Anne Danahy

Reporter

Anne Danahy is a reporter at WPSU. She was a reporter for nearly 12 years at the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pennsylvania, where she earned a number of awards for her coverage of issues including the impact of natural gas development on communities. 

She earned a bachelor's degree in communications from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and a master's degree in media studies from Penn State.

Before joining WPSU, she worked as a writer and editor at Strategic Communications at Penn State and with the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute before that.

She hosts a Q&A program for Centre County's government and education access station and teaches a news writing and reporting class at Penn State.  

Ways to Connect

Citing a significant loss of patient volume and revenue shortfall, Mount Nittany Health said it will reduce approximately 50 positions over the next three weeks.
Min Xian / WPSU

Mount Nittany Health announced Thursday it is cutting 250 positions — about 10% of its workforce — and taking other cost-cutting steps, in the face of an expected $70 million revenue shortfall this fiscal year.

Mount Nittany is also cutting executive compensation by 10% and reducing contracted services. 

Old Main, the administration building, on Penn State's University Park campus
Min Xian / WPSU

 

As Penn State gets ready to return to on-campus classes this fall, many faculty don’t think in-person teaching will be safe and are calling on the university for more information about how its plans will work.

 

Old Main, the administration building, on Penn State's University Park campus
Min Xian / WPSU

 

For Penn State, it’s back to school in person this fall.

 

In an email sent to Penn State students and employees Sunday, the university said that it plans to return to on-campus classes. The email from President Eric Barron emphasized the priority the univeristy puts on health and safety. It comes at a time when experts warn of the chance of a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, possibly in the fall.

Participants in "Justice for Black Lives" march Sunday, June 7, 2020, in State College, Pa.
Min Xian / WPSU

When Penn State announced the phased return of athletes, the university said students are required to practice safety measures, including wearing face masks in public, observing social distancing and avoiding large groups.

 

Penn State began bringing athletes back to campus Monday, starting with 75 football players. Some players were among the participants in a “Justice for Black Lives” rally held Sunday in State College.

 

A Pennsylvania Department of Health graphic urges people to "Know the Symptoms of COVID-19," which can be spread through close contact.
PA Department of Health

 

It’s a warm spring night in State College, and Penn State students are gathering in yards and on porches. There’s music. There’s beer pong. But, social distancing and face masks? Not so much.

 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Penn State moved its summer classes online, and most students aren’t in town. That doesn’t mean student socilializing has disappeared.

 

State College police say they’re focused on educating partiers about the coronavirus safety guidelines.

 

Gov. Tom Wolf in a file photo
Photo: AP

Some Pennsylvania counties may find out Friday that the state is moving them from “yellow” to “green” status of COVID-19 reopening, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said during a call with reporters Thursday.

“I’ll be announcing a whole range of counties tomorrow moving from red to yellow, and the hope is that we’ll also be making some counties that might even be moving from yellow to green tomorrow,” Wolf said.

Eric Barron
Ralph Wilson, File / AP Photo

Penn State is still aiming to bring students back to its campuses in the fall, and is coming up with plans for how to do that safely. That was one of the topics during a virtual town hall university leaders held Tuesday.

  

Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims is leading a task force focused on the return to campus and community.

 

A Penn State parking sign in a "Red" lot on campus explains parking restrictions.
Penn State Transportation Services

  

While most Penn State employees are currently working from home, they're going to continue to pay for their on-campus parking permits, the university announced.

The university will keep deducting parking fees from the paychecks of faculty and staff who are receiving their full salaries. Employees pay $37 a month for a typical parking permit at University Park.

Sixth grader Lauren Dawson doing schoolwork at home on a computer.
Mike Dawson

You’ve probably heard stories about what it means to be an adult working from home or out of work. But, what’s it like being a young person out of school? K through 12 students have been at home since March, and WPSU talked with some of those students from central Pennsylvania about what they think of not going to back for the rest of school year and what they’re looking forward to.

Here's some of what they had to say:

My name is Lauren Dawson. I’m in sixth grade, and I go to Mount Nittany Middle School. (Centre County)

Workers install solar panels on the roof of a house
Business Wire

Green energy businesses had been seeing growth, but the COVID-19 pandemic has changed that.

“We’re all doing the best we can in the new normal here,” said Kevin Gombotz, vice president of Envinity, a green design and construction company.

