Photo: Octavio Jones/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidelines on Thursday, stressing the "importance of reopening America's schools this fall," saying K-12 schools are "an important part of the infrastructure of communities and play a critical role in supporting the whole child."

Why it matters: The reopening of schools has become a major debate in the U.S. as both parents and government officials weigh the pros and cons. The role that children play in spreading the novel coronavirus is still not known, but the CDC notes that death rates among school-aged children are much lower than among adults.

What they're saying: The guidelines focus on the mental, social and emotional risks associated with keeping students out of the physical classroom. The CDC provided broad direction for schools, saying they should focus on hygiene, disinfecting surfaces and social distancing.

"Death rates among school-aged children are much lower than among adults.  At the same time, the harms attributed to closed schools on the social, emotional, and behavioral health, economic well-being, and academic achievement of children, in both the short- and long-term, are well-known and significant.  Further, the lack of in-person educational options disproportionately harms low-income and minority children and those living with disabilities."
CDC's statement

The CDC recommends:

  • Repurposing unused or underutilized buildings or moving classes outside.
  • Keeping students in "pods" so they are in the same groups throughout the day.
  • A plan in the case a student or teacher contracts the virus.
  • Coordination with state health departments to conduct case training if there is a positive case.

Go deeper: Parents turn to "pods" as a schooling solution

Go deeper

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At least 48 local public health leaders have quit or been fired during pandemic

Former California public health director Dr. Sonia Angell on Feb. 27 in Sacramento, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

At least 48 local and state-level public health leaders have retired, resigned or been fired across 23 states since April, according to a review by the AP and Kaiser Health News.

Driving the news: California public health director Dr. Sonia Angell resigned on Sunday without explanation, a few days after the state fixed a delay in reporting coronavirus test results that had affected reopenings for schools and businesses, AP reports.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 20,004,254 — Total deaths: 733,929 — Total recoveries — 12,209,226Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 5,088,516 — Total deaths: 163,400 — Total recoveries: 1,670,755 — Total tests: 62,513,174Map.
  3. Politics: Trump claims he would have not called for Obama to resign over 160,000 virus deathsHouse will not hold votes until Sept. 14 unless stimulus deal is reached.
  4. Business: Richer Americans are more comfortable eating out.
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  6. Sports: The cost of kids losing gym class — College football is on the brink.
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Photo: Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The hope and promise of May is gone, replaced by the realization that America is in for another miserable year of COVID-19.

Why it matters: Another winter — and another flu season — is on the way as the U.S. engages in a whack-a-mole strategy that slows down the virus in one region, but sees it flaring up in another.