Dear Juniata Community,

Since 1876, Juniata’s mission has been to provide students with an engaging, personalized educational experience, and, for 144 years, we have been resolute in our purpose. The global COVID-19 pandemic has certainly challenged us, and our response has been to lead with compassion and grace while rising to new levels of innovation and strength. The events of the spring semester changed so much but did not alter our mission to provide a personally-enriching liberal arts education.

I am heartened by the resilience of our community in adapting to a remote learning environment for the health and safety of all in this unparalleled season. The determination and unified effort displayed by our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and families is both laudable and a hallmark of what it means to be a Juniatian. Remote learning may separate us physically, but it is our commitment to engaging, supporting, and motivating one another that continues to connect us as the academic year concludes.

The logical next question, one pressing upon many of our minds, is how Juniata will conduct the fall semester. Contingent upon the guidelines and permissions set forth by governmental authorities, Juniata College intends to welcome students back to campus in August with heightened awareness and practices in place to maintain the health of the entire community. We know that students who live and spend more time on campus have higher rates of academic success, and learning is enhanced through proximity to faculty, labs, and classrooms, and through inclusion within a diverse student body.

We are cognizant of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 virus and plan to meet them with innovation, cooperation, and with the health and safety of our campus as our guiding principle. We are closely following federal and state guidelines, including the federal government’s Guidelines to Open America Again and Gov. Tom Wolf’s guidelines for Pennsylvania, while continuing to seek public health advice. Acting in the interest of public health, pre-testing of students and staff prior to their arrival on campus in August may occur utilizing a company at the forefront of COVID-19 testing, whose testing protocols follow those outlined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Juniata leadership is engaged in ongoing conversation with members of the Huntingdon Chamber of Commerce, our local healthcare system, and the Huntingdon County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) to ensure that the entire community is ready to support our students and our local small businesses as we work to recover, together, from these challenging times. Our rural location offers a distinct advantage in limiting the flow of students between campus and highly-populated spaces where evidence suggests that incidents of infection are more numerous, and Juniata will take particular care to prevent and control infection within the campus environment.

Our plans for the fall semester provide us with the opportunity to meet students where they are, with a priority on offering a full residential experience and working to ensure that we can continue to provide the Juniata experience to those students who are unable to return to campus for any reason. The knowledge and experience gained this semester will be used to expand our reach through online delivery of courses for those Juniatians whose temporary or extended isolation is necessary to protect themselves, their families, or their communities. 

Juniata’s mission to empower our students to develop the skills, knowledge, and values that lead to fulfilling lives of service and ethical leadership in the global community is more valuable than ever before. We look forward to welcoming the Class of 2024 to our Juniata community and to welcoming the classes of 2021, 2022, and 2023 back to campus.

James A. Troha, Ph.D.