Screen shot of the Zoom home page
Anne Danahy

After getting hit by Zoom bombings ranging from disruptive to disturbing, Penn State is tightening the security defaults on the platform.

 

“There’s whole groups of people going around, and they’re literally searching for Zoom links so they can come in later and bomb them. There’s whole chatrooms dedicated to bombing Zoom meetings, believe it or not," said Richard Sparrow, acting chief information security officer at Penn State.

 

empty HUB-Robeson Center with one person walking
Min Xian / WPSU

 

Penn State has seen a drop in the number of international and in-state students applying.

 

“Admissions for summer and fall 2020 are, of course, a critical part of our budgeting and our success,” said university President Eric Barron on Friday.

 

He was speaking about the impact of COVID-19 on admissions during a university trustees meeting.

 

Stacey Sharp is a manager at Appalachian Outdoors in downtown State College. The store reopened May 8, 2020 with COVID-19 protection measures, but also continues to provide curbside pickup as an option.
Min Xian / WPSU

Governor Tom Wolf has announced the easing of restrictions on another 13 counties.

 

They include Blair and Cambria. Beaver County was the only western county not moved out of a “red” status. It’s home to what may be the state’s worst nursing home outbreak.

 

The announcement came the day that 24 counties in northcentral and northwestern Pennsylvania moved to “yellow” status.

 

Old Main, the administration building, on Penn State's University Park campus
Min Xian / WPSU

Penn State is telling employees who are telecommuting they should plan to continue to do so at least through the end of May, and the university will use a regionally-based plan to return to working on campuses.

In making the announcement, the university noted it is in keeping with Gov. Tom Wolf's reopening plan, which said telework must continue where feasible.

People outside the courthouse holding signs protesting Gov. Wolfs' stay-at-home orders
Anne Danahy / WPSU

 

Just before Gov. Tom Wolf announced the easing of restrictions on 24 counties in the northwest and northcentral parts of Pennsylvania, a crowd gathered at the county courthouse in Hollidaysburg for a “ReOpen PA Rally."

 

Attorney Marc Scaringi headlined the event, held by the Blair County Tea Party Friday.

 

view of empty Penn State mall
Min Xian / WPSU

Penn State leaders say they will announce plans for the fall semester and whether students will return for in-person classes by June 15.

“We’re always trying to juggle the two competing desires for people to know what’s ahead of them, but also to be making the best decision with the most up-to-date epidemiological and health information at our fingertips,” said Provost Nick Jones.

He and Penn State President Eric Barron answered questions about the impact of COVID-19 on Penn State during Tuesday’s Faculty Senate meeting, which was held remotely.

Bernice Hausman is chair of the Department of Humanities in the Penn State College of Medicine. She’s recognized for her research on vaccines and breastfeeding, including why both can be controversial in the United States. She has written several books, most recently "Anti/Vax: Reframing the Vaccination Controversy," which was published last year. WPSU's Anne Danahy spoke with Hausman about what we can learn from past vaccine controversies about the COVID-19 epidemic.

Old Main, the administration building, on Penn State's University Park campus
Min Xian / WPSU

Facing major financial losses, Penn State has furloughed some employees, but will be paying them 50% starting May 4 through June.

In a message to the community, President Eric Barron said the university has projected losses of $100 million this year and is expecting another $160 million in losses in the education and general budget funds in the upcoming fiscal year.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf giving an address from his home on March 23, 2020.
Commonwealth Media Services

Governor Tom Wolf offered more details today about his plan for reopening Pennsylvania. That’s slated to start happening May 8 in regions with low numbers of COVID-19 cases.

 

Wolf said it will be done on a county by county basis, the same way Pennsylvania was shut down.

 

view of empty Penn State mall
Min Xian / WPSU

Penn State is preparing online learning options as it faces the possibility of students from other countries not being able to return to the United States in the fall because of travel restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

“What we’re uncertain of at this time is whether that experience will be fully residential or whether we have to have a remote learning component as we did this spring and as we’re planning for the summer,” said Roger Brindley, vice provost for Global Programs at the university.

 

A map from the state Department of Health shows how many COVID-19 cases have been counted in each county.
PA Department of Health

An inmate at the Centre County Correctional Facility has tested positive for COVID-19, and a small number of staff and inmates who may have had contact with the inmate are in quarantine, according to a news release from the county Sunday.

