WYPR Coronavirus Coverage | WYPR

WYPR Coronavirus Coverage


Weeks after Maryland’s school systems submitted to the state plans for virtual learning this fall, the state school board is looking at a proposal for a minimum level of live, online instruction time for students.

The proposal comes as school is already under way in some parts of the state and about to begin in others.

The Daily Dose 8-28-20

Aug 28, 2020

Tensions run high at a police reform meeting between lawmakers and law enforcement. Governor Hogan’s call for a swift return to in-person learning catches districts off-guard. The city suspends recycling collection. And preparations for mail-in ballots have begun in what is shaping up to be a fraught election process.


Gov. Larry Hogan announced yesterday that all of Maryland’s public schools should plan for in-person learning this fall. The announcement comes just days before the start of the school year. 

“It is absolutely critical that we begin the process of getting our children safely and gradually back into the classrooms,” Hogan said at a late afternoon press conference. 

The Associated Press

If you are an eligible voter in Maryland, you should get your application for a mail-in ballot in the mail any day now.

It marks the start of a bizarre, unprecedented election season for voters and election officials alike.

The Daily Dose 8-27-20

Aug 27, 2020
Wikimedia Commons

Governor Hogan says Maryland schools need to come up with a plan to bring children back into classrooms. And the Baltimore City Council has an emotional debate over a bill to rename the Columbus monument to honor victims of police brutality.

The Daily Dose 8-26-20

Aug 26, 2020

Advocates demand answers about the mayor’s firing of Baltimore’s Housing Commissioner. Towson University is the latest college to about-face on in-person classes. Plus, controversy continues around a six- figure exit package given to a state employee who left to work for Governor Hogan.


Housing advocates want to know why Baltimore Mayor Jack Young fired the city’s housing commissioner Michael Braverman last week as renters will soon face a mass eviction crisis. 

“We are here to demand that Mayor Jack Young speaks to the city,” John P. Comer, founder of Architects for Justice, said at a press conference Wednesday morning in front of City Hall. “The concerned citizens who are renting every day and may not know where their next home will be.”

Courts will resume hearing new eviction cases for failure to pay rent on Aug. 31. Comer said homelessness is likely to skyrocket. 


“People are losing their homes and evictions are becoming backed up,” he said. 

Towson University

Towson University is throwing in the towel and sending most of its students home for the remainder of the semester. Online classes will continue.

Towson President Kim Schatzel said in a letter Wednesday in announcing that residence halls will be closed that her greatest responsibility is to protect the health of everyone on campus.

Wikimedia Commons

When Amy Stephens learned that St. Augustine School in Elkridge, Maryland, would offer a combination of in-person and virtual learning this fall, she asked if she could teach her music, theater and strings classes via livestream. She was told no, she would need to be physically in the classroom, interacting with the entire student body each week. 

So a couple of weeks ago, she quit her job.

Baltimore County Public Schools

Baltimore County schools are being accused of failing special needs students who need their own aides, by not sending assistants into those students’ homes because of COVID-19 fears.

The school system is wrestling with the dilemma of protecting its employees while at the same time making sure those students aren’t left behind in virtual learning.

The Daily Dose 8-24-20

Aug 24, 2020

Prolonged social isolation can take a toll on a child’s emotional well-being. A psychologist from the National Center for School Mental Health talks about the warning signs. Plus, a new report points out racial biases in the field of neuroscience research.

Jay Hsu / Flickr Creative Commons

From the fear of getting sick to the sadness of canceled plans, children are experiencing a wide range of emotions as the pandemic persists. That stress takes a toll on their mental health.

The Daily Dose 8-21-20

Aug 21, 2020
Amazon Fulfillment

As unemployment swells, there are some local industries eager to hire. With an influx of visitors, Baltimore County parks are suffering from litter and parking problems. And if you’re wondering what it’s like to fly during a pandemic, we’ve got a first-hand account for you.

Everyman Theatre

It’s been more than five months since Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency because of the Coronavirus pandemic.  As we’ve discussed here on Midday several times, the arts have been particularly hobbled by restrictions related to COVID-19.  

