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President Barron’s Blog Shares Penn State COVID-19 Statistics

Last week, President Eric Barron penned a blog post reflecting on Penn State’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. He thanked university leaders, researchers, community partners, and students for their cooperation and efforts throughout the last two years.

“The fact that we were largely successful is a credit to the entire Penn State community and our many partners throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” Barron wrote. “It was inspiring and deeply gratifying to see how everyone came together to adapt and adjust to new technology, new procedures for health and safety, economic hardships resulting from the pandemic, mental and physical health issues related to COVID-19, and countless other changes to our personal and work lives. ‘Incredible’ doesn’t begin to describe the effort that spanned our teaching, research and service operations.”

Perhaps more importantly, Barron shared a slew of COVID-19 statistics related to the university.

On the first day of remote classes, for example, 63,000 students logged on to Zoom by 10 a.m. For comparison’s sake, Penn State Athletics estimated 62,000 were in attendance at Beaver Stadium this past weekend for the Blue-White Game.

Penn State administered at least 175,000 COVID-19 tests at the White Building and distributed nearly 650,000 Vault Health PCR tests across all Commonwealth campuses.

According to Barron, Penn State bought exactly 23,000 face shields and nearly 13,000 clear masks as the university stocked up on supplies. Those numbers don’t compare to the 2.78 million procedural masks and 350,000 university-branded masks that Penn State secured, though.

Additionally, Penn State purchased at least 10,000 gallons of hand sanitizer — enough to fill an average-sized backyard pool.

The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences provided $2.25 million to 47 teams of researchers from three campuses, 10 colleges, and over 25 departments to conduct COVID-19 research.

The Office of Physical Plant’s specially trained team administered 227 cleaning events. Communications teams published more than 500 FAQs on Virus Info, Penn State’s COVID-19-specific website. That section of Penn State’s domain has generated at least 4.1 million page views since the pandemic began.

Finally, thanks to the federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, Penn State helped distribute more than $131 million to students in need throughout the pandemic.

“It has been two long and challenging years under the cloud of a global pandemic,” Barron wrote on his blog. “Given the new variants and uncertainty that still remains among medical experts, we can expect to be managing COVID-19 well into the future. However, it appears that we have turned a significant corner. The vaccines are widely available and have had their intended effect: Hospitalizations are down, masks are largely optional, and physical distancing is no longer a part of our social gatherings.”

“Thank you one and all,” he continued. “This is not the last challenge that Penn State will face, but it’s clear that this community is well prepared to handle whatever comes this way. Well done all!”

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About the Author

Colleen Nersten

Colleen is a washed-up biology grad and former associate editor. Her legacy will live on through stories like “10 Questions With State College Sensation ‘Hot UPS Bae’”. If you’re a STEM girlie, this is your sign to take the leap of faith and learn to write. It’s pretty fun. Colleen misses the hate mail and can be reached at [email protected] or via LinkedIn.

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