Please note: COVID-19 policies will be added here as needed.

View the latest updates regarding COVID-19.

May 2023: Vaccination policy

We encourage students to be fully vaccinated against, and to have received boosters for COVID before beginning or continuing their college careers. However, as of May 2023, proof of vaccination will no longer be a prerequisite for attending classes at Earlham College. This updated guidance is in line with other higher education institutions, and aligns with the end of the federal Covid-19 public health emergency declaration.

November 2022: Testing and leave protocols

To ensure the continued health and safety of our community as flu season arrives and COVID cases rise, we encourage all members of the Earlham community to receive a COVID booster and a flu shot. If you are feeling sick, please get tested for the flu and/or COVID and stay home.

In accordance with current CDC guidelines, employees who test positive for the flu or COVID should stay home for the recommended time (five days for COVID, four to five days for the flu). After that period, employees can return to work if they are symptom-free without medication and should wear a surgical mask for five days upon their return.

For those who still feel ill after five days, continue to isolate until you are fever-free without medication. Wear a high-quality mask for five days upon your return.

Following are our current protocols for testing and leave for employees, along with guidance for students who test positive.

Teaching faculty protocol for testing and leave

Consult with your department and then Academic Affairs on a case by case basis. Please work with your students and your department to adjust as you see prudent. The general College policy follows.

Staff and administrative faculty protocol for testing and leave

For employees who test positive for the flu or COVID and are required to stay home, the college will provide paid leave to cover those days that fall on a business day.*

The employee may use up to five paid leave days provided by the College. This time can be used for an employee’s own recovery or to care for a dependent who is ill with COVID or the flu. If additional leave is needed, the employee will be required to use either sick or vacation leave until they can safely return to work. Employees may return to work wearing a mask and symptom-free.

If testing positive for a second time within the fiscal year (July 1–June 30) the employee must provide documentation to Human Resources and work out an arrangement with their direct supervisor.

Please consult with Human Resources for a situation not covered above.

*If testing positive on a Monday the leave will cover Monday through Friday. If testing positive on a Saturday leave will be provided Monday through Wednesday.

Students protocol for testing

Please continue to wash your hands, cover your cough, and refrain from sharing food or drink. If you think you are ill, contact Health Services. 

COVID still exists but is not the threat that it was two years ago, in large part due to the high numbers of students and employees who are fully vaccinated. 

Students who test positive for COVID or the flu should isolate for five days — in their own room or an isolation room — and wear a mask. Students are allowed to pick up meals in a to-go container from Metz and should wear a mask when doing so.

If you are ill, please go to Health Services to pick up a “be well kit” with Lysol wipes, masks, hand sanitizer and other items to prevent the spread of the virus.  Health and Counseling Services will also contact you daily to check on your health.

Please note that those who are fully vaccinated can still contract COVID or the flu, but are less at risk of severe illness or death.


We ask all visitors to campus to self-evaluate for COVID and flu symptoms prior to their arrival. For those who have been exposed to COVID or are exhibiting any symptoms of COVID or the flu, please refrain from traveling to campus and plan to reschedule your visit at a later date.

Aug. 12, 2022: Fall semester COVID protocols

We continue to require full vaccination and boosting for employees and students, except for those with documented exemptions. We will remain mask-optional on campus; in classrooms, faculty and students will determine whether to mask, and we encourage masking during large indoor gatherings. Please be mindful of any COVID-related symptoms.

Students should consult with Health Services if they need testing. Self-tests and Wayne County Health Department are also testing options, and we encourage you to order free self-tests at We will not require reporting of test results as we expect those within our community to act with the best interests of all in mind.

We will continue to monitor local trends of viral spread and respond accordingly. We are moving from a pandemic response to an endemic response.

Jan. 15, 2022: Updated definitions, schedule of testing and quarantine information

Definition of vaccination status

  • Unvaccinated: has not received the vaccine or only has received one dose of Pfizer or Moderna
  • Fully vaccinated and eligible: has received one dose of J&J or two doses of Pfizer or Moderna. Eligible to receive a booster.
  • Fully vaccinated and up to date: has received one dose of J&J or two doses of Pfizer or Moderna and received booster.

Schedule of testing


  • Weekly PCR testing

Fully vaccinated and eligible

  • Testing only required if the person is displaying symptoms of COVID or is considered a high-risk close contact of a positive COVID case.

