Beth Adams

Morning Edition Host

Beth Adams joined WXXI as host of Morning Edition in 2012 after a more than two decade radio career. She was the longtime host of the WHAM Morning News in Rochester, where she was recognized for her work by the New York State Associated Press Broadcasters Association and the New York State Humane Society. Her career also took her from radio stations in Elmira, New York to Miami, Florida.

Beth is active in the Rochester community, having volunteered for organizations including the Humane Society at Lollypop Farm, the Heart of Gold Children's Foundation, the Rochester Press Radio Club Children’s Charities, and the Rochester Broadway Theater League Education Committee.  She is an avid reader of historical fiction and a devoted animal lover. Beth is married to award-winning writer and author Scott Pitoniak. 

Ways to Connect

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In the last two days, we've heard from local students, parents, teachers, and administrators about how they are coping with distance learning since schools closed nine weeks ago to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Today, in the third part of the WXXI News series, "Pandemic Academics: Education During the Coronavirus Crisis,"  we look at the effect that all this time away from the classroom could have on students' academic progress.


Schools were abruptly closed in mid-March as the coronavirus crisis reached local communities. In the second part of a WXXI News series on the impacts of the pandemic on education, we look at how academic performance is being evaluated, with so many variables at play.


If the sudden shift to remote learning was an adjustment for students, then it was jarring for educators.

"It was like putting teachers on a very steep slide and just pushing them off," said Jennifer Pacatte, a social studies teacher at Brighton High School.

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The coronavirus crisis has disrupted daily life in countless ways. For schools, the last two months have been an unplanned experiment in remote learning. In the first part of a WXXI News series on the impacts of the pandemic on education, we explore how students' experiences differ based on their schools, teachers, and even their home environments.

Brennae Johnson lives with her mother and two siblings in what they describe as a tiny, two-bedroom apartment. 

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Melanie Rozek has been a physical therapist for about 10 years, but the last couple of months have been like no other in her career.

"It's so surreal. I've never experienced anything like this before," she said. "It's scary. You go through the gamut of emotions."

Rozek has been helping COVID-19 patients at Strong Memorial Hospital get their strength back. It can be a slow process.  She said it takes just seven days for people to start losing muscle mass when they are sick and immobilized.

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The coronavirus pandemic has touched every aspect of our lives, and there is no definite end to all the changes.

It's not surprising then, that therapists are talking to a lot of people about stress, anxiety, and other mental health concerns.

Tonya Girard's list of clients has grown quickly since the beginning of the pandemic.

The licensed marriage and family therapist is treating some people who have never sought counseling before.

Sue O'Brien

No one knows why the coronavirus hit Ted O'Brien so hard. His wife, Sue, tested positive, too, but she recovered at home.

She said Ted has none of the underlying conditions associated with severe COVID-19 illness. He was in great shape and could run a 5K in less than 30 minutes.

That was before his coronavirus symptoms escalated and the former New York state senator, now the head of the state attorney general's Rochester office, was admitted to Rochester General Hospital in March.

Lollypop Farm, The Humane Society of Greater Rochester

If your work-related video conferences are getting a bit tedious, you can liven things up by inviting a dog, cat, a pig or even a llama to your next meeting and help a local nonprofit at the same time.

Lollypop Farm, the Humane Society of Greater Rochester, is making its adoptable shelter pets and farm animals available to attend a virtual meeting through its new "Paw-fice Pals Virtual Meetings" program.

A 20-minute visit costs $100.

Beth Adams/WXXI News

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that two pet cats in New York state tested positive for COVID-19.

So far, it appears that cats and ferrets are the domestic species most likely to get the novel coronavirus.

University of Rochester Medical Center

Bob Filmore has late stage Alzheimer's disease. 

He was admitted to Strong Memorial Hospital to be treated for an infection. That can be stressful under normal circumstances, but in this time of coronavirus when visitors aren't allowed, everyone the patient encounters is considered a stranger wearing a mask and covered in protective gear.

Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority

Regional Transit Service has taken steps in recent weeks to try to protect employees and riders from the spread of coronavirus, but the president of the union representing RTS workers says more needs to be done.

"They're allowing people to ride without face coverings," said Jacques Chapman, president of Local 282 of the Amalgamated Transit Union. "I've spoken to RTS. They feel like the police department's not going to enforce this, which I believe they are required to."