinate arrangements with the Residence Life Office so that you can gather the contents of your room. 

(Updated March 18, 2020)

We ask that students pick up all mail and packages prior to leaving campus, and update their home mailing address in Self-Service Banner. We will forward all U.S. Postal Service mail and packages to students.  Arrangements can be made for packages received from other carriers (UPS/FedEx) by contacting the Earlham Post Office at postoffice@earlham.edu.

Earlham College will hold its spring 2020 commencement ceremony via livestream on May 9. The virtual ceremony will recognize graduates from Earlham College, the Earlham School of Religion, and the College’s Graduate Programs in Education. The decision to hold a virtual commencement instead of hosting the ceremony on campus is in response to the continuing coronavirus pandemic.

The schedule for releasing the videos will follow the usual plan for Earlham commencement day events: A baccalaureate video will be shared at 10:30 a.m. and a graduation ceremony video will be available at 2:30. All videos will be shared at earlham.edu/commencement.

During the May 9 proceedings, members of Earlham’s Class of 2020 and their friends and families are invited to gather together online as graduates are recognized and their degrees conferred. The College is committed to inviting the Class of 2020 back for in-person celebrations when public health guidelines allow.  

(May 1, 2020)

The Campus Store will not be open for walk-in business during the spring semester, but it will be accessible remotely.  The online bookstore is available at store.earlham.edu.  For the return of rented or purchased textbooks, students should follow the link on the store’s site for textbooks to earlham.ecampus.com.

(May 1, 2020)

The college has established a call center to receive questions from members of the public during business hours. Please call (765) 983-1870. Questions also can be sent via email at earlhamcollege@earlham.edu.

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Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts and sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Earlham College
801 National Road West
Richmond, Indiana
1-765-983-1200 — Main Switchboard
1-800-EARLHAM (327-5426) — Admission


Earlham admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.