Fully vaccinated and up to date

  • Testing only required if the person is displaying symptoms of COVID or is considered a high-risk close contact of a positive COVID case. If close contact, test after day five.

High Risk Close Contacts:  roommates, relationships, within small spaces for over an hour

(There is no specific definition of a high-risk close contact. Each contact tracing team must define.)

Quarantine and isolation standards

All positive cases are required to go into isolation for 10 days; vaccination status is not a factor.

Quarantine for close contacts


  • 10 days of quarantine, testing preformed after day 6-7. Those who test negative and are symptom free can leave quarantine at day 10.

Vaccinated and eligible

  • 5 days of quarantine for a close contact who has had vaccination but not booster

Vaccinated and up to date

  • No quarantine required

Jan. 15, 2021: Special policies statement sent by Residence Life to Students

  1. Surgical or N95/KN95 masks are required in all indoor public/common spaces on campus. Cloth masks and masks with vents are no longer sufficient alone, but can be worn over a surgical mask. Masks will be provided on arrival.
  2. All students are to be fully vaccinated, including a booster shot, unless approved for an exemption through Health Services. Some new students who were unable to receive vaccinations in their home countries will be in process of getting vaccinated in the opening weeks of the semester. All who are not fully vaccinated upon arrival are expected to wear surgical or N95/KN95 masks covering nose and mouth in public spaces and maintain social distancing. Seating in the dining hall is limited to those who are fully vaccinated, and all unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated students can get their meals togo and take them to another location.
  3. Students will not be limited as they were last year in regard to the number of helpers to assist on campus with the move-in process. However, all visitors who assist on move-in day who are not fully vaccinated are expected to practice social distancing and wear masks in all public spaces on campus, along with all students, who should always be masked when outside of their rooms.
  4. All should continue to wash hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Also, individuals should avoid touching their face (eyes, mouth, nose) with unwashed hands. When soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer, particularly following contact with shared surfaces that may have been used by others (door handles, countertops, light switches, phones, keyboards, etc.). All should cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, with a tissue or into your elbow. Students should be especially diligent in following hand washing protocols when using shared kitchen and bathroom areas.
  5. The campus grounds will be open to non-student visitors, but not in residential spaces. Residents are expected to only have guests in their rooms who are current students living on campus. Guests in all residence halls, apartments and houses are limited to oncampus students (and Earlham employees for approved programs or official College business). Visitation in residential spaces does not extend to non-students or to offcampus students. Overnight guests from another on-campus assignment should be approved and noted by the Residence Life staff so that the student may be contacted or accounted for in case of emergency. It remains important for students be considerate of their roommate and neighbors. Students who wish to have guests from another room and/or on-campus facility in their room must have the permission of their roommate(s).
  6. Residents will have key card access to their assigned building and are expected to accompany any guests from another building who they invite to visit. Students are responsible for providing access and escorting their guests for safety purposes. Doors that remain locked should never be propped open for the safety of students and security of the building. Residents should expect to be held responsible for the behavior of their guests from another floor, building, or other on-campus facility.
  7. Apartments and houses can host events in approved areas as scheduled and approved through the Event Registration process.
  8. Community members will respect limitations on the number of students in lounges, kitchens, and shared bathrooms based on occupancy numbers where posted. Residence Life and Public Safety personnel may impose further limitations on occupancy of residential spaces as deemed appropriate.
  9. Programs and Events: Gatherings of any kind on campus are not to exceed posted or Events Office approved occupancy numbers.

    Questions can be sent to [email protected] or asked by phone: 765-983-1317

Aug. 5, 2021: COVID-19 vaccination policy

All College and ESR students, faculty, and staff must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. For purposes of this Policy, an individual is considered “fully vaccinated” 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series (such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines), or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine (such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine) or 90 days post-COVID infection. For those who were vaccinated outside the United States, Earlham will accept for the purposes of the Policy any vaccine approved by the World Health Organization (WHO). 

A photo or scan of the completed vaccination card is sufficient proof of vaccination.

Documentation submitted should only include proof of vaccination and not other medical or genetic information (e.g., family medical history). Documentation or other proof of vaccination will be maintained as confidential in accordance with applicable law. Misrepresenting vaccination status may result in a disciplinary response.

