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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

As colleges continue making decisions regarding both academics and athletics for the fall semester, the coronavirus continues to show it's far from run its course.

Driving the news: The New York Times released results of a nationwide survey yesterday, linking at least 6,300 coronavirus cases to roughly 270 colleges.

  • And while some schools have moved classes online and others have canceled fall sports, many "still plan to welcome freshmen to campus in the coming days, to hold in-person classes and to host sporting events."

The big picture: In just the past day, the Big West postponed fall sports, Penn State reported eight positives among student-athletes, the ACC set an 11-game schedule and the 15-player outbreak among the Rutgers football team was linked to an on-campus party.

  • The ESPN site dedicated to these updates reads like a window into the mind of a reckless individual, but it's just what happens when institutions are faced with unprecedented circumstances and no easy answers.

Between the lines: Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley, a projected first round pick in the 2021 NFL draft, has opted out of the 2020 season "due to uncertain health conditions and regulations."

  • Ultimately, more top prospects will likely follow suit, and a pertinent question might be how many more it will take before those decisions force schools' hands, instead of the other way around.

The bottom line: We've already seen how effective bubbles can be and how quickly things can go sideways in the absence of one. But since colleges will never have the luxury of even considering a bubble, it begs the question of just how long this house of cards can last before toppling.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 19, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Mix-and-matching gains momentum — Boosters overtake first doses in U.S. — Pfizer to vaccinate Brazilian cityPanel endorses J&J booster.
  2. Health: Age is still a huge coronavirus risk factor — Unvaccinated 11x more likely to die from COVID — 5x more police officers died from COVID than guns.
  3. Politics: Over 30 states limited public health powers — Pope Francis calls on companies to release vaccine patents — Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders.
  4. Education: Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Parents in Michigan, Virginia sue AG over action on school board threats

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland during an October news conference in Mexico City. Photo: Hector Vivas/Getty Images

A group of parents in Michigan and Virginia accused Attorney General Merrick Garland in a federal lawsuit Tuesday of trying to "criminalize" free speech by directing law enforcement to review threats against school staff.

Why it matters: The lawsuit, filed by the conservative American Freedom Law Center on behalf of the parents in two school districts, accuses Garland of seeking to suppress free speech in his memorandum directing federal authorities to counter the threats spike.

Reading the fundraising tea leaves in Virginia

Terry McAuliffe (left) and Glenn Youngkin speak during a debate last month. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Democrat Terry McAuliffe may be trouncing Glenn Youngkin in fundraising, but when it comes to dollars from donors in Virginia — the state where they're battling to become governor — the Republican has the edge.

Why it matters: With tight polls between the two gubernatorial candidates less than two weeks before Election Day, the parties are also looking to fundraising as a predictor of success.