May 22, 2020
Today, Earlham President Anne Houtman announced plans for holding classes on campus this fall and the remainder of the 2020-21 academic year that involve an August 10 opening and extensive health precautions.
“Thank you for your patience as we have worked through various scenarios for reopening the Earlham campus for classes this fall,” Houtman wrote in an email to students. “In all of our internal discussions, our objective was to identify a course schedule and develop safety measures that would provide the very best classroom experience possible while protecting the health of students, faculty and staff. I’m pleased to report that we have developed a plan to achieve those goals and bring you back to campus.”
The academic calendar has been restructured to create a system of seven-week terms that will enable the College to open on August 10 and complete two fall terms by Thanksgiving. Students will 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 two spring terms on February 1. Further details are bulleted below. The new structure will decrease the number of faculty and students each individual will interact with and make it easier to augment courses with online instruction as needed—or transition to distance learning, if that becomes necessary due to new developments with COVID-19.
“It is very painful to know that many of our international students and some of our domestic students will be unable to return to Indiana in the fall,” Houtman said. “For all of you, please know that we are testing technologies that will bring the classroom to you in real time, and planning for online instruction for as long as necessary. Additional information will be provided in the coming weeks. Our faculty now have the advantage of time over the summer to develop online strategies that can provide a richer experience than was possible with our sudden shift to online teaching in March.”
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb is gradually returning the state to normal operations with social distancing and sanitation protocols in place. Earlham is following his lead and that of local authorities in reopening, while working with regional and state authorities and local healthcare facilities to ensure appropriate testing and contact tracing should a student or employee show coronavirus symptoms. A list of the safety precautions that the College is implementing is below. Students will continue to be informed of critical information they will need for fall registration via email, but they and their parents are encouraged to monitor this site for general updates throughout the summer and fall.
Under the new term system, all courses will be four credit hours. Taking two courses in the first seven-week fall term and two in the second seven-week fall term will accrue 16 credit hours, and the same will hold true for the two spring terms. Thus, a student can earn 32 credit hours for the year by taking courses two at a time—a total of four in the fall and four in the spring—with the additional option of earning credit during the January online term. Here is a brief summary of these changes:
The College is prepared to continue this schedule for up to three years, depending on when a vaccine is available.
The Department of Athletics is working closely with the campus Crisis Management Team and following the guidelines and recommendations from the federal, state and local authorities, public health officials, the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference as it plans for a safe return of student-athletes to their programs.