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Biden steps off Air Force One in New Castle, Delaware on Feb. 5. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

School closures across the country and a lack of in-person learning due to the coronavirus is "a national emergency," President Biden stressed in a pre-Super Bowl interview with CBS on Sunday.

Why it matters: Schools' handling of the pandemic reportedly vary wildly from district to district, and one nonprofit study from October estimates that as many as 3 million U.S. students have gone without any formal education — virtual or in-person — since March.

Where it stands: Biden has pledged to reopen schools within his first 100 days, but Anthony Fauci — Biden's chief medical adviser — recently told teachers unions that the administration's goal may not be reached that quickly due to "mitigating circumstances."

What he's saying: "It is a national emergency. It genuinely is a national emergency," Biden said. "I think it's time for schools to reopen safely. Safely. You have to have fewer people in the classroom, you have to have ventilation systems that have been reworked."

  • "Our CDC commissioner is going to be coming out with science-based judgement within, I think as early as Wednesday, to lay out what the minimum requirements are."
  • "I think about the price. So many of my grandkids and your kids are going to pay for not having had the chance to finish whatever it was. That graduation, where you didn't get to walk across the stage — I think they're going through a lot, these kids."

The bottom line: "Currently, there is not enough data to understand the status of school re-opening and how students are learning nationwide," the Department of Education said on Friday.

Go deeper: Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic

Go deeper

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
Feb 7, 2021 - Economy & Business

The high cost of missed school

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The pandemic's disruption of in-person school is causing headaches for students, parents and teachers. But it'll also trigger long-term economic consequences to the tune of trillions of dollars.

The big picture: The U.S. economy could take a $14 trillion to $28 trillion blow in the long run due to coronavirus-induced learning loss, according to economists' projections. And the longer the pandemic keeps kids out of classrooms, the higher that number will climb.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Feb 7, 2021 - Sports

How the NFL countered COVID-19

Fireworks in Tampa Bay ahead of the Super Bowl. Photo: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

The NFL's giant COVID-19 experiment ends Sunday with the improbable feat of an on-time Super Bowl, capping a season with no canceled games.

Why it matters: The season suggests that with the right resources, safety measures and cooperation — all of which have been lacking in the general U.S. response — life can go on during the pandemic without uncontrolled spread of the virus. 

Daily school attendance falls amid the coronavirus pandemic

1st grade students of Rose Hill Elementary in Commerce City, Colorado, in January. Photo: Hyoung Chang/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Daily school attendance in some districts across the U.S. has dropped by an average of 2.3% this academic year compared to 2019, according to data from PowerSchool, a company that helps track grades and attendance, reviewed by the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: The attendance drop contributes to fears that the pandemic may worsen pre-pandemic academic achievement goals and the long-term well-being of the U.S. economy.