  • Proof of full vaccination will be required from all employees and students with the exception of those with documented medical or religious exemptions. Students should submit proof of vaccination to [email protected] as soon as possible. Employees should submit proof of vaccination through the employee vaccination and test result submission page.
  • For students unable to receive the vaccine before arriving on campus, Earlham will provide testing upon arrival and arrange for vaccination.
  • Those who are not fully vaccinated and/or have an approved exemption are expected to follow current CDC guidelines related to masking, social distancing, and PCR testing. Those guidelines can be found on the CDC website.

i) Students who are not fully vaccinated, will not be allowed to dine in public areas until fully vaccinated (see #2 below for recognized exemptions/accommodations).

International students arriving in the US who do not have access to a WHO-approved vaccine and, therefore, cannot be fully vaccinated prior to arrival should email [email protected] to inform the college of their situation. Health Services will respond by email with a list of options for getting the vaccine, as well as outlining campus requirements (including testing and mask-wearing) while the full vaccination protocol is completed. Students in this situation will be required to get a first shot of a WHO-approved vaccine upon arrival in Indiana.  

ii) Teaching faculty who are not fully vaccinated, must consult with the Academic Dean’s Office to determine access to campus. As we are planning to be fully open and in person, faculty are expected to be vaccinated. Working remotely in place of being fully vaccinated is not an available alternative. (See #2 below for recognized exemptions/accommodations.)

iii) Administrative faculty and staff who are not fully vaccinated, will need to consult with Human Resources to determine access to campus. Working remotely in place of being fully vaccinated is not an available alternative. (See #2 below for recognized exemptions/accommodations.)

Employees may, in appropriate circumstances in accordance with applicable law, be provided with paid leave for time needed to receive vaccinations. Staff members should work with their managers to schedule appropriate time to comply with this policy.

2. Exemptions/Accommodations (religious or medical):

Individuals claiming religious or medical exemption from the Policy should make a request for accommodation as outlined below. All exemption requests should be submitted to [email protected] for students and [email protected] for faculty and staff.

i) Religious Exemption: 

To claim a religious exemption, individuals must submit a statement affirming a sincerely held religious belief that precludes being vaccinated. The statement should explain the religious principle(s) that guide the objection to immunization. A letter from the claimant’s clergy or religious leader stating the religion’s belief concerning the COVID-19 vaccine is also required. This letter must be on the clergy or religious leader’s letterhead and detail the religious tenet informing the request for an exemption. 

Personal and/or philosophical objections to vaccinations that are not tied to a sincerely held religious belief are not considered sufficient justification for granting an exemption.

ii) Medical Exemption: 

To claim a medical exemption, individuals must submit documentation of a medical condition that is a contraindication to the COVID-19 vaccine and, if applicable, the expected duration of the qualifying medical condition. The document must be signed by a qualified medical provider. The College’s medical representative reserves the right to contact the medical provider for purposes of authentication or clarification, as may be needed.  Any medical information obtained in connection with a request for medical exemption will be maintained as confidential.

All claims for medical exemption will be reviewed carefully, and the College will engage in a good-faith, interactive dialogue with the claimant in order to fully understand the claimant’s specific circumstance. Earlham will then conduct an individualized assessment of the exemption request, determining the legitimacy of the claim, and if the claim is accepted, determining the feasibility of implementing a reasonable accommodation that will also allow for risk mitigation. 

We are committed to protecting your rights under HIPAA, so only college employees who are trained in HIPAA confidentiality guidelines will see your documentation.

If an accommodation/exemption is granted to enable an unvaccinated person to be present on campus, the unvaccinated person will be subject to adhering to federal, state, and institutional guidance for unvaccinated individuals. These requirements will include observing social distancing requirements, wearing a face mask while on campus, and submitting to weekly PCR testing. An unvaccinated person’s face mask must be worn in the proper manner, ensuring coverage of both mouth and nose. An unvaccinated person’s failure to wear a face mask in the proper manner while on campus could result in disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion or termination. 

The unvaccinated person may also be required to observe additional safety precautions that are considered in the medical and scientific community to reflect best practices. Unvaccinated or vaccinated individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 should, as before, refrain from entering campus and seek medical assistance promptly.

Exemptions granted under this section may be revisited at intervals to determine whether exemption remains warranted. Individuals entering campus pursuant to a medical exemption may be asked to submit updated documentation for periodic reevaluation and confirmation of medically exempt status.

See also

View the primary COVID-19 response page.

Next steps

We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.
We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.