Tuesday, March 17, 2020: College officials reconvened. Communication from the president was sent:
Dear Juniata Community,
Recent days have challenged our community to find new ways to connect, to learn, and to communicate, even as conditions have warranted social distance. We are a place where traditions are valued, and our culture and ethos draw on foundations of mutual support and partnership. This current moment requires us to embody the best of these values and share the best of ourselves. I am confident, given my observations and interactions with students, faculty, staff and alumni in recent days, that we will stand together, show strength in our unity, and emerge stronger as this systemic crisis abates.
After some careful assessment of all the challenges COVID-19 is presenting to our world, our nation, and, in particular, the Juniata community, we have made the following decisions:
1. For the health and safety of our community, and in adherence to national and state guidance, we will move exclusively to a remote learning environment for the remainder of the 2020 spring semester.
For so many in our community, including our graduating seniors, this is extremely upsetting news. However, with the number of COVID-19 cases rising by the day, both nationally and in Pennsylvania, and with all of the precautions now being sanctioned by state and federal authorities, our options of providing a safe and secure residential learning environment are increasingly limited. Consequently, effective Monday, March 23 and through May 11, all instruction will be delivered remotely. I want to thank our extraordinary faculty for their resourcefulness and creative spirit in readying themselves for this unexpected moment in time. Their commitment to you and your education is unyielding.
2. Coupled with a remote learning environment, we will also be asking all of our students that are currently on the Juniata campus to depart by 12:00 p.m. Sunday, March 22.
As public officials continue to stress social distancing and the avoidance of groups larger than ten, having students living, eating, and studying with one another in close proximity simply provides too much risk to the campus community. While there are no diagnosed cases at Juniata, it is not clear that we could adequately support and respond to a possible outbreak if that were to happen. Furthermore, the measures needed to quarantine are vast, and we would likely not be able to support the unique medical needs required.
For those students at home currently who need to collect their belongings from your on-campus residence, you will hear from Dean Damschroder shortly about how and when to do this. We understand this is going to be a burden and want to be sensitive to individual needs. However, there is urgency in making this happen sooner rather than later.
Due to these most recent decision relative to your residential experience, considerations are being made to your housing and meal plan expenses. Becasue we are dealing with numerous matters related to COVID-19, details of this adjustment have not yet been finalized but will be shared soon with students and families.
3. Given our decision for remote instruction and following the lead of the NCAA and the Landmark Conference, we are canceling all athletic events and contests through the end of the semester.
4. For those students scheduled to graduate this May, we do not anticipate any scenarios that would prevent you from graduating as planned. However, the actual commencement ceremony is unlikely to be held on its current date of May 16. We would hope to reschedule the ceremony for a date later in the summer and will share a final decision on commencement by the end of the month.
5. Finally, we will be in further communication with all of you about leveraging many of the services you would have had access to were you on campus, including academic support services, the Help Desk, Writing Center, QUEST, and counseling/health services.
I am confident that there are a lot of questions about all of this and more. As we continue to assess events daily, updates will be provided at www.juniata.edu/coronavirus.php; links to public health resources can be found on this website as well.
- For information relative to student life matters, students and parents are invited to contact the Dean of Student’s office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 814-641-3157.
- For academic matters, please contact the Provost’s office at email@example.com or 814-641-3121.
- For matters related to IT support, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 814-641-3619.
- Juniata employees should contact email@example.com or 814-641-3195.
We have been called upon to take actions that support the global effort to slow the rate of virus transmission, and, while the way in which we interact has changed, our connection to one another remains strong. However, like true Juniatians, we will persevere and be stronger because of this.
Be careful and stay safe.