The inmate is a Centre County resident who has been in the jail since January. He or she is being housed in a negative airflow room in the facility, and additional testing and contact tracing are being conducted, according to the release.

This is the first case of someone incarcerated at the county facility testing positive for COVID-19.

Old Main, the administration building, on Penn State's University Park campus
Min Xian / WPSU

 

Penn State will continue holding classes online, not in-person, this summer. The university pointed to the need to protect the health of students and employees as COVID-19 continues to spread.

Penn State is leaving open the possibility of returning to on-campus classes in its second summer session. The university says that decision will be based on guidance from government and health authorities.

The move to online learning applies to all of the university’s campuses.  

 

Gov. Tom Wolf extended the stay-at-home order to the entire state on April 1, 2020.
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is one seven states in the northeast that announced Monday they'll be working together to come up with a plan to reopen their economies once the spread of COVID-19 is under control.

The announcement came during a joint telephone conference, led by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. President Trump tweeted earlier in the day that it is up to him, not the governors, when to reopen the states.

But, when asked about that, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf referred to how state closures have been happening.

What goes into the meal kits the State College Area School District is preparing for families even when school is out.
Megan Schaper / SCASD

As part of Pennsylvania’s efforts to slow down COVID-19, the state’s K-12 schools are closed for the rest of the year. Some school districts, including the State College Area, have stepped in to help families make sure children are still getting enough to eat. WPSU’s Anne Danahy spoke with the district’s food service director, Megan Schaper, about the need, and how she and her staff are meeting it by packing hundreds of meals.  

More information on the State College Area School District program is available on the district's website.

NIrmal Joshi, chief medical officer of Mount Nittany Health
Mount Nittany Health

Nirmal Joshi has been the chief medical officer at Mount Nittany Health since November 2017. He has a background in infectious diseases, and has been helping lead Mount Nittany’s efforts to prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

Brian Toth is superintendent of the Saint Marys Area School District, at desk.
Anne Danahy / WPSU

UPDATE: Gov. Tom Wolf announced today (April 9) that all K-12 schools will be closed for the rest of the school year as part of efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Since Gov. Tom Wolf ordered Pennsylvania’s K through 12 schools to remain closed indefinitely to help slow the spread of COVID-19, school districts, teachers and parents have been trying to make the most of what’s left of the school year.

State Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman
Min Xian / WPSU

State Senator Jake Corman fielded questions on COVID-19 during a telephone town hall Wednesday, pushing back on parts of Gov. Tom Wolf’s response to the pandemic.

Wolf signed an order Wednesday allowing the state to transfer personal protective equipment and other medical supplies from one health care provider to another that needs them.

 

“This will allow us to move key equipment, like personal protective equipment and ventilators to high population, high impact areas," Wolf said.

 

Citing a significant loss of patient volume and revenue shortfall, Mount Nittany Health said it will reduce approximately 50 positions over the next three weeks.
Min Xian / WPSU

A patient with COVID-19 is being cared for at Mount Nittany Medical Center in Centre County, the first at the hospital, according to a news release.

The patient tested positive Wednesday evening. No other details were provided about the situation except that the patient is receiving care. 

In a news release, Chief Medical Officer Nirmal Joshi said the center has "been preparing for months for this situation."

Citing a significant loss of patient volume and revenue shortfall, Mount Nittany Health said it will reduce approximately 50 positions over the next three weeks.
Min Xian / WPSU

An employee at one of Mount Nittany Health’s outpatient practices has tested positive for COVID-19, the health care system said Friday.

Mount Nittany did not provide details about the case. But, it says since the symptoms were recognized, the employee has been at home. Mount Nittany says it has notified any coworkers who could have been exposed and they're being monitored. 

"Mount Nittany Health has completed a detailed review to determine any potential patient exposure and has completed appropriate follow up as needed," the release says.

Old Main, the administration building, on Penn State's University Park campus
Min Xian / WPSU

 

Penn State has failed to protect some students and hasn’t handled all complaints of sexual harassment appropriately, according to the U.S. Department of Education, which on Thursday released the results of an investigation into the university.

 

Among the findings are that Penn State violated Title IX by not responding appropriately to complaints of sexual harassment. That includes student complaints in the 2016-17 academic year and complaints first reported to the Athletic Department in 2015-16 and 2017-18.  

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