COVID-19

The College Township municipal building
College Township

The wrestling tournament that College Township in Centre County had tried to stop, saying it would violate COVID-19 restrictions, did take place this weekend, drawing an estimated 2,700 people and leading the township and police to issue citations.

According to a news release from the township, the municipality worked with the State College Police, the borough Health Department and Centre Region Code Administration. They issued more than 30 citations totaling about $10,000 over the course of the three-day event to the organizers and hosts.

The sign outside the municipal building of College Township, Centre County
College Township

Saying a wrestling tournament violates the state’s COVID-19 rules for gatherings and has the potential to be a “super spreader” event, College Township in Centre County is trying to stop the tournament from happening this weekend.

 

Olympic Club Duals is holding the event in the C3 Sports Complex off the Benner Pike. The tournament was scheduled to start Friday afternoon and continue through Sunday.

 

Penn State students walk across the University Park campus at the beginning of the fall 2020 semester.
Min Xian / WPSU

The number of COVID-19 cases increased to 708 at Penn State university-wide, as it updated its COVID-19 dashboard for the week of Sept. 4 to 10 on Friday. That’s a total of 493 new cases since last Friday’s update. While university President Eric Barron said administrators remain concerned about the spread of the coronavirus, the university is not moving to remote instruction.

File photo of a mobile COVID-19 test site on Penn State University Park campus.
Min Xian / WPSU

The number of cases of COVID-19 in Centre County shot up by 184 Wednesday, in a spike that overshadows all previous increases and will likely raise questions in the community about whether Penn State can contain the spread among students.

According to the state Department of Health, there are 870 known cases of the COVID-19 in Centre County Wednesday, up from 686 Tuesday. That’s more than a 25% increase in one day. The previous largest single-day increase in Centre County was 47 cases.

 

The county cases include:

Penn State student Kaitlyn Harris did an asymptomatic saliva test at a mobile testing site in August.
Min Xian / WPSU

Penn State has 433 total positive coronavirus test results university-wide, according to Tuesday’s update to the university’s COVID-19 dashboard. The increase came from new cases added over the Labor Day weekend and from test results coming in from the previous weeks. 

You’re listening to WPSU’s Health Minute, a collaboration with Penn State’s College of Nursing. 

“Contact tracing” is reaching out to people who may have been exposed to COVID-19.

Exposure includes being within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes; being around someone 48 to 72 hours before they had symptoms and through the end of the infectious period; having direct contact with infectious secretions; or, being coughed on by someone with COVID-19.

Outside of the newly renovated Spring Creek Elementary School.
Brittany Krugel / WPSU

Calling it an “extremely disappointing turn of events,” the State College Area School District announced Friday it will move all of its schools to remote learning next week, an announcement that came the same day Penn State’s COVID-19 dashboard showed 174 more cases in the past week. 

In a letter to parents and guardians, Superintendent Bob O’Donnell said recent positives mean the district reached the state Department of Health’s “substantial level” of COVID-19 transmission and the recommendation at that point is “full remote learning.”

Old Main, the Penn State administrations building on the University Park campus.
Min Xian / WPSU

Penn State updated its COVID-19 dashboard Friday with data reported between Aug. 28 and Sept. 3. In that time period, 174 University Park campus students tested positive for COVID-19. Of that total, 115 were from 1,092 “on-demand” testing. From the university’s random asymptomatic testing, 59 UP campus students tested positive out of 3,065. 

File photo of a mobile COVID-19 test site on Penn State University Park campus.
Min Xian / WPSU

The number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase sharply in Centre County, particularly at Penn State and in the neighboring State College area.

There are 578 confirmed and probable cases in Centre County, up from 538 Wednesday, according to the state Department of Health. Thursday’s 40-case increase is second only to the 47-case spike Wednesday, the largest seen in the county since the pandemic began. 

Students outside of State College Area High School on Jan. 8, 2018.
Min Xian / WPSU

The State College Area school board voted 5 to 4 Wednesday night to close schools and take a day off this Friday, giving the district time to review new COVID-19 data.

