Penn State

A COVID-19 nasal swab test is administered to a person in a car
Min Xian / WPSU

Free COVID-19 testing at the Nittany Mall in State College began Friday, drawing a long line of residents, as part of the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s effort to contain the rising case numbers in Centre County.

Naomi Niyah, a graduate student at Penn State, went to the site on Friday morning. She said she hasn’t been contacted by the university for its surveillance testing program.

“I don’t like the current situation for testing so might as well do it myself here,” Niyah said. 

Penn State student Kaitlyn Harris did an asymptomatic saliva test at a mobile testing site in August. The university said Tuesday there are 433 total COVID-19 cases university-wide.
Min Xian / WPSU

 

 

Penn State is reporting a 294-case increase of COVID-19 among students at University Park since it last updated its coronavirus dashboard on Friday.

 

It brings the total number of cases to 1,665 students at University Park. The dashboard lists 23 cases among students at Penn State Altoona, with 17 still active. There are 33 students in quarantine at that campus.

 

A pop-up testing site on Penn State campus
Min Xian / WPSU

Penn State added 320 new cases of the coronavirus for the week of Sept. 11 to 17, as the university updated its COVID-19 dashboard Friday.

Barry Reeger / Associated Press

Leaders of the Big Ten universities voted unanimously to have a football season this fall, starting the weekend of Oct. 23, according to a news release Wednesday morning.

Socially distanced dining hall tables at Penn State University Park campus
Min Xian / WPSU

The total number of COVID-19 cases at Penn State reached 1,145, as the university updated its COVID-19 dashboard Tuesday. 

Penn State student walking across the University Park campus at the beginning of the fall 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.

 

Penn State students shared stories of racism they have encountered at the university and faculty talked about what could lead to change, in the second roundtable discussion in the “Toward Racial Equity at Penn State” series Tuesday night. 

 

Nyla Holland, an undergrad student and president of the Black Caucus, talked about racism she’s experienced at Penn State starting freshman year.

 

Penn State student Kaitlyn Harris did an asymptomatic saliva test at a mobile testing site in August. The university said Tuesday there are 433 total COVID-19 cases university-wide.
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. 

Penn State updated its COVID-19 dashboard Friday with data reported between Aug. 28 and Sept. 3.
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. 

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. 

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. 

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.

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.

Penn State updated its COVID-19 dashboard Friday with data reported between Aug. 28 and Sept. 3.
Min Xian / WPSU

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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.

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

 

A newly formed group called the Coalition for a Just University at Penn State hosted an online rally Wednesday, questioning the university’s plans for an in-person fall semester in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The group wants the university to provide COVID-19 testing to all faculty, students and staff, publicly say staff can work remotely and give faculty control over whether they teach in-person. They're also calling for a guarantee that all full-time faculty and staff will keep their jobs and benefits in 2020-21.

A line outside Doggie's Pub on Pugh Street in State College July 11, 2020.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

 

State College Borough Council voted Tuesday to approve an ordinance requiring mask-wearing in public and limiting most gatherings to 10 people in an effort to keep the COVID-19 pandemic in check after Penn State's fall semester starts.

Someone who violates the ordinance can face a $300 fine. 

Before the vote, Boalsburg’s Carla Myers said she hoped council would pass the ordinance ahead of students’ return to State College later this month.

Sophomore Joshua Kouassi sits outside a restaurant
Joshua Kouassi

 

While many Penn State students are set to return to the University Park campus for the fall semester in less than a month, some are worried about what school will look like amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

Penn State President Eric Barron speaking
Anne Danahy / WPSU

 

Penn State hosted a virtual town hall on its COVID-19 plans for the fall semester Thursday, including testing for students, faculty and staff amid the pandemic. 

  

Beaver Stadium at Penn State's University Park campus in July 2020.
Min Xian / WPSU

Eight Penn State athletes have tested positive for COVID-19, and results are pending on another 66, according to the athletics department.

In a statement, Athletics said as of July 24, it has conducted a total of 466 COVID-19 tests.

University athletes have been going back to campus for summer training. At the same time, the university is moving ahead with plans to return to on-campus classes in the fall.  

 

The BlackAtPennState logo.
BlackAtPennState

 

Since June 27, an Instagram account called “BlackAtPennState” has shared anonymous stories of racism from Black Penn State students, graduates and staff. WPSU intern Andrew Destin talked with the Instagram account creator, a Black student at Penn State who has chosen to keep his identity confidential out of concern for his safety.  

 

Penn State announced Monday that both the Child Care Center at Hort Woods and the Bennett Family Childcare Center at University Park will reopen on Aug. 19.
Min Xian / WPSU

Penn State announced Monday that both the Child Care Center at Hort Woods and the Bennett Family Childcare Center at University Park will reopen on Aug. 19, less than one week before the fall semester is scheduled to begin. 

In a virtual town hall Monday, university Provost Nick Jones said both centers will reopen with a comparatively limited capacity and added safety precautions. But parents who attended the meeting on Zoom expressed concern and questioned why the details haven’t been worked out yet.

On May 25th, a police officer killed George Floyd while arresting him by kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Videos of Floyd’s killing have led to weeks of protests across the country and calls for police reform.

Penn State professors Eleanor Brown and Ben Jones recently wrote an OpEd that ran in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Philadelphia Inquirer about barriers to police reform and State College’s own police killing of a Black man with schizophrenia, Osaze Osagie. 

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