 Today, we'll hear first about one of the ways Baltimore’s Everyman Theater has adapted to the new normal:  they’ve attached themselves to a city-sponsored film festival.  The Baltimore City Office of Equity and Civil Rights is hosting the Fair Housing Film Festival from August 24 to 28, and Everyman’s entry is a live theater event, The House That Holds Us, a virtual evening of theatrical readings, scenes, and monologues that examines the housing experience in Baltimore. 

Joining Tom via Zoom to talk about the new work is Vincent Lancisi. He is the founder and Artistic Director of the Everyman Theatre

 The House That Holds Us streams live next Friday, August 28, at 7:00pm. Follow the event link for more information on how to connect...

Postal Woes

Aug 21, 2020
Joe Piette/Flickr Creative Commons

Just as tens of millions of Americans are making plans to vote by mail--came sudden reports of delayed deliveries, vanished equipment, slashed overtime. Much of the country is up in arms about the U.S. Postal Service. The Washington Post reporter Erin Cox fills in details of its slow decline and needed reforms. She tells why the recent appointment of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, and his sweeping changes, have created a perfect storm. Plus, we look at how, when and where Marylanders can cast their ballots.

For information about voting by mail in Maryland, visit this link.  For Erin Cox's reporting, visit this link.

Melissa Gerr

It’s August … the dog days of summer. Thinking of getting away? Here’s an audio postcard from On the Record producer Melissa Gerr, about her experiences on a recent journey through the air. If you missed your Stoop story today -- or any day -- you can find all the tales right at your fingertips when you visit Stoopstorytelling.com, or the Stoop podcast. Also, there’s a virtual Stoop coming up next month, called: “Of Substance: Real, Personal Stories About Our Complicated and Contradictory Relationships with Drugs and Alcohol.” You can watch it on Facebook Live on Tuesday, September 22, at 7:00 pm

Baltimore County

The state parks in Baltimore County are seeing a crush of people looking for things to do during the COVID-19 pandemic. And because of that, officials say, the parks are being abused and traffic around them can be a nightmare.

The Daily Dose 8-20-20

Aug 20, 2020

The top headlines of the day, plus an update on Baltimore’s beleaguered Department of Public Works. And while most schools in the state are going with remote learning this fall, a small private academy in rural Maryland has opened its doors for a full return to classroom instruction. We check in to hear how it’s going, one week in.

Amazon Operations

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on the local and national economy.  Maryland’s unemployment rate stands at about 8%, much better than much of the rest of the country, but still, more than a quarter of a million Marylanders are out of work.

Some businesses, like airlines, restaurants, and entertainment venues, have suffered badly in the COVID 19 economy.  But other businesses are thriving.  Yesterday, for example, Apple became the first US company to reach a 2 trillion dollar market cap.  And as more consumers stay out of brick-and-mortar stores in favor of on-line shopping, Amazon has had a banner year.  Since March, Amazon stock has increased by more than $1,500 per share.  It’s currently selling at about $3,200.  And the grocery industry has fared well during the pandemic, too, with the region’s largest food retailer, European-owned Giant Food, enjoying steady growth in earnings since March.

Amazon and Giant Food are just two among scores of employers, large and small, now hiring aggressively in the Baltimore region and beyond...


Colleges are welcoming students back this month, but many of them won’t be enjoying the same learning experiences they used to. 

Remote learning can mean a loss of community and independence for students, while going to reopened campuses means dealing with a lot of uncertainty. Some, like the University of North Carolina, reopened and shut down within weeks after clusters of COVID-19 outbreaks. 

Erin VanLuven, a clinical social worker with Kaiser Permanente in Maryland, said these experiences can be detrimental to students’ mental health. 

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

As garbage piles up throughout Baltimore due to delayed trash pick-ups, Mayor Jack Young’s neighbors have been knocking on his door, wanting to know when their overflowing trash and recycling bins will be emptied.


“I'm frustrated, too, because my trash doesn’t always get picked up on time either,” the Democrat said at a news conference Wednesday. “But I understand why we are where we are.” 

