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President Anne Houtman announces fall academic schedule. | READ MORE
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Coronavirus Information

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:

  • For the coming 2020-21 academic year (and likely 2021-22), classes will be held on campus using seven-week terms—two seven-week terms in the fall and two in the spring, with an optional January online term.
  • Distance learning will be available for students who cannot return to campus;  technology is being explored that will bring the classroom to them.
  • The first fall term will begin August 10 and end Sept. 25, with finals and grading the week of Sept. 28 to Oct. 2.
  • The second fall term will run from Oct. 5 to Nov. 20, with finals Nov. 23 and 24, right before Thanksgiving (Nov. 26).
  • Students will remain off-campus from Thanksgiving through the end of January.
  • An online-only term will be offered in January, with dates to be determined.
  • The first spring term will begin Feb. 1 and end March 19, with finals and grading the week of March 22-26.
  • The second spring term will run March 29 through May 14, with finals May 17-18.
  • All courses will be offered for four credits, thus permitting students to take two courses each term, for a total of 16 credits in the fall and 16 in the spring, and another 4 credits possible during January term.

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.

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.