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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The largest four-year public university in the U.S. will primarily teach classes online this fall, California State University Chancellor Timothy White said Tuesday in a statement.

Why it matters: The decision, which affects almost half a million students, could precede a wider pivot to online learning as American universities figure out how to safely open for the new semester.

  • Cal State is the first major university to keep the majority of its students from returning to campus and in-person classes in the fall, the New York Times reports.
  • Some exceptions will be made for nursing students, art students or those who need to work in labs, White said Tuesday.

The big picture: Colleges around the U.S. are afraid they'll be headed for financial ruin if they remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Axios' Erica Pandey reported earlier this month.

What they're saying: "This planning approach is necessary because a course that might begin in a face-to-face modality would likely have to be switched to a virtual format during the term if a serious second wave of the pandemic occurs, as forecast," White said.

Go deeper: How the coronavirus pandemic will transform teaching

Go deeper

Aug 20, 2020 - Health

Trump administration declares teachers essential workers

Photo: Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security formally declared teachers essential workers in guidance released this week, continuing the Trump administration's push to reopen schools amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: Under the guidance, teachers are now considered “critical infrastructure workers,” like physicians and law enforcement officers, meaning they can return to the classroom even after possible exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19 as long as they remain asymptomatic.

AFT's Weingarten and Microsoft's Smith call for expansion of broadband for equality in education

Axios' Mike Allen (L) and Microsoft President Brad Smith (R). Photo: Axios.

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and Microsoft President Brad Smith at an Axios event on Thursday called for expanding access to broadband in the United States in order to close the digital divide in education.

What they're saying: "Broadband needs to be a fact of life in the United States and it needs to be free for everyone, and it needs to be regulated in a way that it can be made equitably distributed all throughout America," Weingarten said during a discussion on the Future of Employability.

Aug 21, 2020 - Health

Florida's coronavirus death toll tops 10,000

A lab technician handling blood samples inside a lab for a coronavirus vaccine in Hollywood, Florida. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Florida's death toll from the coronavirus exceeded 10,000 on Thursday, according to the state's department of health.

Why it matters: It is the the fifth state to report 10,000 or more deaths, per Johns Hopkins University data. Others include New York, New Jersey, California and Texas. Florida has more than 580,000 COVID-10 positive residents as of Thursday.