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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) 

No one on Earlham's campus has been identified as having the virus. Earlham has made the switch to remote learning and moving students off campus out of caution. This is 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.

(March 17, 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.

Our faculty are working to put together the best educational experience possible; this may include adaptations like simulations of lab experiences or analysis of data collected in previous semesters, students creating videos or images of their work to submit, or other kinds of alternate assignments. Each faculty member will be in touch with the students in their classes about their particular approach and expectations.

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 and Bethany Seminary have announced a similar suspension of residential classes. For more information, please visit esr.earlham.edu.

Students are expected to be checked out by 5 p.m. Monday, March 16, following the process for moving out at the end of the academic year. Further information may be found on the Campus Housing Closure Information web page.

Students who require a check-out extension or who are unable to depart from campus due to extenuating circumstances should fill out Earlham’s Campus Housing Check-Out Extension/Exception Request Form.

In order for us to be able to accommodate these requests as best as we can, it is important to include as many details as possible relating to your situation. Reasons that may be considered for a petition include:

  • International students who cannot return home
  • Students who do not have reliable internet access at or near their homes or who cannot turn home for other reasons
  • Students who need access to specialized equipment to complete coursework
  • In rare cases, students who have other extenuating circumstances

Due to the anticipated influx of responses, please allow time for requests to be reviewed. Reponses will be made as soon as possible. Additionally, more information in regard to check-out procedures, storage options, and other closing-related information will be provided to students via email.

For further questions related to residence life, please contact reslife@earlham.edu.

Please contact Information Technology Services at helpdesk@earlham.edu prior to leaving campus so that they can best understand your needs and see if a loaner device is available.

Earlham has suspended participation in all athletic practices and contests for the duration of the spring semester.

Spring programs in Athens and London have been suspended, and the Border Studies Program will be suspended on Monday, March 16. At present, we have not made the decision to suspend additional programs. It has been determined that students already studying at other sites not designated “Level 3: Avoid Nonessential Travel” by the Centers for Disease Control and “Level 4: Do Not Travel” by the U.S. Department of State Department travel advisory will continue their programs as scheduled. That said, we continue to monitor all program locations and some changes to the program may be required as the COVID-19 situation evolves. No new student travel is being authorized.

No decisions have yet been made on these as we monitor the COVID-19 situation worldwide.

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.

We know that for seniors this is an especially difficult situation to face. Graduation is very special to us all and we really want to see commencement happen. Our hope is that students can return to campus and Commencement can continue as planned. The longer we can wait on this decision, the greater the chance we hold Commencement. A lot is going to change over the next few weeks, and we will advise the campus community as soon as it is prudent to do so.

The Campus Store will not be open for walk-in business, 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.

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.

All area vice presidents will work with their employees to create a staffing plan that will include offsite work arrangements as feasible, but that also considers the need to serve our students, maintain critical operations, and continue the important work that ensures the health and viability of Earlham well beyond the immediate health emergency. All employees are asked to continue to report to work on campus at least until their area's staffing needs are determined.

Staff employees whose work can only be performed on campus but are unable to do so due to current circumstances will be paid for their normally scheduled hours at the regular rate if instructed to stay home. 

All employees working from home are asked to remain within commuting distance in case you are needed in some capacity on campus. For the next few weeks we are urging you not engage in personal travel outside of commuting distance. We strongly encourage you to avoid congested areas and public transportation. If you feel you’ve been in a situation that has exposed you to the virus or have been notified that you’ve been exposed, you will need to report that and self-quarantine for 14 days. 

While working on campus, please take precautions, including avoiding group gatherings by having telephone or videoconference meetings instead. Covering coughs, frequent hand-washing and refraining from touching your face all go a long way in preventing the spread of disease.

(Added March 16, 2020)


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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.