 

The meeting came the same day Centre County saw its largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases, leading to concerns about whether the growing number of cases in Penn State students will spread to the community at large.

Lock Haven University is moving to fully remote instruction starting today because of a rise in COVID-19 cases.
Min Xian / WPSU

Lock Haven University is moving to fully remote instruction starting Wednesday because of a rise in COVID-19 cases, the university announced Tuesday. The suspension of in-person classes will be in effect until Sept. 21, with the hope that it will curb further spread of the virus.

Signage for a COVID-19 collection site in State College, Pa.
Min Xian / WPSU

Centre County COVID-19 cases increased by 47 Wednesday, its largest single-day spike since the pandemic began, according to state Department of Health data.

The county has 538 cases — 491 confirmed and 47 probable — up from a total of 491 Tuesday. The jump comes as the State College Area School District has been grappling with if and when to move to remote learning — even temporarily.

The county’s numbers by zip code include:

Penn State is reporting 32 new COVID-19 cases since last Friday.
Min Xian / WPSU

Penn State updated its COVID-19 dashboard Tuesday with data reported between Friday, Aug. 28 and Sunday, Aug. 30. In that time period, 25 University Park campus students tested positive out of 268 symptomatic tests conducted. Seven asymptomatic UP students also tested positive for COVID-19. 

File photo of a mobile COVID-19 test site on Penn State University Park campus.
Min Xian / WPSU

Updated: Friday, August 28 at 5:34 p.m.

Penn State updated its COVID-19 dashboard for the first week of fall semester classes Friday. It shows 28 new positive cases from a total of 4,664 tests conducted this week. 

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, many students are returning to colleges and universities across the U.S. 

In central Pennsylvania, that includes Penn State, Pitt Bradford, and Juniata College. 

Kevin Kinser is a Penn State professor and head of the Department of Education Policy Studies. He’s a senior scientist at Penn State’s Center for the Study of Higher Education and has written several books about higher ed. 

Facing some community concerns, Mount Nittany Health said the community should feel comfortable in its capacity to treat a potential surge of COVID-19 cases.
Min Xian / WPSU

As tens of thousands of Penn State students return to the University Park campus for fall semester, Mount Nittany Health says the community should feel comfortable in its capacity to treat a potential surge of COVID-19 cases. 

Penn State Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims said no disciplinary action will be initiated against students who participated in the East Halls gathering or the Pi Kappa Alpha party as long as they get tested.
Min Xian / WPSU

Penn State has begun investigations into two large social gatherings that violated the university’s COVID-19 safety protocols. But the university says it’s not considering disciplinary actions for those who attended. 

Carrie Jackson and Dawn Maguire, with the Holmes Foster Neighborhood Association, standing in front of a house.
Anne Danahy / WPSU

 

Penn State classes start this week, and as the campus with the largest student body in Pennsylvania kicks off the fall semester, many in State College are concerned that the arrival of tens of thousands of students could mean outbreaks of COVID-19.

 

Penn State is reporting two students on the University Park campus have tested positive for COVID-19, according to its new COVID-19 Dashboard Friday.
Min Xian / WPSU

Updated: Monday, August 24 at 2:20 p.m.

Penn State is reporting two students on the University Park campus have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the university’s new COVID-19 Dashboard Friday.

The university has performed 520 tests on students and 95 tests on employees since Aug. 9, according to the dashboard. These numbers combined random surveillance tests and symptomatic tests. 

"Keep Your Distance" sign with lion's paw print
Min Xian / WPSU

Penn State had to break up a large gathering of unmasked students apparently partying outside of dorms on the University Park campus Wednesday night, raising concerns in the community about the potential for COVID-19 outbreaks.

The get-togethers, documented on social media, defy the university’s rules requiring everyone to wear masks while in public spaces on campus and not to gather in groups. And, they came before classes start on Monday.

