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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

Oct 31, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Study: Trump campaign rallies likely led to over 700 COVID-related deaths

Supporters gather before President Trump arrives for a rally at the Bemidji Regional Airport on Sept. 18 in Bemidji, Minnesota. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Eighteen Trump campaign rallies "ultimately resulted" in more than 30,000 incremental confirmed COVID-19 cases and "likely led to more than 700 deaths," researchers at Stanford University concluded in a study published Friday.

Why it matters: The Trump campaign has come under repeated fire for being lax about mask requirements and refusing to adhere to social distancing and other local guidelines at its events, which sometimes draw thousands of people.

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.
Nov 1, 2020 - Health

WH accuses Fauci of playing politics over bleak coronavirus assessment

President Trump and NIAID director Anthony Fauci during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House in April. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci praised the Biden campaign's coronavirus stance, criticized White House adviser Scott Atlas and offered a bleak assessment of the U.S. pandemic response in an interview with the Washington Post, published Saturday.

Why it matters: Fauci's comments are perhaps his most frank yet and come as COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. The White House called Fauci's remarks three days out from the election "unacceptable." Atlas publicly responded to his fellow coronavirus task force member in a tweet late Saturday.