The Daily Dose 8-19-20

Aug 19, 2020
John Lee / WYPR

College campuses are adjusting to remote and hybrid learning , but what effect is the change having on the mental health of their students? And the BMA is finding a way to bring the beauty of art outside, and on-line.

John Lee

The Baltimore Museum of Art remains closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. But the BMA is making changes on its grounds and putting local artists on display on its website, so the artist and art lover can still have what the director of the BMA calls “access to joy.”

Kate Breen and her 13-year-old daughter, Tess, were trying to find joy in the BMA’s outdoor sculpture gardens.

“My daughter loves art,” Breen said. “This is the only way that we can see it right now is to see it outside.”

The Daily Dose 8-18-20

Aug 18, 2020
AP PHOTO/Steve Ruark

Maryland’s Democratic delegation turns up the heat on the new Postmaster General over delayed mail ahead of the November election. And the City Council heard preliminary financing plans for redeveloping one of Baltimore’s oldest public housing complexes.

AP PHOTO/Steve Ruark

Near the affluent Harbor East neighborhood is Perkins Homes, a public housing project built in the 1940s that has been suffering blight for years. 

But through the PSO Transformation Plan, the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC) and Baltimore City are transforming Perkins Homes into a new mixed-income housing complex. 

Melissa Gerr

Humans and cars have always had to share the road. But that territory is in demand as more people spread to the outdoors in order to physically distance during the pandemic. Neighborhood organizer Odette Ramos tells us about Slow Streets, the Baltimore City Department of Transportation's effort to calm traffic and make residential streets safer. And Del. Robbyn Lewis discusses building on the momentum of Slow Streets ... with her newly formed coalition Livable Streets. The group promotes ‘people first’ street design in African American and Latino neighborhoods in Baltimore.

For a list of Slow Streets, visit this link. For more information about Livable Streets, visit this link.

The Daily Dose 8-17-20

Aug 17, 2020
John Lee / WYPR

Maryland leaders take a stand against the US Postmaster General’s gutting of the mail system. Dr. Leana Wen talks through the pros and cons of a new, quick-turnaround COVID-19 test. And if you want to get on the campus of the Community College of Baltimore County, you’ll have to pass a test first: a screening for the virus.

Midday Healthwatch: Imagine Fast Testing At Home?

Aug 17, 2020

It’s the Midday Healthwatch with Dr. Leana Wen. As the state of Maryland passes the 100,000 mark of confirmed COVID-19 cases, our state continues to see a low overall positivity rate for COVID-19 infections. Last week, the positivity rate in Baltimore City fell below 5%, according to the state Health Department. But the national picture is much more grim.  Last Thursday, Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the CDC, warned that without adherence to Coronavirus precautions, the worst public health crisis in US history could occur in the fall. 

Several hundred cases of Coronavirus have been reported around the country among students, teachers and staff at schools that have reopened, and worldwide, some 800 million children don’t have access to basic hand washing at school, according to the World Health Organization. School districts in and around Baltimore will be opening virtually for the first term. President Trump continues to state falsehoods about children and COVID-19 – and to urge schools to open for in-person learning. Testing, with results delivered accurately and quickly, remains the key to responding to super spreader events in schools and elsewhere.  And for children and adults who need to be tested, what’s the best kind of test to get? 

Dr. Wen is an emergency physician and the former Health Commissioner of Baltimore City. She’s also a columnist for the Washington Post and a visiting professor and a distinguished fellow at the George Washington University School of Public Health. 

John Lee

Four-year colleges across the country are deciding whether it’s safe to have in-person, classroom instruction. So are community colleges.

The Community College of Baltimore County is offering some in-person classes. But before you set foot on campus to get to that class, you will have to pass a test, a screening for COVID-19.

The Daily Dose 8-14-20

Aug 14, 2020

One of the world’s preeminent vaccine experts is right here in Baltimore, and she joins us to answer the question: How close are we to developing a COVID-19 vaccine? Plus, a noteworthy coronavirus recovery story: The Baltimore County Health Officer says he’s back on his feet after a bout with the virus.