Lynn Hatter

News Director

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has been a member of the WFSU news team since 2007 focusing on education and health care. She's an an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiatives.  When she’s not working, Lynn spends her time watching sci-fi and action movies, writing her own books, going on long walks through the woods, traveling and exploring antique stores. Follow Lynn Hatter on Twitter: @HatterLynn.

An empty classroom with desks arranged in a square.
Colleen Cayoup / flickr.com

Millions of children are shifting to virtual and in-home learning as schools remain closed due to the coronavirus. For parents, this may be the first time they’ve pulled double-duty: acting as both parent and full time teacher. Others have been at it a while. One long-time home-school parent who says right now, everyone is in the same boat.   

Medical equipment.
Robbie Gaffney / WFSU

Florida’s hospitals are under capacity as they anticipate a rise in COVID-19 patients within the month. The lack of patients, coupled with increased spending to bulk up on supplies, has some of these hospitals furloughing their staff. 

A "CLOSED" sign displayed in a glass window
Tim Mossholder / Unsplash

Governor Ron DeSantis has issued a statewide “stay at home” order, limiting movements to essential services only. The directive will likely add more shock to the state’s already over-burdened unemployment system.

An overhead shot of a neighborhood filled with houses.
Photo by Breno Assis / Unsplash

Democratic Florida lawmakers say a Florida Supreme Court order suspending evictions doesn’t go far enough. 

School bus with Jackson County Schools written on the side
Jackson County Schools Facebook

Students in Florida’s public schools won’t be in classrooms anytime soon. The Florida Department of Education has ordered schools be closed until at least April 30th.

Unsplash

Gun sales across the country are surging and in Florida, there have been several record-setting days in the past few weeks. Tallahassee-based Red Hills Arms is struggling to keep up with demand and its owners say as is the case with other gun stores, it's seeing a boom in first-time buyers.

Johns Hopkins' University's Covid tracking map has become widely circulated. it's important to know what the red circles mean and how to interpret the data accurately.
Johns Hopkins University

The United States is still on the upswing when it comes to the number of COVID-19 infections and the increasing worry has people looking for information on the disease. But not all information being floated is legitimate. Florida A&M University epidemiologist Dr. Perry Brown discusses where people should turn for good information, and how to discern fact from fiction.

Houses along beach in Seadside
Erich Martin / WFSU News

Florida’s panhandle beaches are shutting down. Tourist-heavy Okaloosa, Walton and Bay County Beaches are closed. Now, Franklin and Wakulla are too.

A traditional school lunch, sorted on a plastic tray
KCLine / istockphoto

Big Bend School Districts have issued their food distribution sites and times for March 23-30th. Below is a list of locations for Leon, Franklin, Gadsden, Wakulla, Jefferson, Bay, Calhoun, Gulf and Liberty Counties. This list will be updated as more information becomes available. 

Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a committee meeting
Andrew Harnik / AP

Governor Ron DeSantis is urging calm as people grow increasingly anxious about their health and economic future amid coronavirus fears. It’s been weeks of upheaval and the governor says he’s worried about the effect the responses to the coronavirus will have on mental health.

An overhead shot of a neighborhood filled with houses.
Photo by Breno Assis / Unsplash

Florida's Second Judicial Circuit, which covers Leon, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Wakulla and Liberty Counties in the panhandle, has ordered a stop to evictions and other civil actions as the state's economy slows to a trickle amid business shutdowns and rising unemployment. Several Florida counties are taking similar actions. 

Man stands at voting machine to cast his ballot.
Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Florida voters could be asked to open the state’s primaries to everyone, regardless of party affiliation. The Florida Supreme Court has approved the “All Voters Vote” amendment for the November ballot, over the united objection of the Republican and Democratic parties. 

An overhead shot of a neighborhood filled with houses.
Photo by Breno Assis / Unsplash

Some Florida counties are stopping evictions from being carried out as service workers face job uncertainty in the wake of COVID-19 related business closures. In Leon County, Clerk of Court Gwen Marshall and Sheriff Walt McNeil are waiting on guidance from the Chief Judge of the Second Judicial Circuit.

Leon School Superintendent Rocky Hanna says school nurses are getting in contact with the 400 students and chaperones who recently returned from school trips to New York and Washington D.C. The trips occurred before Spring Break. 

Woman in white t-shirt with grey backpack
Omar Roque / Unsplash

School officials across the state are preparing for a worst-case scenario. Schools remaining closed through April 15. Schools were slated to return March 30, but the Florida Department of Education says to expect a longer Spring Break. 

A glass of beer up close
GrassLands Brewing Co. / WFSU News

Governor Ron DeSantis is signing an executive order today closing all bars and nightclubs for the next 30 days. He also suggests beach groups of no more than 10 people.

Mayor Andrew Gillum
Nick Evans / WFSU News

Former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum says he’s entering rehab days after Miami Beach police were called to a hotel room where a man overdosed on what appeared to be crystal meth and Gillum was present.

A traditional school lunch, sorted on a plastic tray
KCLine / istockphoto

The Florida Department of Agriculture has announced more than 900 sites in the state that will be serving meals as schools shut down until March 30.  The initial list covers 30 of Florida's 67 counties, including Franklin, Gadsden and Leon in the Panhandle.

Large boxes are stacked from floor to ceiling at the Second Harvest of the Big Bend warehouse. Donated food is sorted, labeled, packed, and distributed from 41,000 square foot warehouse in Tallahassee.
Gina Jordan / WFSU News

Second Harvest of the Big Bend is asking for donations as coronavirus worries fuel closures of places that  often serve meals to students, families and the elderly.   The organization services 11 counties in North Florida that have the highest level of food insecurity in the state. It comes as school districts, state and local agencies begin to form plans on how to keep food flowing to the people most at-risk for going hungry in the next few weeks.

FCADV President Tiffany Carr flanked by CFO Jeff Atwater.
Nick Evans / WFSU News

Florida lawmakers have tried and failed to bring the former head of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence in for questioning. The legislature has tried to deliver subpoena’s to Tiffany Carr in person and online, via twitter.  House leaders are now considering penalties that could include imprisonment.

people grouped around a poridum.
Robbie Gaffney / WFSU-FM

Springtime Tallahassee, upcoming commission meetings and the Word of South Festival are canceled. The City and County announced the moves today as worries about the coronavirus increase. The County has canceled events like Leon Works that were expected to bring in hundreds of people. Leon County schools will remain open after the Spring Break holiday.

The World Health Organization has formally declared the coronavirus a pandemic. The move comes as higher education officials have directed universities prepare to suspend in-person classes and shift toward online learning. As fears of contagion spread, Governor Ron DeSantis is now limiting access to nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Florida lawmakers are reexamining their budget as fears of Coronavirus begin to impact the state’s tourism-driven economy. The state’s top legislative leaders want to funnel more money into the state’s rainy day fund in case those worries dampen revenues. 

A round, steel white building against a blue streaked sky
Robin Sussingham / WUSF Public Media

Florida will keep its 12 public universities—for now. Plans to merge Florida Polytechnic and New College of Florida into the University of Florida died Friday due to a lack of support in from the Senate.

Florida is on the verge of turning the lights off on presidential searches at public colleges and universities. The move to shield most candidates who apply for the schools’ top job comes after years of battles on the issue. Supporters of the plan say the state’s open records laws keep good people away because they don’t want employers to know they’re job hunting. 


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