In-Person Farm Show Cancelled Due To COVID-19 Worries

Aug 19, 2020
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania's agriculture secretary says there won't be an in-person Farm Show in January because of the pandemic. Secretary Russell Redding made the announcement Wednesday through an online news conference. The Farm Show, scheduled for Jan. 9 through Jan. 15 will be held virtually instead, with a theme of “cultivating tomorrow.” The event bills itself as the country’s largest agricultural exposition under a single roof, drawing hundreds of thousands of people to Harrisburg to see about 6,000 animals and take in some 10,000 competitive exhibits.

Students outside of State College Area High School on Jan. 8, 2018.
Min Xian / WPSU

The State College Area School board voted 7 to 2 Monday night against a motion to switch entirely to online learning after two weeks in anticipation of an upswing in COVID-19 cases after the return of Penn State students and in-person classes.

 

The vote followed more than five hours of discussion and public comments during an online meeting attended by more than 700 people.

Signage for a COVID-19 collection site in State College, Pa.
Min Xian / WPSU

The State College Area School District is scheduled to return to school next week, and that’s also when Penn State classes start, raising concerns about the potential spread of COVID-19.

As questions are raised about how much cases will go up and how quickly test results are coming back, the State College Area school board will vote Monday night on whether to change its plans for in-school classes, moving entirely to remote learning after two weeks of in-person classes, at least while data about the rate of COVID-19 in the community is collected.

courtesy of Kyle Haust

People from many walks of life have lost employment due to COVID-19. This is particularly true of performers and artists who piece together a living from events that have now been cancelled due to the pandemic. WPSU’s Kristine Allen recently spoke with a central Pennsylvania musician who has seen most of his income dry up.

 TRANSCRIPT:

KYLE HAUST: My name is Kyle Haust, I’m from State College, and I’m 33 years old. And for a living, I play percussion. 

 

Students outside of State College Area High School on Jan. 8, 2018.
Min Xian / WPSU

School districts across Pennsylvania are finalizing plans for reopening classrooms and teaching students remotely as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. WPSU's Anne Danahy spoke with State College Area School District Superintendent Bob O’Donnell and school board President Amber Concepcion about how that district is preparing for the fall.

TRANSCRIPT

Doctoral student Steph Herbstritt shows the hairy ligule in switchgrass that's growing on Penn State research plot in Centre County.
Anne Danahy / WPSU

 

When COVID-19 hit Pennsylvania in March, universities moved to shut down in-person classes and suspend some lab work work and field research. For environmental scientists, that’s meant changes and delays in how work gets done.

Old Main, the Penn State administrations building on the University Park campus.
Min Xian / WPSU

Spotlight PA is an independent, non-partisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with PennLive/The Patriot-News and other news organizations across Pennsylvania. Sign up for our free weekly newsletter.

Penn State's Beaver Stadium is usually packed for "Whiteout games," but due to COVID-19 there will be no fans this Saturday.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

Pointing to health concerns from the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty surrounding them, the Big Ten announced Tuesday afternoon that it is postponing fall 2020 sports, including football.

“Our primary responsibility is to make the best possible decisions in the interest of our students, faculty and staff,” said Morton Schapiro, chair of the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors and Northwestern University president.

Gates to Beaver Stadium on Penn State's University Park campus in summer 2020.
Min Xian / WPSU

The presidents of the Big Ten universities are expected to vote Monday night to cancel the 2020 football season as concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic continue, according to a report in the Detroit Free Press.

Citing unnamed sources, the story says a formal announcement is expected Tuesday.

Penn State Athletics Director Sandy Barbour in a face mask at the beginning of an online press conference Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020.
Anne Danahy / WPSU

Penn State Athletics is planning for the football team to play in an empty stadium this fall, but the department does have a seating plan for about 23,000 people if the state changes the rules limiting crowd sizes.

Even with those plans, Athletic Director Sandy Barbour left open the possibility that the football team won’t play at all. 

“The virus will determine whether we play or not,” Barbour said Thursday during a press conference.

Pages